I Know An Old Lady Who Swallowed a Fly

I know an old lady who swallowed a fly
I don’t know why she swallowed the fly
Perhaps she’ll die

I know an old lady who swallowed a spider
That wriggled and jiggled and tickled inside her
She swallowed the spider to catch the fly
But I don’t know why she swallowed the fly
Perhaps she’ll die

Well, you know the rest. If you don’t, I’ve added a video of Judy Collins singing this on Sesame Street.

I’m feeling a lot like the old lady in the song. I’ve never swallowed a fly, as far as I know,  just a few moths and at least a half of a spider, but I am combating entomophobia with a touch of DOP.


I don’t know what these are but we’ve had thousands of them!


Two different conditions are recognized that relate to an inordinate fear of arthropods like insects and spiders. Entomophobia (“entomo” = insect + “phobia” = fear) refers to an unreasonable fear of real arthropods. The key here, as with other phobias, is that the fear involves a real stimulus, in this case an insect or spider, encountered in everyday activities. For example, a spider found inside the home might trigger this intense fear reaction.

A condition called delusions of parasitosis (DOP), or delusional parasitosis, on the other hand, is a severe, debilitating reaction to an imagined infestation. Delusions are a mistaken belief and in this case the person believes, wrongly, that they are infested with an insect or mite, or that they are being repeatedly bitten.

~ Jack DeAngelis, PhD, OSU Entomologist

My latest troubles began with the bee-like thing with pincers that nested in my hair while I was logging in a truck and burrowed into my head. The harder I pulled at him, the deeper he went. I had a sore head for days. He’s looking a little worse for wear in this photo. I took a picture in case I broke out in hives or went into anaphylactic shock (which was more likely to happen from eating the crawfish, but still…). That way if  Heidi found me passed out on the floor, she would know what bit/stung/pinched me.



Of course, there was that cricket the size of a Dorito thumping the mouse trap.

The last few nights have heightened my entomophobia. There was the furry spider on the door, the creepy spider with white spots that lives on the night lights and the red spider that spins in the wheel well at night.



Then, night before last, it was the giant winged thing that came in stealth-fully (again, probably in my hair). I’m beginning to redefine hair-net as: my hair that nets every winged creature! He came in quietly. I didn’t notice. Hours later, he dropped down on my head from somewhere while I was reading. I can’t tell you how much I hate arthropods dropping on my head.

You can’t really get a true idea of this from the picture but he/she was about the size of a monarch butterfly when it spread it’s wings… and u g l y!



He fell on my head. I jumped out of the chair. Henry flew out of his bed. The giant flying thing went all kamikaze on us – bouncing off the walls and ceiling and even under the table.



Henry isn’t much of a mouser but he does go after bugs, but this one was too much for him. He couldn’t get to it. I was disappointed to wake up and have Heidi say the winged creature disappeared shortly after she got up. He resurfaced just  few hours ago. I was a little more prepared tonight. I knocked him out with one of Heidi’s Crocs before he could get fully airborne.

I carried him outside.



We’re pulling out of the hole right now which mean there were non-stop cement trucks and tankers. By the time I’d logged everyone and returned inside and sat down to read again, my DOP kicked in big time.

Although I knew it wasn’t possible, I felt the giant winged thing crawling down my back.

It wasn’t possible. It wasn’t that giant winged thing. It was a this giant winged thing.



I’d rather have DOP, but I don’t think I do. So far, everything I’d hoped I was just imagining was crawling on my skin, was real and worse than I’d imagined.

I may have entomophobia but there’s something about being phobic that implies it’s a little irrational and I don’t think that’s that case either.

I think I just have boundary issues.

And, all things considered, I think they’re pretty reasonable. I’m saving the snakes and frogs for another day. I actually love the frogs but I wish they’d eat the giant winged things.

It’s supposed to be in the 90’s this week. Still, a hoodie is starting hold a certain appeal!


Friday the 13th

Today Friday the 13th.

According to Dr. Donald Dossey, folklore historian and founder of the Stress Management Center and Phobia Institute in Asheville, NC, this strikes terror in the hearts of 17 to 21 million people in the United States!

As with virtually all fears, this one, too, has a name: friggatriskaidekaphobia.

It comes from a combination of Friday, which in Old English is Frīġedæġ, meaning the day of Frige, and triskaidekaphobia, which is the fear of the number 13.

In 2009  there were 9 Friday the 13ths! This is the only one in 2011. In addition to being a great relief to those millions suffering from friggatriskaidekaphobia, having only one Friday the 13th this year should help our economy.

According to Dossey: It’s been estimated that in the U.S. $800 or $900 million is lost in business on this day (Friday the 13th) because people will not fly or do business they would normally do.

Wow! If you’re not wild about crowds, this would probably be a great day to fly or buy!

I’m not superstitious. I attribute this mostly to my lack of imagination.

That doesn’t mean I’m without phobias. I have:

Arachnophobia – The fear of spiders. I’m also not keen on millipedes, centipedes or any other muti-legged bug

Alektorophobia – The fear of chickens. I’m not afraid of chicken per say, just of flapping headless chickens (bad childhood experience)

Allodoxaphobia – The fear of opinions. I’m not afraid of mine but I used to be afraid of everyone else’s. I’m in recovery.

Barophobia – The fear of gravity. I’m a 54-year-old woman. I also fall down a lot. I think this is a legitimate fear, not just phobia.

Cyberphobia – The fear of computers or working on a computer. I’m afraid I’ll accidentally hit the invisible permanently delete button.

I’m also afraid of being a disappointment to my dog (you can’t get much more disappointing than that) but I seem to stand alone with this one since it doesn’t have an official phobic label.

Fear makes the wolf bigger than he is.  ~German Proverb

The spider thing is occasionally inconvenient. I will kill them if they’re smaller than an S.O.S. pad, bigger than that and I seek shelter. Other phobias make friggatriskaidekaphobia and arachnophobia look painless. Imagine how tough it would be to cope with any of these:

Chronophobia-  The fear of time

Ambulophobia – The fear of walking

Genuphobia – The fear of knees

Cibophobia- The fear of food

Geniophobia- The fear of chins

Clinophobia- The fear of going to bed

Dextrophobia- The fear of objects at the right side of the body

Levophobia- The fear of things to the left side of the body

Cathisophobia- The fear of sitting

Stasibasiphobia – The fear of standing

Omphalophobia- The fear of belly buttons

Optophobia- The fear of opening one’s eyes

Somniphobia – The fear of sleep

Panophobia – The fear of everything

If it were only that simple. Maybe Friday the 13th is a good day to take a look at our fears, take a hold someone’s hand and tackle one.

There are very few monsters who warrant the fear we have of them.  ~Andre Gide