Claim: Every human being, on average, swallows eight spiders per year while sleeping.
We’ve all heard that people eat upwards of 8 spiders per year in their sleep. According to snopes.com, this claim is just a myth. It is purported to come from a 1993 article from PC Professional magazine written by Lisa Holst. Holst’s article supposedly discussed the abundance of “interesting facts” emails that circulate in people’s inboxes. She commented on how readily people accept the “facts” in these emails without doing any research to validate the authenticity of these facts. To prove a point, she decided to start her own “interesting facts” email. Among the items she put in the email was a claim that people swallow 8 spiders in their sleep per year. She found this myth in a book entitled Insect Fact and Folklore. According to Snopes and other sources, Holst’s plan backfired; her “fact” became one of the most-widely spread myths on the Internet.
While researching this topic, I tried to locate a copy of Holst’s article. However, after much searching, I was unable to locate the original article from PC Professional magazine, nor was I able to find any information about the magazine or Lisa Holst. Upon some further research, I found that other people have not been able to find the magazine article cited by Snopes and other sources that claim that the spider story is just a myth.
What do you think? To me, it seems that the claim that people swallow 8 spiders in their sleep per year is a difficult claim to back up. Sure, we could monitor people’s mouths during their sleep for a year to see how many spiders enter, but that seems like a huge waste of time and resources. However, is is possible that someone started the myth of Lisa Holst and PC Professional magazine as an attempt to discredit the spider story? Please share your thoughts in the comments.