There are more things in heaven and earth, Horatio,

Than are dreamt of in your philosophy.

– Hamlet

 

 

A few months ago, late at night in my house – in my kitchen to be exact – I witnessed the most horrific thing I’ve ever seen.

To be quite honest, it’s months later now and I am still not anywhere near right in the head after seeing what I saw. I started to write about it a while back, right after it happened, but I couldn’t bring myself to remember it, much less write about it, because writing about something requires, in a way, reliving it.

By the time I could write about it, it was already the holiday season and this definitely wasn’t something anyone needed to be writing about or reading about during the cheery Christmas season. So that’s why I haven’t written about it.

Until now.

Like I said, I’m still extremely shaky from what happened, but at least I am finally to the point where I can write about it.

It happened well past midnight – about 1:30 a.m. – in late October. I was getting ready to turn in for the night and I was walking through my kitchen when I saw, right in the middle of the beige floor, this big, fat, hairy black spider. (I later concluded it to be a wolf spider.)

Now, this in itself was extremely weird because you don’t usually see a spider just sitting there in the middle of the floor. Generally, they are off to the side near some crevice or whatever, and, as a rule of thumb, if they’re out in the open and you’re walking toward them, they move very fast away from you so as not to be killed by a human.

Now, I don’t like spiders one bit – I hate them in fact. But I have seen enough of them before that I know how to deal with them and I assure you I am not some scared little Miss Muffet. So, while I didn’t like having a spider in the middle of my kitchen, I did know how to handle it and I wasn’t afraid of doing what needed to be done.

Trying not to alarm the still stationary spider, I tiptoed ever so softly across the kitchen floor toward it. As I approached the large spider, it still didn’t run or even move. I was now just one step away and, not trying to make any sudden moves, I slooooooooowly lifted my foot…

Now, think for a minute. What is the very worst thing that can happen if you step on a spider? You miss and it gets away? You miss and it crawls up your leg and bites you?

No, no, no – those are all fine guesses but I assure you you are not even close. Trust me, there is something much more horrible that can happen.

And the thing is, before it happened to me that night, I had never even heard of such a thing happening. Even while I was witnessing it with my own eyes, I had no idea what was going on. I was simply in a complete state of horrid disbelief and confusion and, at first, I literally didn’t believe my eyes. I thought maybe I was going mad, because there was no way I was seeing what I was seeing.

Here’s what happened…

I lifted my foot in the air to come down on the spider and, suddenly and forcefully, I slammed my foot down on top of it, and, when I did, the spider exploded into hundreds of other spiders that ran frantically in every direction along the floor, sailed through the air and scurried up my leg and everywhere else.

I never have to worry about having a heart attack because if I were ever in my life going to have one it would have been then. Totally horrified and confused, I flew into a state of utter panic. Keep in mind that I had no idea what was happening. I just knew I had stepped on this spider and now there were creatures everywhere. My mind was racing. What is flying through the air? What is happening? How can this be possible? What are these things? Where did they come from? What do I do? My floor, my cabinets, my leg, walls were covered in spiders. It was like a dream sequence in a truly terrifying horror movie.

My total confusion added to the shock. I figured out later that these were spiders but, at the time, all I could think was that it was impossible because there was no way in the world all of these creatures covering my kitchen came from the one spider on my kitchen floor.

At the time it was happening, I only knew that, for some horrifying and mind-boggling reason, I was surrounded by and covered with terrible creatures that I had to kill. At first, I began stomping on them but then I realized they were scurrying everywhere and I could not get them all that way, so I opened the kitchen sink and pulled out a can of Raid. I sprayed it wildly like a drunk fireman on the verge of losing control of a powerful pulsing water hose.

Finally, covered in cold sweat and dead baby spiders, I surveyed the mess. I sat down and opened my MacBook and typed “Exploding spiders” into the search bar, because that was the best description I could come up with. That’s when I found an Australian video from 2015 called “Spider explodes and hundreds of babies spread across Australian man’s floor.”

There were several similar videos by people who had had the same terrifying experience I’d had, but there weren’t very many, so I guess it is a rare event, which is a good thing because no one should ever have to go through something like that. I watched the videos and realized what had just happened to me. I read up on the phenomenon too. Apparently, some types of spiders give birth to hundreds of offspring and then carry them around on their back.

Since the incident in my kitchen, I’ve told some people what had happened and no one I found had ever heard of such a thing. But then I told Guilford County Facilities, Parks and Property Management Director Robert McNiece, who stopped me mid-sentence and asked me if the story ended with hundreds of baby spiders everywhere. He said that, years ago, he stepped on a spider – I think he said it was in his basement – and the same thing happened.

So, apparently, it’s happened before in North America but I hope that, in my lifetime, I never see anything remotely like that again. Because, like I said, I am still not right in the head.

Anyway, the next time you see a spider, you might want to think twice, or even thrice, before stepping on it. Never, ever, as long as you live, forget about what happened to me, not to mention what happened to Little Miss Muffet. And, in her case, the only thing she was doing was minding her own business sitting on a tuffet.

 

Parisian Promenade at Bicentennial Garden