A disgusting photo of an injured hand has been floating around internet recently — and the headlines that go with it are even more disturbing.
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Is any of it true? Well, yes and no. Your reaction to the image is a condition called “trypophobia.” But what trypophobia? Here’s a video explaining both the image and your reaction to it, and then below the video we explain why it’s showing up on so many internet ads.
WARNING: Images in the video may be disturbing and freak you out.
So, as you saw in the video, the image is fake. It’s essentially a special effects trick. But your reaction to it — if it freaks you out — is called trypophobia.
What is trypophobia? Mental Floss offered this explanation:
The term trypophobia is rumored to have been coined in 2005 by an anonymous Irish woman in a Web forum who clearly tapped into a zeitgeist of GAH! The term’s use online really took off around 2009, especially in the Philippines. Today you can find countless examples of people sharing photos of holes that deeply rattle them. While many, like the lotus seed pod and boiling milk, are au naturel shots of real, mostly innocuous objects, others are poorly photoshopped yet nevertheless appalling pictures of cluster holes superimposed mostly on human bodies—especially faces.
So what about those sensational headlines? If you ever click one of those — and we understand why you wouldn’t want to — they often lead to advertisements for skincare products. It’s a classic clickbait. A person sees a disgusting image that causes a physical reaction, worries they or someone they love might have this possible “parasite” so they click to learn more, and then they find out there’s a skin cream to cure all their ailments.
Our advice? Don’t click on any ad that turns your stomach. That’s the simplest science of them all.