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Poppy Johnson, a 23-year-old woman from the UK, claims she has been suffering from an irrational fear of pop legend Michael Jackson for 18 years, ever since she saw the Thriller music video for the first time.
The London-based bar tender was only five when she saw Michael Jackson’s iconic Thriller music video. She recalls being freaked out by it, especially the artist’s face change from the wolf. Ever since then, every time she sees or hears anything related to Michael Jackson – a song, an interview or even a poster – she has flashbacks of that traumatic experience and an unexplainable fear sets in. Poppy says she experiences sweaty palms and starts to feel shaky. To make matters worse, Poppy’s parents are big Michael Jackson fans and have lost of memorabilia around their house, but she never told them about her phobia.
“I was living with constant anxiety of seeing him, hearing him, or someone bringing him up. I just couldn’t stand it,” the 23-year-old told PA Real Life. “I never really spoke about it or told many people. I worried they’d think I was silly, or struggle to understand how I could possibly have a phobia of Michael Jackson.”
Managing her fear of Michael Jackson hasn’t been easy for the English bar tender, who would often excuse herself whenever she was out with her friends and a Michael Jackson song started playing. She would then spend a few minutes in the toilet breathing, calming herself and trying to focus her mind on something else.
Earlier this year, when the documentary Finding Neverland came out, news of and photos of Michael Jackson were everywhere online, so she tried to stay away off social media and the internet in general as much as possible, to avoid triggering her phobia symptoms.
Poppy recently started opening up about her unusual phobia and even started taking steps to combat it. She started seeing a hypnotherapist and after four sessions, she says things are already getting better.
“It’s hard to explain the actual hypnotherapy side of things, but I just feel I’m in such a calm place,” the woman said. “I can definitely see it getting to the point where I can go out without feeling on edge.”
The 23-year-old added that she decided to speak publicly about her bizarre phobias to encourage other people suffering from unusual fears to not be embarrassed and seek professional help.