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Spiders, a post about them
August 10, 2012 6:36 AM   Subscribe

The fear of spiders is hardwired into most of humanity, despite the creatures often being beneficial to people. For some reason, it's the odd and scary stories about spiders that stick in our heads.
posted by Brandon Blatcher (99 comments total) 8 users marked this as a favorite

 
I DON'T WANT TO THINK ABOUT SPIDERS THAT STICK IN OUR HEADS.
posted by Faint of Butt at 6:39 AM on August 10, 2012 [9 favorites]


For some reason?

Why I'm afraid of spiders:

  • ewwww
  • eight eyes?!
  • eight legs??
  • they bite?!?!
  • I SWALLOW THEM IN MY SLEEP?!?!!
  • that spider from the Lord of the Rings.

  • posted by pwally at 6:42 AM on August 10, 2012


    Brain-antidote.
    posted by griphus at 6:42 AM on August 10, 2012 [2 favorites]


    Anti Brain-antidote: Video of the world's largest spider.
    posted by Brandon Blatcher at 6:45 AM on August 10, 2012 [1 favorite]


    Why did I check that last link? Why? I KNEW I would not want to know about it. I knew that.

    Much like this story, by my friend and local author Rob Callahan.
    posted by cthuljew at 6:48 AM on August 10, 2012 [1 favorite]


    griphus, is that kitten -- snacking?
    posted by maudlin at 6:49 AM on August 10, 2012


    Social grooming!
    posted by griphus at 6:50 AM on August 10, 2012


    A few months ago, my mother was telling me about a family friend who woke up one morning with some pain in his ear. His ear felt clogged up, so thinking that it was some impacted earwax, he scheduled an appointment with a doctor to get it removed.

    NOPE. WOLF SPIDER. IN HIS EAR.

    WHY DID SHE TELL ME THIS? WHY????
    posted by specialagentwebb at 6:50 AM on August 10, 2012


    Time to rebrand.

    Oh hai! [Via]
    posted by mazola at 6:50 AM on August 10, 2012 [4 favorites]


    I suspect that this eBay seller may see a lot of business soon.
    posted by maudlin at 6:53 AM on August 10, 2012


    WHY IS THERE NO TRIGGER WARNING?
    WHY?
    WHY?

    I saw this on i09 today and I was just starting to get to the point where I thought I might be able to sleep tonight.

    I'm off to open another beer.
    posted by Mezentian at 6:54 AM on August 10, 2012 [1 favorite]


    Why I'm afraid of spiders:

    Let's take these in order:

    ewwww -- More like awwwww!

    eight eyes?! -- the better to see you with!

    eight legs?? -- the better to hug you with!

    they bite?!?! -- well, they bite lots of insects; that's good in my book.

    I SWALLOW THEM IN MY SLEEP?!?!! -- You probably don't want to know all the other things you swallow in your sleep. For example, I would like that vintage hot wheels back.

    that spider from the Lord of the Rings. Look, it is unfair to stigmatize an entire class of animals just because of a few bad apples.
    posted by GenjiandProust at 6:55 AM on August 10, 2012 [7 favorites]


    Brandon Blatcher: "Anti Brain-antidote: Video of the world's largest spider."

    Strangely enough, I don't find tarantulas scary. Maybe because they're so big? I mean, if that goliath tarantula was creeping up on me in my sleep, I would damn well feel it. Hell, I would probably HEAR it, and there is absolutely no way it would fit inside my ear or mouth or nose or anywhere terrible. Also? If there's a tarantula loose in your house you're not constantly scanning the corners of the room trying to find it. You can see it coming and you can run away from it. You cannot run from small spiders because they could be anywhere.
    posted by specialagentwebb at 6:56 AM on August 10, 2012 [5 favorites]


    I'm afraid of spiders because if a spider bites you, you start dressing up in a brightly coloured body-stocking and your best friend blames you for his dad's death and you can't get with the girl you fancy because you have "great responsibility," or some such tedious bullshit.

    And then Bono starts writing songs about you. Which is fucking BEYOND.
    posted by the quidnunc kid at 6:56 AM on August 10, 2012 [10 favorites]


    That image is actually pretty cute, mazola. Kind of like if Cookie Monster and Argus had a baby.
    posted by maudlin at 6:59 AM on August 10, 2012 [1 favorite]


    I had an itchy ear once. Stuck my little finger in and rooted around. Couple of legs came out. The other bits fell out separately in response to a bit more shaking and probing. Most of them anyway, I mean I didn't try to put it back together or anything (hey, beetle drive! but with spiders!), so I can't be sure.

    Never bothered me in the slightest.
    posted by Segundus at 7:04 AM on August 10, 2012 [1 favorite]


    This guy is pretty cute too
    posted by zeoslap at 7:05 AM on August 10, 2012 [6 favorites]


    But they're such good dancers!
    posted by fight or flight at 7:08 AM on August 10, 2012 [1 favorite]


    The spider in the last link makes me think of a cuddly little Wilford Brimley with four eyes. Adorable!
    posted by BurntHombre at 7:09 AM on August 10, 2012 [1 favorite]


    Spiders have always creeped me out, but I find them fascinating anyway, and don't have any particular hatred for them. The shivery revulsion is absolutely there, and if I'm surprised by an unexpected spider, I seem to have a hardwired 'crush!' insta-reflex. The swat happens before my conscious mind even catches up to what's going on, and the rush of adrenaline is dizzying. When looking at spiders, I have to actively override the 'ick response', but then I think they're just super cool. (Note, however, that that sentence is LOOKING, not TOUCHING. Ick suppression only goes so far.)

    My anti-snake response is much weaker. I also don't find them very interesting. I think the sense of revulsion drives my interest in spiders, and since I'm not very afraid of snakes, I just don't care about them much one way or the other. I assume that either my European ancestors had few reptilian threats, or else my genes are malfunctioning.
    posted by Malor at 7:11 AM on August 10, 2012 [1 favorite]


    I'm not at all surprised that fear of spiders is a survival mechanism. They used to be a lot bigger, due to the higher concentration of oxygen in the air. They're one of nature's most diabolical predators, with all kinds of bizarre tricks like webbing, poison, and even spraying mists of microbarbs to blind enemies. And when you factor in that we evolved from small mammals that these things used to eat, that overwhelming fear response makes a lot of sense.
    posted by wolfdreams01 at 7:13 AM on August 10, 2012 [5 favorites]


    GAAAAAAAAAAAHHHHHHHHHHHNONONONONONONONONONO
    posted by nevercalm at 7:18 AM on August 10, 2012


    pjern and I are the only two people I know who have been bitten by a brown recluse. He posted photos, I wrote poems.

    I respect spiders. I love them, even though I nearly lost my arm to one. I shoe them outdoors if they are in a living space or leave them alone if not.

    I kill them with impunity in my bed or bath.
    posted by cjorgensen at 7:19 AM on August 10, 2012 [2 favorites]


    You people. I suppose this won't stoop till someone posts a pic of a spider with a pancake on its head.

    I'm looking at you, Brandon.
    posted by St. Alia of the Bunnies at 7:26 AM on August 10, 2012 [1 favorite]


    As for the specifics of Ms. Lee's ordeal, she woke up five days prior to her hospital visit with an itchy ear canal. After medical photography discovered her head's new tenant, doctors flushed the animal out with a saline solution because they were scared the little guy might dig his barbs in deeper if prodded. Swish that around your brainpan for a minute.

    *curls up in ball*

    *covers ears*
    posted by zarq at 7:26 AM on August 10, 2012 [1 favorite]


    > NOPE. WOLF SPIDER. IN HIS EAR.

    This happened to my cousin. He'd pull down the earlobe and it would come to the opening like it was looking for something to eat. He's let go it would crawl back up.

    A doctor flushed it out. That's what I wanted him to do. If it had been me a dab of baby oil in the ear and move on.
    posted by cjorgensen at 7:27 AM on August 10, 2012


    wolfdreams01: " They used to be a lot bigger, due to the higher concentration of oxygen in the air. They're one of nature's most diabolical predators, with all kinds of bizarre tricks like webbing, poison, and even spraying mists of microbarbs to blind enemies. And when you factor in that we evolved from small mammals that these things used to eat, that overwhelming fear response makes a lot of sense."

    *gets flamethrower*
    posted by zarq at 7:30 AM on August 10, 2012 [3 favorites]


    There was a Mefite who posted a picture of his wound pump after getting a brown recluse spider bite and having to have major surgery on his back to remove the necrotized tissue.
    posted by discopolo at 7:31 AM on August 10, 2012 [1 favorite]


    Anti Brain-antidote: Video of the world's largest spider.

    What are you, a level 2 bard or something? Just squash the thing and move on.
    posted by Dr Dracator at 7:31 AM on August 10, 2012 [3 favorites]


    I'm looking at you, Brandon.

    I actually have a fear of spiders, despite logically knowing they are no big deal. The wife refuses to tell me about spiders in the house because she knows I'll either be get antsy or hunt it down and kill it.

    Most terrifying spider: speeding down the highway during rush hour and realizing there's a spider on the windshield.

    ON THE WRONG SIDE.
    posted by Brandon Blatcher at 7:32 AM on August 10, 2012 [3 favorites]


    Oh! It was pjern!
    posted by discopolo at 7:33 AM on August 10, 2012


    discopolo: "There was a Mefite who posted a picture of his wound pump after getting a brown recluse spider bite and having to have major surgery on his back to remove the necrotized tissue."

    pjern. Happily he's doing okay.
    posted by zarq at 7:33 AM on August 10, 2012


    No, pjern wasn't on the windshield.
    posted by Brandon Blatcher at 7:34 AM on August 10, 2012 [8 favorites]


    What are you, a level 2 bard or something?

    Um, excuse me, a level 2 bard has access to Summon Monster I.
    posted by griphus at 7:36 AM on August 10, 2012 [2 favorites]


    I explain the squick response to spiders by asking non sufferers to imagine a testicle with wings flying erratically around the room. It's not going to hurt you, it's probably more afraid of you than you are of it, but I bet you don't want it softly plapping against your cheek.
    posted by lucidium at 7:37 AM on August 10, 2012 [5 favorites]


    It.
    posted by tommasz at 7:40 AM on August 10, 2012


    I have a problem with all segmented animals. I don't know why. But I am thankful that trilobites went extinct 250 million years ago.
    posted by Seymour Zamboni at 7:44 AM on August 10, 2012


    I saw this big ass dude on my evening walk a few weeks back. Huge spiders abound here, and I suppose that's ok.
    posted by Burhanistan at 7:52 AM on August 10, 2012 [1 favorite]


    I once read an essay on spiders that commented that because they ambulate using a kind of hydraulic system, there is a kind of deliberateness to their movement that in itself is off-putting to humans, as it is very alien and unlike our own.

    The earth is full of astonishing, elegant and beautiful organisms, and spiders, even big ones, are no exception. We need them. I always feel sad when I hear of someone going after one with a hammer simply because it's a spider.
    posted by kinnakeet at 7:53 AM on August 10, 2012 [4 favorites]


    I SWALLOW THEM IN MY SLEEP?!?!!
    We in fact do NOT swallow spiders in our sleep. That's a rumor based on people actually believing something invented as an example of the crazy bullshit people will believe if it's presented as a statistic.

    http://www.snopes.com/science/stats/spiders.asp
    posted by Sleeper at 7:55 AM on August 10, 2012


    Well, you would know.
    posted by Dr Dracator at 7:59 AM on August 10, 2012 [3 favorites]


    I got a call from my girlfriend one time; "There's a spider in my room! Help!". Big deal, I thought. I got home to find her refusing to go into the room and, to be fair, I had to steel myself when I went in there. This wasnt one of those 'big' black spiders you usually see (in the UK). This was a house spider.

    There's nothing particularly cosily domestic about these spiders. They are the monsters which live inside the walls, under the floors, in the dark spaces and which haunt your imagination.
    It was a little disturbing to realise that giant spiders do exist, and they're all around us. In our houses. House spiders.

    I manned-up and got a pint glass. It took a little shuffling to get the fella to tuck her legs up so she fitted under the glass but eventually I was able to hold her up to look at her.

    She was looking right back at me.

    That wiped the smile off my face so it was with some relief that I watched her disappear into the darkness outside. Apparently, although it's not life threatening, they can give quite a nasty bite. I resolved not to laugh at my girlfriend's fear of spiders again.

    Just as well; there was another one the next night. Slightly smaller; probably her husband (they mate for life) come looking for her...

    brrrr.
    posted by BadMiker at 8:01 AM on August 10, 2012 [2 favorites]


    That paper "Right ear pain and neck swelling" linked to from the io9 article is fascinating! I don't know anything about medical stuff, but it was a fairly fast-paced, edge-of-your-seat mystery story. Honestly, kinda read like a House plotline (but with no House).
    posted by Baethan at 8:02 AM on August 10, 2012




    I like/respect spiders and snakes, even though they creep me out. Or at least I don't actively abhor them. Now, as for mosquitoes -- fuck them.
    posted by blucevalo at 8:04 AM on August 10, 2012


    My first week in my own apartment in Japan, and I was up late at night. Back then, we only had dial up, and phone usage in Japan is freaky expensive. They used to have an all-you-can-use package which ran from eleven at night to seven am. Doing language school hours, I used to get home at ten, and then from eleven, it was Internet time.

    It was hot, being August. I had the light on in my room, but the kitchen/entry room area was dark. I was barefoot.

    Suddenly, this thing, this ungodly sized thing shoots out from under my table, and up onto the wall, then disappears into the dark kitchen. I shrieked like a child. Three thoughts went through my mind. One, that was a fucking spider. Two, I could actually hear it running along the wall, it sounded like a mouse, if a mouse had hard feet and ran across walls. Three, my apartment was on the ground floor, and there were sliding glass doors opposite the dark kitchen with the terror from the underdark lurking within. I honestly thought about just leaving Japan. Just going to the airport and going home.

    The thing is, living alone, there's really no one to do this stuff for you. I picked up te bug spray and the plastic dustpan, and ran as fast as I could to the light switch (conveniently on the far wall, through the dark room), and started searching the apartment. Finally, having exhausted possible hiding areas in the kitchen, I opened the door to the toilet (separate from the bathroom in Japan), and there it was, directly above the toilet. Each leg was roughly as long as the span between my thumb and pinkie when my hands are spread wide, and the width of a pipe cleaner. The body was between a nickel and a quarter in size. I sprayed, and it charged me (yes, I know it was trying to escape, and that the only way out of the closet sized room was past me) and I swung the dustpan, knocking it off the wall on to the floor. I hit it and hit it again. I could hear the crunching sound of the carapace breaking. I hit that thing until I broke the handle off the dustpan. I flushed it down the toilet, and called my sister in America. When she answered the phone, she didn't know who it was because I was so panicked.

    That spider convinced me, beyond all possible doubt, that there can be no benevolent creator. No good god would create something so vile and terrifying. Either god does not exist, or god is a horrible, horrible deity who delights in our suffering and terror.
    posted by Ghidorah at 8:09 AM on August 10, 2012 [13 favorites]


    "Olden days, all the animals wanted to have stories named after them, back in the days when the songs that sung the world were still being sung, back when they were still singing the sky and the rainbow and the ocean. It was in those days when animals were people as well as animals that Anansi the spider tricked all of them, especially Tiger, because he wanted all the stories named after him.

    Stories are like spiders, with all their long legs, and stories are like spiderwebs, which man gets himself all tangled up in but which look so pretty when you see them under a leaf in the morning dew, and in the elegant way that they connect to one another, each to each.

    What’s that? You want to know if Anansi looked like a spider? Sure he did, except when he looked like a man.

    No, he never changed his shape. It’s just a matter of how you tell the story. That’s all."
    ~ Mr. Nancy - Anansi Boys - Neil Gaiman
    posted by Fizz at 8:09 AM on August 10, 2012


    I saw this big ass dude on my evening walk a few weeks back.

    While spiders are rather "large on the back end," that is properly an opisthosoma and not an "ass." That is the way spiders have evolved, in a very difficult and challenging world, and throwing around hurtful epithets like "big ass" is not to your credit.

    In other words, give a chelicerate a break, OK?
    posted by GenjiandProust at 8:09 AM on August 10, 2012 [4 favorites]


    I've scaled back my bloodlust for arachnids since coming to the realization that their presence directly benefits mankind. I only kill spiders that come into my home. Outside my home they are free to live peacefully.
    posted by PipRuss at 8:13 AM on August 10, 2012


    Either god does not exist, or god is a horrible, horrible deity who delights in our suffering and terror.

    That's silly.

    God is a giant spider.
    posted by shakespeherian at 8:15 AM on August 10, 2012 [6 favorites]


    Either god does not exist, or god is a horrible, horrible deity who delights in our suffering and terror.

    Maybe god is a spider. That would explain the "inordinate fondness for beetles" noted by J.B.S. Haldane.
    posted by GenjiandProust at 8:16 AM on August 10, 2012


    I posit the idea that god is a spider.
    posted by griphus at 8:17 AM on August 10, 2012 [2 favorites]


    Dammit, shakespeherian!
    posted by GenjiandProust at 8:17 AM on August 10, 2012


    Needs "nope" tag.
    posted by villanelles at dawn at 8:18 AM on August 10, 2012 [1 favorite]


    Oh I thought we were doing a Greek chorus thing.
    posted by griphus at 8:18 AM on August 10, 2012 [5 favorites]


    hey what about if god was a spider
    posted by shakespeherian at 8:18 AM on August 10, 2012 [2 favorites]


    One morning as I arrived at work, I rolled open the warehouse door. A shaft of light penetrated the gloom and in the middle of that spotlight was the largest hairiest spider I had ever seen. The spider appeared frozen by the light and it didn't move as we looked at each across the concrete. In my morning euphoria (most likely induced by the breakfast bong) I decided I had to get to know this creature. I walked over to it and it didn't budge. I got down on my hands and knees and started crawling toward it. I was full of wonder and good thoughts about this fascinating piece of nature all I wanted was a closer look. I lowered my face to blow some air on it, just being playful with this miracle of nature feeling good to be alive and the spider jumped right on my face. I went from euphoria to abject terror in the space of a heartbeat mine had stopped to switch gears. I sent up a blood curdling scream to no effect and the spider remained on my face. My sunglasses were the only thing between me and a horrible death. I ripped off my sunglasses dislodging the spider and threw them away from me sending the spider flying. This all took less than a few seconds and with my spider gone my heart restarted at 200 bpm. I was all alone so no one witnessed my stupidity and reaction, I'm not afraid of spiders I think they are neat, until one jumps on your face, that is where instinct takes over from intellect.
    posted by pdxpogo at 8:22 AM on August 10, 2012 [5 favorites]


    I demand a real life modification to turn spiders into bears a la Skyrim. That would be slightly less terrifying.

    Also, if God were a spider...eeep!
    posted by PipRuss at 8:23 AM on August 10, 2012


    What's the opposite of "favorite"? That's what I want to do to this thread.
    posted by LordSludge at 8:31 AM on August 10, 2012 [1 favorite]


    What if god was one of us
    Just a slob like one of us
    Just a stranger on the bus
    Trying to make his way home
    So he can squash spiders
    Wait that doesn't rhyme
    posted by Blazecock Pileon at 8:38 AM on August 10, 2012 [2 favorites]


    Spider-God, Spider-God, does whatever a Spider-God does.....
    posted by Fizz at 8:44 AM on August 10, 2012 [5 favorites]


    A CLOWN IS NOT A SPIDER ...
    posted by octobersurprise at 9:05 AM on August 10, 2012


    A CLOWN IS NOT A SPIDER ...

    I disagree.
    posted by Fizz at 9:11 AM on August 10, 2012


    I like spiders. I like snakes. I respect them and enjoy watching them. I try to keep the spidies away from my cats, who simply enjoy catching and eating them.
    posted by pointless_incessant_barking at 9:35 AM on August 10, 2012


    Maybe I'm strange, but that film spider totally looked much more like a lobster to me.

    We follow a 'catch and release' policy with spiders here. The exception is black widows. Smash those poisonous fuckers! Of course, It's usually Mr. Sunny who has to do the catch and release because of the squick factor.
    posted by annsunny at 9:40 AM on August 10, 2012


    We do spider relocation here too, unless I’m too lazy and just let them go. We try and move them just so the animals don’t kill them. I can’t really relate to the spider fear, it’s not like they're cockroaches (in whose presence it’s perfectly reasonable to go into a slight panic).

    All I could think about the ear story was "How loud was that?" That would have driven me crazy.
    posted by bongo_x at 9:50 AM on August 10, 2012


    Sorry, I don't buy this. I know plenty of people who have absolutely no fear of spiders... but then again maybe we should have.... apparently in the UK, the false widow spider is gaining ground.... here's a woman who nearly lost her hand because of a bite. Fear it or die!
    posted by goddessmoon at 10:03 AM on August 10, 2012


    What if god was one of us
    Just slob shelob like one of us
    posted by TwoWordReview at 10:04 AM on August 10, 2012 [7 favorites]


    I watched Dr No last night, the first Bond I've ever seen. I lost a little respect for him in the scene with the spider. It's only a spider, just brush it off. Squish it if you have to. But our elite superspy is frozen in terror.

    I personally don't mind spiders, as long as they aren't crawling on me. My wife makes me kill all the spiders, even the ones outside.
    posted by eruonna at 10:37 AM on August 10, 2012


    friendly reminder that there are tree spiders in south america big enough to eat little birdies

    ok bie
    posted by elizardbits at 10:55 AM on August 10, 2012


    Most terrifying spider: speeding down the highway during rush hour and realizing there's a spider on the windshield.

    That happened to me once. My then-boyfriend in the car, knowing my fear, slapped around the dashboard a bit and told me it was dead.

    A few minutes later it was walking across MY side of the car and as I swerved around the boyfriend was being berated for lying about something VERY IMPORTANT.

    We broke up not long after. Not a coincidence I think.

    I used to be okay with spiders until second grade when I had to go to a Girl Scout campout and my tent, which had not been put away dry the year before, was mildewy and full of daddy long-legs. Full. Infested with. I was utterly unable to sleep that night as they crawled all over the ceiling and I did my best to keep them off me and away from my mouth and ears and nose. Since then I'm fine with other bugs, it's just the spiders that cause a literally physical revulsion reaction in me. And I freeze. I can't even get to them to kill them. I just freeze.

    I'm moving to Australia in a couple of years. I'm dreading it. Three trips there so far and I've already had two horrifying Hunstman spider encounters (JUVENILE ones. ONLY six inches across) and literally run in to redbacks and a wide variety of just freaky-ass bigger-than-is-okay other spiders. This is really going to be a problem.

    Snakes though. I'm fine with snakes. Even if they want to kill me, at least they don't have all those damn LEGS.
    posted by olinerd at 11:44 AM on August 10, 2012 [1 favorite]


    friendly reminder that there are tree spiders in south america big enough to eat little birdies

    This is very vertebrate-centric.

    Maybe it's just that there are some birds in South America who foolishly are small enough to be eaten by spiders. I mean, no one seems to feel bad for the spiders who are small enough to be eaten by birds. As they say, "What's good for the Goose is good for the Recluse."

    Of course, you know them, they'll say anything.
    posted by GenjiandProust at 11:54 AM on August 10, 2012 [1 favorite]


    Sorry, I don't buy this.

    Buy what, exactly?
    posted by Brandon Blatcher at 11:55 AM on August 10, 2012


    even spraying mists of microbarbs to blind enemies.
    Fear: Justified.
    posted by smidgen at 12:14 PM on August 10, 2012


    She was looking right back at me.

    Yeah, the awareness of creepy-crawlies, especially larger ones, is more than a bit disconcerting. Like when a big honkin' praying mantis showed up in our kitchen one night and seemed as interested in checking me out as I was in him.
    posted by Celsius1414 at 12:36 PM on August 10, 2012 [1 favorite]


    I keep thinking that spiders living in your ear canals would be the ultimate piece of cred for a fanatical black metal fan.

    "Did you hear about Sven? Dude is so metal he has spiders living inside him. I hear they thrive on Burzum."
    posted by naju at 12:55 PM on August 10, 2012 [1 favorite]


    PS I like how one of the related posts is "Are you a Highly Sensitive Person?"
    posted by naju at 1:03 PM on August 10, 2012


    Two things I don't understand about the hardwiring study:

    1. Why do we fear spiders, but not other insects or creepy-crawlies? Is it socialization?

    2. Why do we fear snakes, yet love cats?
    posted by Apocryphon at 1:16 PM on August 10, 2012


    NOPE NOPE NOPE NOPE
    posted by Space Kitty at 3:18 PM on August 10, 2012


    What category spider is it? Screaming now.
    posted by Neneh at 4:52 PM on August 10, 2012


    Hardwired fear? The study might not be completely bogus, but it's badly designed.

    A series of pictures are flashed and the subjects are told to hit the button when they see something frightening. Flowers and mushrooms are then contrasted to snakes and spiders. If it had been simply pictures of flowers and mushrooms there no doubt would have been a lot of hits scored for mushrooms, thus proving an instinctive fear of fungi.

    The researcher starts with an admitted bias and then structures an experiment to prove he isn't neurotic. Is that science?

    But I'm always a little suspicious about studies which pretend to suggest how we have been shaped by evolution, even if the next topic of conversation isn't Male Gaze.
    posted by fredludd at 5:01 PM on August 10, 2012


    Ghidorah: That spider convinced me, beyond all possible doubt, that there can be no benevolent creator. No good god would create something so vile and terrifying. Either god does not exist, or god is a horrible, horrible deity who delights in our suffering and terror.
    Actually, you aren't really wrong. See, there is a god, he was discovered about 150 years ago, and he wasn't at all what we were expecting, so we refused to fully acknowledge it.
    posted by hincandenza at 5:41 PM on August 10, 2012 [1 favorite]


    Obligatory.
    posted by A Thousand Baited Hooks at 6:19 PM on August 10, 2012 [1 favorite]


    Hey hey hey! What's with all this arachno-hate? Spiders are our friends, and beautiful besides. Have you seen how they moult? Fantastic.

    (I don't fear snakes either, although that took a few years of deprogramming.)
    posted by phliar at 6:25 PM on August 10, 2012


    Great collection of essays, hincandenza. Thanks.
    posted by fredludd at 6:45 PM on August 10, 2012


    Nuh uh, Hincandeza. I'm not clicking on any link in this thread. I know what will happen. My fear of spiders will mesh with my irrational fear (inspired by it and Pennywise) of things coming out of the screen to get me, and I will shit myself and die, though possibly not in that order.
    posted by Ghidorah at 6:53 PM on August 10, 2012 [1 favorite]


    She was looking right back at me.

    I think that is all kinds of awesome. We're all used to interacting and engaging with our fellow mammals, but less accustomed to coming eye-to-eye with members of other phyla and seeing them react to us. I once had a pet Australian whistling tarantula: he was a baby and his name was Boris. I was visiting a colleague who gave me Boris together with 8 of his siblings... but first I got to meet their mother. She was a beautiful spider - she was all soft and velvety and grey, and lived in a terrarium that contained a big bowl of water. When I came into the room she dove into the bowl of water and then raised her head so just her eyes poked out over the rim. She kept looking at us, but when we moved close to the terrarium she would dive back down, hiding under the water. Finally she was happy enough to emerge from the water and go about her business, but she was a pretty shy spider in general.

    I took Boris and his siblings home in (a jar in) my handbag and set them up in their own little terrarium. Unfortunately a mass-cannibalism event occurred sooner than I expected, leaving only a very fat Boris. Ahh Boris, he was a good spider!
    posted by Alice Russel-Wallace at 9:17 PM on August 10, 2012 [2 favorites]


    On a different line, I gotta say: WHY SO SUSPICIOUS OF SPIDERS METAFILTER? Where are the threads where everyone comes out of the woodwork and confesses their visceral fear of baby sloths and kittens?

    In the name of taxonomic equality I refer you to LOL SPIDERS. For the record though, that spider ain't a misunderstood house spider, it's a jumping spider. A misunderstood jumping spider. Speaking out for its kind.
    posted by Alice Russel-Wallace at 9:27 PM on August 10, 2012 [2 favorites]


    Cute spiders, previously.
    posted by Lexica at 9:15 PM on August 11, 2012


    To be clear, I will NEVER forgive you for that last link. When I was a kid I slept with bandaids on my ears for that very reason and finally I outgrew my fear and NOW YOU HAVE RUINED ME. I already have too many things I have to strategically explain to, or conceal from, future sex partners. Ear bandaids are ONE TOO MANY. Lifelong night terrors and celibacy brought to me by this fucking post. You are the Hitler of MeFi posts. You have killed all my Jewish dreams. And replaced them with spiders.
    posted by prefpara at 1:55 PM on August 12, 2012


    I'm sorry. Here, enjoy this amazing octopus video.
    posted by Brandon Blatcher at 3:36 PM on August 12, 2012 [1 favorite]


    Jesus take the wheel. Chthulu's abortion is slithering its way towards me. This is the worst day of my life.
    posted by prefpara at 5:20 PM on August 12, 2012 [3 favorites]




    Needs more Fat Boy Slim.
    posted by maudlin at 7:03 AM on August 13, 2012


    That was the best inflatable octopus coming out of a psychedelic bus that I've ever seen in my short time on Earth.
    posted by Burhanistan at 7:57 AM on August 13, 2012




    Just wanted to let you all know that I managed to drive my daughter to work yesterday despite the fact that midtrip, I saw a movement out of the corner of my eye that turned out to be a very fuzzy jumping spider ON MY CAR DOORFRAME.

    Not cool, little feller, not cool.
    posted by St. Alia of the Bunnies at 1:05 PM on August 18, 2012


    I managed to drive my daughter to work yesterday despite the fact that midtrip, I saw a movement out of the corner of my eye that turned out to be a very fuzzy jumping spider ON MY CAR DOORFRAME.

    Daughter or no daughter, clearly the only course of action was driving into a bridge support or something similarly solid and then run screaming from the car. And I like spiders, but ack.
    posted by nevercalm at 7:04 PM on August 18, 2012


    Eponysterical!
    posted by St. Alia of the Bunnies at 11:29 AM on August 19, 2012


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