30 Day Photo Challenge: Day 28

I'm so afraid of these things that I actually had my boyfriend take this photo for me.

Day 28 – A picture of something you’re afraid of

At the very beginning of this thirty day photo challenge, I was told to provide ten random facts about myself. One of these was that I have a ridiculous phobia called “automatoniphobia”, which google defines as a “fear of ventriloquist’s dummies, animatronic creatures, wax statues – anything that falsely represents a sentient being.”

Friends get a kick out of it, and I do too once the horror has passed. I jump at the sight of mannequins, flee from amusement park characters and will beat the snot out of a mascot before I let it touch me. The photo above is just one example of my phobia at work. My boyfriend had to take it because I slipped from the room on the premise of, “The middle guy is plotting to murder me. I can see it in his glassy eyes.” He tried to coax me back in, and “desensitize” me from my misplaced fears, but I was having no part in it.

I can only guess where the phobia stems from. When I was a kid, we had a neighbor who loved to dress in full costume on halloween. He would sit in one of the front porch rocking chairs dressed as a stuffed gorilla, or a scarecrow, and looked deceivingly inatimate. Being his neighbor, I had seen the act unfold several times. He would wait for kids to come up and grab a handful of candy from the bowl. Many would come and go unscathed. Then, one poor little masked avenger armed only with a pumpkin and an arsenal of candy would brave the walk, and cautiously place his hand into the candy bowl… only for his inatimate foe come to life with a bellowing roar.

Many pants were wet that night, and his house became the dare for every trick-or-treater on the street. Perhaps that’s why I expect everything in costume to jump out at me the moment I get too close.

Personally, I still think the middle mannequin had foul intentions.


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