Written by Jonathan Wojcik

Last time, we looked at The Strixoid. Today, it's time for...

The Heebie Jeebies

Spiders are one of Halloween's most pervasive symbols, and more than that, one of the most unfairly maligned of all Earth's creatures.

But, like owls, there's something a little funny about a lot of Halloween spiders, isn't there?

Halloween spiders can exhibit wildly varying anatomy, but only rarely are they accurate to that of any true Aranea. Sometimes it's simply the wrong number of body segments, mandibles instead of chelicerae, legs attached to the abdomen rather than the cephalothorax...

...And sometimes, the whole creature is nothing but a hairy blob or fleshy sphere, distinguished only by the presence of six or more spindly limbs. Like the Strixoid, what we're dealing with here may in fact be older than the animals we so often confuse it with...and spiders are pretty dang old.

You can think of "Heebie Jeebies" as the most basal of all supernatural manifestations, the purest and simplest elemental embodiment of human fear taken form. They're often quite tiny, but highly abundant wherever the spirit world meets the mortal realm. All a human needs to do is feel afraid enough, and the little creatures may begin to manifest in their hair, their clothes...maybe even in their bodies, exhibiting the parasitic habits true spiders are often falsely associated with.

Being "given" or "getting" the heebie jeebies was once a far more literal statement than it is today, and often gravely serious.

It seems quite likely, in fact, that the widespread revulsion towards harmless, innocent spiders has been the fault of these microgoblins all along, that ancient man really did have an "instinctive" reason to dread small, long-legged creatures who scurry in dark corners and clamber up walls.

Sometimes, Heebie Jeebies may even manifest forms from dead or inanimate objects, provided those objects are the source of someone's fright. A mask, a skull, a carved pumpkin, even a mirror in an unexpected place could startle the unwary enough to sprout its own set of legs and venomous fangs, though they're fortunately not powerful enough to take control of anything much bigger than a human head. Not when they're just born, at least. Just give them a while to soak up some more fear.

Heebie Jeebies can, of course, spin webs like their natural doppelgangers, but this is only because humans expect them to. For the same reason, any given Heebie Jeebie may also be equipped with venomous spit, acidic slime, a wasp-like stinger or a blood-sucking proboscis. They may chitter like rodents or hiss like snakes, swim and leap and burrow, sometimes even take on more centipede-like, cockroach-like or scorpion-like forms.

Some Heebie Jeebies may even be able to fly. In fact...

...Isn't there something just a little bit fishy about some Halloween "bats" out there?