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posted on Aug, 21 2008 @ 09:55 PM

I have a phobia of spiders. My mother was afraid of spiders, too. I guess that's where I got it from. Funny thing, I wasn't really afraid when it all started. In the movies and on TV you see tarantulas crawling all over people, and they don't hurt them. They even sell them in pet stores!
Anyway, it all started one Summer afternoon when I was cleaning out the garage. I picked up an almost empty dog food bag to throw it out, and noticed something moving in the bottom of it. I tilted the bag towards the light and saw a baby tarantula moving around slowly, and perhaps weakly. Who knows how long it had been trapped in the bag? For some strange reason, considering my arachnophobia, I felt sorry for it. Instead of killing it, or rolling the bag up and throwing it in the trash, I took it out to the front lawn and dumped the spider out onto the grass. I even stayed around to watch for a few minutes, and he started to crawl around a little bit. I hoped he would live and went back to the garage.
A couple of hours later, job finished, I wandered back out to see if I could find the little tarantula. He was easy to find, and quite dead, all curled up like spiders do when they die. Considering all of the spiders I have fearfully or hatefully killed in my lifetime, I haven't the foggiest notion today why I should have wanted that one to live, but I did, and for some reason it annoyed me that he had died. I kicked angrily at the dead body - kicked it out in to the street and left it there. I thought that was the end of it at the time, but today I'm not so sure.
Several weeks later I was collecting roach motels - I didn't use spray or powders because of our little dog Mitzi and the canary. I'll never forget the time Shadow ate mouse poison and almost died. Well, anyway, I was collecting the sticky traps and putting out new ones, and the last one was unusually heavy. I looked inside it curiously, then dropped it and screamed. A moment later I felt silly because the thing was dead, but then I do have this phobia. It was a small tarantula, just a little bigger than the one I'd found in the dog food bag. It startled me in more ways than one; I'd never before seen two so close together, and I'd never seen one in the house at all before. I saved it and showed it to Matt when he got home, but he just laughed and said he bet it scared me. He knows how I am about spiders.
Only a few days after that incident, I found the dead mouse. You know, we always get a few mice when the weather starts to turn cold. Usually I trap them in glue traps and use alcohol to free them and turn them loose in the park. Even Matt thinks I'm crazy, but I just don't like to kill things - except spiders, of course. Well, this dead mouse was weird. It was dried up, almost mummified, as if it had been dead for weeks or longer, but the traps had only been out for a week! It bothered me enough that I saved it to show to Matt. It puzzled him too, but he didn't seem to think it was important, so I threw it away. At the time I didn't make the connection, but maybe it wouldn't have made any difference anyway.
Mitzi was a Miniature Schnauzer, the second one I'd had. People lump them in with Yorkies and poodles and such, but really they're born hunters and killers. In Germany they still have ratting trials for them, where they put the dog in a pit with a number of rats and the dog who kills the most rats in the alloted time wins. Mitzi would have done well at it, I thought. She chased mice and birds and anything small that moved. She even chased moths and flies and sometimes caught one. Anyway, every once in a while a mouse would get inside the walls of the old house and drive her crazy. She could hear it, and maybe smell it, but she couldn't get to it. She would follow it around, barking like crazy and digging at the walls.
The night after I found the mummified mouse, Mitzi went into her mouse-in-the-wall routine, but Matt and I couldn't hear anything, and this creature seemed to be moving much slower than the mice usually did. You know, I actually suggested to Matt that it might be a tarantula, but he just laughed and said tarantulas don't live in houses like some spiders do, and that it was just my phobia acting up. I shrugged and let it go outwardly, but inwardly I was thinking about the dead one I'd found in the roach motel.
Well, what could he have done to change anything, even if he had believed me then? Later, after it got much worse, I did every thing I possibly could and nothing helped, so why should I agonize now or try to cast blame? It probably wouldn't have made any difference anyway.
Matt was at home when I found the third one, and it was a good thing for me that he was. I screamed and screamed and he had to hold me for a long time before I calmed down. How could a big spider like that get into the house, let alone into the toilet? It had drowned, of course, but I hadn't known that when I first saw it. It was bigger than the other two, maybe even an adult. I'd read that the tarantulas native to Oklahoma are quite small as tarantulas go, but it looked huge to me at the time.
The next morning I called a pest control company for the first time. He didn't exactly laugh at me, but he very patiently and condescendingly explained to me that tarantulas don't live in houses. Temporary thing during the late Fall, ma'am, you'll stop seeing them as soon as the weather turns a bit colder. That's what he told me. I wasn't satisfied - the one in the toilet had scared me too badly - but what could I say to a guy like that? He was convinced he knew better, and I couldn't have changed his mind.
There was another slow and quiet mouse in the walls that day, and I finally took Mitzi for a long walk in the park to get her away from it. When we returned it was gone, or at least Mitzi didn't find it again.
A week passed without incident, and then I got another bad scare. This one was stuck to the roach motel under the sink, but it was so big it didn't even fit inside it. I nearly touched it when I reached in to get the stainless steel cleaner, and it took Matt a very long time to calm me down. "Under the sink! Under the SINK!" I blubbered over and over. (You'd have thought "under the sink" was some sacred temple it had desecrated, Matt joked later.) "What if it had still been alive? It could have BITTEN me!!"
Matt reminded me at length that tarantulas aren't all that venomous, not like black widows or brown recluses; it just hurts if they bite you because they have bigger fangs.
"What a comforting thought!" I shouted back angrily. "Never mind the damn venom! I'd have dropped dead on the spot of a heart attack!"
The next morning I called a different pest control company and told them I had a spider problem. Didn't have to specify what kind, now did I? Matt's mother kept Mitzi and the canary for a few days, and they sprayed the whole house with the strongest stuff they're allowed to use.
"Kill the biggest spider you'll ever see!" joked the man when I questioned him about the potency. He surely had no idea, but it reassured me just the same.
The day after I picked up Mitzi and the canary, we had our first hard freeze for the winter; it got down below 25 degrees three nights in a row. Between that and the spraying, I thought surely the spider business was over and even managed to stop inspecting the toilet before I would sit on it.
Then I returned home from running errands for Matt's mother one afternoon and found Mitzi with a prize. No, it wasn't a spider, but another mummified mouse. Obviously she hadn't killed it but had found it somewhere, and she seemed to know there was something wrong about it. She wouldn't play with it and hadn't chewed on it or bitten into it at all; she just laid it at my feet as though it were something she thought I should see.
I saved it for Matt, of course, and made a big fuss about it when he got home. He was of the opinion that the powerful pesticides had killed it, but I still felt uneasy. How would pesticide cause such emaciation? The mouse appeared to be almost completely dried out, just a shell of skin and fur over bones. Well, there was nothing else I could say about it; his mind was made up. I resolved to stay on my guard and keep quiet until I had more evidence.
Every so often I want to rearrange the furniture, a procedure which Matt hated and always complained about, but eventually he gave in. We were in the process of doing it that Sunday afternoon, with much grumbling from Matt, when we made a horrifying discovery. Under the couch and recliner there were three more tarantula bodies! Matt assured me that the fact they were dead proved that the pesticide had killed them all and that I had nothing more to fear, but I thought I detected a touch of doubt.
Then Matt was the one who got a scare, and for a while I thought he might become convinced that something was going on, but by the next morning he was over it. He doesn't have the phobia, you see. Matt had run himself a bath and then gotten involved in a TV show and left the water unattended. When he finally went back to warm up the water and get in the tub, there was a drowned tarantula floating in his bathwater. For a little while it even shook him up, since it must have been in the bathroom when he ran the water.

posted on Aug, 21 2008 @ 09:58 PM
I argued with him until late that night that we ought to get more professional help, or even move out of the house, but he was having none of it. Even after getting a scare himself, he insisted that I was unreasonably obsessed because of my phobia.
I was beginning to have some strange thoughts, not the least of which was the recurring fear that something terrible would happen the first time I saw one of them while it was still alive. The fact that I was only seeing dead ones had worried me for some time; I fancied that it was all part of some terrible purpose on the part of the spiders. But then everyone knows that spiders don't have any sort of intelligence - how could they have a purpose?
Mitzi began to be bothered almost daily by the slow, quiet mice in the walls that I suspected weren't mice at all, and I began to take her and myself out of the house as much as possible during the day. We found no more dead tarantulas, but somehow instead of feeling relieved I was only frightened the more.
One Saturday afternoon Matt was making himself a sandwich when the phone rang, and when he returned from talking to his mother the sandwich meat was gone. Matt blamed it on Mitzi, but I was quite sure that Mitzi had been in the living room with me the whole time. I didn't dare suggest to Matt that a spider had taken his lunchmeat, but I was privately convinced that that was the case.
That night Mitzi couldn't sleep, and wouldn't let us sleep. She stayed in the bedroom with us, but kept prowling the walls and whining. Matt finally exiled her to the living room, saying that he had to get some sleep. About a half hour later, she began to bark, and then whine and howl. Matt said she just wanted back in the bedroom and would stop after a bit if we ignored her. I would have gone to her anyway, but Matt held me back. He never loved Mitzi like I did; I got her when she was only five weeks old. When she started to scream, though, we both jumped out of bed and ran for the living room.
Have you ever heard a dog scream? It's unmistakable, and quite awful. When we got to Mitzi, she was cowering in a corner of the living room, still whimpering, but there was no sign of what had caused her to scream like that. Matt turned on all the lights and even got out the flashlight to look for what had so terrified her, but he found nothing. I examined Mitzi in the meantime but also found nothing. Of course she was grown out shaggy for winter and it would have been difficult for me to find anything under all that hair.
Eventually Matt went back to bed and I went to make myself a cup of chamomile tea. Twenty minutes and a cup of tea later, I walked back into the living room on my way to bed when I saw Mitzi. Oh, my poor baby! I hope I never see a dog suffer like that again as long as I live, and I guess now I never will.
We threw on our clothes and rushed her to the animal emergency clinic, but we were too late. Then Matt had to take me to the hospital for a sedative shot. I kept screaming about spiders even after the shot, and was so insistent about not returning to the house that Matt finally relented and took me to a motel for the rest of the night.
I don't think Matt ever believed it, even after the necropsy report on Mitzi said she'd died of an allergic reaction to a bite they found on her leg that was probably some type of insect or spider, but I knew the spiders had killed her. He did agree to have the house fumigated even though it meant spending several days at his mother's, but maybe that was just to pacify me.
I argued, cried, and threw fits, but in the end I was forced to return to the house. We really had nowhere else to go, and Matt was convinced that the fumigation must have killed any spiders that might have been in the house. Besides, he pointed out, if it was a spider it probably wasn't a tarantula. After all, tarantulas don't live in houses, and they are solitary spiders who don't live in groups.
With Mitzi gone, I stayed out of the house as much as possible, doing volunteer work and visiting anyone who would put up with me. Matt wanted me to get another dog, but I refused. No matter what anyone said, I knew the damn spiders weren't gone, and if I got another dog they'd just kill it, too. I was beginning to wonder if they were going to get me, one way or another.
I had spent many long hours thinking about it all, and I had arrived at the admittedly somewhat bizarre conclusion that another tarantula had witnessed my treatment of that very first baby tarantula, the one that had been trapped in the dog food bag, and misinterpreted it. A witness to that scene, I reasoned, would naturally assume that I had intentionally killed the little one and then even abused the dead body. The problem was that I had no way to communicate with the spiders, no way to explain the truth about that afternoon. Oh, if I had only rolled up the dog food bag and just thrown it in the trash! But it was by then much too late for that.
Matt was their next victim. Of course the death certificate didn't say "killed by tarantulas." That would have been a real news item, wouldn't it? No, it said that he died of a heart attack. No one except me was surprised, considering his age, weight, and many bad habits. The detective listened to me patiently and even examined the strange little tracks in the spilled paint on Matt's desk for me, but that was before the autopsy findings came back. Once they had the heart attack finding, they said that Matt had spilled the paint himself and made the so-called tracks with his brush. Heart attack victims sometimes have convulsions as they die, they explained.
I knew better, but how could I prove it? I knew that the damn spiders had quietly surrounded Matt while he was immersed in his painting, and then literally scared him to death. You wouldn't have to have a phobia to be frightened in a situation like that, would you?
After the funeral, I put the house up for sale and moved all the way across town into a small apartment. I tried to put it all behind me and start a new life. I might have even gotten another dog, I think, except that the apartment building didn't allow pets. Now I am glad I didn't.
It has been almost seven months since Matt's death, a little over a year since the fateful Summer afternoon when I found a dying baby tarantula in a dog food bag. I have given the spiders more credit for intelligence and purpose than anyone else I'd ever heard of, but even I thought I had escaped any additional vengeance by leaving the house. It would take much more intelligence than any spiders, even collectively, had to find me after I moved across town, wouldn't it?
Now, of course, I know that the damn spiders are much smarter than anyone suspects. Today as I was checking the glue traps I put out for the roaches, I found a dead baby tarantula in one of them. I knew what it meant, knew without even thinking about it. It had taken them a while, but they'd found me. And this time there was only me left for them to get.
Well, I have the two bottles of sleeping pills here that the doctors gave me after Matt died. I had stopped taking them so I now have quite a large supply, surely enough to do the job. I know no one is going to believe me, but I had to try to explain anyway. I'm sure you will all just think I was crazy, but I'm not.
I'm not a coward either, or at least I don't think I am, but I just can't let the damn spiders get me, and I know there is no other way to escape them. Going to sleep and never waking up isn't so bad. God forgive me, but I just can't face the thought of the spiders getting me. I do have this phobia, you know.

posted on Aug, 25 2008 @ 11:32 AM
It just kept getting scarier and scarier. While I was reading Part II, the
air conditioner came on and blew at my hair. I could've SWORN there was
a spider on the back of my neck right then ! Scared the bejesus out of
me !

posted on Aug, 25 2008 @ 05:11 PM
reply to post by SIEGE

Thank you so much for reading my story and for taking the time to comment.

I really hope you enjoyed it! Thanks!


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