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“Toilet Spider” False Hoax

Just before the turn of the millennium, the story of the toilet spider emerged via social networks and email.  Of course, we don’t believe everything posted on social media or forwarded by email; however the story of a spider that lurks in toilets waiting to deliver a fatal bite to your posterior does grab one’s attention.  At the very least, it reminds you to check the toilet before you sit upon the throne.

The original claim, in 1999, was of three unrelated people that had passed through the Chicago O’Hare airport within the same two week timeframe.  Each of the travelers showed symptoms of fever, chills, and vomiting.  Upon seeking medical help, each of the patients was discovered to have a puncture mark on their buttocks.  At the hospital, the patients suffered from muscular collapse and finally death.  After investigation, each of the deceased had used a common restroom at the airport.  It was reported that there was a small spider found under the edge of one of the toilet seats.  Although each event may be true, there was never conclusive evidence linking one species of spider to each of the three fatalities.

In 2002, a similar story resurfaced and held that the Two-Striped Telamonia was indeed the toilet spider that lurked under toilet seats waiting to bite intruders.  The newly emerged story was far too similar to the earlier airport claim; however both accounts are indeed a false hoax that may still be passed around via the World Wide Web.

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