I believe it is a recurring theme in "Strange Case of Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde" where the characters are scared of what they can't quite explain. Something like supernatural/transcendental.

I can't remember the exact word, would greatly appreciate it. Thanks.

  • 4
    I am afraid I don't know.
    – Dan Bron
    Commented Jul 29, 2014 at 22:26
  • Cool question User. I suggest editing it perhaps to include an example context where you might want to use it.
    – dwjohnston
    Commented Jul 29, 2014 at 22:36
  • Could it be: Phasmophobia, the fear of ghosts, and other supernatural entities?
    – user66974
    Commented Jul 29, 2014 at 23:01
  • Coming from another direction, perhaps instead of a word for a specific type of fear, you're looking for a word which you can combine with "fear" to describe the its unknown, otherwordly source? Something that sounds like "supernatural" and "transcendental" and "paranormal"? Are you thinking of "preternatural", perhaps? (As in "a preternatural fear")
    – Dan Bron
    Commented Jul 29, 2014 at 23:02
  • Isn't this just plain anxiety? Or are you interested in a more clinical term,vis-a-vis phobias?
    – kolossus
    Commented Jul 30, 2014 at 0:13

4 Answers 4


It depends on what you mean by 'unknown'. Panphobia, describes the phobia related to the dread of some possible unknown evil.

  • (from Greek πᾶν - pan, neuter of "πᾶς" - pas, "all"1 and φόβος - phobos, "fear"[2]) also called omniphobia, pantophobia, or panophobia, is a phobia known as a "non-specific fear" or "the fear of everything", and is described as "a vague and persistent dread of some unknown evil."[3] Panphobia is not registered as a type of phobia in medical references.



Consider foreboding

Fearful apprehension; a feeling that something bad will happen: with a sense of foreboding she read the note [ODO]

This often has a sense of free floating anxiety, an apprehension that is not tied to specific actual threats.


Forget Stevenson; let's go with the undisputed master of cosmic fear and unspeakable horrors, Lovecraft:

And everywhere horror brooded. The town and country folk scarcely dared speak aloud, and the men of Libo's entourage, who had been there nearly a week, seemed to have caught something of the nameless dread.

[From "The Very Old Folk", c. 1927]


Trepidation-- a feeling of fear that causes you to hesitate because you think something bad or unpleasant is going to happen (Merriam-Webster). e.g., 'Shaking with trepidation, I stepped into the old abandoned house'.

  • Same word came to my mind before reading answers! Sounds about right.
    – Damien
    Commented Jul 29, 2014 at 23:32

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