“What are you?” I rasped. It smiled. “Whatever scares you.”
― Kim Harrison, Dead Witch Walking
This week Ann-Christine challenged us to think creepy. Creepy is subjective and one person’s horror can be a thing of beauty to another. Our reaction to creepy things is often instinctive, there to protect us from danger so it pays to listen to those inner messages.
Creepy (or maybe horror) is finding a huhu beetle in your raincoat. About the size of my thumb, huhu beetles have sharp hooks on their legs and antennae that stick to you and get tangled in your hair. Shaking your clothes might dislodge most creepy crawlies but the huhu beetle hangs on until you put your coat on and it decides that you make a better host. Creepier still is walking at dusk and hearing the buzz of a huhu beetle as it flies around your head. Although they can bite, they’re not dangerous unless you think you might die of fright. You can find out more about huhu beetles here.
In New Zealand we have no dangerous animals in our wild places, except maybe wasps so signs like this one near Lillooet, Canada can be a little alarming. We didn’t see the sign until after we had had our picnic beside the river.
A huge banana slug slithering creepily across the car park at the Tantalus Lookout, on the Sea to Sky Highway in BC, Canada. Our tour guide said raccoons roll them in dirt to neutralise the slime and eat them. See this fact sheet for more information.
Number One Daughter finds all kinds of plants creepy like this alien unfurling tree fern frond.
This exhibit at a the Buffalo Nations Museum in Banff, Canada recreates the Sun Dance Ceremony practiced by First Nation’s People. Men dance around a pole to which they are fastened by rawhide thongs pegged through the skin of their chest. The dancer pulls to tear the thongs from the flesh after taking a vow to undergo the ordeal as thanks for protection in times of danger. Not all ceremonies include skin piercing but the government still outlawed the practice in 1895. The prohibition was lifted in 1951.
Most of us don’t like spiders crawling on us but from a distance they’re fascinating and beautiful creatures. This large native water spider sprinted across the surface of the stream and up The Man of the House’s leg while he was working on the water wheel. Just as well he’s not fazed by these things.