Saturday, October 12, 2013

Halloween 2013: Urban Legend Week: Spider Tales

Here's one that will keep you awake at night.  Imagine if you will, you are lying in bed when you think you feel something crawl across your cheek. Quickly your hand moves up to brush the offending bug away and you notice it's a spider.  After your obligatory freak-out and squashing of the offending arachnid, you settle back under the covers and try not to have a nightmare about the eight-legged freak.

In the morning, you notice a red spot on your cheek.  Hmm, did the spider bite you?  You go to a doctor and he says never fear, it's a tiny bite but it looks fine and you will survive.  Much to your chagrin however, the red spot grows bigger, into a lump. Several days pass as the lump grows bigger and more painful and it eventually sends you back to the doctor.  He decides to lance the offensive boil, and in the process the lump breaks open and hundreds of tiny spiders burst out. Gah!!

The spider bite  is an urban legend that found its way into folklore sometime around the 60's or 70's, and various versions are whispered at slumber parties and around campfires even today.  Sometimes it's a girl on a foreign beach who doesn't even realize she's been bitten until what she thinks is a pimple bursts forth with spider offspring. In other tales the girl with the "zit" is in the bathtub and the warm water and moist atmosphere cause the spider babies to erupt from their temporary nest.

Another intriguing (and disturbing) urban legend about spiders involves a woman who liked to wear her hair up in a bun.  It was a low-maintenance do and all she had to do was spray it with hairspray and away she'd go.  (Similar legends are told about dreadlocks). One day she noticed her hair was extra itchy and continued like that for several days.  She just kept adding hairspray to keep it under control and decided she'd take it down and wash it at the end of the week.  Unfortunately, her roommate found her dead in bed on Thursday, and when an autopsy was performed, they found hundreds of baby spiders had eaten into her brain.

Horror films always depict spiders as the enemy. The film Arachnophobia was one such movie, taking a spider from South America and mating it with an ordinary house spider to produce a deadly variation. These spiders end up in football helmets, slippers, popcorn, cereal boxes, even the shower to wreak havoc on a small community. 

In sticking to the original tale of spiders crawling out of a wound in the skin, I've found three lovely film clips for your enjoyment.  If you are a major arachnophobe, I'd consider skipping these videos.

In the film The Believers, we are subjected to probably one of the most frightening scenes of horror involving spiders ever. In this voodoo creep-fest starring Martin Sheen, a woman races around her apartment, a huge boil pulsating on her face. You know it isn't going to end well, and it certainly doesn't. Tiny spiders eventually burst out of the ruptured sore. And you know you're never going to sleep that night after watching it.
Did you think you wouldn't have to see it? Come on, you know me better than that: 

Also appallingly distressing is the scene from Urban Legends 3:Bloody Mary (2005), in which the same horrifying incident happens, this one perhaps a little closer to the legend and not so much connected to voodoo.  A young woman decides to pop a zit, with shocking (and outrageous) consequences.
If you can take it, here it is: 

And I've got one more for you.  In this scene from The Mist, the group of survivors head to the pharmacy adjacent to their grocery store refuge for some medical supplies when they are transfixed by a gigantic web formation, and are horrified to find some of their friends ensnared in the webs.  But it doesn't end at that...

And I think I'll just leave it at that...


Joseph J. Patchen said...

That was my fear as a small child. I remember one night while I was reading via flashlight and a large cricket appeared on my pillow. I was so surprised,laundry had to be done.

Oz said...

Great post and Blog Christine, congratulations from:

Christine Hadden said...

Joseph: Perhaps ironically, whilst sitting on the toilet the day I wrote this post, a spider appeared right in front of me - it had descended from the ceiling and was right in front of my face - and I was in the most vulnerable position ever. NOT a pleasant experience! Hehe!

And thanks for stopping by and for the kind words, Oz!