And now for the even more infrequently reoccurring series, vox populi! For those without scarring high school memories of latin class (through no fault of my teacher) I’ll bring you up to speed – the title roughly translates to “voice of the people”. Here is another old e-mail that I’ve been saving. It is a 100% real message, but of course I have redacted the real names and addresses to protect the innocent. Enjoy! I also highly encourage submissions of your own-
“Hi, I’m so glad I found you. Now, I hope you can help me. 1982, while camping at an old gold mining camp in the Mendocino National Forest I was bitten by a large brown spider. It took three days for the venom to pass through my system. On day three I was 95% blind, the bite swelled to a large grotesquely deep red bump on my arm. I’ll never forget the 12 hours the venom attacked me. The price I payed to survive this spiders venom was…….to loose absolutely all my body fat. I spoke with a doctor from Santa Rosa by phone from a friends place in (some small CA town). He knew about this spider and couldn’t believe I suvived the venom when I told him I lost all my body fat. He also told me it was impossible for someone to survive loosing all their body fat in 12 hours. I reminded him that this was an impossible situation. He told me that this spider is being kept from the public. I believe this spider came from China or Russia. These spiders don’t share anything with other Cali spiders. They have big bodies and short stout legs. The female that bit me was about 4 inch’s and, had 5 males. Four years later, while living in the Hayward hills, I couldn’t believe my eyes, running across the floor, another one. This spider was about 6 inch’s. I know these spiders don’t climb walls or spin webs. They build nest’s, and obtain 4-5 males to protect her and find food. The female never leave’s the nest except…………when a larger female drives her out and, kills her males. This is when people are bitten by this spider, as she runs around looking for another nest. Bites are very uncommon. I wondered………….how big was the female that drove that 6 inch from her nest. And………….how big do they get. Can I find this spider on display at (your museum)? Is it possible to find all the information their is on this very dangerous spider?”
Your spider story was passed on to me. I’ve been studying spiders for some years and have never before come across anything even vaguely similar to the spider you are describing. Although your story is very entertaining, my guess is that it has very little to do with reality.
“Ok smarty-pants, I’m well aware where reality is. Some thirty years and you’ve never seen this spider. Sounds like the-wall-silence is still up. My encounter with this spider is absolutely 100% true. Give me a week in the Bay Area and I’ll find this spider. Its kinda funny, not only is this Cali’s most prolific spider, its also Cali’s most prolific poisonous spider. Not the blackwidow.”
No further correspondence.