My brother had arachnophobia, an inordinate fear of spiders. Although in his case it wasn't so much a fear as it was a disgust. Spiders gave him the willys in a big way.
Way back in the sixty's when we were in our youth we decided to go catfishing one Saturday night. There's a place up river a half mile or so that is just right for night time catfishing. A broad deep hole in the river with a fairly decent bank to sit on. After dark we gather up our poles, stink-bait a coleman lantern and flashlights and start walking.
The half mile or so is gravel road, no problems walking it in the near dark, we don't use our flashlights for that. But when we get near the catfish hole we take a trail back down towards the river. It's a brushy trail and narrow. Flashlights are necessary. My brother takes the lead - he's older so you know how that goes - and within just a few feet he hollers something inarticulate and does a fast dance while swatting and wiping at his face. This is funny stuff, and being the young gentleman that I was I kept my laughter down to a semi-loud hoot. He has walked through a spider web.
In this part of the country cotton spiders are common. They are large spiders, black and yellow and they make large heavy webs. I've never heard of anyone being bitten by one, but I suppose it happens sometimes. Shining my flashlight all over his back - at his polite insistence - I didn't see the spider, no doubt it jumped off at the first opportunity, but I could tell it was a cotton spider's web that was tangled over his body. Some of it was still in his hair. It's a creepy feeling for anyone, but for my brother it transcended creepy and went straight to horrifying.
Finally we settled down on the river bank and comenced fishing. Once on the bank we lit the coleman, it had a piece of foil wrapped around half the globe so that we would have light without being blinded. And of course the light drew bugs so we set it off aways. There were a couple of old aluminum and nylon strap outdoor chairs that we left there for just such events as these. It wasn't long before we were comfortable and waiting for a bite.
Some nights we couldn't hardly get out bait out before catching a fish, those were busy nights. Other nights, like this one, you couldn't buy a bite. So we sat there, talking now and then but mostly silent, listening to the hiss of the coleman and just, well, just being there. It wasn't long before I heard light snoring and looked over and sure as hell he'd fallen asleep. Natrually I had to take advantage of that opportunity.
I got up and pulled a long stem of johnson grass, one with a seed head on it, a nice fuzzy seed head. Then I moved over in front of his chair and began to gently drag the seed head across the top of his lip. I guess he was dreaming about that spider because he didn't wipe at his face as I thought he would. No, he exploded out of the chair like a polaris missile and started to run. Unfortunately I was between him and the river. I'm sure he wasn't quite awake yet because he was about to run right into the river, and would have except for me blocking him.
As any good brother would I tried like hell to get out of his way to give him an unobstructed run into the river, but I was way too slow and found myself sailing through the air. At the end of my sailing arc I landed in the river, just as he more or less came to his senses and stopped at the edge of the water. He helped me out and up the bank with a quizzical look on his face and asked what happened.
I wasn't about to give him the satisfaction of the truth, that would be all to his good and none to mine. So I told him that I had seen a huge spider crawling up his leg and went to brush it off and he chunked me in the river. I kept to that for a couple of weeks but finally, being able to laugh at myself, told him the truth.
The next night I woke up in bed screaming and slapping at my face. When I finally calmed down, there was my brother with a stem of johnson grass, laughing his ass off at me. Fair turn, fair turn.