After fighting with your lawyer for three hours about the rumors and history surrounding your house-and the three hours of cleaning up after the resident Casper-you decide that what you need for your home is some houseplants.
Houseplants can’t possibly go wrong, right? You grab your wallet and head down to the local nursery.
The story goes something like this:
A friend/neighbor/work associate/cousin moves to a new city (or experiences a death in the family, a birth, a new job, or other experience that lends itself to receiving a gift). One of their friends decides to gift them with a low maintence plant. Sometimes they are gifting themselves with the cactus; regardless, the woman in question ends up with a small potted cactus.
All goes well for the first few days-as it should be, no one expects problems with a plant. However, the woman starts to notice something odd. When she comes home she feels that the plant is several inches to the left of where she left it. If she watches it closely she feels that she can see it throbbing. Thinking that she’s just stressed, she ignores this oddity.
One day, however, she accidentally nudges it with the watering can which tips the pot over. To her horror, the plant splits open and thousands of spiders spill out (sometimes they’re a deadly species, other times the audience is just left with the horror of that many spiders entering into a home).
In some versions of the story, the woman reports the throbbing to wherever she purchased the plant, who respond with insisting that she either take the plant back to them, where it explodes, or that she has the house fumigated, which creates the arachnid explosion. The implication in all three stories is that the cactus was full of eggs.
It appears that this story, as it is told in modern times, dates back to 1970s Europe. It may be a modern variation of another spider-centric story, the idea of the spiders in the up-do. It should be noted however that if this is the case, the original morality may have been stripped out of the tale. The base myth, the infested hair, was a Middle Ages warning against vanity and too much concern for appearance. It would seem instead that this story is playing on the fears of the violation of the home.
Your First (Haunted) House