Originally posted last year, but I've bumped it up to this morning because—as new Stranger managing editor and Bay Area transplant Kathleen Richards discovered to her horror this weekend—this is the time of year when the Pacific Northwest-dwelling Giant House Spider wants to hang out with you.
I didn't know about the Giant House Spider until last night, when Alison Holcomb—the ACLU lawyer best known for running an initiative that legalized pot last fall—decided to post this photo from inside her bathroom on my Facebook wall:
Holcomb asked for advice about what to do with a creature with a leg span of four or five inches. I am an admitted arachnophobe. I did not provide advice. I closed Facebook. Then I called her today to find out if she survived.
"It appears to be the Giant House Spider—it's aptly named," said Holcomb.
The GHS (Tegenaria duellica or T. gigantea) originally lived in Europe, but it "was unwittingly introduced to the Pacific Northwest of North America circa 1900," according to Wikipdedia. The Woodland Park Zoo adds that the fuckers can hustle at an astonishing 1.73 feet per second—making them the fastest spider in the world. And they dart through your house AT THIS TIME OF YEAR. The zoo says the "best time to see" them is in "late summer, when wandering males search for females."
Or as Holcomb puts it, "They come out running around your house looking to score."
Holcomb told me what happened: "He ran across the bathroom floor in my direction. So I jumped up and then he was hiding behind the toilet for a little bit. I was looking at him, talking to him, and I was like, 'Dude, you cannot come back over here.' Then he went back behind shelf system in the bathroom. I didn't go back there because he's fast and he could run over my feet. Then I went to sleep. What I didn't know before I went to bed is that is that, if this is correct, they are nocturnal. It was not smart of me to go to bed when I didn't know what he was up to."
Holcomb still hasn't caught him. "I just want him to go wherever and not appear again—ever. Just go ahead eat mosquitoes and moths. He is too big to squish."
Holcomb isn't alone.
On Sunday and Monday nights, there was a GHS over the bed of Stranger music editor Emily Nokes.
"It woke me up because I could hear it," Nokes says. "I thought there was a rat. It was an audible scraping noise coming from what I thought was inside the wall. But I turned on the lamp and saw what I thought was a shadow of a spider because it looked bigger than a spider. It was insanely big. I didn't even know how to kill it because it was so big. And it was on the ceiling, so I didn't want to whack at it and have it drop on me. It ran back into the wall and then it made the scraping noise again. I turned on every light in the room. Then the next night, I was up late working on the Bumbershoot guide at about 2:30 a.m. when I saw it, so I slept on the couch that night. On Tuesday, I marched down to the store and got the most crazy-looking spider spray I could find, and I shot all of it into every crack along the ceiling, and it has not come back yet. But then I thought: giant carcass. What if the giant spider carcass fall on me in the night?"
PS — I was unsure whether to post the terrifying giant spider photo above the jump, but Paul said, "The only person who would complain about it is you." Paul is right. Sorry, everyone.