In a trio of detailed ShukerNature blog articles posted by me during summer 2020 and spring 2021 (click here, here, and here to read them), I documented the fascinating if exceedingly startling series of claims that had been emailed to me by a United States soldier concerning the supposed presence of enormous spiders seen by him and others on several occasions during 2005 and 2007 at US army training areas at Fort Polk, Louisiana's Joint Readiness Training Center, where for several weeks back then he'd been stationed for complex field training.
As I discussed in my accounts, however, the fundamental physiological problems of such sizeable spiders even being capable of existing, let alone actually doing so, would seem sufficient reasons in themselves for discounting these claims out of hand. Yet the extent of detail provided by this self-alleged eyewitness (I do have a name for him on file but in deference to his request to remain publicly anonymous I have never revealed it) is such that I felt it warranted published coverage, if only to see if it elicited any independent, corroborating reports from anyone else.
Now, finally, after more than two years, it has done so, and not from some stranger either, but instead from a longstanding friend on Facebook – namely, veteran monster/mystery beast fan Rich Janusz from Connecticut.
On 10 July this year, Rich sent me three private messages in swift succession on Facebook, and gave me his full permission to document them in a future ShukerNature article – thanks Rich! Due to pressing work commitments, however, I wasn't able to do so straight away, but I am doing so now, having combined his three messages together into a single continuous communication – so here it is:
I have read over the years your reports of giant spiders in the Fort Polk area. I will give you my wife's brother's account.
My wife's brother is an MP in the CT NG. Some years ago, he went to Fort Polk for training. He was training on the use of night vision goggles. They heard a rustling noise, and he swears that himself and his friend saw a spider at least as big as a trash can cover crawl across the trail that they were watching. He is not a bs artist by any means. He has told me this story several times and I believe him.
Sorry that I can't be more specific about dates, call it 2011 or 2012.
At first her brother laughed and said that they were campfire stories. Later he said we'll talk later, [and] a few weeks later he told me the story. Since then he has told it among family and friends. Plus, what was his reaction to the incident? Him and his friend debated going back the way they came, and decided to continue, but very cautiously at first, and then they practically ran through the exercise.
As indeed I would have done had I encountered at close range at night a spider the size of a dustbin lid (my UK-English translation of trash can cover!).
Needless to say, all of the issues of physiological improbability that I discussed previously in relation to my soldier correspondent's sightings claims apply equally here. Yet as I also noted previously, it is not inconceivable, surely, that some novel evolutionary advancement of the typical size-limiting spider respiratory system could yield spiders bigger than those presently known to science (though as there is currently no physical evidence of any kind to substantiate this, such a notion is presently wholly speculative).
Meanwhile, I'll be very interested to see whether this long-awaited, long-hoped-for first independent testimony to the putative reality of Fort Polk's reputed mega-spiders induces other reports of such creatures from this Louisiana location to emerge.
My thanks once again to Rich Janusz for so kindly permitting me to document his extremely interesting, thought-provoking information here.