Tuesday, November 22, 2005


British feared spider plot by IRA

This story by Allison Bray in the Irish Independent made me laugh. According to newly released documents from the British Public Records Office, Scotland Yard feared the IRA would release deadly Black Widow spiders from London Zoo in 1940 in a sinister plot.

Scotland Yard was worried about a so-called "arachnid gap" in its military and counter terrorism measures.

Scotland Yard Inspector, Christopher Rolfe, urged officials to destroy the creatures before they had a chance to breed.

"The escape of these huge, ugly and dangerous spiders would have, undoubtedly, a very unnerving effect upon the majority of people in this country, accustomed as they are to small harmless varieties," he wrote.

"The puerile wishes of a few professors of insectology should not be allowed to endanger the national welfare."

Rolfe added: "The IRA may already have devious plans up its sleeves to capitalise on a bombing campaign by the Nazis or themselves that would set the spiders loose."

However according to a London Zoo spokeswoman, the spiders would have likely been locked away in a safe place during the war anyway.

An amusing story don't you think? It's one thing to gain inspiration from a spider à la Robert the Bruce, but it's another thing entirely to actually use spiders to achieve your aims!

I get the impression Inspector Wolfe might have been quite a fan of B-movies!


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