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Thalassophobia: The dreadful fear of the depths of the open sea

It’s not just fear of the water: it’s fear of what might be hiding underneath it.

If you ever saw Jaws, the terrifying 1975 film, you probably never looked at the sea the same way again. The idea of swimming in the ocean, knowing that in its depths lurk dangerous creatures, giants, or both, is terrifying to many.

There may be no megalodons or aquatic monsters in the calm waters of Cancun, but nothing assures you that a Steven Spielberg kind of shark won’t bite your feet. If you are also horrified by the idea, you probably have thalassophobia.

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Thalassophobia is described as “the intense and persistent fear of deep bodies of water such as the sea, oceans, pools or lakes. Although related, it should not be confused with aquaphobia, which is the fear of water per se.”

Thus, thalassophobia is not the simple fear of water, but of water in large quantities and what might be found in it. In the following TikTok by @afroditi.pdt, for example, she lists what people believe when they say they have thalassophobia and what really scares them:

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In the following video, more images serve as examples of situations that provoke this intense fear in some people. Most of them are illustrations, but it is not superfluous to advise you, if you also have thalassophobia, to proceed with caution:

And finally, a video that shows that thalassophobia is not exclusive to the sea. The deepest pool in the world, located in Dubai, reaches 60 meters and is not suitable for people with thalassophobia (the gloomy music of Colm R. McGuinness does not help either, by the way):

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Story originally published in Spanish in Cultura Colectiva.

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