Man's Lemon Phobia Leads To Killing


Robin Andrews

Science & Policy Writer

869 Man's Lemon Phobia Leads To Killing
To some, these are the harbingers of doom. Jag_cz/Shutterstock

When life hands you lemons, don’t murder someone. That’s not a well-known phrase, but considering recent events, it is certainly pertinent. A man in Turkey with a severe fear of the fruit reacted quite badly when he was handed some, going so far as to fatally shoot the giver. The surreal incident, as reported by VICE, is as tragic and bizarre as it sounds.

People’s reactions to the things that they are terrified of are rarely so violent. Those with phobias – debilitating fears of specific objects or situations – do often react somewhat disproportionality to that which they fear, but this example sets the bar fairly high.


The victim, Ramazan Kavakalan, a 42-year-old forestry worker and father, was aware of his co-worker’s phobia, and decided to taunt him. The lemon-fearing trucker, known only as M.O., did not see the funny side of being approached with the yellow objects. He went ballistic, ran to his truck, fetched his rifle, and shot Kavakalan at his desk. Four hours later, the victim died in a nearby hospital.

Phobias vary in severity between individuals; whereas some are able to simply avoid the focus of their terror, others have full-blown panic attacks. Even though those with phobias often know that their fears are irrational, they are unable to “think” themselves out of it. Phobias can be both social and specific, and in this case, it appears that M.O. had a very specific, debilitating fear of lemons.

The statement given to police was absurd to say the least, with M.O. stating that he never intended to kill his co-worker, and blamed the lemons for his actions. “I didn’t have the intention to kill him,” he reportedly said, according to VICE. “I just wanted to scare Ramazan after the lemon joke he made. I am so sorry that I have killed my friend. It is the lemon, you see. I cannot stand the sight of them. They make me crazy.”


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  • phobia,

  • prank,

  • lemons