This Florida urban legend about a toilet spider is absolutely wild

Evie M.
The Florida "Butt Spider" or the two-striped telamonia, also known as Telamonia dimidiata. Local to certain Asian rain forests.Photo byarian.suresh from Chennai, India

I don't know about you, but I have a real pension for stories that make you say: "WTF did I just read?" And urban legends have a way of giving that exact vibe when you're hankering for some weird. And honestly, nothing is weirder than stories that come out of Florida. I assure you, this is a compliment. I've lived in several states and the stories are completely yawn worthy, save for California, and Florida gives my home state a run for their money, that's for sure. Especially with this urban legend. I've been on a hunt for non-spooky urban legends around Florida, and I had to do a double take when I read through this one because WOW. This is one scary and weird urban legend. I love it. Let's break it down.

So what is the legend of the Florida "Butt Spider", aka the Two-Striped Telamonia? I'm not sure how I wasn't aware of this email floating around since 1999, but it is a doozy. During the days of dial-up and email forward, one was making waves across the internet warning the world of the Florida "Butt Spider" or the fake name "Arachnius gluteus" that claimed to cause the deaths of five different Florida women.

In the email, the Two-Striped Telamonia, which is native to India and some Asian rainforests, was said to hide under toilet seats and "crawl inside" once you sit down. As a special treat, I was somehow able to locate (pretty easily, surprisingly) the exact email, which I personally will be reading for the first time. I won't include the full clip because it is very long and the original blog deserves the hit, but take a look at this craziness:

"Subject: FW: Spider warning
WARNING: From the University of North Florida
An article by Dr Beverly Clark, in the Journal of the United Medical Association (JUMA), the mystery behind a recent spate of deaths has been solved. If you haven’t already heard about it in the news, here is what happened.
Three women in North Florida, turned up at hospitals over a 5-day period, all with the same symptoms. Fever, chills, and vomiting, followed by muscular collapse, paralysis, and finally, death...
It was discovered, however, that they had all visited the same restaurant (Olive Garden) within days of their deaths. The health department descended on the restaurant, shutting it down. The food, water, and air conditioning were all inspected and tested, to no avail.....

....He did, as did all of the other victims, have what was determined to be a puncture wound, on his right buttock.
....The Civilian Aeronautics Board (CAB) ordered an immediate inspection of the toilets of all flights from India, and discovered the Two-Striped Telamonia (Telamonia dimidiata) spider’s nests on 4 different planes! It is now believed that these spiders can be anywhere in the country. So please, before you use a public toilet, lift the seat to check for spiders.
It can save your life! And please pass this on to everyone you care about."

But what is the truth? According to Snopes, judging by the lack of concrete evidence and many detail changes, the story is complete complete bull. Honestly, even back in the day we could've Googled for Dr. Beverly Clark. Also the name "Arachnius gluteus" is a pretty big giveaway to the hoax side of it all, but you never know what people will believe. Even though Steve Heard, the author of the hoax, explained he did it to create a hoax that was "so ridiculous, that was full of holes and see what would happen." Wow!

Have you heard of this Florida Hoax? Let me know in the comments.

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"Reader beware, you're in for a scare!--R.L. Stine"

Orlando, FL

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