LEXINGTON, Mo. — A man had an eerie encounter Saturday while fishing the Missouri River on the stretch between Kansas City and Lexington, M0.
L. Smith, 45, claims he saw a strange “hairy critter” he wasn’t able to identify. The creature, he says, was at least five feet wide and had “long, hairy legs that looked like a spider.”
“I’m lucky to go fishing almost every weekend, wife allowing, so I know what kind of animals live around here. I have plenty of experience around the the woods and the river… It was around noon, I sit down a few mins for a smoke, when I start hearing dry leaves moving on the left. I turn my head to where I heard the noise and I see a huge, long pair of hairy legs grabbing my canteen that I had just placed there a few seconds ago. Sheesh, it scared the bejesus out of me, I almost swallowed the smoke.”
Smith says the incident only lasted a few seconds and that he wasn’t able to get many details of the creature. “It was fast, it felt like when a spider catches its prey. I can tell you the hairs on the legs looked black, very thick, attached to the legs, it reminded me of the quills of a porcupine, only I guarantee you that it was not a porcupine. Porcupines don’t have long legs like that. You seen those spiders from the cartoons when they come out of the quicksand? Something like that.”
Smith investigated the area where he claims the incident occurred, but he wasn’t able to find a hole on the ground where the alleged “spider” made its appearance.
“I know people won’t believe me, but that thing is not something you’d find any place in America. I don’t believe it either. That thing measured, I estimate, around five feet wide.”
The Jba Fofi, also known as the Congolese Giant spider, is well known among the natives of Central Africa. This cryptid arthropod is presumably has been a favorite subject of researchers across the world. Local stories tell these five foot spiders construct tunnels under the tree roots and then cover them with leaves, allowing them to ambush their prey. Their eggs are supposed to be yellow and the spiderlings a bright yellow and purple color. George Eberhart describes people’s encounters with these creatures in his book Mysterious Creatures: A Guide to Cryptozoology – Volume 1.
Naturalist Williams J. Gibbons writes he learned about these creatures from the natives while looking for the Mokele-Mbembe, an alleged living dinosaur: “These giant ground-dwelling spiders prey on the diminutive forest antelope, birds, and other small game, and are said to be extremely dangerous, not to mention highly venomous”.
Most of the Jba Fofi sightings have happened in Congo, although there are a few reports coming from Papua New Guinea (1942), Louisiana (1948), Cameroon (2001), Brazil (2011), and Texas (2013).
This is the first known report of a giant spider sighting in Missouri.
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