What is the scariest thing in the world? The top 15 list

If you ask 100 people to name the scariest thing in the world, the answer will vary from person to person because the world is subjective and the most frightening thing in the world can be irrational and rational. Fear is an instinctive and natural human response that can be silly or trivial to others, but debilitating and real to those who suffer from them.

scariest thing in the world
A portrait of a scared young man. Photo: Phongthorn Hiranlikhit

Source: Getty Images

Human beings are also capable of extending scary things. However, what people consider the scariest is often what surprises them the most, such as scary-looking things and the multitude of scary things that the world has, ranging from tornadoes to climate change.

The world has witnessed individuals who instilled fear and wreaked havoc, such as the unidentified serial killer Jack the Ripper, tyrants like Adolf Hitler and Joseph Stalin.

Jeffrey Dahmer is considered the creepiest person in the world. Between 1978 and 1991, he was a se*x offender and a serial killer who murdered 17 boys and men. People called him the Milwaukee Monster or the Milwaukee Cannibal because he permanently preserved parts of their bodies and cannibalized them, dismembering his victims.

What is the scariest thing in the world?

According to The Teal Mango, there are a total of 15 individuals. Nevertheless, specific entities are frequently regarded as the most frightening entities globally. What instills fear in humans is typically an individualized and subjective encounter, ranging from arachnids to elevated places. Individuals possess apprehensions and aversions that induce rapid heartbeats and perspiring palms.

1. Death

The finite nature of life and the inevitability of mortality can confront a person and make them contemplate the prospect of dying. The uncertainty surrounding what happens after one dies and the unknown state it entails can be unsettling, leading to people’s fear of death. Death is truly a scary topic, even discussing it with anyone can be daunting.

2. Being buried alive

The fear of being buried alive, known as taphophobia, arises from the idea of being trapped in a confined space with complete darkness, where humans would avoid horrifying things.

Numerous individuals understandably feel unsettled by the concept of perishing in such a manner, with the notion of being interred while still alive symbolizing an exceptionally horrifying and agonizing demise. Moreover, experiencing claustrophobia and helplessness evokes a profound sense of isolation and near-death.

3. Spiders

People are scared of spiders because they can potentially bite with venomous fangs and have long legs. Spiders are often found in secluded and dark places, and they quickly scurry away when seen. The fear of the unknown also contributes to people being scared of spiders, as they are often seen in unfamiliar situations. Additionally, past experiences with spider bites can contribute to a phobia or fear of these animals.

4. Heights

Heights are one of the most frightening things worldwide. People fear heights because it is an evolutionary response designed to keep humans safe from falls. The fear of heights in humans is also an innate biological response that has evolved as a protective mechanism to try to avoid death and injury.

5. Public speaking

scariest thing in the world
A woman biting her fingers in fear. Photo: @heftiba

Source: UGC

In order to excel, individuals may experience a substantial amount of stress, leading them to overvalue the significance of the speech or presentation they are delivering. Numerous factors can contribute to the fear associated with public speaking.

The fear of being excluded or rejected from social interactions is rooted in ancient evolutionary instincts developed to protect humans. Many people fear being criticized or judged by their audience, which can cause nervousness and anxiety.

6. Snakes

Snakes are universally the creepiest thing in the world. Many snakes are venomous and can threaten humans if they feel threatened or cornered. Even non-venomous snakes can bite and cause injury. Additionally, there are misconceptions about snakes, such as the belief that they are naturally aggressive and associated with witchcraft in certain societies, which make people afraid of them.

7. Darkness

The inability to clearly see in the dark can create a sense of vulnerability, leading to fear. Humans have evolved to heavily rely on visual cues for survival. When someone is in the dark, they can start imagining things that are not there. Darkness can be scary because people associate it with uncertainty and the unknown.

8. Claustrophobia

Claustrophobia is an irrational fear of enclosed or confined spaces. Humans are social creatures. Therefore, staying alone in a tight or enclosed space can cause intense panic, physical discomfort, and anxiety.

It can severely limit their ability to partake in activities every day. The idea of being trapped, unable to control or escape, can overwhelm many people with claustrophobia.

9. Failure

The uncertainty about what comes next and the future can lead to failure. Failure can be a strong motivator, as it can lead to feelings of embarrassment or shame. Arguably, the greatest fear of all is the fear of failing.

It can be challenging to accept negative judgments from others and difficult to manage the damage to one’s self-esteem.

scariest thing in the world
A frightened woman looking through a train’s window. Photo: Westend61

Source: Getty Images

10. Deep fake technology

The most terrifying phenomenon on the internet is deep fake technology. With an internet connection and a computer, anyone can generate convincingly authentic images and videos of individuals engaging in actions or uttering words they have never actually performed. Deep fake technology is eerie and unsettling. Hackers, malware, and the shadowy corners of the web instill fear.

Society, institutions, and individuals face a significant threat from it. Technology, both artificial and genuine, is rapidly progressing in identifying and detecting faults, including deep fake content. This technology has been utilized by people for various malicious purposes, including entertainment, disinformation campaigns, political propaganda, and cyber threats.

11. Diseases

Frightened and vulnerable, the individual may develop illnesses, particularly those that lack efficient therapies, causing pain and evoking thoughts of mortality. Certain illnesses can be consistently intimidating.

Some diseases are stigmatized, which can lead to social ostracism and discrimination towards those affected, as fear and anxiety surrounding the illness continue to rise. Additionally, individuals may experience a drain on their finances, time, and emotions as they navigate the challenges of the disease, including the impact it has on their relationships with loved ones.

12. Nuclear weapons

Because nuclear weapons are extremely powerful and destructive, they are considered to be the scariest weapons ever created. A single nuclear bomb can instantly kill thousands, even tens of thousands of people. The radiation emitted by a nuclear explosion can cause long-lasting damage to both human health and the environment.

The use of nuclear weapons during a crisis adds the potential for miscalculation or accidental launch, which contributes to a sense of uncertainty and unease associated with these weapons. The fear of mutually assured destruction in a nuclear war has also contributed to a sense of fear and unease. Furthermore, the use of multiple nuclear bombs could potentially cause a mass extinction event and even disrupt the global climate.

13. Horror movies

Numerous individuals can embody sources of dread, encompassing mortality, aggression, the paranormal, and the unfamiliar. Horror films frequently showcase motifs like fear, unease, and anticipation as they elicit sensations of terror, unease, and anticipation. This is due to the fact that certain horror movies are so frightening that many find it difficult to sleep at night after viewing them.

The sudden jumps and eerie music, along with the dark lighting, can elicit a physiological response in the viewer, increasing their fear and unease, causing their heart rate to rapidly increase.

scariest thing in the world
Frightened couple watching horror movie. Photo: Klaus Vedfelt

Source: Getty Images

14. Torture

It can be scary to use torture as a means of control over individuals, as it may alter their beliefs or behavior to avoid suffering. Additionally, the victim may experience long-lasting psychological effects and the experience of interrogation, punishment, or intentional infliction of psychological or physical pain can be traumatizing.

15. The Church of Bones

The display of human remains in the Church of Bones in the Czech Republic may be perceived as creepy or disturbing, particularly by those who are unaccustomed to such sights. The arrangement of over 70,000 bones, which were excavated from a graveyard and organized in different patterns and structures, creates an eerie and unsettling atmosphere. This display is scary due to its inclusion of human bones and skeletons.

On the web, the universally most terrifying aspect is deepfake technology. Though viruses and hackers can be alarming, this is something anyone who has surfed the web is aware of. Individuals experience rapid heartbeats and sweaty palms due to fears and phobias associated with snakes, spiders, mortality, being buried alive, and heights. These are among the most prevalent instigators of fears and phobias. However, certain frightening aspects are universally acknowledged. The scariest thing in the world may not frighten another individual and fear is a matter of personal perspective.