Dancing: a perpendicular expression of a horizontal desire.
[George Bernard Shaw]
Lycosa tarantula. Lycosa fasciiventris. Lycosa hispanica.
WOLF SPIDERS The wolf spiders or hunting spiders [family Lycosidae] are ground-dwelling vagabonds that lie in ambush or freely hunt their prey. Males have no permanent burrow but live a nomadic life of wandering; females live in a burrow. The majority of the species make up the genus Lycosa. Wolf spiders make no webs, although some species demonstrate their spinning skills in producing silk-lined burrows below ground with elaborate entrances. They are named for the wolflike method of hunting and pouncing upon prey. “Hers is the method of the cheetah, an animal that is a famous sprinter, but no stayer. … So the wayfarer, plodding along, awakens to the fact that something is coming down on him like an express train. One backward look is sufficient; the wayfarer accelerates

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frantically. But usually it is hopeless; the tarantula has had a flying start and is on him almost before he has started. The wayfarer is then either eaten on the spot or dragged to the cellar and eaten there. Lycosa, the wolf spider, is not the sadist that Aranea is. If the prey is large she kills it immediately, for she lacks ropes to tie it and has no web to embarrass it. This means of course that she must often lunch in our own manner, crunching her meat.”1 Not all wolf spiders actively run, as their name suggests, they may sit quietly in ambush and wait until a victim happens to come by. Their eight eyes are arranged in a characteristic fashion: four uniformly small eyes in the anterior row of eyes, two large median eyes in a middle row, and two small or medium-sized eyes in a top row. The posterior eyes allow vision above and behind them and are of importance in avoiding predation. Wolf spiders make up a large proportion of the spider population in the Arctic and on high mountains. The tracheal breathing system of wolf spiders allows them to be extremely agile by comparison to the slower moving bird spiders which have four lungs. 2,3 “About 2,200 different species occur all over the world, and they may vary quite a bit in size. Smaller wolf spiders [4-10 mm body length] roam freely among stones or low vegetation; only the larger representatives [Arctosa, Trochosa, Alopecosa; 10-20 mm] dig either short tunnels or deep burrows. The most famous wolf spider is certainly the Mediterranean tarantula, the name being derived from the Italian town of Taranto. True tarantulas [Lycosa, Hogna] can reach an impressive 30 mm of body length, but they are not related to the big tropical ‘tarantulas’, the mygalomorphs, also known as bird spiders. Although tarantulas have long had a reputation as dangerous spiders, the ancient fear of their poisonous bite has been proven to be quite wrong. Probably any bites alleged to be from a tarantula were in fact inflicted by black widow spiders [Latrodectus]. Tarantulas live in silk-lined burrows in the soil.”4 Most species are more active at night or if the sky is overcast. They have good vision and their highly developed sense of touch enables them to react to vibrations caused by the wing beat or by the characteristic walking pattern of the prey. Visual clues also play a role in detecting prey. “Wolf spiders have remarkable powers of observation in recognising landmarks by which to find their way back home after foraging at night. This orientation skill is due to these spiders’ eyes being highly sensitive to polarised light.”5 Lycosa tarantula, native to the Mediterranean region, inhabits open places, dry, arid, uncultivated places, exposed to the sun. Females live in cylindrical underground burrows, males are wanderers. Wolf spiders can be tracked during the night because their eyes will reflect the light of a flashlight, in a similar way to a cat’s eye. [Wolf spiders have a layer of relective cells in the back of their eyes that functions to increase the amount of light hitting the retina of the spider. Few other spider families have this.]
COURTSHIP Spiders use three methods to produce sounds: [1] drumming, [2] stridulation, by moving a scraper over a file, and [3] vibration of legs or abdomen. Sharp-sighted hunters such as jumping spiders tend towards visually based courtship, whereas hunting spiders such as Lycosa resort to vibrations and sound – usually percussion by drumming against the substrate -, and to signalling by waving their pedipalps in a rhythmic pattern. Web-builders such as Aranea and Latrodectus will use the web itself to transmit vibrations. Lycosidae mate on the ground or on leaves. Unlike most spiders, it is the female that becomes restless and goes in search for a male. She may run around for hours, leaving a scent on the ground, which in due course is picked up by a male. The eyesight of wolf spiders is not as good as that of jumping spiders, so that the male has to signal his approach by visual methods. [Motionless objects are not seen by wolf spiders.] “When the male judges that his postures have struck the right note and had the proper effect he comes to closer quarters. So far he has inspired interest in the female and turned her thoughts, for once, away from her stomach. But she is not ready yet for the climax. Interest is not desire. The male touches her gingerly. If she responds by not attacking him he grows bolder. He caresses and tickles her. … Although larger she is fatter than he is, and he is usually able to avoid her murderous rushes. For hours he circles round her at a discreet distance, signalling every now and then. And every now and then she goes for him, often viciously. When she finally submits, her endearments are more like a wrestling match than love.”6 After mating has taken place outside her burrow during the night, the male must make an immediate departure.
BROOD CARE Female wolf spiders are well known for their brood care. After laying their eggs, they attach the egg case to their spinnerets and carry it around wherever they go. During the day she incubates the eggs by slowly revolving the egg sac to face the sunlight as she sits, head down, within the entrance of her burrow. “When the spiderlings at last hatch, they crawl onto their mother at once, sometimes almost covering her entire body, three to four spiderlings deep. … As the weeks pass, the survivors grow sturdy upon their mother’s back. They nourish themselves on fat reserves, moisture, moulted skin and energy direct from the sun. The mother spider continues capturing insects but the young do not participate in the feasting. … This prolonged back-riding by the spiderlings only occurs with Lycosids. The disposition of the female spider changes dramatically: her life is harder and she grows more aggressive. While hunting, two mother wolf spiders may become locked into a battle to the death. The first to sink her fangs into the opponent’s brain is ensured of a meal. The young spiderlings do not partake in the ‘feast’. Once the fight is over, the youngsters of the two females cleave to the victorious ‘mother’. Many of the spiderlings fall off and are left behind. The spiderlings depart from their mother after six months in batches to ascend the tips of tall plant stems and blades of grass, where they create tiny balloons of silk. The air currents catch the little silk balloons and lift them high into the air. The spiderlings often travel far from their original homesite.”7 Spiderlings hardly grow during their six or seven months of lodging on their mother’s back. Yet they are at all times “ready for exercise and for agile swarming,” thereby expending strength in moving. “To wind up the mechanism of their muscles,” writes Fabre, their mother enables them to “recruit themselves direct with heat and light” by spending long hours basking in the sun “to keep the tender babies active.” They cling motionlessly to their mother, but “if I only blow upon them, they stampede as nimbly as though a hurricane were passing. Hurriedly, they disperse; hurriedly, they reassemble; a proof that without material nourishment, the little animal machine is always at full pressure, ready to work.”
DEFENDING THE COCOON The tarantula will fight to death to retain her egg sac. If the egg sac is removed, the spider frantically searches everywhere and upon finding the sac attaches it to her spinnerets again. Experiments have shown that she even may substitute bits of cork, paper or snail shells for the egg sac if lost. “Bonnet once found a wolf spider carrying her cocoon and threw her into the pit of an ant-lion. Aware of her danger the spider tried to run away. Too late; the ant lion seized the under-slung cocoon between its jaws. The mother struggled and in these struggles the cocoon became detached. Now was the mother’s chance to save her life, but instead of running away she turned round in the pit and seized the cocoon which was being drawn under the sand. Her strength of course could not prevail against that of the ant lion, but she retained her hold and was drawn under the sand together with her beloved bag. And she would have been buried alive and that would have been the end of her, but for Bonnet, who dug her out. He got no thanks, for her first act was to hurl herself into the pit again. Bonnet fished her out a second time and for some time kept her from suicide by warding her away with a twig from the fatal chasm. So obviously the wolf spider prefers death to life without her cocoon. Equally striking is her delight when it is given back to her and she straps the beloved possession to her person once more and goes on her way rejoicing. Some observers say that if the burden is not restored the mother dies of grief in a few days. This is to be doubted. Those careful observers, the Peckhams, say that Lycosa, having been deprived of her capsule will still eagerly seize it if it is restored to her after 16 or 17 hours. Sometimes she will respond after 24 hours. But after two days she never has any further interest in it. … Fabre took a Lycosa’s cocoon away from her. He did it with his famous pair of forceps which she attacked with such fury that he could hear her fangs grating on the steel. Immediately he gave her a cocoon taken from another Lycosa. She took it, strapped it to her, and walked contentedly away.”8
HUNTING THE HUNTER The French naturalist and physician Léon Dufour [1780-1865] describes in instructive detail his attempts to capture the Lycosa tarantula. “Let us now say something about my rather diverting tarantula-hunts. The best season for them is the months of May and June. The first time that I lighted on this spider’s burrow and discovered that they were inhabited by seeing her come to a point on the first floor of her dwelling I thought that I must attack her by main force and pursue her relentlessly in order to capture her; I spent whole hours in opening up the trench with a knife a foot long by two inches wide, without meeting the tarantula. I renewed the operation in other burrows, always with the same want of success; I really wanted a pick-axe to achieve my object, but I was too far from any kind of house. I was obliged to change my plan of attack, and I resorted to craft. Necessity, they say, is the mother of invention. It occurred to me to take a stalk, topped with its spikelet, by way of a bait, and to rub and move it gently at the orifice of the burrow. I soon saw that the Lycosa’s attention and desires were roused. Attracted by the bait, she came with measured steps towards the spikelet. I withdrew it in good time a little outside the hole, so as not to leave the animal time for reflection; and the spider suddenly, with a rush, darted out of her dwelling, of which I hastened to close the entrance. The tarantula, bewildered by her unaccustomed liberty, was very awkward in evading my attempts at capture; and I compelled her to enter a paper bag, which I closed without delay. Sometimes, suspecting the trap, or perhaps less pressed by hunger, she would remain coy and motionless, at a slight distance from the threshold, which she did not think it opportune to cross. Her patience outlasted mine. In that case, I employed the following tactics: after making sure of the Lycosa’s position and the direction of the tunnel, I drove a knife into it on the slant, so as to take the animal in the rear and cut off its retreat by stopping up the burrow. In these critical circumstances, either the tarantula took fright and deserted her lair for the open, or else she stubbornly remained with her back to the blade. I would then give a sudden jerk to the knife, which flung both the earth and the Lycosa to a distance, enabling me to capture her. In a few cases, in which the tarentula was under no misapprehension as to the trap which I was setting for her, I was not a little surprised, when I pushed the stalk far enough down to twist it round her hiding-place, to see her play with the spikelet more or less contemptuously and push it away with her legs, without troubling to retreat to the back of her lair. The Apulian peasants also hunt the tarantula by imitating the humming of an insect with an oat-stalk at the entrance of her burrow. The tarantula, so dreadful at first sight, esp. when we are filled with the idea that her bite is dangerous, so fierce in appearance, is nevertheless quite easy to tame, as I have often found by experiment.”9
VENOM Fabre experimented with the poison of Lycosa narbonensis, a species common in the south of France and almost identical in size and habits with Lycosa tarantula. Bumblebees and carpenter bees as big as the spider itself it overpowered and killed in a matter of seconds. Such sudden death, proportionately much faster than a rattlesnake causes, is brought about by the spider’s accuracy in selecting the right spot to kill or paralyze its victim. “The nape of the neck alone possesses the desired vulnerability,” concluded Fabre, “the adversary must be nipped there and no elsewhere. Not to floor her at once would mean to irritate her and make her more dangerous than ever. The spider is well aware of this. In the safe shelter of her threshold, therefore, prepared to beat a quick retreat if necessary, she watches for the favourable moment; she waits for the big [carpenter] bee to face her, when the neck is easily grabbed. If this condition of success comes, she leaps out and acts; if not, weary of the violent evolutions of the quarry, she retires indoors.” Lycosa spiders strike their prey dead instantaneously by stinging the nerve centres of the neck, in contrast to spiders that immobilize their prey by destroying their power of movement so that they can enjoy or keep their food fresh. Grasshoppers bitten in the abdomen [by Lycosa] will last for a day, but bitten in the neck, they die immediately. Fabre’s next experiment was on a young sparrow. “A drop of blood flows; the wounded spot is surrounded by a reddish circle, changing to purple. The bird almost immediately loses the use of its leg, which drags, with the toes doubled in; it hops upon the other. Apart from this, the patient does not seem to trouble much about his hurt; his appetite is good. My daughters feed him on flies, breadcrumbs, apricot-pulp. He is sure to get well, he will recover his strength; the poor victim of the curiosity of science will be restored to liberty. Twelve hours later, the hope of a cure increases; the invalid takes nourishment readily; he clamours for it, if we keep him waiting. But the leg still drags. I set this down to a temporary paralysis which will soon disappear. Two days after, he refuses food. Wrapping himself in his stoicism and his rumpled feathers, the sparrow hunches into a ball, now motionless, now twitching. My girls take him in the hollow of their hands and warm him with their breath. The spasms become more frequent. A gasp proclaims that all is over. The bird is dead. There was a certain coolness among us at the evening meal. I read mute reproaches, because of my experiment, in the eyes of my home-circle; I read an unspoken accusation of cruelty around me. The death of the unfortunate sparrow had saddened the whole family. I myself was not without some remorse of conscience: the poor result achieved seemed to me too dearly bought. I am not made of the stuff of those who, without turning a hair, rip up live dogs to find out nothing in particular. Nevertheless, I had the courage to start afresh, this time on a mole caught ravaging a bed of lettuce.”10 Fabre made the tarantula bite the mole at the tip of its snout. The mole kept on scratching its nose but ate well, only to die about 36 hours after being bitten. Although fatal to sparrow and mole, Lycosa venom seems not particularly toxic to people. If their venom would be more virulent and their instrument of delivering it more adequate, then still the change of them exactly stabbing at the right spot would be negligible. Thus the Lycosa-bite results only in some local reactions such as itching, swelling, redness and, on rare occasions, soreness and fever for a couple of days.
TARANTISM “Dance manias, taking the form of epidemics of raving, jumping, dancing, and convulsions, were reported as early as the 10th century. One such episode, occurring in Italy early in the 13th century, was recorded by physicians of the time whose records have been reviewed by the medical historian H.E. Sigerist. He has written: ‘The disease occurred at the height of the summer heat. … People, asleep or awake, would suddenly jump up, feeling an acute pain like the sting of a bee. Some saw the spider, others did not, but they knew that it must be the tarantula. They ran out of the house into the street, to the market place, dancing in great excitement. Soon they were joined by others who like them had been bitten, or by people who had been stung in previous years. … Thus groups of patients would gather, dancing wildly in the queerest attire. … Others would tear their clothes and show their nakedness, losing all sense of modesty. … Some called for swords and acted like fencers, others for whips and beat each other. … Some of them had still stranger fancies, liked to be tossed in the air, dug holes in the ground, and rolled themselves into the dirt like swine. They all drank wine plentifully and sang and talked like drunken people.” … Actually the behaviour was very similar to ancient orgiastic rites by which people had worshipped the Greek gods. These had been banned with the advent of Christianity, but were deeply embedded in the culture and were apparently kept alive by secret gatherings. Probably considerable guilt and conflict were engendered; then, with time, the meaning of the dances changed, and the old rites appeared as symptoms of disease. The participants were no longer sinners, but the poor victims of the tarantula. Known as tarantism in Italy, the dancing mania later spread to Germany and the rest of Europe, where it was known as St. Vitus’ dance. Other peculiar manifestations also appeared. In the 15th century, a member of a German convent was overcome with a desire to bite her fellow nuns. The practice was taken up by her companions, and the mania spread to other convents in Germany, Holland, and Italy.”11 Legend has it that an epidemic of tarantism swept through the town of Taranto in southern Italy between the 15th and 17th centuries. Victims, referred to as tarantati and almost always women, were seized with a dancing frenzy, born of the idea that the bite would be fatal if the victim did not dance hard and long enough, perhaps to sweat the poison out the system. For the performance of the dance music was required, and so musicians would come and play mandolins, guitars and tambourins in search of the correct rhythm. Each beat would have a different effect on the tarantata causing various movements and gestures. Once the correct rhythm was found it was almost certain that the tarantata would awaken cured from the sleep in which she, from sheer exhaustion, had collapsed. Since dancing mania never appears to have occurred among ladies of high ranking or aristocratic upbringing, another version states that women, depressed and frustrated with their subordinate position, would fall into a trance-like state that could only be cured by the music and dance of the ‘tarantella’, as it was called. Such a cure took three days and provided the tarantata with all the attention she had hoped for. 12 In addition to music, colour also played a role. Coloured ribbons were put on the floor around the dancer who then had to find the right colour and dance looking at it. The colour black generally caused anxiety, whereas green and red were experienced as pleasant. The rhythmic tarantella is still performed at Italian weddings or celebration. It is a couple folk dance characterized by light, quick steps and teasing, flirtatious behaviour between partners. The dance has been defined as a ‘high speed pas de deux’ that is ‘vibrant, colourful and entertaining’. Aside from the spider bite, other explanations that have been put forward to account for tarantism include heat exhaustion, neurosis or acute mental disorder, spirit possession, mass hysteria, and a variant of the dancing mania. According to the Australian sociologist Robert Bartholomew, however, the most likely explanation for dance mania, based on an examination of a representative sample of medieval chronicles, is that “these episodes are best explained as deviant religious sects who gained adherents as they made pilgrimages through Europe during years of turmoil in order to receive divine favour. Their symptoms [visions, fainting, tremor] are predictable for any large population engaging in prolonged dancing, emotional worship, and fasting. Their actions have been ‘mistranslated’ by contemporary scholars evaluating the participants’ behaviours per se, removed from their regional context and meaning. Tarantism was a regional variant of dancing mania that developed into a local tradition, primarily in southern Italy.”13
MANIA Although it is far from certain that Lycosa tarantula causes such severe symptoms as are attributed to its bite, they still may be considered useful in the sense of being phenomena associated with this spider. Besides, its symptoms have been many times confirmed in practice. The following is an account by Giorgio Baglivi [1669-1707], professor of anatomy and medicine at Rome, of the occurrences in southern Italy. [References 1 to 8 in Allen’s Encyclopedia; it should be noted that sources 4 and 5 refer to the effects of the bite of a scorpion!] “A few hours after the bite the patients have great anguish of the heart, great dejection, but greater difficulty in breathing; they complain in a mournful voice, roll their eyes, and when asked by bystanders where they suffer, they either do not reply or point out the affected region by placing the hand upon the chest, as if the heart were affected more than all else. [These symptoms markedly resemble the effects of the bite by the ‘malmignatte’, a Mediterranean variety of Latrodectus mactans.] The symptoms observed after the bite of a tarantula are not constant and common to each person, neither are they all produced by each tarantula, but they vary according to the variety of the tarantula, the temperament of the diseased person, and greater or less summer heat. It has been observed that tarentulas in the more northern region of Apulia are fiercer; the bitten people suffer sever symptoms; esp. they are charmed by various colours, green, blue etc., but rarely by dark colours. And if approached by people dressed in a strong colour, which is unpleasant to them, they must retire; for at sight of the annoying colour they are immediately seized with anguish of heart and renewal of the symptoms. Different symptoms are produced by different varieties of tarentulas. The tarantula subalbida causes slight pain, followed by itching, sharp pain in the abdomen and diarrhoea. The tarantula stellata causes more severe pain and itching, stupor, heaviness and pain in the head, trembling of the whole body, etc. The tarantula uvea causes, besides the above symptoms, swelling, great pain in the bitten part, spasm, chill, cold perspiration over the whole body, aphonia, inclination to vomit, tension of the trunk and chest, distension of the abdomen, etc. There are numerous and incredible symptoms of tarentula, many of which seem dependent on a depraved imagination; it will not be far from the truth if we report that after the intense severity of the symptoms apparent on the first days has declined, there is a peculiar melancholy, a bending forward of the neck, until either by dancing, or music, or by change of age the poisonous characteristics are eliminated from the blood and nervous fluids, which fortune is rarely attained, for having once been bitten, it is certainly evident that they cannot be restored to health. Many symptoms confirm this assertion of the nature of the depraved fancy; for many have sought the sepulchre and lonely places, and even extended themselves upon the bier. Desperate, they court dissolution. Maidens and wives, otherwise virtuous, the restraints of modesty being loosed, sigh deeply, howl, make indecent gestures, expose their sexual organs, are fond of pensile movements, etc., some at length twist about in their own garments, and take excessive delight in such movements. Others like to strike with whips on the buttocks, heels, feet, back, etc. Others have a great desire to run. Also strange fancies in regard to colours are observed; for people bitten by tarentulas are charmed by some colours, and on the contrary, greatly repelled by others, and according to the degree of the perverted fancy in turn, refreshed and made miserable by various colours. … He immediately felt intense pain in the bitten spot, and fell to the ground with coldness of the body; with bristling of the hair, pain in the chest, tension of the trunk, the legs very weak, he sighed, complained, said that he was suffocating, wished to cry out, but could not. The next morning he was taken by his neighbours to the town where music was called in; he immediately began to dance, he was bathed in perspiration, was sleepless for a week, drank pure wine; did not evacuate the bowels for four days, desired nothing, wished to be bathed in water, liked a red colour, pursuing with the greatest hatred anything blue, which he tore to pieces and trampled under foot. At night he held his heels in his hands to scratch them, in which manner he was able to get a little sleep; he ate little or nothing; but dancing for almost a week, he was cured by the perspiration and music. … The tarantula being killed, he returned home, but on the way suddenly fell to the ground, as if struck by apoplexy, followed by shortness of breath, blackness of the face, hands, and other extremities, etc. The patient revived as he heard music, began to sigh, moved first his feet, then his hands and the rest of his body, and soon after, on being raised to his feet, danced vigorously, with sighs so deep as almost to frighten the bystanders. He rolled upon the ground, and kicked vigorously. In two hours from the beginning of the music he had entirely lost the blackness of the face and hands; the dance was repeated for three days, according to the custom, he was entirely restored by the perspiration thus induced. Each year, about the time of the bite, pain reappeared in the affected part with all the above symptoms, in less intensity, however; and unless he anticipated the assailing paroxysm with music and dancing, he was suddenly seized with the same symptoms, whence, when thus attacked about the time of the bite, he was carried from the field by his companions and restored by a little music.”14
PROVINGS •• [1] Nunez – 16 provers [9 males, 7 females], c. 1864; method: 3c [one prover], 6c, and 12c, two or three doses daily until symptoms set in [which usually occurred after the first day]; ‘duration of action from six to eight weeks.’
•• [2] Central Council for Research in Homoeopathy [India] – 28 provers [22 males, 6 males], December 1985 – February 1987; method: placebo-controlled, double blind. “proving trials consisted of four legs. The first leg was placebo for all, four doses a day for a fortnight, followed by ‘wash-out’ for a period of seven days. Similarly the second, third and fourth legs consisted of 200c, 30c and 6c potencies respectively, administered four doses a day for a fortnight and followed by ‘wash-out’ for seven days. Drug administration was suspended immediately after symptoms were reported and remained suspended until the symptoms disappeared.”15
[1] Crompton, The Spider. [2] Herbert Levi and Lorna Levi, Spiders and their kin. [3] Brunet, The Silken Web. [4] Foelix, Biology of Spiders. [5] Brunet, ibid. [6] Crompton, ibid. [7] Brunet, ibid. [8] Crompton, ibid. [9] Dufour, cited in Fabre, The Life of the Spider. [10] Fabre, ibid. [11] Coleman et al., Abnormal Psychology and Modern Life. [12] Malpezzi and Clements, Italian-American Folklore, and Stefania Nicotria, Tarantulas, Tarantatas and Tarantellas, Italy Italy No. 1, Febr./March 1995; website About. com, Inc. [13] Bartholomew, Rethinking Dancing Mania; Skeptical Inquirer, July/August 2000. [This excellent article is available on the website of CSICOP.] [14] Allen, Encyclopedia, Vol. IX. [15] V.M. Nagpaul et al., Tarantula hispanica – a reproving; BHJ, Jan. 1989.
NERVES. HEART. Spine. RESPIRATION. Female genitalia. * Right side.
Worse: TOUCH; touch of the affected parts. Cold. Noise. Periodically [same hour; yearly]. After menses. Evening. Change of weather. Must walk about but walking aggravates.
Better: Relaxation [rubbing; sweating; smoking]. Open air. Music. Riding horseback.
Main symptoms
Must be in CONSTANT motion, though motion aggravates.
Desire to jump.
BOUNDLESS energy; compelled to be busy, to act.
• “From the first there was an indescribable melancholy, anguish, and restlessness; peevishness, the attendants could do nothing to suit me; great haste in whatever I undertook, from a constant fear that something would happen to prevent my finishing it; I would start up suddenly and hastily change my position, through fear that something would fall on me; when walking I would stop short or suddenly throw my head to one side, through fear of striking it against some imaginary object which appeared to be suspended a few inches above my head. Great fear of an imaginary impending calamity.”1 [Allen]
M Everybody MUST HURRY.
Other people do things too slowly.
M Hyperactivity.
RAPID movement.
M Hands in constant motion, constant motion of legs.
Ludicrous motions, of arms and trunk.
Tries to work this overexcitability, buts LACKS CONTROL.
M > Dancing.
• “And not only is this drug amazingly sensitive to music, but it can be even physically affected by colour.” [Tyler]
[music, massaging, riding horseback, dancing, smoking, sex].
M FOXY. Cunning, devious.
• “Adroit, conceited of its cleverness; yet stupidly assuming that false methods and false motives will escape detection, it elaborates manoeuvres to deceive. Appearing in view, even parading its presence; then seeking cover, it hides from detection, unexpectedly to emerge from ambush to attack its victim elsewhere unaware. All purpose, whatever and however carried out, excludes every consideration of the interest, the desire and the purpose of another. Only self-interest and desires are observed; and these are whimsical, changeful without limit, without calculation or foresight.”2
• “SUDDEN violent, or SLY destructive movements are absolutely characteristic, and unique to this drug.” [Tyler]
Threatening, destructive, unexpected behaviour, but cunning.
SUDDEN IMPULSE to do harm.
• “Desire to strike himself and those who prevent it.” [Allen]
Guided by whims.
Violence of onslaught; fear to face real opposition or when they are away from home.”
“The motionless waiting, sudden attack and instant retreat is one of the most outstanding characteristics of the creature and of the remedy derived from it. This same method is the one used both in warfare and in seeking prey. Away from home the Tarentula is utterly timid, for she cannot attack and retreat with the certainty that comes from intimate knowledge of her surroundings. … Out of her usual surroundings she is fearful, and wants to hide for fear of being assaulted. … In citing actual cases, one thinks of the young man who had returned home on parole from the state hospital for the insane. Apparently sitting quietly in the kitchen while his sister prepared dinner, when her back was turned he slipped from the room, entered the clothes closet and set fire to the garments hanging there, slipping back quietly and quickly to his place. Not until the smoke was detected in the room did the sister suspect that the young man had left the room.”3
• “Incredible quickness: jumps out of bed and smashes something before she can be prevented.” [Tyler]
Followed by laughter and apologies.
M Extreme disposition to laugh, play, joke, to do absurd things.
M Excessive sensitiveness and excitability of the special senses.
Light and glaring colours irritate and RUBBING.
G Movements.
• “ROLLING from side to side to relieve the distress.” [Kent]
G TWITCHINGS, jerking.
Starting from sleep.
Restless hands, legs.
G SEXUAL EXCITEMENT; uncontrollable.
• “Lasciviousness in a man forty years old; constant sexual excitement at the sight of obscene objects.”
• “Sexual desire [in a woman of twenty-six years]; facility to express herself, but hesitation, incertitude, and changeable in her actions and ideas. The sexual appetite lasted in this woman forty-five days, and was not influenced by menstruation. During all this time there was poor memory, quarrelsome and changeable temper, and her look was at times vivid and passionate. [As a footnote:] The sexual desire was so manifest in this woman that, when playing or dancing with gentlemen, she hugged them before everybody. The just remarks on her conduct made her irritable; she cried, was angry, and finished by promising not to do it again; however, she did not keep her promise long. During this period the catamenia were scanty and pale, with severe pains in the teeth and buttocks. At times she experienced the desire to take things which did not belong to her. A circumstance worth mentioning, was that the ‘Tarantella’ played on the violin and guitar did not produce any effect on her, but as soon as she took in her arms a little girl, she commenced to cry until the child was taken away; this never took place with her before. These experiments were repeated several times, always with the same results.” [Allen]
Sensitive genitals.
G Vertigo, then spasms. [Boger]
P Constipation.
Most terrible and alarming after cathartics, enemas failed to effect a movement.
And Anxiety, restlessness.
Feels goods from massage or rubbing head.
P Profuse menses, followed by pruritus vulvae.
Dry, hot, raw, itching vulva and vagina.
< Scratching. Leucorrhoea of clear, acrid, sticky lumps. [1] Effects from intoxication through a scratch on the forefinger with a minute amount of the alcoholic tincture of a tarantula. [2] Loos, Tarentula hispanica in the modern age; Intern. Hahn. Ass., 1926. [3] Roberts, The Characteristics of Individual Animals in Life and in the Remedies; Homoeopathy, Nov. 1934. [4-5] Leeser, Actions and Medicinal Use of Spider Venoms; BHJ, Jan. 1959. [6] Loos, ibid. Rubrics Mind Desires activity [1]. Anger, when touched [3]. Anxiety, > exercise [1]. Desire to attack others [3]. Colours, aversion to black [2], aversion to green [2], desire for green [1], aversion to yellow [2]. Complaining and threatening [1/1]. Cunning [1]. Delusions, is going to be assaulted [1], is insulted [1], body is smaller [1], strangers seem to be in the room [2]. Feigning to be sick [2]. Wants to fight [2]. Hurry, everybody moves too slowly [2], everybody must hurry [3], in movements [3], while walking [3]. Impulse to do absurd things [1]. Looking around herself to observe the effect of her actions on others, in hysteria [1/1]. Striking others that prevent him from striking himself [1A].
After eating > [1C]. Upward motion of head [1C].
Motions of head, rocks head from side to side to relieve pain [1]. Pain, > drinking cold water [1C]. Pulsating, > profuse perspiration [1C].
Staring on listening to music [1/1].
Foggy, < sunlight [2]. Throat Swallowing, difficult, from sens. of lump in throat [1C], > hot drinks [1C].
Heartburn > cold drinks [1C]. Pain, burning, > vomiting [1].
Involuntary urination, with constipation [1/1], during exertion [1], during motion [1]; urination retarded, can pass urine only when whistling [1].
Menses, offensive, fishy odour [1C], putrid [1C].
Voice, hoarseness, > eating [1C], > hot drinks [1C].
After coition [1/1]. Motion > [1C]. Smoking > [1].
Wild animals [1]. Contempt [1]. Falling from horse [1/1]. Insults [1].
During headache [1]. From music [1].
* Repertory additions: [A] = Allen; [C] = Central Council for Research in Homoeopathy.
Aversion: [2]: Meat. [1]: Bread; chocolate; fat; meat, roasted; spicy.
Desire: [3]: Sand. [2]: Cold drinks; spicy; salt. [1]: Chocolate; lemons; lime; raw food; sweets.
Worse: [3]: Fat. [2]: Butter; cold drinks. [1]: Fruit; pork.

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