Zemmiphobia is fear of the great mole rat. The very first thing I thought of when I found this phobia was the scene from The Princess Bride where Wesley and Buttercup battle rodents of unusual size in the Fire Swamp. I wondered if maybe the great mole rat could be a rodent of unusual size.
public domain picture of naked mole rat
The Great Mole Rat
You can find a definition for the great mole rat in the Urban Dictionary (not always a dictionary to be taken seriously). It says the great mole rat is an obscure and mysterious mole rat that takes presence in the rituals and practices of many underground cults esp. in the New Mexico area.
There is a big-headed mole rat. There is a blind mole rat. There is a greater mole rat. There is a lesser mole rat, a naked mole rat, and even a silvery mole rat. But there is no such animal as a great mole rat. It simply doesnít exist.
Now I have also seen zemmiphobia defined as the fear of the naked mole rat or fear of the mole rat. Those animals really do exist, but fear of the great mole rat? How can one fear something that doesnít exist?
A phobia is an extreme dread or fear of something. When a person encounters the object of his or her fear, he could experience anxiety, shortness of breath, rapid breathing, an irregular heartbeat, sweating, nausea, dry mouth, etc. While this person's phobia may seem outrageous or unreasonable to you, I assure you it is not unreasonable to the person experiencing it.
Did you know there are even places that offer to help individuals get over their fear of the great mole rat? Hmm. Do they try to convince those that go to them for help that the great mole rat wonít hurt them? Or do they let people know that there is no such creature. One such program offers a CD and a workbook for only $147. Or you can get it instantly by downloading it for only $137. This course is intended to help you recover in the privacy of your own home. Could there be a reason for that? How many great mole rats is one likely to encounter on trips back and forth from the doctor?
The naked mole rat is one ugly, little creature. Just look at the picture at the top of this article. I can see this little thing inspiring nightmares. And I can even understand why some people would fear it. This blind rat with no hair, beady eyes, and large teeth would scare just about anyone who ran into it unexpectedly. Okay, even if the encounter was expected, I doubt it would be a pleasant. This ugly, little, cold-blooded rodent that resembles a walrus can live for over 20 years and can only be found in zoos or in its natural habitat in Africa.
Is zemmiphobia fear of the great mole rat? Or is it fear of the naked mole rat? Your guess is as good as mine. One is more than a bit crazy; the other is slightly understandable.
Pretend that your character has a fear of the great mole rat to such an extreme that she cannot even leave her house. She has nightmares about them every night, and even imagines them peering at her through the windows of her house. She finds this place online that promises her fear will start to leave the moment she starts taking their course on how to overcome this phobia. Even though she doesní t have much money, her friends and family donate the needed money because they long for her life to return to normal. She opts to download the course immediately to her computer so she can begin at once.
Iím not going to tell you what the course contains. I have no clue. What does your creative mind say this course contains? Does it help her? How? Why? Is she pleased with what it does for her? What about her friends and family? Are they pleased? Your answers to those questions will determine if this is to be a heartwarming story or a tale of murder and revenge.
Now letís go another route. Pretend there really is a great mole rat. Write a childrenís story about just how and why the fear of this rodent began.