In which I am scarred for life

By Mir
July 14, 2006

Today was a positively magnificent day. MAGNIFICENT. Superb. Stupendous. Roget would have a field day with the last 24 hours, so replete with fantabulous synonyms as it was.

I got a decent night’s sleep. Work is going well. The children behaved. I finished up a bunch of things I’d been putting off. People, MY HAIR LOOKED GOOD. I am so not kidding you about what a good day it was.

In fact, I was even able to get my sitter on short notice for a choir rehearsal I hadn’t known we were having tonight. This was a good thing, because apparently we’re having some sort of Big Thing this summer for which we’re singing approximately ninety pieces of music that I’ve never seen before. Even THAT was perfectly fine. There was iced tea at rehearsal! I love iced tea!

Because we were rehearsing at not-our-regular-location in a different town, a friend came to my house and carpooled with me. Upon our return to my house I begged her to stay for a little while, because as we all know, when I manage to trap another adult in my house I am loathe to let them escape. She considered this while I chatted with the sitter and sent her on her way, and then decided that really she should get home because of [fill in this part with some reasonable explanation of things she needed to do, underscored with the sounds of me weeping].

Naturally, we were chatting, and she walked towards the door, and I walked with her, and I opened the door for her, and she stepped out onto the front porch, and we were STILL chatting, so I stepped out after her and closed the door behind me so as not to let any bugs into the house.

HAHAHAHA. No bugs! (You’ll see why that’s so funny, in a second.)

I think we both saw it at the same moment: Where this morning there had been nothing but empty air—how foolish, just SPACE sitting there out on my porch!—there was now an impressive spiderweb stretching between one of the lights by the side of the door and my windchimes (which hang off the edge of the overhang, maybe six feet away).

Let’s be clear here: I like spiders. Spiders eat other, ickier bugs. I am ALL FOR spiders. Usually. Because, you see, usually spiders AREN’T THE SIZE OF MY FIST.

In the middle of this magnificent web sat what was either a teeny pulsing brain or the biggest spider I have ever seen in my entire life outside of a tarantula.

I know. I KNOW. “That Mir,” you’re thinking. “She likes to make with the hyperbole. Surely it wasn’t that big of a deal. Probably just an overgrown house spider. Now she’s gonna tell this whole story like it was some monster. Sheesh.”

Well… judge for yourself. (I don’t suggest clicking on that link if you have a weak heart or small children in the vicinity.)

My friend and I stood on the porch and SCREAMED LIKE LITTLE GIRLS. And then when we were done with that? I ran inside for the essential tools of Bug Slaying.

1) A flashlight. (It was sort of dark. I think I was still hoping that this HERMIT CRAB lodged in the spider web would turn out to be… maybe a pinecone! Or an old shoe!)

2) My camera. (I needed photographic evidence even though I was completely squicked out. Perhaps even BECAUSE I was completely squicked out.)

3) Ant spray. (Well I wasn’t going to TOUCH IT, and clearly it NEEDED TO DIE.)

The flashlight confirmed that this creature was, indeed, spider-like. Do spiders dislike light? What about mutant alien spiders with pulsing brains on their backs? This one scuttled up the web to the light fixture as soon as we started our investigation. I snapped a few photos and asked my friend if she was ready for the slaying. She confirmed that she was.

I let loose with the industrial ant spray. I sprayed and sprayed and sprayed and sprayed.

For my trouble, I received: A very wet, pissed off mutant spider thing. Who is clearly NOT AN ANT.

My trespasser expressed its outrage by climbing ever higher in an effort to escape the stupid humans who thought ant spray might defeat it. Really, all the spray did was cause it to flick its many hairy leg-tentacles all around in INDIGNATION, and we stood on the edge of the porch and twitched and cringed and shrieked a little.

Alright. So ant spray wasn’t going to do the job. My friend suggested getting a broom and beating it to death. I countered that I had two issues with that plan: First, that actually TOUCHING it—even with an implement—would surely cause me to burst into flames, convulse, and die. And second, that that would be useful, because she could then use the associated fire to BURN THE BROOM afterwards. I just couldn’t bring myself to do it.

But! I had some wasp and hornet spray! So I figured I would try that, because, um, it also involved my favorite method of Not Touching That Thing At All And Also Standing Kind Of Far From It. I went and got the wasp spray.

When I returned, it had reached the top of the finial on the light fixture and I feared it would now start leaping around or clone itself or emit a keening cry that would summon the rest of the Alien Bug Army, so I just open fired.

I think it might’ve been a wasp. It twisted and writhed and fell and flopped and FINALLY died. We stood over it, waiting for a million smaller versions to burst forth from its carcass and eat the flesh off of our faces, but nothing happened. It was sort of anticlimactic.

But, um, I may need to sleep with the light on tonight.


  1. Chookooloonks


  2. Cele

    So Sam really didn’t kill Shelob with his knife?

    Drats! and I hear the Easter Bunny was a fake too. What is the world coming too? :(

  3. andi

    I don’t think that was a baby on its back but rather a normal (ie. manageable) sized spider. I’m going to have nightmares tonight.

  4. Kira

    No, seriously. I’m all educationally oriented and had a pet grasshopper and a wee butterfly and three ants living in tupperware containers in my livingroom this week, and I have to tell you…
    That’s just gross.

  5. Dawn

    Oh… WOW. That is BIG. And that is all I can say without resorting to foul language (and even that took three tries). I give you a lot of credit for not moving out immediately, because I might have.

  6. Laura

    You need to be careful with the spraying thing -the last thing you want is a pissed off spider that could easily take you in a fight. The good thing about a spider that size is that you can hear him come up behind you! I can’t like spiders that big. They eat mosquitos and flies both of which I loathe, but when they get that…sturdy…And when you can count their eyes…

    Now *I’m* going to sleep with the light on!

  7. Jennifer

    Let’s all just hope it didn’t lay eggs somewhere! Nighty-night!

  8. Nic

    Wasp/Hornet spray always works for me. Love the 12 ft range. Gives you time to run if it starts leaping towards you. The downside is that it tends to kill any vegetation that it hits. But having black/burnt areas for a little while is a tradeoff I can totally live with.

  9. Leah

    I’m totally with you on the normally liking spiders thing. I even have one that lives in a little hole near my dog’s dish but doesn’t bother anything so I figure he’s eating other, creepier bugs. But that thing scared me. And I kinda feel like finding a spiderless corner and whimpering to myself for a while.

  10. hollygee

    We had a spider incident at work this week when a huge, really big spider carrying a gigantic egg sack appeared on the desk of a coworker. The coworker who is most afraid of spiders (although the size of this one was such that none of us would have welcomed it). We work with a male. Males are good to do male things like capture spiders with egg sacks and take them outside (we didn’t kill it) while we screeched and screamed inside.

  11. Bob

    add a few minature people and a building or two and you have the makings of a japanese monster movie. arachnilla, or the spider that ate new england.

    So, are there any more where that one came from? Let’s hope that there aren’t any brothers or sisters out for revenge.

  12. Casey

    any idea besides 1)big and 2) hairy – what kind of spider that thing was? anyone? anyone?

  13. Leanne

    Holy hell. I would be on a mission to identify that thing and whether or not you COMPLETELY lucked out by it not shooting poisonous venom at you. Iew, iew IEW~!!!! (and sqweeee!!! like a little girl!!)

  14. Heather

    Now I am going to feel like I have bugs crawling on me all day…why did I click? I know you warned me – apparently I listen as well as my 5 year old.

  15. Mir

    People. I posted pictures hoping that SOMEONE would pipe up and say “Oh, yes, that’s a completely harmless Fuzzy Whitzig Spider, indigenous to the area.” Or “HOLY HELL THAT’S A POISONOUS JUNGLE BRAIN-SUCKER, VERY RARE!” Either way. But I guess everyone is as stumped as I am. *squick*

  16. Nancy

    Just this morning, I randomly received a new gigantic monitor thing (I walked to my office and the IBM elves had clearly been hard at work. Um, thanks?) and despite your disclaimer, I nonchalantly clicked to see the photograph.

    Holy crap. Even separated by that LOATHSOME THING by space, time and the mortal coil, I am still freaked. Mir, you are the slayer of beasts, kudos.

  17. Lesley

    Girl, clearly you are not watching enough of the SciFi channel on weekends. Because if you were, you would know that the best thing for any giant mutant creature is electrical probes. That spider was NOT trying to escape you on that light fixture–it was trying to keep YOU from getting to the electical sources. Silly Mir…next time you’ll know. ; )

  18. dad

    I think its a common wolf spider. We have them in upstate NY too. However, other than being ugly and scary, they’re harmless.
    I suggest the next time you see one that you call the National Guard. They have much better weapons than ant spray with which to immolate them.
    Oh yea, sorry. The national guard is not available. They’re off protecting Arizona from illegal aliens.

  19. She-Ra

    Out of curiosity (which I now regret!) I looked up images of “large spider” on google. Way too many big ugly creepy spiders out there! But I did find a picture of one that looks like yours. It is very conveniently labeled as “Large unidentified spider” So now we know… Here’s the link so you can compare if you want.
    Now I must go shower off all the spider creepy-crawlies (you know – that feeling that you get after you kill a bug and it feels like more bugs are crawling all over you!)

  20. Latte Man

    At first glance I thought this was a Nursery Spider (Dolomedes tenebrosus), but after some research it looks more to be simply a generic Orb-Weaver which is a fairly common and not so dangerous spider. (But they sure can be frightening as hell when they get big, can’t they).

  21. Summer

    That was terrifying. I mean, just looking at the picture of that thing was terrifying. I am very glad I finished eating my cinnamon roll BEFORE I checked your site today, Mir.

  22. Chris

    I think everyone is missing the point here. You may have had the next spider man (or spider man causing spider) just hangin’ on your proch to protect you from all evil. Think of the water he could have carried out your basement or at least he could clog any holes that apperaed. He could have kept those kids in line on the bad days. He may have even helped Chick with her martial arts.
    Or he could have eaten your brains.
    Tough call, really.
    But seriously, love the photos.

  23. chris

    you are indeed the great white hunter! i would have probably used a baseball bat on it and gone totally beserk. well done!

  24. bad penguin

    That is the scariest spider I have ever seen. And definitely capable of taking revenge, so you were smart to stick with the sprays.

  25. Laurie

    as if seeing the huge spider on your website wasn’t enough, i had to go googling large spiders of new england and now i’m totally creeped out. i would’ve peed my pants if i had run into that thing.

    you are mighty brave… and pretty!

  26. Zuska

    I love your Dad, have I told you that before? And I think Chris makes a good point about what a nice addition to the family Mr. Spider might have been.

    Two summers ago, for about a week running, whenever we’d open our front door after about 9pm, there’d be a humongous web with a humongous spider in the center – one of those perfect spider webs I never knew really existed in nature. We even woke the kids up one night to see it. And then, humbled and squeamish, when we needed to take the trash out, we’d wimpily go out the side door or go through the garage.

    And mysteriously, the web was always completely gone in the morning, only to be re-webbed in the evening. Fascinating.

  27. Latte Man

    It is NOT a wolf spider as dad suggested. For one wolf spiders do not spin webs, they hunt. Second they are GRAY.

  28. Aimee

    AAAAAaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaa! Aragog! That is HORRIFYING. You are veryveryvery brave and pretty.

  29. Keltybug

    Uggghhh what a great day ruined by that pesky spider.

  30. Stephanie

    So what did you do with it after it died? Because carcass removing clearly requires touching it in some way.

  31. Zee

    Um, ok… ew. That thing is just GROSS. Totally reminded me of Shelob in the Lord of the Rings! ;-) Congrats on winning the battle!

  32. mo

    I didn’t click the link ’cause I’m totally freaked by spiders. But it does sound like you have an Orb Weaver one. We had one on the side of the garage for a few weeks. Hubs and kiddies would investigate regularly, I would shudder and quickly walk by. I was more freaked out when the spider mysteriously vanished. Ewwww!

  33. Rachael

    O M G!!!!!! I’m a single mom with a 3 year old who thinks that every bug is a spider, and he’s terrified of spiders. I could only imagine his fear of that sucker! Now, on the other hand, my 8 year old would have thought it was the coolest thing ever, as he’s the next Jeff Corwin/Steve Irwin. I’m going to print the pic out just to take it home so he can see this monster.

    How on earth did you not call Animal Control? How did you not have nightmares? That thing looks like a poster child for a Steven Spielburg movie. Ewwww. I’m glad I’m not you!

  34. Ben

    Now I’m gonna have “Boris the Spider” stuck in my head all day.

    (along with the bass line)

    Thanks. For the record, that’s bigger than anything I’ve seen around my house (except, maybe, the DOG) but my mom made me google “brown recluse bites” and that’s somewhere you really don’t wanna go.

  35. Latte Man

    charlotte may be right, the cat spider, which is a sub-species of the orb weaver may be your “guest”. In looking at the face you drew on your spider, I failed to notice the “cat ear” bumps.

    But in any case… still harmless to you.

  36. Snow

    All I can say is EUW! I’m a bug hater from waaaaay back. Euw! And again: EEEUUUUWWWWW! I’m glad it’s dead.

    (We have both black widows and brown recluses in this area. I hate spiders.)

  37. Liz

    That is a craptastically large spider. By the way, this morning I got a forwarded email full of random bits of information. One entry said that a little bit of alcohol will cause a scorpion to go crazy and sting itself to death. Maybe next time you can try alcohol? Although, now that I think about it, I don’t remember if it meant rubbing alcohol or some nice tequila to go with the jumbo margarita I’ll need after causing a scorpion to go crazy.

  38. joaaanna

    NO. NO. NO. NO. NO. NO. NO.

    Sweet Heavens. That was HORRIBLE! It’s almost 12:30 in the afternoon here in Kansas and I’m terrified that maybe his kin is just waiting for me. I’d just die. That’s all there is to it. I’d die.

    You are a brave, brave soul.

  39. joaaanna

    Oh yeah… and how did your hair look after this incident?

    Or did it just completely fall out in horror?

  40. Gillian

    I think the picture on this site taken by Tom Murray looks a lot like Sinister Monster Spider. I hate spiders. Actally I hate anything insect-like that moves quickly because they will ‘Get Me!!!’ Happily my guy is a biologist who will catch and release them while I just want to squash them while saying “Ewwww!!”

  41. Carol

    Spiders are disgusting but that one takes the cake. Laura’s comment reminded me of the time my husband told me that he stomped his foot at a camel spider (he was in Saudi Arabia. Or Kuwait. Hell, somewhere over “there”) and it reared up on it’s hind legs and STARTED CHASING HIM! Yes, he ran from it and squealed like a little school girl.

    I’ve got to know what kind of spider that was! Do you know? You have to be researching this!

  42. dad

    I didn’t realize you had so many readers who were arachnaphobes. Latte Man is absolutely correct. Its not a wolf spider. A little post posting research also informs me wolf spiders don’t spin webs. So unless it was roosting in a hijacked web, and had dyed itself brown, I’ll vote for the cat spider.
    I am glad, however, that you were not distracted by something shiny and I am flying my spider flag at half-staff.

  43. Isabel

    Mir, If I was you, I would be investigating where the rest of the spidey family is residing…. You just know there is a grandma and grandpa, mom and dad, husband, nieces and nephews…. (Yeah, I have a “phobia” where spiders are concerned and clicked on the pic and almost had a heart attack.) Good luck with that! ;)

  44. Daisy

    My hunting advice: hairspray and a shovel and a ziplock bag. The hairspray somewhat paralyzes it temporarily, and then it falls (move out of the way first!), and then you can use the shovel to place it in the ziplock bag which goes in the garbage. can just use the ziplock bag to relocate it to your ex’s house and let it escape again to terrorize HIS neighborhood.

  45. Shash

    I’ll see you your spider, and raise you one of ours:

    Hairspray rules, but I have found that wasp killer spray also does a decent job.

    Check around for fluffy white balls that look like white cheese puffs sticking to things, or under them (usually under. Where there is one baby (on the spider’s back), there are others.

    Happy hunting!


  46. InterstellarLass

    EEEEEKKKKKK! I HATE SPIDERS! They are the most frightening things in the world. I get them in my car all the time because I park under a tree. I can’t recall how many near-wrecks I’ve had trying to get a spider off me when I’m driving down the road. DUIS. Driving Under the Influence of Spiders!

  47. mitra

    The same thing happened to me the other day with a giant beetle-ish thing in the hall. I screamed and barricaded myself in my room and blogged for help from my cell phone. You know what’s worse than a giant killer bug outside your bedroom door? A giant killer bug that goes missing.

  48. Contrary

    I guess it’s not fair to hold you responsible for the fact that my head just exploded, since you did warn me.

    Oh, my dear Lord in heaven, that is the most disgusting/scary thing I have ever seen. I am not a fan of spiders (as I have informed the internet on numerous occasions) but even I can see how they’re useful and one of God’s creatures and yada yada yada, but that thing? That thing is just WRONG.

    Who knows how many lives you and your wasp spray saved?

    Not MINE, because my head exploded, but I’m sure many others were spared.

  49. Shiz

    Squick! Squick!
    What did you DO with the body?

  50. mama kelly


    did I see a teensy drop of venom glistening off of its fangs

    me thinks I might have



  51. Belinda

    Did your dad just say, “I’m glad you weren’t distracted by something shiny…”? I think I love him.

  52. Jules

    Aren’t ya glad you didn’t walk face first into the spider web? Now your friend on the other hand…that would have been funny.

  53. Aimee

    Shash! Sweet merciful heavens! I now no longer think that Mir’s spider is the squickiest I’ve ever seen. I didn’t think spiders were allowed to get that big. GAH!

  54. Lily

    ACK! Is it on me? get it off!!

    *shudders violently*

  55. Holley

    Amazed you survived. Ugliest. Spider. Ever.

  56. Otto

    Gee, you’ve gotten a lot braver since the palmetto bug incident …

  57. Mom101

    Peter Brady Flashback! Peter Brady Flashback!

    You weren’t wearing like some cursed tiki necklace at the time, right?

  58. chris

    I would have screamed and slammed the door. Then had a stuff drink and tried to convince myself that I was just seeing things.

    So you are brave.

  59. badgermama

    But it’s so cute! Seriously, how can you not see it? That’s a spider you could pet… a spider you could love. Like a cute little fuzzy tarantula! Wiggling its pedipalps in a little terrarium… eating mealworms and living the good life.

  60. Laura

    It could be a pet in that it is large enough to warrant a collar. This is NOT a selling point in spiders…

  61. Melissa

    I will say Latte Man knows his stuff about spiders! Does he win a “Pretty award” for being so pretty smart?! I remember seeing that kind of a spider in my kids’ second grade reading book. It has a story on spiders. It also has the Orb, &, for what I remember, Latte Man is correct.

    I do like Chris’ comment too! He could have been your new pet keeping evil away! You could have had beautiful webs to look at each morning. Good science project for the kids over the summer. But it would have freaked me out too! You are a much braver women then me. I would have waited for a stupid guy to take care of it. Which makes me a little girl & a shame to Women Kind!

  62. julie

    Think of all the Palmetto Bugs that spider could have eaten out of your life. That’s like killing Batman or Superman. They’re out there defending you and yours from much grosser bugs. I guess I’m in the comment minority ’cause I’m in the South where we value the spiders that eat the mosquitoes and the gnats and the roaches. And I bet that one could have ridden you of a mouse or two. Just sayin’…

  63. Chrissie

    That was the ugliest thing I have ever seen. I think I would have screamed like a little girl and stayed in the house for the rest of my life had I seen that thing.

    For normal sized spiders, I have been known to use Sanifoam Scrubbing Bubbles to kill them. I don’t know that that would have been enough for that monstrosity.


  64. Karry

    I get spiders like that now and then. Banana spiders are the worst – I caught one EATING A PALMETTO BUG (cronche cronche – seriously)

    I think this was the cat faced spider. Be glad you didn’t smoosh it – I smooshed the one I foudn and was amazed as the spider suddenly shrunk and about 500 million spiderlings ran out it’s mooshed abdomen all over the place. Yeeeecccchhhhhhhhh!

  65. Kris

    That’s the biggest spider I’ve ever seen! What the hell were those boney things sticking out of its brainy back? By the way, I loved the words “squicked,” and “keening.”

  66. peek317537

    Those pictures gave me goosebumps. Eeeewwwwwwwww. I would have started with the ant spray too. You crack me up.

  67. Sarah

    I need my back scratched now I feel all creepy crawly. We had hobo spiders in Washington in the house; I would get out my vacuum and suck them into the canister then stick the whole thing in the garage until I was sure it was really, really dead. I am still shuddering.
    On a happier note, I just found your blog and love it! Keep on writing!

  68. Melanie B

    I clicked it, I clicked it, for the love of God WHY did I click it??? I don’t know how you got close enough to even spray that thing! You are so brave!

    I just came across your blog and would like to continue to read it but please promise not to post any more pictures of those monsters if you ever find one again. (I know, I know, I didn’t have to click it…)

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