Phobia:Fear of Big Statues
Facing My Fears
Finally! There is a name for the phobia that has plagued me all of my life. Automatonophobia is the fear of life-like statues, ventriloquist dummies, wax statues ( I am sure dolls and manequins are also included.) It is an affliction that, ironically, petrifies me. Seriously, I become what frightens me most.
In a situation where I come face to face with those cold, dead eyes "looking" back at me, I momentarily, become frozen with fear. I have trouble going forward into a room that may have one large statue, but I run away if I encounter a room with two or more statues. Museums are difficult for me, to say the least.
I lived in NY for most of my life and have visited the Art museum, possibly twice. I entered a hall that had heads and/or busts, on pedestals, so I was literally surrounded by the cold, lifeless eyes that were positioned, well, at eye level! I somehow left my group and had to find the area that merely had paintings.
When I was very young, the family went several times to Staten Island and we had to cross the river by ferry boat. Yes, we always had to pass the Statue of Liberty. Though she was big, she was far away enough for her presence not to bother me. In fact, it always fascinated me because I found it strange... I thought she was on some post that shot straight up from the water. ( I was an imaginative kid!)
The climb inside the 50 ft woman
The summer I was 11years old, I went on a field trip to visit Liberty Island. Oh, I discovered that there is an island and WOW! Is that Liberty Statue huge! Very, very big. As I got closer, my legs were turning into seaweed, but I had to go along with the group. We entered the base and were allowed to step onto the balcony ( I guess) While out there, someone said to look up. I did look up to see way above my head, a massive arm that held a large torch! Creepy image. It is an image I will never forget. But there are other images within the Statue of Liberty. So we re-enter the thing and proceed to go up, up in a spiral staircase. We were kids, so the climb and crampiness did not bother us. I was twitching when I realized that I could see the lines of the folds of her toga (?) and then the lines of her hairdo.from INSIDE. it is among my files of my nightmares.
My mom's closest friend, was like an "aunt" to us and she wanted to cure me of my affliction. She was either trying to be helpful(???) or was simply sadistic. She was something of a collector of religious statues ( lucky me) which she kept in a small room. A room which may have doubled as a walk-in closet/ tomb. Yes, she did use that room to try to cure me, but it never worked, in fact I think it set me back, way back.
Yet another field trip
She took me to a place that had a garden on the outside and the building was cave-like on the inside. They call it a Grotto. The outside was bad enough with large angels all over the place. I cowered as I walked through there. Then, the "auntie" brought me into the cave-like structure. Sadistic? Yes! The inside was dark (of course) and the images were illuminated, life-sized statues of the religious kind, depicting the stations of the cross. Imagine the agony and passion of Christ, but set with statues. I am still having trouble trying to figure if it was art. They were painted, with all the gory details. I could not wait to run outside even if I had to dodge the angels! The Grotto, was in The Bronx, NY. I do not know if it is still there, because I never went back. But if anyone enjoys that kind of art and feels like venturing there, have fun.
I am glad to know that I am not alone with this madness. I am even too frightened to get hypnotized...don't know what i might find out.
I have worked in several jobs and in one of them, I dressed mannequins. It did not bother me. It was a little bit like playing with dolls. I know in my heart, that I would not be able to be in a roomful of mannequins.
I have been to Washington, DC and visited several historic buildings. One of them, I believe it's The Capital, that features The Hall Of Presidents. Proudly, I did face my demons. Yes, you know where this is heading. While being educational, it is also daunting for someone who cannot be in such a setting.
I truly don't know if I will ever grow out of this fear, but I have faced my phobia on several other trips , and it is not as extreme as when I was a child.