That old warning against killing spiders became horribly true last Wednesday for a Seattle man. What began as an ill-advised attempt (involving a cigarette lighter and can of spray paint) to fry a laundry room-invading arachnid ended in flames, KOMO News reported. A Seattle Fire Department spokesman said the unnamed rental-home tenant couldn’t snuff the fire, and that first-responders—after neighbors reported “popping sounds” like ammunition cooking off—initially fought the blaze from a distance. The property sustained $60,000 worth of damage.
Killing spiders has long been a risky endeavor. A superstition against spider-killing dates back to the Egyptians, who associated spiders with riches, and even fashioned charms in their form. This custom can be followed well into the Middle Ages, when people kept spiders inside walnut shells and made necklaces with a length of silk. The unfortunate tenant, and his mother, are reported to be receiving aid from the Red Cross in finding new lodgings. No word on the spider.