Do people eat spiders in their sleep?

Wolf Spider

Source: www.spyderwood.com

The short answer: no. Is it possible that of the seven billion people in the world, all sleeping at some point during a 24 hour period, some might accidentally eat a spider during their sleep? Sure, it’s possible but very unlikely.

The source of this urban legend is generally unknown but a plausible explanation (from snopes.com) is this. In the early days of the Internet, a columnist named Lisa Holst wanted to prove a point that many people would believe all sorts of crazy things if they saw it in a list of “facts,” that had been emailed to them. She completely made up a list of false facts to prove how easily they would be accepted by a certain number of gullible recipients in the (then relatively new) world of email. One of her facts was that the average person swallows X number of spiders in their sleep every year.

I believe this fact (that a columnist made this up) to be much more likely than the fact that anyone ever swallows a spider in their sleep. However, doing a quick search for a writer named Lisa Holst, or the computer magazine she wrote for in 1993 “PC Professional” turned up empty. Well, not completely empty. There were a lot of results, but they were all related to the fact that Lisa Holst supposedly fabricated this list. There was nothing that linked to any of her other writing, or even to a real magazine called PC Professional.

So the general consensus is that the fact that people eat spiders in their sleep is a myth. But the origin of the myth is quite possibly a myth as well. Go figure.

And for just a little extra fun… when I first read this question, I immediately thought of the guy in the lunatic asylum from Bram Stoker’s, Dracula. He was eating flies but decided it would be better to just eat the spiders who ate the flies. Kind of a two-for-one deal. Anyway, here’s a clip from the 1931 version of the movie. Eating Spiders, Dracula, 1931