A LADYBOY who “developed a phobia of feathers” after being attacked by a seagull in Aberdeen is now tackling her fear in order to feel more comfortable in one of her performance outfits.
Today the Ladyboys of Bangkok went to Dalhousie Castle Falconry in Midlothian so that Nichol, one of the shows stars, could face her “fear of feathers” and meet some of the birds of prey on site.
During the Ladyboys’ recent run, in Aberdeen, Nichol was walking along the promenade eating a cake when a seagull came flapping towards her trying to steal her food.
Nichol, who doesn’t speak any English, has told her production team that feathers now make her feel nauseous and give her anxiety. This is problematic as she is uncomfortable in and around some of her show outfits.
Kylie McSeveney, owner of the Dalhousie Castle Falconry said they have regular requests from patrons in order to tackle similar fears, and that a fear of birds or feathers isn’t that uncommon.
A fear of feathers or being tickled by feathers is called Pteronophobia.
Nichol was introduced first to an Owl, with the hope that the calm animal, which is silent during flight, would not startle her – as usually the sound of the wings can be the root of the fear.
Although she seemed reluctant, Nichol eventually took the 12-year-old Owl, Bonnie, on her arm.
After this success owner and handler Kylie brought out an eagle, which was much larger and regularly spread its wings to stay balanced in the wind.
This proved more terrifying for Nichol, but she persevered and said afterwards that she felt better for having had the experience.
Ladyboys of Bangkok publicist, Tony Wilkie-Millar said: “Nichol told us she was eating a cake when a seagull came swooping down and started flapping around in front of her, and she didn’t realise that it was after her food at the time.
“Since then she has felt very nauseous when she has seen feathers and it makes her very anxious and she panics.
“She has to wear feathers during one of the performances in the show and this has proven extremely difficult for her since Aberdeen.”
Kylie McSeveney said: “Often with this fear it’s not the visuals of the actual feather or a bird, it’s the flappy noise that wings make which intimidate people.
“It can depend how open a person is, whether or not they are able to tackle the issue by holding a bird. Some people simply close themselves off to the possibility of overcoming the fear completely.
“It’s not uncommon to have a fear of birds, especially after experiencing an incident with one and we have requests a few times a year.”
The Ladyboys of Bangkok are back at Edinburgh Fringe Festival this year as part of their ‘Wonder Women Tour’, with their 20th show running from the 3rd to the 27th Aug at the Sabai Pavilion in Fountainbridge.