Spiders always get a bad rap, and with urban legends like these, it’s no wonder they do! Here are five “true” tales of spider terror to keep you up at night and cowering in fear during the day, all told to me by a “friend of a friend.”
THE TWO-STRIPED TELAMONIA SPIDER
On the opposite end of the size scale is a tiny little reddish fellow that is a pretty big danger to humans and it lives in a place that we once thought was a safe zone. The Two-Striped Telamonia spider is a tropical spider from South America. It loves warm, dark places and is extremely fond of hiding under the rim of toilet seats.
The first alleged report of a Telamonia spider attack happened at a hotel in Chicago. Three unrelated women staying on different floors of the hotel were rushed to the hospital complaining of shortness of breath, headaches, and a fever. Five days later all three of them would be dead. A search of the hotel turned up several of the little fellas on various floors, all of them found under the rim of a toilet. The infestation was supposedly traced to a shipment of tropical fruit received at the hotel lobby restaurant the day before all three guests checked in. Although this infestation was stopped, experts warn that these infestations can occur anywhere in the United States.
THE TEA KETTLE SPIDER
One morning in Johannesburg South Africa a woman made a gruesome discovery when she went next-door to check on her neighbors, whom she hadn’t seen in days. When she entered the home she found the entire family of six dead at the breakfast table. Doctors immediately recognized the culprit as the venom from a local spider. However, authorities were suspicious as to how the family ingested the venom, as none of them had bite marks.
A further investigation revealed that the venom actually originated from the family’s tea kettle. The spider, whose body was still in the kettle, was hiding there when he was so rudely turned into Earl Grey. The family inevitably croaked on spider venom tea. Moral to the story: rinse out your tea kettle before every use.
THE SPIDER WEAVE
A young woman decides to take on a new hairstyle, a highly sought after Brazilian weave that would set her back $3K. Not long after getting the weave, the woman began complaining of severe headaches. She went to a doctor who prescribed her a powerful pain reliever. It seemed to do the job at first but not long after the effects wore off, the woman found herself in incredible pain.
A few days after her visit to the doctor, the young woman dropped dead at work. An autopsy revealed that a small burrowing spider, common to South America, had dug it’s way into her brain. Similar to ants, the insects burrowed homes and super-highways through her brain until she died. A further look into the incident revealed that the spiders had been introduced to the scalp through eggs attached to the hair follicles on her Brazilian weave.
THE AVERAGE HUMAN SWALLOWS EIGHT SPIDERS PER YEAR
It seems that spiders love the warm moisture of the human mouth, especially the sleeping human mouth. That’s why on average a human being will ingest eight spiders per year while the sleep.
I want to break the fourth wall here, just because I find the actual story behind this myth so interesting: It seems in 1993, when email was just beginning to catch on, several users enjoyed passing on emails they believed to be true, lifesaving facts. Things like snakes in a ball pit or razor blades on slides were circulated frequently via electronic mail. Frustrated by these obvious falsehoods portrayed as fact, columnist Lisa Holst invented the swallowed spider fact/myth in 1993. To this day Lisa’s experiment is one of the most widely distributed spider “facts” on the internet.