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Mum's phobia hell

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MUM-OF-TWO Shona McLaren has had her life wrecked ... by a fear of TV's Daleks.

Shona, 39, is so scared of the Dr Who aliens that she dreads the thought of them appearing on telly.

Just hearing the words "exterminate, exterminate" sends her into a blind panic, while the classic sci-fi show's theme tune makes her hide behind the sofa.

Last night she confessed: "I know they're fictional, but they genuinely scare me to death. I've always dreaded the thought of them coming anywhere near me.

"The sight of them on TV or in magazines drives me mad. I'm a mature woman with two children but I have always dreaded the thought of them coming anywhere near me.

"Daleks make me ill. They've ruined my life."

Over the years Shona has sought medical help and has even asked members of the local church in Tullibody, Clackmannanshire, to pray for her.

For years she tried to hide her strange secret, believing people would laugh at her. Now she has broken her silence in an effort to finally beat her phobia.

Shona's first encounter with the aliens came in 1973, watching Saturday night TV when she was just six.

She explained: "The first time I saw Daleks they scared the life out of me.


"One of my brothers told me there was a brilliant show on called Dr Who and I sat down to watch.

"Then I saw the Daleks. The silver body, the long arms and the antennae scared the life out of me — I had never seen anything so creepy.

"I didn't like it at all and broke into a cold sweat, although my mum told me it was only make-believe. I couldn't get them out of my head."

Then when she was 11 she saw a boy in a Dalek outfit at a fancy dress party — and flipped.

Four years later the phobia was so bad she asked the minister and elders at the local church to pray for her.

"They had prayed for all sorts of things before but never to rid someone of the fear of Daleks," she added.

"We prayed for more than an hour and I hoped I would be rid of the curse. But as soon as the show came on a week later, the fear was just as bad."

Shona now lives in fear of the BBC repeating any of the 600 episodes of the cult saga, which was first shown in 1962. She avoids current showings of the series on satellite channel UK Gold and is dreading the proposed Dr Who Hollywood blockbuster.


Husband Kevin, 42, said: "I thought it was a joke at first and couldn't believe someone could be scared of Daleks but I realise it is a very real fear.

"We've just learned to cope. Even our sons, Steven and John, grab the TV handset if something slightly related comes on." Mark Kenwright, a phobia expert at London's Maudsley Hospital, said: "It may seem strange to most people that she fears something as odd as a Dalek, but the fear is real to the sufferer.

"It can get to the point where the fear takes over someone's life and prevents them doing things they normaly would.

"As in this case, many phobias can be traced back to childhood experiences."


ARACHIBUTYROPHOBIA: Fear of peanut butter sticking to the roof of the mouth.

GENIOPHOBIA: Fear of chins.

MACROPHOBIA: Long waits.

PENTHERAPHOBIA: Mothers-in-law.

XANTHOPHOBIA: Colour or word yellow.


OCTOPHOBIA: Number eight.


PTERONOPHOBIA: Being tickled by feathers.

PLUVIOPHOBIA: Being rained on.

FRIGOPHOBIA: Cold things.

ABLUTOPHOBIA: Washing or bathing.


AGYROPHOBIA: Crossing the street.




ANUPTAPHOBIA: Staying single.




PANIC: Shona McLaren

HER WORST NIGHTMARE: This is the sight that sends terrified Shona scurrying for cover

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