The 13th Floor

Spiders, Sharks, Scorpions and More Horrors from the Headlines

Face it, folks: the world we live in is getting weirder by the minute. Seriously, at this point, the urge to retreat into a world of fictional monsters is nearly impossible to resist. But journalists still have a job to do (even if we’re just writing about demon sightings, botched exorcisms and… uh, Florida?). Honest, well-researched reporting is still a must, even if you have to attach hella disclaimers to the many dubious accounts out there in the wide weird web.

So, with that statement out of the way… let’s get creepy! Yup, it’s time for another round of horrifying stories lurking in your news feed this week:

Image Credit: iStock/John North
Image Credit: iStock/John North

Experts Say Australia Should Prepare for a Humongous “Spider Plague”

Two thoughts crossed my mind when I first came across this headline: first, “Of course it would be Australia,” and second, “HOLY HELL STOP READING NOW.” But thanks to my innate curiosity, combined with a fascination with the extremely creepy critters of that continent (and the often casual attitude of its people toward the monsters living among them), I managed to get some notes together.

Thanks to a surge in precipitation, combined with rising temperatures in areas where huntsman spiders and other venomous arachnid species tend to congregate, experts are warning that these spider populations may become a lot more visible in the coming months… as in all around your house.

“They can’t survive outside [in colder temperatures], so they go inside because they have sensitive leg hairs,” arachnid expert Robert Raven told News Corp Australia. “When the rain comes, houses can be full of spiders.”

Raven encourages people in these areas to check before reaching into dark corners… and before grabbing bath towels. “You pick up your towel and the next thing you know you have a huntsman on your face.” The more you know, right?

As a one-time sufferer from severe automatonophobia (fear of human-like figures, including dummies, dolls and mannequins), I can empathize with the reaction of the burglars in this situation — despite my strong disapproval with their clearly criminal intentions — as they probably thought they’d stumbled into a real-life version of the 1979 horror film TOURIST TRAP.

The Mirror reported a group of burglars made off with a small amount of valuable merchandise after breaking into Demuz Art in the neighborhood of Tarring, West Sussex, on January 9. But the shop’s owner and operator, 42-year-old Derrick Thompson, claims they would have gotten away with a lot more if they hadn’t been scared off by “Shela Louise” — a life-size plastic mannequin Thompson bought on eBay.

Despite being blonde, leggy and a snappy dresser, Shela (named by Thompson and his flesh-and-blood girlfriend) may indeed have been the reason those perps didn’t steal more valuable goods — as they reportedly did from the business next door.

Despite the obvious scare factor at work here, apparently Shela has quite a few fans now: when Thompson set up a Facebook account for her, photos of the mannequin drew interesting comments like “I am here for you darling.” Yeah, that isn’t creepy at all…

Image Credit: iStock/Tevarak
Image Credit: iStock/Tevarak

Woman Horrified to Find a Deadly Scorpion in an Amazon Delivery Box

Elsewhere in the UK — Kidderminster in Worcestershire, to be exact — Natasha Jones was breaking down boxes for recycling when she saw what she thought was a dead spider in a discarded Amazon delivery box, which had previously contained a backpack recently ordered by her fiancé. Instead, the suspect critter may have been an extremely venomous yellow-tailed scorpion.

Jones told the Express the box had markings indicating it had been shipped direct from Asia, and the arachnid may have managed to stow away inside either the backpack or the box itself before delivery. The creature was dead on arrival — but had it been alive, its sting could have caused severe injury, or even death.

“It is very small,” bug expert Paul Heatherington told the Express, “and the smaller ones are the most poisonous.”

Image Credit: Jason Griffeth via YouTube

The Surfers in This Drone Footage Have No Idea They’re Surrounded by Sharks

Now that I’ve made you deathly afraid of cardboard boxes (yay me, that’s another one off my bucket list), it’s time to move to a more traditional source of fear — one which has remained at the back of our collective consciousness ever since a guy named Spielberg made some movie about a large fish that eats people.

The clip below was shot via drone over Florida’s Fort Pierce Inlet; the copter was operated by Jason Griffeth, who was attempting to capture aerial footage of boats in the area until he began to see some large fish swimming close to a group of surfers and paddle-boarders.

“I was like, ‘Those kind of look like sharks,’” Griffeth told WBPF News (as reported by UPI), “and I was kind of freaking out because I had no way to notify the surfers, because I was so far away with the drone.”

Despite one of the larger sharks approaching the smaller ones with the possible intent of attack, none of them came after the surfers… at least not while the camera was running.

Image Credit: iStock/THEPALMER

Site Compiles Horrifying Audio Recordings of Alleged “Bigfoot Screams”

No list of creepy news topics would be complete without a cryptid or two… and while I always recommend a healthy amount of skepticism when it comes to content like this, sometimes I come across a post that’s just too damned eerie to pass up. This would be one of those.

Cryptozoolgy resource Bigfoot Base recently collected a series of YouTube clips from a variety of sources, under the heading These Are What Bigfoot Screams Sound Like. While they preface that title with a disclaimer noting that “it’s difficult to determine the authenticity of a true ‘Bigfoot Scream,’” and “potential for hoaxing is also very high,” they nevertheless encourage an open mind and an “honest listen” to several examples like these included here.

Say what you will about the authenticity of these recordings (frankly, it’s impossible to prove either way), one thing’s for sure: they’re freaky as hell. Particularly chilling is this 1971 tape recording which was featured prominently on the famous TV series IN SEARCH OF:

Visit Bigfoot Base for the complete collection… and turn the lights down for maximum effect!