An image of an “Angolan Witch Spider” that is allegedly from South America has gone viral on Facebook over the past few weeks. The caption for the photo reads: “No it is no painting. it’s a new Spider call the Angolan Witch spider. they migrated from South America. they primarily eat dogs and cats In Texas this abnormally large spider was found on the side of this home. It took several gun shots to kill it…. I would literally faint if I saw a spider this BIG.”
The image has frightened arachnophobics and have made others realize the simplicity into tricking people on the Internet. Have you seen the Angolan Witch Spider? Allow me to answer for you: No, you haven’t. The spider does not exist. The artist who crafted the image, Paul Santa Maria, simply took a photo of a wolf spider and placed it on the side of a house via Photoshop. Also, contrary to popular belief, the image was created a year ago. Although he created the image, Santa Maria didn’t write the caption. Here’s a statement from the artist below:
Well, the story is that I was sitting outside and saw the Wolf spider – I called him “Vulfie” like Stanzi from the film “Amadeus” – sitting on this grey concrete block, ran inside for my Canon point-and-shoot and nailed him twice. After a minute, the graphic artist who lives in my head said to go around the side of the house and shoot the same angle, cut him out in Photoshop and put him on the side of the house, not too big to be obviously ridiculous but big enough to scare the pants off of people by looking “acceptably” huge.
I did this in about 20 minutes and then uploaded to my Facebook page. Within hours, I got messages from freaked-out women (and the grandson of the woman’s house this was taken at, who was scared shit-less and refusing to come to visit 2 weeks later as he was scheduled to) and the woman begged me to take it down – I was just having fun and not looking for attention or to freak people out, so I removed it after about 9 hours.
About 4 weeks ago (1 year later and having practically forgotten it) I started getting these emails (like yours) asking if I did this, because I ALWAYS include my url on the pictures I make. Apparently, one person downloaded it and then shared it on their own page (as opposed to just sharing) … but then it got shared over 25 thousand times before it got back to me!
My true forte is as a lead guitarist and fine artist,” reads Santa Maria’s artist statement. “I am known as a creative, jazz-fusion type of player and composer. I have 20 CD’s of original material spanning my commercial work to songs for women singers with whom I have collaborated called ‘Gurl Crazy’, to country songs for my group ‘Timbercats.’ I write scary music under the ‘Sinister Scores’ title and ‘Mad Scientist’ names. ‘Intellipop’ is what it sounds like, intelligent pop music composed over the years that nearly landed me deals with Arista and Columbia.