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ITSY BITSY MENACE

How spiders terrorized a woman with a creepy midnight nursery rhyme

A common European spider.
Magne Flaten/CC BY-SA 3.0
The terror of Ipswich?
  • Natasha Frost
By Natasha Frost

Reporter

This article is more than 2 years old.

It’s the stuff nightmares are made of: For months on end, a woman living in Ipswich, England, was awoken nightly by the far-off strains of a child’s recorded voice, singing the nursery rhyme “It’s Raining, It’s Pouring.” Eventually, the noise would depart—only to come again another day.

“The first time I heard it it was the most terrifying thing ever,” the woman, who did not want to be named, told the BBC. “I went cold and felt sick, and thought, ‘What on earth was that?'” Frightened by the song’s “threatening undertones” and questioning her sanity, she finally decided to take matters into her own hands and call on the local borough council, she told the Ipswich Star. “I started to ask myself why I was living with this when I could do something about it.”

The next time the woman heard the song in the middle of the night, she rang the council’s rapid response team, and sent them in the direction of the noise.

In what must have made for a terrifying scene in the middle of the night, the team found the music blaring out from a loud speaker over an industrial premises down the road. While they’d initially found the woman’s claim “difficult to believe,” a spokesperson told the paper, “it sounded very eerie at that time of night. We appreciate that people living nearby would find it quite spooky.”

In fact, the music had been designed as an anti-trespassing measure, like a kind of siren to deter “opportunistic thieves.” The sound is activated by motion sensors, and supposed to be heard only on the estate itself, but it had accidentally been turned up so loud that it was audible even on neighboring roads.

As for the intruders, they were probably too small for larceny. Spiders had triggered the siren by crawling across the lenses of the cameras, sometimes resulting in the song playing for hours at a time. It’s since been turned down—so the itsy bitsy spiders can cavort to their hearts’ content, while their neighbors get some sleep.

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