On Oil Guzzling Spiders

Sometimes while wandering the lanes and byways of the internet one comes across information too fascinating to be ignored – even if it is of dubious immediate utility.

For instance, consider this extract from Volume 88 of the Edinburgh Magazine and Literary Miscellany (1821)

The sexton of the church of St Eustace, at Paris, amazed to find frequently a particular lamp extinct early, and yet the oil consumed only, sat up several nights to perceive the cause. At length he detected that a spider of surprising size came down the cord to drink the oil. A still more extraordinary instance of the same kind occurred during the year 1751, in the Cathedral of Milan. A vast spider was observed there, which fed on the oil of the lamps. M. Morland, of the Academy of Sciences, has described this spider, and furnished a drawing of it. It weighed four pounds, and was sent to the Emperor of Austria, and is now in the Imperial Museum at Vienna.

What, I ask, is to be done about that?

4 thoughts on “On Oil Guzzling Spiders”

    1. Both rather hard to come by in 18th century France/Italy I expect. Perhaps simply burning the churches in question to the ground and having some bishops bless the ashes would suffice?

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