While you are walking through the woods suddenly your face runs smack into a big, fat spider web. The web stretches with a tiny creaking sound and one of the support strands snaps before you can jump back making crazed gestures, spitting, and trying to rid yourself of the web and possibly the spider.
If it is any consolation, most of the time the spider is hiding in some little nook off to the side of the web. They have to watch out because, as grody as it seems, they are tasty snacks for birds and for other spiders.
Webs in the woods are why I use a webstick. It is not an electronic device. A plain old stick will do - a berry branch or a fallen tree branch. Pick that puppy up and put it to use by waving it in circles in front of you as you walk. There will be WA-AY fewer webs catching you in the mouth just as you gasp about the pretty mushroom behind the tree you are walking past.
And there's a bonus! If you talk to yourself while operating your webstick then you will get more 'alone time' in the woods. Even the Kushtaka will think twice before messing with someone so insane. I know. I spend a lot of time alone in the woods and have never had a Kushtaka bother me. People don't come talk to me either when I am waving my wand and muttering incantations.
Okay, I don't want to meet the owner of the web, either. There are hundreds of different types of spiders in Southeast Alaska and over 99% are venomous. That doesn't mean that they WILL bite, or that they can bite through your skin, but that is how they handle their prey....which is not humans. They eat LOTS of those bugs that fly around and bug humans. They are good like bats. Bats are way good.
Oh, and all of the rumors about Brown Recluse spiders in Alaska are hugely overblown. There are a few spiders that have moved to Alaska to enjoy the slightly warmer weather, but Alaska is far from warm enough for the Brown Recluse.
I have been bitten by spiders here in Southeast, maybe three or four times in the last 20 years. None of the bites were serious. Putting myself in the spider's position, though, I have to imagine that if a giant ripped my house to shreds and I fell down its collar while it was doing a crazy-dance then I might be inclined to bite said giant.
I have no tolerance for the sneaky little arachnid that crawled up my boot and bit me on the calf, though.
Today I was standing in the woods trying to be vewy-vewy quiet and a nasty gnat buzzed my ears and dove for my eyes. When I was about to break cover to swat the little sucker it got caught in a spider web. Hah! Spider good. Web good. Until the next time I get a web across the face.
Happy Halloween Everyone!
P.S. Haunting stories are a Halloween tradition. For a different spin on "The Strangest Story Ever Told" and a very haunting theory of tragic circumstances go to Alaska For Real, The Rest of the Strangest Story Ever Told.