URBAN LEGENDS: The bite of the spider
In Switzerland, during the 1970s, an urban legend started to become popular which terrified – and still does – a lot of people who want to spend a few moments away from the city. Legend has it, that a girl along with family went away to a wooden cave in the forest for a few nights. On their last night, the girl noticed a red mark on her abdomen. She showed the mark to her mother and she told her that it was just a spider bite and that she should not touch it, nor rub it. This way the mark would eventually go away. As the days went by, the mark did not disappear but on the contrary, it had increased in size until one day, it popped. Tens of small spiders came out of it. She realized that it was the spider’s eggs which were incubated under the her skin! This story is also known as die schwarze spinne. Swiss urban legend researchers believe that the legend derived from 19th century’s stories where people noticed bite marks by small insects or snakes on their skin! In some of those stories, the bite was not found on people’s abdomen, but on their cheek. At first sight, the legend states that this is an allegorical approach of humans fearing nature. Sometimes, humans perceive the natural environment as a hostile one. Another interpretation is related to sexual harassment as well as to an unwanted pregnancy. The spider in the story symbolizes a young boy. The girl falls -at least ephemerally- in love with the boy who will later on leave her pregnant causing her anxiety and fear for the unwanted child. The bite of the skin represents the violation of someone’s space proving that even if people are not aware of something, they can convey ideas contrary to their beliefs.