London Dungeon scare actor Frankie Spires has Halloween phobia
A LONDON Dungeon performer who specialises in frightening people will be playing a different role this week because he has a chronic fear of Halloween.
Scare actor Frankie Spires, from Bromley, suffers from a condition known as Samhainophobia, with symptoms including panic attacks, breathing difficulties and sweating.
The 26-year-old has been forced to pull out of the Halloween show after suffering an anxiety attack during rehearsals.
Mr Spires said: “Every member of the team is expected to participate and the Dungeon’s management were loathe to make an exception.
“Happily they realise that I have a genuine problem and have since agreed to assign me other duties as far from the Halloween feature as possible.
“I can cope with historic horror no problem.
“I think it’s the paranormal aspect of Halloween, the idea of restless spirits entering the waking world en masse, that I find disturbing.”
Mr Spires got through last year's Halloween event by gritting his teeth, but was almost physically sick every morning before going to work.
When Dungeon performance manager Richard Quincey first saw Mr Spires's breakdown, he thought he was messing about.
Mr Quincey said: "Then I realised he’d gone very pale and was visibly trembling.
“Now that the rest of the team realise he’s not faking it, they’re all being very understanding and are happy to each put in an extra shift in the Halloween show to cover for him."
Explaining his fears, Mr Spires said: “I’m not particularly religious but I come from a religious family. My grandfather was a vicar, so I suspect my aversion to Halloween is deep-rooted in my upbringing somehow.
“In most people it can be traced back to a frightening childhood experience with costume characters.
“In my case I thinks it’s more the whole concept. I don’t have a problem with costumes or scary masks. If I did I wouldn’t be able to do what I do, and actually I love my job."
So instead of joining colleagues in acting out a spine-chilling Halloween story, Mr Spires will be playing a Newgate gaoler, condemning visitors to be hanged.