There's that old saying about how the average person swallows eight spiders per year while they sleep. There have been multiple thought pieces and explainers on this so-called "fact," and most people who think about it for more than a couple of minutes come to the conclusion that it just doesn't seem possible.

To be fair, when it comes to phobias, spiders rank up there with the best of them. And now, thanks to the power of the Internet, arachnophobic people can truly celebrate that their fears have been proven true.

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Our story begins in Hertfordshire, U.K., as a postman there named Chris Cowsley, 52, told news media about his experience - one that will personally cause me to lose sleep until I can fully spider-proof my home.

“I thought I was going to die,” Chris Cowsley, 52, told SWNS of receiving this interspecies French kiss of death, which occurred around 3:30 a.m. on Sunday.

“It had been a perfectly normal night but then I woke up choking and couldn’t breathe,” recounted the aghast Hertfordshire native. “I had to stick a finger down my throat to get some air in but as soon as I took it out I couldn’t breathe again.”


Paramedics arrived shortly thereafter and inspected the victim’s throat, whereupon they dropped a shocking diagnosis: Cowsly had reportedly “inhaled” a spider in his sleep, which then bit his uvula — the fleshy protuberance at the back of the throat — on the way down his gullet.

“They hooked me up to machines — and the first thing he said was, ‘I think you’ve swallowed a spider,'” the letter courier recalled. “I was shocked. I couldn’t believe it.”

Brown Recluse Spider

They got the man treated and he was discharged around 7:30 a.m. that same morning after doctors concluded there was no more swelling.

There are plenty of species of spiders that are known to be relatively harmless - the old adage that they're more scared of us than we are of them is typically true. But, if you think you've been bitten, don't hesitate to see a medical professional the Mayo Clinic says. Especially if:

  • You were bitten by a dangerous spider, such as a widow or recluse.
  • You're unsure whether the bite was from a dangerous spider.
  • You have severe pain, abdominal cramping or a growing wound at the bite site.
  • You're having problems breathing or swallowing.
  • The area of the sore has spreading redness or red streaks.

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