Driven mad by spiders

James Payn, a native of Liverpool, is now in hospital at Portland (Oregon), recovering from an attack of insanity, the result of a strange incident.

Last October he started on his way across the continent, and visited various cities. At one railway station he entered a car loaded with bananas, and, having eaten a few, fell asleep.

When he awoke the door was sealed, and the train was in motion. Payn thought it would soon stop and went to sleep, but was awakened by something crawling over his face.

He struck a match, and discovered numerous tarantulas, one of which, as he looked up, fell upon his forehead, causing him to fall fainting.

Upon recovering he tried the door, but was unable to open it. The number of tarantulas steadily increased as they made their way out of the bunches of bananas, and all that day and night Payn leaned against the side of the car afraid to move, and with the spiders everywhere, and even crawling over him.

He fainted again, and when he recovered consciousness he found himself in a cot in the hospital in this city.

It seems that when the car was opened upon reaching its destination Payn was found in it  mad. A mark on the forehead shows where he had been bitten.


The Hull Daily Mail, January 13, 1897.


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