Sure, fear itself has plenty of fans—people with the good sense to be terrified when the rope snaps, the elephant charges, or the boat capsizes. But what about PHOBIAS, those singular, irrational, often inexplicable anxieties that lurk even in nature's happiest scenes, waiting to creep you out and propel you into the panic zone? In the confessions that follow, our 13 unlucky writers reveal the things that give them the waking nightmares—from time-tested classics like snakes and vertigo to oddities like engorged ticks and beady-eyed armadillos. But don't fret! There's nothing like the shivery pinprick of dread to make you feel truly alive.