Argumentative Essay: Necrophobia in Depth

Argumentative Essay: Necrophobia in Depth 

Phobias are very common in the world but 9.1% have specific phobias, one of them including death. There are many types of phobias but necrophobia is a specific phobia. It is an irrational fear of something that won't hurt you or can be explained. Necrophobia goes far back in history and even has inordinate solutions that were used as treatments.

So, what exactly is necrophobia? Necrophobia is a phobia where you fear “dead bodies as well as things such as coffins, tombstones, and graveyards.” (Cherry, Verywell Mind). Symptoms of this irrational fear can include sweating, rapid heartbeat, shortness of breath, etc. There is not a simple answer to what can trigger phobias. One of the many explanations given is that it is “Induce, or suggested from people that might have had bad past experiences with/in death or dead things.” (Fear Of). Another interesting cause for this phobia includes genetics. In the article titled “Fear of Death or Dead Things, Necrophobia” it explains that ancestors of individuals could have feared something so deeply or, was used for survival, that it got passed down to their future generations. Whether it came from genetics or traumatizing experiences it is a phobia that some individuals refuse to receive treatment.

An interesting finding by Giovanni Di Stefano, an Italian archaeologist was able to be further examined and it was concluded that it went as far back as 500 B.C. This finding was a burial that had interesting differences from other burials that were observed; skeletons were found with stones on top of the deceased. Research shows that “Instances of both necrophobia (fear of the dead) and necromancy (the practice of communicating with the dead) are common in ancient Greek Culture.” (Rosenberg) It was popular belief in Greece that the dead would reanimate seeking to instill fear in the living or for revenge which caused necrophobia. A simple solution to prevent reanimations was to place multiple rocks over a corpse to trap them so they can’t leave. A more common resolution were ceremonies called “Katadesmoi, were deposited in graves during nighttime ceremonies. Often petitioners sought to redress a wrong that had been committed, such as avenging a murder or returning a stolen inheritance.” (Weaver)

Not only was necrophobia common in Greece but it was found in many more different parts of the world. “Nazaretyan”, a researcher, “explains in the Journal for the Theory of Social Behavior (June 2005), survivors would take prudent precautions: "In Australia, the dead man's neck was sometimes pierced with a spear to fix it to the hollow wooden coffin.””(Quarterly) In Tasmania the hand and legs of the deceased were tied and in Spain the Spaniards “Hammered the body with long nails to the wood on which it was buried.” (Quarterly) All around the world different cultures had their own ways of dealing with fears but what is the medically recommended treatment?

While 9.1% of people suffer from specific phobias, there aren’t any statistics on what percent of people have necrophobia. Since this isn’t a common phobia there is a lack of research on necrophobia. Some treatments that help are talking treatments or talking this is because “talking therapies are very laid back treatments and physically non intrusive which involve talking to a highly trained and proficient professional about your thoughts, feelings and behaviour.” (Fear Of) Another treatment is cognitive behavioural therapy that helps by identifying your fear and then asking if it is an “accurate depiction of reality.” (Fear Of). While we have some answers to necrophobia we still struggle to identify and find a correct solution.

While it is under research, necrophobia is starting to make advances. One of the biggest advancements is researching if animals suffer from necrophobia. As of 2012, researchers have been able to learn that insects and aquatic organisms can have necrophobia. This study is a new window on researching that can lead to more about necrophobia. 


Works Cited Page

"Cavemen vs. zombies.." The Free Library. 2005 Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars 26 May. 2021

Cherry, K. (n.d.). Coping With the Fear of Dead Things (Necrophobia). Verywell Mind.

Fear of death or dead things. Necrophobia. (2020, January 31).

Rosenberg, G. (2015, July 13). Ancient Greeks were wary of zombies, Pitt archaeologist finds. Gazette.   

Weaver, C. (2015, April 8). Lecture: Suppressing and Invoking the Dead: Necrophobia and Necromancy in Greek Sicily by Dr. Carrie L. Sulosky Weaver. Department of Anthropology. 



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