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Julian Karswell
07-17-2009, 08:16 PM
Am I alone in thinking that it's wrong to kill spiders?

I'll happily swat a troublesome fly or pesky mosquito; I'll gently entice a beetle or earwig onto a piece of paper and release it back into the garden; but when I encounter a spider, the hairs stand up on the back of my neck, and out of sheer dread and terror, I will carefully capture said arachnid in a suitably commodious receptacle and release it back into the wild at the very bottom of the garden.

Irrationally, I worry that killing spiders is wrong. I am terrifed that God is a spider, or that spiders will pursue me in my nightmares.

JK

Some terrifying spider stories:

'Tenebrae' by Ernest Henham
'The Spider' by Clive Pemberton
'The Return Of The King' by J R R Tolkein [Shleob]
'The Fly' (film by Kurt Neumann)
[Another short story that has irritatingly eluded memory.]

Evans
07-17-2009, 08:44 PM
[Another short story that has irritatingly eluded memory.]

Blasted James.. There's that one he mentions in the foreword to one of his books. By a french author - Crab Spider I think it was.

On the Tolkein front there's the other giant spider deity from The Silmarillion.

Andrea Bonazzi
07-17-2009, 09:05 PM
I'm still a bit aracnophobic, as once I said in a "TLO member interview," so I can have strange reactions finding abruptly a spider just under my nose. But when it literally happened, was rather a comedy (even if not from the spider's point of view). I wiped up my face with a towel, in bath, feeling something solid and rough against my cheek. And then, -- plonk! -- A respectable-sized spider fell from the towel in the bath's water. I'm sorry to say that the poor beast drowned, while I was still frozen by surprise forgetting to breath for an eternity and half.

Stories like H.H. Ewers' The Spider, or Jeremias Gotthelf's The Black Spider, have always some creepy effect on me. Starting from the titles!

Soukesian
07-18-2009, 08:32 AM
"Blasted James.. There's that one he mentions in the foreword to one of his books. By a french author - Crab Spider I think it was."

Erckmann-Chatrian - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Erckmann-Chatrian)

Lovecraft namechecked this story as well, and it was very hard to find until the Hugh Lamb anthology was reissued.

Shadowy spider gods and spider things lurk throughout the work of Fritz Leiber. And there is a terrifyingly mad and powerful spider entity in China Mieville's 'Perdido Street Station'.

Odalisque
07-18-2009, 10:44 AM
I rather like spiders. Their habit of eating flies suits me very well, and (as far as I know) a spider has never done me any harm. I have a feeling that it's both wrong and unlucky to kill spiders, and I have never (in all my life) deliberately killed one.

When I see a spider in the house, I am content to allow it to go about its business. I suspect, though, that Sam (my cat) may eat them.

Such things as bees I do try to remove from the house, trying hard to do so without harming them.

G. S. Carnivals
07-18-2009, 06:37 PM
When I was about eleven, I awoke one morning with a spider on my face. I was horrified and repulsed. A fear of spiders carried on into my teens and twenties. If I encountered the word "spider" in a book while reading, I couldn't turn the page fast enough. Reading The Book of Fritz Leiber as a teen meant careful placement of my fingers on the cover, as a spider was pictured there. I was obsessively morbid about my fear of spiders. I have become more tolerant and less fearful of our arachnid friends over the years. However, if I'm going to read anything from my Neville Spearman edition of Lost Worlds by Clark Ashton Smith, the dust jacket is coming off. It depicts a big hairy eight-legger... :eek:, :eek:, and :eek:!

otaku
07-19-2009, 03:35 AM
I only kill spiders if asked to by others who are uncomfortable by the spiders presence but as for myself I don't mind them at all.

Slurp Spider
07-19-2009, 05:58 AM
Am I alone in thinking that it's wrong to kill spiders?

No, you are absolutely not alone! It is obvious that killing spiders is very wrong! Almost 100% of humans kill their first spider in childhood and over 97% become serial spider killers already in their early teens. A typical serial spider killer is male.

Reasons for killing spiders:

60% --> persuaded by females
21% --> by accident
10% --> on impulse
0.5% --> superstition
0.01% (!!!)--> Self-defence
8,5 % --> Other

Behind most of these reasons (except for "by accident" and "self-defence") lies arachnophobia. As a member of Arachnophobiaphobia Foundation (promoting equality and tolerance among arachnids and humans) I encourage everyone who suffers from the fear of spiders to purchase Cure Spider Phobia mp3 hypnosis. It is currently the most accessible and effective way to overcome the horrible irrational phobia which constitutes the source of so much unnecessary suffering on this planet. Just go to Overcome Fear of Spiders / Phobia | Hypnosis Downloads.com (http://www.hypnosisdownloads.com/downloads/phobias_fears/spider_phobia.html) and make the world a less frightening place... for all of us!

http://www.ligotti.net/picture.php?albumid=34&pictureid=1514


Irrationally, I worry that killing spiders is wrong. I am terrifed that God is a spider, or that spiders will pursue me in my nightmares.

Here is a passage from The Seven Geases by Clark Ashton Smith:
The dark form ran toward him with incredible swiftness. When it came near he saw that there was a kind of face on the squat ebon body, low down amid the several-jointed legs. The face peered up with a weird expression of doubt and inquiry; and terror crawled through the veins of the bold huntsman as he met the small, crafty eyes that were circled about with hair. Thin, shrill, piercing as a sting, there spoke to him the voice of the spider-god Atlach-Nacha (...)

Julian Karswell
07-19-2009, 06:02 AM
"Blasted James.. There's that one he mentions in the foreword to one of his books. By a french author - Crab Spider I think it was."

Erckmann-Chatrian - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Erckmann-Chatrian)

Lovecraft namechecked this story as well, and it was very hard to find until the Hugh Lamb anthology was reissued.

Shadowy spider gods and spider things lurk throughout the work of Fritz Leiber. And there is a terrifyingly mad and powerful spider entity in China Mieville's 'Perdido Street Station'.

There are several references to spiders in James' work. There are the hideous vampire spiders created by Mrs Mothersole in The Ash-tree; in Canon Alberic's Scrapbook the demonic creature is said to resemble 'one of those large bird-eating spiders of South America'; cobwebs cover the eyeballs of the ghost in The Tractate Middoth; and for me, the constant references to the pale skin of his revenants, usually covered by a thin coarse matting of dark hair, is often spidery.

I suspect that James had a perfect horror of insects and crawling things - there is a large beetle creature in one of his tales which arguably references Richard Marsh's magnum opus The Beetle - all creatures associated with the crypt and the grave. James' obsessive yet aloof interest in ecclesiastical matters - to say nothing of the spiritual comfort he took from cosy rituals like Christmas services - is counter-balanced by his almost subconscious repulsion for the physical reality of death which the church exemplifies. Thus his fear of insects could be both a tactile reaction to their shape and for, in addition to a deeper anxiety about death in all of its physical horror i.e. rotting corpses being munched upon by the worm and insect world.

James' work has often been considered from a Freudian perspective but this simple horror of the grave is arguably one of the most compelling influences on his writing. James' father was a rector and James the boy would have grown up with death all around him, far more so than a typical child. It's interesting that there is a headstone in the church at Great Livermere (where his father ministrated) bearing the name of a Mothersole, and that the bleak, eerie park which abuts the churchyard - an abandoned Eden comprising a desolate expanse and a neglected man-made mere where once there stood a fine country house owned by a former Prime Minister and a landscaped deer-park replete with a scultured, serpentine river - is similar to those featured in The Ash-tree and Lost Hearts.

Perhaps James the child was both repulsed and fascinated by his father's ministrations over the dead. It's easy to imagine James peeking out through his bedroom window as the burials took place, with that bleak landscape in the background, and that he would spend time exploring the cobwebbed and spidery corners of the church itself.

JK

bendk
07-19-2009, 06:44 AM
I am a live and let live type of guy, but I do admit to killing one spider within the last 10 years or so. There was a large web near the headboard of my bed between the wall and a dresser. I finally caught sight of the spider and he was huge. Not in comparison to me, of course, but as domestic spiders go. After a few failed efforts, I caught him and put him outside. A few days later, there it was again, inside the house and in its web. I caught it again and put it outside. This time I destroyed the web. I did not see any eggs or any other spiders. I was a little paranoid by this time and I checked around my bed to see if it was around. I was about ready to go to sleep when I pulled up my comforter that was against the wall and there he was! Not a foot from my pillow. That was it. Enough is enough. I squashed him. He was intent on revenge and I felt I had no choice.

I hope this next story redeems me somewhat in the eyes of spider lovers. My toilet was on the fritz so I had the cover off the top of it. The chain in the back kept getting bunched up. Well, one morning I was brushing my teeth and I saw a spider climb down the wall, onto the toilet, and into the water. He then pulled his legs in and started sinking. At first I thought he was diving to some secret lair, but he just reached a certain depth and remained there. Relentless do-gooder that I am, I fished him out and gave him an unconvincing lecture on how things are not as bad as they seem, the sun will shine tomorrow, etc.. (My heart is never in this type of thing and I think it can be detected). He drip-dried and then proceeded to crawl back into the water. He pulled in his legs again and began to sink. This time I let him and he succeeded in offing himself. I fished him out again but he was a goner. So, yes, spiders do commit suicide. Consciousness, it seems, even on an arachnid level, is sometimes unbearable.

qcrisp
07-19-2009, 10:21 AM
I think the one time in my life that I have threatened to kill someone and meant it was when I was afraid that they might get their pet spider near me.

I am, thankfully, not as afraid of spiders as once I was, but then again, I almost regret that fact, as the fear itself was fascinating in its intensity.

I also think it's wrong to kill spiders, perhaps in the same way it was wrong for the men of Sarnath to kill the repulsive inhabitants of Ib.

Odalisque
07-19-2009, 10:27 AM
I finally caught sight of the spider and he was huge. Not in comparison to me, of course, but as domestic spiders go.

I think that the larger spiders are she, rather than he.

Julian Karswell
07-19-2009, 12:01 PM
I am a live and let live type of guy, but I do admit to killing one spider within the last 10 years or so. There was a large web near the headboard of my bed between the wall and a dresser. I finally caught sight of the spider and he was huge. Not in comparison to me, of course, but as domestic spiders go. After a few failed efforts, I caught him and put him outside. A few days later, there it was again, inside the house and in its web. I caught it again and put it outside. This time I destroyed the web. I did not see any eggs or any other spiders. I was a little paranoid by this time and I checked around my bed to see if it was around. I was about ready to go to sleep when I pulled up my comforter that was against the wall and there he was! Not a foot from my pillow. That was it. Enough is enough. I squashed him. He was intent on revenge and I felt I had no choice.

I hope this next story redeems me somewhat in the eyes of spider lovers. My toilet was on the fritz so I had the cover off the top of it. The chain in the back kept getting bunched up. Well, one morning I was brushing my teeth and I saw a spider climb down the wall, onto the toilet, and into the water. He then pulled his legs in and started sinking. At first I thought he was diving to some secret lair, but he just reached a certain depth and remained there. Relentless do-gooder that I am, I fished him out and gave him an unconvincing lecture on how things are not as bad as they seem, the sun will shine tomorrow, etc.. (My heart is never in this type of thing and I think it can be detected). He drip-dried and then proceeded to crawl back into the water. He pulled in his legs again and began to sink. This time I let him and he succeeded in offing himself. I fished him out again but he was a goner. So, yes, spiders do commit suicide. Consciousness, it seems, even on an arachnid level, is sometimes unbearable.

Alternatively, the second spider could have heard about what you did to the first spider, and decided to kill itself because it thought you were going to squash him.........

Jeff Coleman
07-22-2009, 07:55 PM
A friend of mine (the guy from the lsd story I posted in the Supernatural Experiences thread) had/has a peculiar interest in spiders.

He moved to a different state years ago. He became fascinated with spiders, and would call me and tell me long stories about his interactions with the spider people of his house. He thought he was communicating with them through gestures made by himself and the spiders. He said once that he had a suspicion that spiders are "the primary intelligences of the universe," or something like that. I don't remember the exact words.

I don't mean to imply that I think he was/is crazy. Based on my experiences with him, I am inclined to give his weirder theories the benefit of the doubt.

I think part of the fascination with spiders is their vocation as web-spinners. They can be seen as god/gods, spinning out the fabric of the universe.

I think there is a scene in Crowley's Moonchild, near the end of the book, at the peak, where he sees a spider-god weaving the web of reality. I haven't been able to find the passage when searching through the book afterwards, so I don't know if I am just imagining it. I like to think the book made me imagine things into it.

Spiders also play a big part in Michael Bertiaux's work, or so I gather, not having read much of it.

All this makes me somewhat superstitious about spiders. At least, it makes me (I'm going to regret overanalyzing this word) respect them.

Yesterday, me and my dad were admiring a spider web, and my dad wondered out loud why he has respect for the spider, and little sympathy for the insects caught in its web. He, or we, or me just now, decided that it was because the spider seemed to display more advanced consciousness. Awareness of time. The spider waits, while the flying insects float mindlessly in the wind, forgetting everything from one moment to the next, carried by the whims of chance into the web that was made for them.

Odalisque
07-23-2009, 03:25 AM
I finally caught sight of the spider and he was huge. Not in comparison to me, of course, but as domestic spiders go.

I think that the larger spiders are she, rather than he.

As understand matters, female spiders are apt to eat the male ones (either after, or instead of, mating). It isn't hard to think of human males who would be vastly improved by being eaten by their wives.

yellowish haze
07-23-2009, 05:27 AM
So, yes, spiders do commit suicide. Consciousness, it seems, even on an arachnid level, is sometimes unbearable.Some 6 years ago had a small whitebanded Tarantula, which I named Orlok. I only had it for two weeks. One day I took it for a walk in the bathroom (where there are no nooks or cranies for it to hide). Unfortunately, the silly spider climbed a wall which was rather slippery and fell on the stone floor. I really thought that such predators would know better where they should climb and where not to. I put it back it its terrarium and found it dead next morning.
I remember feeling terribly sorry for it and responsible for its "suicide".

Before that time I don't remember ever suffering from arachnophobia. Unfortunately, Orlok during his short stay has managed to infuse some of the fear, mainly because the hairy creature was so venomous. I remember repeatedly getting up late at night just to check if I secured the small trap door of the terrarium lest I should wake up with it in my bed. The thought gave me nightmares for months later. It's ghostly presence is still haunting my dreams.

Joel
07-23-2009, 12:40 PM
Killing spiders is both pointless and dangerous. Because all the other spiders will know. Spiders are witnesses to all our crimes. They relay our secrets to all their friends on the Web.

qcrisp
07-23-2009, 02:10 PM
Killing spiders is both pointless and dangerous. Because all the other spiders will know. Spiders are witnesses to all our crimes. They relay our secrets to all their friends on the Web.

Yes, exactly! So true.

Nemonymous
07-23-2009, 02:21 PM
Killing spiders is both pointless and dangerous. Because all the other spiders will know. Spiders are witnesses to all our crimes. They relay our secrets to all their friends on the Web.

Yes, exactly! So true.

And 'The Terrible Changes' have it so, too.