Conversations With Spirits

By E O Higgins

The story of a dissipated genius in a borrowed hat and coat

Friday, 14 September 2012

The Edwardians' fear of massive insects.

If the good people at TNT hadn't delivered the bonus of a massive spider to my house today (along with the table, I was having delivered), I wouldn't have stumbled upon these excellent pictures - so, thank you, TNT.* 

The Strand Magazine – in which Arthur Conan Doyle published his Sherlock Holmes short stories - ran this bizarre feature in 1910: ‘If Insects Were Bigger.’ 

In the article, ordinary British insects have been enlarged and entered into contemporary London street scenes, all for no readily apparent reason. 

“What a terrible calamity, what a stupefying circumstance, if mosquitoes were the size of camels, and a herd of wild slugs the size of elephants invaded our gardens and had to be shot with rifles!” 

(Yeah, but they aren’t.)

“A Lacewing Fly Spreads Consternation in Wellington Street.”

“Terrible Attack by a Larva of the Puss-Moth at Covent Garden.”(I think I remember this one - it was in all the papers.)

“Fierce Onslaught by an Earwig in St. James’s Street.”

“The Araneus Diadema Spider Descends Upon Trafalgar Square.”

*Having gone mano-a-spido with the beast, I emerged victorious. Though it was touch-and-go for a while there. 

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Comments

Karen Baines
 Karen Baines says:

Strangely I encountered such a spider only this morning. I swear it was the size of a dinner plate and sported a comedy moustache. Eeek

posted 18th September 2012

E O Higgins
 E O Higgins says:

Maybe it was in disguise?

posted 19th September 2012

Anne Bradshaw
 Anne Bradshaw says:

Fabulous! - and so very quirkily British.

posted 19th September 2012

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