I’m scared to death of butterflies – and it’s SpongeBob’s fault

Just call him SpongeBob ScarePants.

Panicked TikTokers trace their fear of butterflies to a pivotal episode of the animated film SpongeBob SquarePants, which premiered on Nickelodeon in 1999.

The so-called “butterfly effect” is making waves on social media, thanks to a series of TikTok posts in which users describe “why I’m scared of butterflies.”

The TikTokers cut clips from the Season 2 episode “Wormy,” which follows Patrick and SpongeBob as they take care of Sandy’s pet caterpillar named Wormy. Things go wrong after Wormy turns into a butterfly, which convinces the duo that the winged pollinator is actually a monster that Wormy ate.

Several social media users say their fear had taken root due to the close-ups of a real bug’s face along with the spooky sound effects that played when the butterfly landed on Patrick and SpongeBob’s diving helmets.

That "SpongeBob SquarePants" Consequence "wormy" is said to have instilled an irrational fear of butterflies in a generation of TikTokkers.
The SpongeBob SquarePants episode “Wormy” has reportedly instilled an irrational fear of butterflies in a generation of TikTokers.

Needless to say, the scene has reportedly traumatized a generation of TikTokers. “Is it just me, or are other people irrationally afraid of butterflies thanks to this Spongebob episode?” asked @itsjohnwalsh in a video that includes the above clip.

“Death doesn’t scare me, but you know what,” @quinnkelly asked in a TikTok clip, before cutting to a close-up of the show’s bug. Someone even started a Reddit thread last month titled “My favorite childhood show is Why I Hate Butterflies.”

TikTok user @weekendatnerdies recalls the traumatizing cartoon.
TikTok user @weekendatnerdies recalls the traumatizing cartoon.

Interestingly, the fear of butterflies inspired by “SpongeBob” seems misplaced. Ever since the videos circulated on the platform, anxious-eyed TikTok users have pointed out that the insect used in the cartoon’s live-action shot isn’t a butterfly, but a buzzing horsefly.

Being annoyed by butterflies might sound like a made-up illness, but it’s actually a real fear called lepidopterophobia, defined by Healthline as “a fear of butterflies or moths.”

Those who suffer from it are in good company. According to media reports, Australian actress Nicole Kidman has been afraid of the nectar drinkers since she was a child.

“Sometimes when I came home from school, the biggest butterfly or moth you’d ever seen would just be sitting on our front gate,” the Cold Mountain star described in a 2005 interview. “I’d climb the fence, crawl to the side of the house—anything to avoid going through the front gate.”

She added: “I’ve been trying to get over it [the phobia]. I went into the big butterfly cage at the American Museum of Natural History and had the butterflies with me, but that didn’t work.”

No word on whether she saw the life-changing SpongeBob episode.

https://nypost.com/2022/11/12/tiktokers-blaming-spongebob-for-their-fear-of-butterflies/ I’m scared to death of butterflies – and it’s SpongeBob’s fault

Emma Bowman

Emma Bowman is a USTimeToday U.S. News Reporter based in London. His focus is on U.S. politics and the environment. He has covered climate change extensively, as well as healthcare and crime. Emma Bowman joined USTimeToday in 2023 from the Daily Express and previously worked for Chemist and Druggist and the Jewish Chronicle. He is a graduate of Cambridge University. Languages: English. You can get in touch with Emma Bowman by emailing EmmaBowman@ustimetoday.com.

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