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Pediophobia is the unwarranted, irrational and persistent fear or worry of dolls. It is a specific phobia belonging to the category of ‘automatonphobia’. This is a type of phobia where the individual is afraid of all humanoid or “human-like-but-not-quite” objects including mannequins, marionettes, ventriloquist’s dummies, wax figures, animatrix or robotic figures etc. The word Pediophobia originates from ‘Paidion’ which means ‘little child’ in Greek and ‘Phobos’ meaning fear or deep dread. Many adult sufferers of Pediophobia are also known to fear little children.

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Some Pediophobes are afraid of all kinds of dolls while others are known to be afraid of only specific kinds like the talking/walking dolls, Chinese porcelain dolls, stuffed dolls etc.

Dolls are, in reality, child’s playthings. Little girls are especially known to love dolls and pretend play with them which can help in fostering imagination and creativity. Naturally, it is a matter of great worry for parents when their little daughter starts screaming at the sight of dolls. While most childhood cases of Pediophobia disappear once the child has grown, in some cases though, this fear can persist even in adulthood.

Causes of Pediophobia or fear of dolls

Like any other phobia, Pediophobia is also possibly triggered by an intensely negative or traumatic incident in one’s past/childhood that is remotely connected to dolls. The young mind then forever associates dolls with the trauma and recalls the negative feelings experienced then.

Dolls, especially voodoo dolls are associated with witch craft. Burning voodoo dolls to bring misfortune to an individual was a common practice in the past. To an individual already suffering from nervous or anxiety disorders, all dolls represent evil.

Dolls have fixed staring eyes. Some dolls also have button eyes that appear “soulless pools devoid of any emotion akin to those of a corpse”. This can make younger children especially afraid of them.

Dolls have been shown in a negative light in pop culture. Many horror movies (Chucky in Child’s Play) and novels (Althea, Stone Dead etc) have portrayed dolls as evil or villainous characters that come to life to cause harm to humans. This can induce fear in young or overly-nervous minds.

Mischievous older siblings or friends etc can also unknowingly instill a fear of dolls in the minds of younger kids by telling stories of dolls coming to life at night.


Symptoms of Pediophobia

Whatever the cause of fear of dolls phobia, there can be intense emotional upheaval and turmoil in the mind of the sufferer. Some people might experience a full blown panic attack upon sighting a doll. Still others live in constant fear of dolls. The following physical and psychological symptoms may be present in the phobic:

Rapid breathingElevated heartbeatDry mouth. Feeling like being choked to deathShivering, tremblingFreezing on the spotCrying, screaming, trying to flee etc.

Some phobics experience a full blown anxiety attack in the presence of dolls including store mannequins. This can be quite embarrassing as well as debilitating enough to affect normal functioning of the individual.

Treating and overcoming the fear of dolls

Hypnosis and desensitization therapies are the two most popular ways of overcoming the fear of dolls phobia.

Desensitization or gradual exposure therapy consists of slowly exposing the phobic to dolls. They can begin by looking at photographs of dolls, reading books or watching movies about dolls etc until they are able to remain calm in the presence of dolls without having an anxiety attack. This is usually done in the presence of a therapist or can be done at home with the help of close friends and loved ones.

Hypnosis, Cognitive behavior therapy and behavior therapy also aim to reprogram the Pediophobic to help him/her rationalize fearful thoughts about dolls and change them into positive ones.

These are a few ways of overcoming Pediophobia or the fear of dolls.


When I was about 5 years old around Halloween my mom got this Chucky mask, hair, scars, eyes everything and I was terrified of it, just seeing it sitting on the table would make me scream and cry so my mom thought that she could help me get over the fear by putting the mask on me, even though I was screaming and crying she persisted, long story short that did not help my fear. Ever since then I have been terrified of dolls/stuffed animals, when I was 8 I had this doll that my grandma got for me that happened to look like this doll that was in an episode of the haunting hour, once I saw the episode it’s like it made it all 10 times worse, I couldn’t sleep in the same room as the doll, it had to be locked in the closet by my dad and after some time I made my dad go take it to the dump and even after I was terrified it would come back and kill me. Any dolls I ever got I feared they were gonna some how murder me, I used to not even be able to say the word “doll” or even talk about them. I would have nightmares every night. I’m now 16 and I know this all sounds irrational but I still have the fear that if I am left alone with a doll or stuffed animal or if it’s dark and I’m around one or even if it’s just in my house, that it will come and kill me.


When I was a little boy, exact age is difficult to recall, me, my Dad, and stepmother went to buy a gift for my uncle’s birthday. They wanted to get him a gag gift so we went to Spencer’s which is a punk/rock store at the mall. At this time I’m assuming that Bride of Chucky, the fourth film of the series, was recently released. I assume this because inside there were chucky and Tiffany dolls hanging from a rafter for purchase. The second I saw them I was instantly terrified and refused to even walk down the aisle of the store. Keep in mind I was young probably less than 10. My stepmother realized that I was scared of the doll and pointed it out to my Dad. My Dad then proceeded to purchase the doll in front of me as I cried hysterically. If you did not know in bride of chucky, chucky’s face is extremely cut up and fleshy and stitched together. Once we left the store and got to the car my Dad forced me to hold the doll and stare at it the whole way home. While I was crying out of fear and terror he continued to mock me and call me a baby as I was terrified. He continued to make me do things like bite the dolls hands to prove that he couldn’t feel the pain. He poked me with the toy plastic knife to show that it couldn’t hurt me. He kept telling me that he would make me sleep with the doll. Once we got home he did something worse. Instead of forcing me to sleep with it. He stood the doll on the kitchen counter. Which I could see from my bed if the door was open. When the lights were off I could see the silhouette of the doll in the dark. The next morning (after I barely got any sleep) my father made me grab the doll and bring it to him. He said he only wanted to help me get over the fear. He said he got rid of the doll that day. Over the years I remember periodically looking for the doll. Because I didn’t believe a word my Dad said. I never found it. But that fear was still there. And then there are a few times where my family teased and prodded at me with pictures of chucky or other things like that. Fast forward, I’m almost 18 years old. I hate dolls, I’ve always hated them. But recently I’ve taken an interest in child’s play. In my head I think that if I force myself to like it I won’t be scared anymore. I was wrong. Recently I’ve been so paranoid, on edge, and anxious. I’m always looking over my shoulder. Sometimes I can’t even sleep at night because I feel like I’m being watched by chucky. I recently had one of the worst nightmares I’ve ever had in my life. I was in a house, and there was this constant distant tapping, as if something metal was clanking against an object. It was completely dark. And I’m sure some of you have had these dreams before where you know what is in the dream. I knew chucky was in the dream. To my left there was a stairway that led to the front door. I began climbing those stairs. There was all of a sudden a chair in my way. Filled with anxiety and fear I threw to the floor below. As I was going to open the door I heard these ear piercing noises. All of a sudden a living furry thing jumping into my hands. I was completely frozen in my dream and unable to move because I was so caught off guard (I fear loud and obscure noises as well) as I was frozen in fear trying to thrown whatever was in my hands down and run out of the front door I hear footsteps coming up the stairs. And of course it was a live chucky doll who ran up the stairs and sprinted behind me so I couldn’t see. The second that happened I bolted awake. Ever since then I’ve been researching childhood trauma. And as for my Dad, he’s apologized for what he did and explained that he didn’t know how to handle the situation and that he knows it wasn’t right. While I know that he means it, that doesn’t mean what happened left. I’m sorry for the long post. I just had a lot to say and needed to get it out there.


My granddaughter mistakenly left a doll at our house. This did not turn out well. My wife ended up decapitating it and throwing it in the trash. She will not watch Antique Road Show because of the dolls.


I’m the same way. I freeze as soon as I see one, and I start having a panic attack immediately. I can’t not look at a doll without feeling like it’ll sneak up behind me and harm me in some way.


I have had a fear of walking/talking dolls for as long as I could remember. I dont know how I could handle them when I was little and I actually now cant believe I played with them. I cant eat or drink near them and when my dad found of of them in the attic one day and came closer to me with it I ran outside to the car crying my eyes out. This wasnt long ago.


Extending to this, I cant eat when I know that these dolls have these features, and only get scared when the dolls are turned on. If I dont know, then I will be ok.


I’ve had a fear of dolls since I was a toddler. I am now 20 and not much has changed. My fear pertains to all types of dolls and it’s hard to be around them without feeling uncomfortable. The hardest part is that I cannot eat when a doll is in the same room as me. I remember when I was a kid my cousins would always tease me about it. In some situations they would chase me with dolls to the point where I would cry. This would continue throughout my life and at the age of 11 I stopped telling people. I mainly feared the ridicule and sometimes I would go whole days without eating when visiting family, I just wanted the teasing to stop. In my highschool and college years however, it hasn’t been an issue. Most of my female friends and peers grew out of dolls, but the fear still persists. I’ve been doing my best in the past year to get over this fear and for the most part I’m in a better spot. The only types of dolls I’m afraid of now are porcelain dolls and baby dolls. I still can’t eat when dolls are around, but I can at least be around them without being afraid.

It’s comforting to hear that there are others out there with a similar phobia as me. I hope my short summary of a story helps!


My parents don’t believe I’m as terrified as I make it sound like, but I’m absolutely not exaggerating when I’m saying that I can’t stand dolls. Like at all!

My fear hasn’t always been there and I’m 16 by the time I’m writing this but I don’t expect this will wear off. I’ve had a couple of memorable encounters with dolls. On two of the encounters I was actually on the phone with my girlfriend. I will take both these in more detail.

First one was in my basement at home. It was 23 o’clock and my mother and her man had gone to bed already. I had recently come home from my grandparents house. I had unpacked my bag and decided to put it in the storage room to rid it from my floor. When I opened the storage room I saw it sitting there, staring at me from a shelf. I went silent as a rock. Unable to talk or scream (as in one of those nightmares), I felt as being choked and stumbled back into our laundry. Fortunately my girlfriend was there and hearing her voice and knowing that she’d be there to hear everything that happened helped me to calm down. After calming down I still didn’t know what to do. It was crawling in my skin as my hand came even near the thing. I honestly don’t know how I managed but it’s now tucked in nicely in an unused guestroom in our basement. That still doesn’t satisfy me though. I’m having a hard time sleeping when it’s in the house. Yet I can’t get rid of it because I’m seriously afraid that I will upset it and make it haunt me.

The other encounter was when I was home alone at 1 – 2am. I was about to change the sand in my cat’s toilet. Her toilet is ofcourse nicely placed between the door to our storage room and our laundry. I forgot to say that the storage room and laundry is at the end of a long corridor and there’s is a door that leads to out backyard next to the door to the storage. However when I reach her toilet I look around me (as any normal person would when it’s dark) guess what I see… a creepy, worn, blonde little doll, the size of a real baby. It was my mom’s and she used to love it. She had put it on top of the laundry as some kind of joke! I was on the phone with my girlfriend this time too. But this time I wasn’t quiet. I went from talking about everyday-stuff to crying and making low screams. I pushed myself up against the door to our backyard so that I’d have an overview over everything. I remember thinking that I would die right there (Like when you panicked under water and thought that it was the end). Fortunately, even here, my girlfriend was there to calm me down. That doll is now also tucked in nicely in a bed in our guestroom.

It honestly feel as though one of the dolls is about to open my bedroom door as I’m writing this.

Pray for me.


I have this phobia about the china porcelain dolls, those who have white face, striking eyes and bloody red lips. Whenever i see them even just a glimpse, goosebumps all over. I even try to look at them longer to see if I can lessen my fears, but unfortunately it doesn’t. I always imagine them crawling up in the wall and ceiling holding a knife or something. It really freaks me out. One time, me and my boyfriend were eating dinner at a Japanese restaurant. As walking over and looking for some nice food, at the dessert area, more than 5 china dolls were there staring at me. I froze. Tried not to scream. I hurriedly walked back to our table. I was trembling, breathing heavily and i felt like the place was swirling like crazy. My boyfriend helped me to calm down. I freaking really hate that feeling. I thought i was going to collapse. Worst.


I am a mother of a 9 year old son that is terrified of dolls. I don’t know how it started but it has been this way since he was practically an infant. If he has any knowledge that a doll is in that room he will not go in there even if you put it in the closet he refuses to go in there. Just wondering if any of you adults have suggestions for him or me on how to get over this fear I would love it.


It’s weird reading the definition of this because I hate, HATE porcelain dolls but I don’t mind kids. My mother had a doll on top of her book shelf in her room and my older sibling locked me in there whenever babysitting so I wouldn’t see the rated R movies being watched. I always felt like it was moving, further and further towards me when I wasn’t looking. Didn’t help it fell down in my general direction.. haven’t been alone with a doll since.


Wow its nice to know that I am not the only one. I am now 28 years old. I have partially conditioned myself. As far as I can be in the same room as dolls I can touch them. But I honestly still feel uneasy around them. This phobia has been since a child. At one point when I was younger I had them played with them. But then one day I woke up terrified. I honestly don’t know what happened. Unfortunately when family found out they tortured me. One day my cousin even bought one to school and chased me around the yard. My cousins also made a fort for me to go under covered it with blankets and then when I was in the middle uncovered it and trapped me in. I almost died. All of these events make me really want to know why the fear runs so deep. No one really knows. But I think the trauma of teasing made it even worse. Now that I have found Jesus Christ. This has helped me with all of my fears. :)


I’m a 46 year old man, 6′ 3″ tall, 200 lbs and while I am not terrified like most of you guys, my heart goes out to you. Dolls do however really creep me out a lot. My aunt used to have this Barbie hung on her wall with teased hair she called Dolly after Dolly Parton, it scared me so bad as a kid cause her house was already haunted and creepy. As for dummies they just creep me out side of the realism but are not alive at the same time. Like I said I’m not terrified just really creeped out, same for clowns too. Good luck to you all on this very real fear.


I also have a fear of dolls. I actually had a panic attack last night because I was watching a creepy doll video at 3:00 am. Yeah, I know. Bad idea. One of them in particular gave me a panic attack. It had spiked teeth, white face, completely black eyes and black spiked hair. I had a full blown panic attack. My heart was pounding, I was breathing fast and heavy, I even started to cry a little. It’s honestly a little embarrassing. I am an 18 year old and I’m scared of dolls. But I’m glad to know I’m not the only one. :/


I have had a fear of dolls since I was three especially if the head came off or arms or legs, and all I could see was the holes. And also if the eyes came out and that cold plastic I would get hysterical. And would be physically sick.


I don’t have a fear of dolls but my friend does and I was wondering how to fix it because I collect creepy and somewhat normal dolls and she won’t stay nowhere near my bedroom.


I didn’t really mind dolls, until one of my friends showed me the trailer for ‘Annabelle’, which really scared me. Now, sometimes when I am alone and in complete darkness, I get scared that Annabelle might be right beside me and I would never know.


I remember the department store mannequins used to creep me out! I saw somebody taking one apart once when I was young. I can understand why you might be uncomfortable around them.

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I have pediophobia, I remember being terrified of dolls since I was little. My aunt and mom used to run around the house with them and I would curl up in a ball, crying and screaming. Nobody ever understood why I would be so scared of them, initially I was teased because of it. My fear of dolls have since remained with me, but it’s for specific dolls now. I cannot be in a room alone with one or have it touch me still. I’ve tried to condition myself but I just can’t, it becomes too much. For a long time, I thought this irrational fear made me a freak. It’s nice to know other people have the same phobia, that I’m not alone.


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