Some months ago, I did a little survey of my siblings' childhood fears, as well as my own. It was well received and generated some fun/terrifying memories. I hope for a good response from this entry, though likely not as happy.

In several polls, like this one, arachnophobia dominates the #1 spot on a list of most common phobias. People just don't like spiders. Wikipedia says about 50% of women and 10% of men have arachnophobia to a mild or worse degree.

I count myself among them. I hate spiders. They gross me out most of the time. At worst, I hate spider surprises, i.e. moments when you are surprised by a spider: one appears in a place you weren't expecting, you walk into a spiderweb, one drops from the ceiling on you...

Yes, these have all happened to me. The first two have happened to most people, but there was one time at KRCG (in Jeff City) when I was sitting in the control room during a show and a spider dropped from the ceiling onto my leg. I freaked! I brushed it off and stood up in an explosive movement, then stomped it into oblivion, effectively making it one with the carpet.

So yeah, I have arachnophobia. I'd say it's mild, as in I don't go into a panic attack when I encounter one. But I shiver and cringe and shudder. Especially at the movie Arachnophobia. That one gives me the heebie-jeebies like no other.

As I said, though, it really only applies when they catch me by surprise. If I see a garden spider weaving one of their beautiful webs, I have no problem walking up close and looking at it. I'm not within nose distance, mind you, but close enough. I don't mind looking up close at spiders in cages/tanks at the zoo. I've even held a tarantula in my hand (picture below is not my hand).

But what makes spiders so scary? Is it their eight legs? Hairy legs? The other-worldly way in which they walk? The idea of a poisonous spider (even though only about a dozen known spider species are known to have venom harmful to humans)? What makes spiders the thing of nightmares and macabre tales of terror?

What about you? Are you scared of spiders? How badly (scale of 1-10, with 1 being "I like to pet them" and 10 being "Kill them all before I see them")? And more importantly, why are you scared of spiders? What about them scare you specifically? Any bad experiences you want to share?

Like one time, I was laying on the floor watching TV and noticed a bit of movement out of the corner of my eye. I looked at my torso, and sure enough, there was a little spider on me. I did another one of those aforementioned explosive movements.

Okay, Happy Wednesday! May it be spider-free!


Emily S. said…
that's horrifying.

all of it.

and why would include such horrifying photos?

Ha ha! Pushing buttons, you are. :)
Sarah Lambson said…
Okay, Yoda Emily.

So my comment wont be very informative. I would not say that I am afraid of spiders.

I would probably put myself at a 2. Not willing to pet them, but I don't mind picking them up to put them outside if they are inside.

As with most bugs my only problem is when they invade personal space without permission. I think most people would have an explosive reaction if they found a spider or a bug on them.
Peeser said…
Well, I would probably put myself around the middle, maybe as low as a 4, maybe as high as a 5 or 6. Like most people, my main issue is the startle factor because you can't control the unexpected. I always hated walking into spiderwebs while doing the paper route- I would vehemently do a ridiculous panic dance for fear that one of those creepy crawlies might be on me. Likewise, if one of the pops up out of nowhere, I typically squish them into oblivion in a startled panic.

However, they are quite fascinating in a controlled environment. I have held a tarantula on several occasions (I have a picture from my mission of me holding one because an elder dared me to, and I think he ended up being too scared to do it himself...). They are interesting in their own way, and they are useful/helpful in keeping many other pests under control. That is why I now try to keep my startled panic under better control and instead, catch and release the invasive spider back into nature (since I live in a city, I couldn't really say I'm releasing it into the "wild").

That being said, there are still factors about them that creep me out. I think their bodies are kind of freaky-looking (especially those eight eyes and fangs!). There is something rather horrifying about that, and the way they move. I think there is a reason they are often categorized as a "creepy crawly"- because they way the scuttle about is rather creepy.

However, the thing for me that will make spiders the most horrifying is when there are tons of them. Fortunately, this has never been an issue in real life, but in the movies, some of the most horrifying scenes for me are when there are tons of spiders creeping and crawling about (e.g. "The Raiders of the Lost Ark" (Though "Temple of Doom"'s bug tunnel scene where Willie has to put her hand into that seething mass of insects is still tops on my list), "Arachnophobia," "Something Wicked This Way Comes," and I would put "Chamber of Secrets" over the Shelob scene because huge as she is, Shelob is only ONE spider, whereas the "Chamber of Secrets" grosses me out with its masses of huge spiders...)

So there you go, bro- my take on these repugnantly fascinating critters.

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