Sunday, November 17, 2013

Monster #19—Giant Centipedes

So this time, I'm choosing a monster that's obscure enough that I can't think of ANY books or stories that have been written about it, and can think of only one movie they've appeared in. Which is something of a shame, really, because look at that thing to the left! If that's not a monster, what is? So what if that one's only a few inches long... with all those legs, the poisonous bite, and that freaky looking face, and that bright color (remember... bright colors is one of the ways nature says "DON'T TOUCH!"), how could we have gone so long without a giant centipede attacking some city?

Growing up... I did a fair amount of what my friend called "board snuffing." To board snuff, you just have to find an old board out in the yard or woods, then just lift it up and examine (snuff) around the contents revealed. It doesn't have to be a board, of course; we had stacks of concrete blocks out behind our house that worked well also (including having the ability to now and then crush fingers). In any event, once you've got the board up, there were entire ecosystems to examine. And if you were REALLY lucky, an alligator lizard or rubber boa or something equally and unexpectedly large and awesome. But you also had to be careful, since there were other things lurking under the boards. Poisonous things. I've found black widow spiders, scorpions, trap-door spiders, and more while board snuffing. There were supposedly rattlesnakes living where I grew up, but I was both fortunate and unlucky enough to never find any of them.

And of course I found centipedes. Bright yellow and orange ones. They were EASILY the most common of the significantly poison, scary critters I found. I've never been bitten by one, not for lack of tempting fate, but something that brightly colored has to pack a punch. One day, I found a particularly large centipede, and as was my wont whenever I found something of note while board snuffing, I caught it and put it in a jar to keep in my room as a decoration and creepy "pet" for a few days before releasing it back into the wild. My friend (the same one who invented the phrase "board snuffing" in the first place) was spending the night over that day, and when I woke up, I found the jar that had contained the centipede was EMPTY. The monster was in the house! In my room! I kinda freaked out. My friend claimed he had let it out in the night, and to this day I'm not sure if he was joking or actually did. I do know that several months later, after moving some furniture around in my room, I found the giant quite dead centipede against a floorboard under the bed...
AAAAHHH! Do not want!

Anyway. Maybe I should take my centipede life experiences and take care of the glaring omission in fiction when it comes to giant versions of these critters. As mentioned above, I couldn't think of any books where they've appeared, and the only movie? Peter Jackson's remake of King Kong, which actually has a pretty harrowing sequence involving some big centipedes.

And no... The Human Centipede doesn't count. That's a different thing altogether.

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