By: Ashley Parker
Last week I participated in a photo shoot at a local cemetery for an affiliated organization. Sardonically, my photo scenes were labeled “Horror” as I was photographed sitting on a tombstone, caressing a granite angel and lying on an overgrown grave. I was completely terrified.
“Touch the grave! Hug it! Yeah, climb on it just like that,” coached the photographer and my giggling associates.
My mind fluctuated between taking a daring venture into the realm of the supernatural and the moral responsibility of engaging in an activity that was disrespectful and bordering on the illegal. However, to create a creepy ambiance, our executive board and photographer insisted that the setting for the flash shots stir up eerie visions and shocking thoughts Because I selected to journey into the frightening arena of horror, my actions came back to bite me, literally.
During the shoot, I suddenly felt a tingling sensation on my arm that I presumed was just an itch so I rubbed the irritation through my clothing and continued to pose and taunt the dead. The crawling tickle continued. As I was changing my clothes for the next scene, I discovered the truth behind that “small itch.” Underneath my dress and on a mass of swollen flesh were five oozing pimples. Bewildered, I quickly glanced back and forth and all around to discover the source of this repulsive intrusion. Unconsciously, I scratched the ugly malformation and a painful explosion erupted in my arm. With throbbing soreness and panic escalating, I questioned whether I had goaded evil spirits into retaliation. I was no longer the self confident model and was quickly descending into the blackness of terror. When my friends saw my distress, they quickly gathered round to lend their support and disavowed the presence of the occult. Nervously laughing, they said, “That’s a spider bite!” Attempting to convince themselves, they kept repeating, “Yep, that’s a spider bite!” Trembling with fear, I completely freaked out. Had the spiders assaulted my body as I lay on Mr. Morley’s grave or had they mysteriously infiltrated my being under the guidance of evil spirits? Not only are spiders paramount on my list of fears, I guiltily knew I was being paid back for being insolent to the dead. Swallowed up in terrifying misery, I immediately called my mother.
Even after Mom applied a cream to the bitten area, I still could not shake the unnerving sense of the mystic in my life. Restlessly sleeping, I tossed and turned and visualized spiders laying eggs inside me and eventually possessing me. I began to fantasize myself as a bizarre Spider Woman shrouded with clinging spiders like those pictured on the left.
Today, my arm looks like the figure below and the spider bites are diminishing. However, it is still early in the healing process, and the possibility of remaining spider eggs in my body and the potential for me evolving into Spider Woman still loom on my scary horizon.