Kinemortophobia (Fear Of Zombies)

Kinemortophobia is a fear of zombies where the person is petrified by the sight of zombies and scared that they might turn into a zombie.


Kinemortophobia, or a fear of zombies as defined, may seem to be a joke, but for a number of individuals it is a terrifying reality. Kinemortophobics are afraid of turning into zombies or scared at the possibility of seeing them. Individuals with a zombie-phobia become so frightened at the prospect of the walking dead that they can go into a complete panic attack if someone does an imitation of a zombie and often lose sleep over this distress.

Derived from the Greek kine, which means motion and morto, to mean dead, this forms Kinemorto and when combined together denotes moving dead. The term zombie comes from Haitian legends where a regular human undergoes a spell or potion-based ceremony, the victim dies and re-emerges as a zombie under the control of a priestess or priest. In West African folk tales, a sorcerer uses black magic to reanimate their victim where the soul often becomes preserved, within some traditions, and sold as a good luck charm. When God calls the soul, the victim will eventually find serenity; otherwise, they roam the Earth as a body without a soul, hence, a zombie.

Researchers investigating these rituals believe that a zombie ceremony involves the use of powerful drugs and when used, the person has a psychotic response that makes them easier to control and when out of this induced state, they become known as cured. Often those with a strong fear of ghosts will, consequently, experience Kinemortophobia as zombies are considered equal to ghosts.

With the advent of popular culture, exploring the zombie genre with films such as The Night of the Living Dead, and on television with the series The Walking Dead, it instigates the fear of zombies where sizeable numbers of the populace have either turned into zombies with a handful of non-zombies trying to stay alive. Added to this scenario, are books, video games, songs, theme park rides and Halloween itself, which aid in producing anxiety with this particular phobia mindset. Those individuals waiting for the zombie apocalypse live in fear that with the breakdown of what’s happening in our social and economic culture will bring this terror sooner rather than later.

As with different phobias, recognizing the fear and taking steps to find the root cause of how this phobia began, is the direction to take in order to eliminate the problem. Nevertheless, support from friends, family and a mental health professional can help guide the individual to face their fears.

What are the symptoms of Kinemortophobia?

The fear of zombies leads to a diverse range of physical and emotional symptoms for adults as well as children similar to the majority of other specific phobias:

  • Avoidance of all things pertaining to zombies including, movies, books, games
  • Constant thoughts of zombies
  • Detachment from reality
  • Elevated heart rate
  • Fear of cannibalism
  • Fear of dark spaces
  • Feeling of numbness
  • Inability to concentrate
  • Incapable of expressing fears
  • Nausea
  • Nightmares that affect sleep
  • Panic attacks: crying, screaming, sweating, uncontrollably shaking
  • Rapid breathing
  • Stress
  • Unable to leave their home

In severe situations, the person may become depressed or introverted avoiding work, family and friends for fear that others will see this zombie-phobia as a joke.

What are the causes of Kinemortophobia?

The fear of zombies takes place as a result of watching films, television or video games that portray zombie characters in frightful situations. Moreover, this phobia can also happen through negative or traumatic childhood influences, whereas the child might have become scared after reading a book, hearing ghost stories or watching a movie about zombies. An older friend or sibling may have had a zombie Halloween costume and, therefore, frightened the child with their impression of a zombie.

Additional fear inducing influences include:

  • An overall fear of death
  • Social or economic strife
  • Undue stress over zombie images
  • Worry about the zombie apocalypse

How is Kinemortophobia treated?

As with any phobia, it is important to reach out for support from friends, family or a mental health practitioner if following a self-help routine brings no satisfaction. Having family or friends participate in this process may be helpful when certain aspects of your new routine to face your fears take place. Admitting the fear is the first step and following a plan to get to the bottom of what the root cause that makes a person feel this fear is essential.

Hypnotherapy, Neuro-Linguistic Programming (NLP), relaxation, meditation and visualization techniques have demonstrated effectiveness in searching for the cause of the phobia in order to reset the mind and fear responses.

Short-term treatment with medication may help to relieve the physical symptoms of anxiety that will not interfere with the person’s daily activities. A reliance on medication is not suggested as it may exacerbate the problem in the future.

Prevention of Kinemortophobia

A person, who desires to rid themselves of this phobia, may need to, at first, avoid all media materials that showcase zombies and possibly keep away from others who share this same belief. Gradually exposing themselves to zombies in either book, film or television form will help to desensitize the person about these characters and discover what is real and what fiction is.

Ordinarily, facing your fears is a challenge and taking action towards removing this phobia from your lifestyle is no different. Analyzing what initiates the phobia and how it all began are the first measures in making a change. Examine your fears and ask yourself the right questions to find out what triggers the phobia with certain life events. Controlling your thought process and remaining calm when you are in distress will help your recovery quicker in the long run.

Seeking out assistance from friends and family is important and when the person feels that the steps they are using isn’t enough to reach a certain level in this challenge, obtaining help from a mental health professional for guidance to get to the root of the problem will facilitate in removing this fear of zombies.