Understanding Megalophobia or the Fear of Large Objects

Ferry Moored in a Sea Lock at Immingham Port, Humberside, UK

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Megalophobia is the fear of large objects. The object in question can run the gamut from large ships to airplanes and large animals to towering sculptures. It is different for everyone and there is treatment available to help you deal with this phobia.

The Full Scope of Megalophobia

If you suffer from megalophobia, you may only be afraid of life-like large objects. This may include large animals such as whales or elephants or large trees like sequoias or redwoods. Your phobia may be reserved for massive man-made objects like ships and blimps or stationary objects such as big sculptures and statues.

Some people have megalophobia along with another phobia such as herpetophobia or fear of reptiles. This causes a person to be scared of large snakes or alligators. Other combined cases include the fear of the ocean or sea creatures known as thalassophobia.

Having these phobias can greatly limit your social interactions. It's imperative that you understand your phobia and get the help you need to overcome it. Let's take a look at the reality behind the illusion.

Understanding Megalophobia

This phobia of large objects is usually associated with objects that are larger than the actual object they are representing. It might be a larger-than-life sculpture of a person from history or an animal that does not fit the typical size we associate with the species. For people with megalophobia, these abnormal sizes create a genuine feeling of fear where others may only be in awe at the size.

A perfect example is the fear of gigantic animals. The giant squid has been a part of mythology and lore since the earliest days of sailing ships. Legends abound of sailors who were lost to the monsters of the deep.

It is likely that in the days before modern navigational systems, many of those ships were simply run aground or dashed against the rocks. Still, the rumors persisted, though many believed that the giant squid was just a myth. The first photos of a live giant squid were finally obtained in 2004. In the 1950s, comic books and science fiction were huge trends, particularly among teenage boys.

It is easy to imagine how an obsession with the giant squid could develop into a full-blown phobia. Even today, phobias of giant “killer” animals persist and are exploited in such films as Jaws and Anaconda.


While Freudian psychoanalysis and behaviorism were strong in the '50s, humanism was beginning to take hold during that time. Experimental treatments were also not as heavily regulated as they are today. Many psychologists believed that experimentation was necessary in order to further the body of research and knowledge surrounding phobias.

Today, of course, treatment is highly regulated and tends to fall into one of a few recognized categories. The most common is cognitive behavioral therapy, in which the client is encouraged to replace phobic thoughts with more rational ones.

A psychologist may literally walk someone through what they fear about large objects. In the process, they try to rationalize why that fear may be unfounded. The goal is then to work through more realistic scenarios that will help them talk themselves out of the unrealistic origins of their fears.

Flooding and systematic desensitization in which the client is exposed to the feared object are often used as well. At no time is the client placed in any danger.

If you have a phobia of large objects or animals, it is important to seek treatment right away. With proper treatment, most phobias can be cured or managed, but over time untreated phobias tend to worsen. See your doctor or mental health professional develop a personalized treatment plan.

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  3. Exposure Therapies for Specific Phobias. Society of Clinical Psychology. Div12.org. Published 2020.