Arachnophobia: Eight Legged Terrors


Mrs. Shellenberger

Orb Weaver in it’s web

Patrick Broemmel, Opinions Editor

Going into the fall season, people notice multitudes of eight legged critters crawling around, and big ones at that. Spiders have had all summer to eat and grow until they are scary big. While there are no spiders as big as the Huntsman or Goliath, both of which can be bigger than a human’s face, the bigger spiders in Virginia like the Wolf and Orb Weaver can instill fear into many people. 

Why are so many people terrified of spiders? They are tiny, most never growing larger than the human thumb and could easily be squished by one. Getting bit is not a danger because there are no spiders in Virginia who can kill a human adult and yet, there are people who jump out of their cars at high speeds in the middle of the road with their kids in the back because they see a spider on the outside of the windshield. 

Shayla Beckman says, “Spiders are scary because they can climb walls, they can be on the ceiling and I would never know.” This is one of many reasons people fear spiders, some are deathly afraid.

This irrational fear of spiders that makes people do crazy things to avoid them is called Arachnophobia. One in Ten people are affected by this phobia, enough that it has become a traditional scary decoration during Halloween. 

They can be on the ceiling and I would never know.”

— Shayla Beckman

Arachnophobia has even affected different author’s books. The best example of this is J.R.R. Tolkien’s Hobbit and Lord of the Rings. The giant spiders in Tolkien’s legendarium are representations of his fear of spiders which came from a wolf spider jumping on his face when he was a kid. 

Many people get their fear of spiders in similar ways, not necessarily the same event but instances in someone’s childhood where they had a scary encounter with a spider. Something like getting bitten would implant a subconscious wariness of spiders later in life even if the person does not remember the event directly.   

Having mild Arachnophobia is not necessarily bad, however sever arachnophobia is dangerous. It can cause people to make irrational decisions and cause a dependency on others to kill or remove the spider.