As an avid reader and follower of the news I've heard of a lot of strange phobias.
Lauren-Rae Dodd has "mortuusequusphobia" which I personally find impossible to pronounce.
It's the fear of red sauces; Tomato Ketchup.
This lady kindly agreed to an interview with me in relation to her phobia.
What is the strangest phobia you have heard of, or even have yourself?
Please comment below...
An Interview With Lauren-Rae Dodd
What is your name and age?
My name is Lauren-Rae Dodd and I'm 22 (I was 21 when the article first surfaced)
When did you first gain a fear of Tomato Ketchup?
I can't pin point an exact time that made me phobic, it's just something I had been uncomfortable and scared of it for as long as I can remember.
There's isn't one specific incident.
What symptoms did/do you have?
What I was most scared of is the idea of it being on me and having that cold, messy smelly texture on me or having it stain something on me or near me.
The smell caught the back of my throat almost instantly and always made me gag.
What is it that scares you about tomato ketchup?
When I came into contact with ketchup (it didn't even have to be contact, when my phobia was at its worst, I'd be accutely aware of someone using it at the table next to me, or when I was living with a lot of people in university someone having it on a plate in the same room as me was a nightmare), I would hold my breath and often close my eyes to try and talk myself out of panicking.
It would again make me gag and it's more or less all I'd be able to concentrate on.
I'd focus on distancing myself as much as I could from it.
Does the colour RED symbolise anything in particular to you?
Red doesn't symbolise anything in particular to me - I'm actually a fan of the colour.
Why is it that you are calm and collected with tomatoes in general but the sauce causes a reaction?
I'm not entirely sure!
I think the sharp vinegary smell of ketchup is a massive factor in what I associate with my fear, where as regular tomatoes don't leave as much mess and are much fresher and cleaner.
Have you tried or would you consider trying;
Or even traditional psychotherapy for your phobia?
I've actually received a little cognitive therapy as channel 4 approached me to take part in a short documentary about strange phobias and how to cure them. The therapist I saw was ideal, and we under went some intense spoken therapy and then exposure therapy and I would say the fear has significantly reduced now.
How do your friends and family feel in regards to your phobia?
My family think it's quite funny but they're used to it and simply know it's never going to be a large part of meal time for us.
My friends especially when I was living with them for university, took it more seriously and were super considerate...
I try not to tell too many people as not to be awkward!
And there's always a risk of once I've told someone they'll go out of their way to expose me to it as a joke.
If I were to squeeze an entire bottle if tomato ketchup into your hands, how would you react?
Right now if you did that I'd be more annoyed at the mess you'd made!
Before the therapy, I'd have to leave immediately and basically hold my breath until I was satisfied my hands were clean, but that would probably involve scolding them.