spider, spiders

If you’ve been on the internet long enough, you’ve probably read this not-so-fun fact: The average person, while asleep, swallows eight spiders a year (or in their lifetime). Does the thought of arachnids crawling down your throat make you anxious? Fear not, because this is a completely made-up factoid. In reality, spiders would probably find the idea equally unpleasant.

For starters, the chances of a spider hunting for food in your bed are infinitesimal, unless you have parasites under your sheets. Furthermore, the vibrations that come from your sleeping body—from your beating heart to your possible snoring—would be enough to trigger your eight-legged housemates’ Spidey senses, so to speak. Besides, you’d probably wake up if something like a spider crawled into your mouth. (In the extremely unlikely event that it does happen, take comfort in the fact that neither of you wanted it.)

The interesting thing is that no one’s sure where or how this myth started. Numerous credible internet resources attribute it to a columnist named Lisa Birgit Holst. The story goes that Holst wrote an article full of fake “facts” for PC Professional magazine in 1993, supposedly to illustrate the gullibility of people who believe in email chains. However, nobody has been able to find a copy of the article, whether digital or print. Some even doubt that the magazine exists in the first place.

Also, rearranging the letters in “Lisa Birgit Holst” gives you “This Is A Big Troll,” so…

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  • https://www.snopes.com/fact-check/swallow-spiders/
  • http://www.bbc.com/earth/story/20151117-is-it-true-that-we-accidentally-swallow-spiders-when-we-sleep
  • https://www.techly.com.au/2015/11/24/no-dont-swallow-eight-spiders-per-year-victim-internet-experiment/
  • https://www.scientificamerican.com/article/fact-or-fiction-people-swallow-8-spiders-a-year-while-they-sleep1/
  • https://skeptics.stackexchange.com/questions/2094/is-a-writer-named-lisa-holst-responsible-for-the-belief-that-everyone-eats-eight

Author: Mikael Angelo Francisco

Bitten by the science writing bug, Mikael has years of writing and editorial experience under his belt. As the editor-in-chief of FlipScience, Mikael has sworn to help make science more fun and interesting for geeky readers and casual audiences alike.