Mike Carrington.....The Spider!

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Status: Finished  |  Genre: Memoir  |  House: Booksie Classic
During his RAF posting in Hong Kong, Mike had some interesting moments. He recalls this story somewhat reluctantly as it seems incredible. No fiction here. It happened.

Submitted: December 25, 2011

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Submitted: December 25, 2011

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MIKE CARRINGTON…..The Spider!

Recently I was sitting with a few friends and we were chatting about life experiences. Everyone had something to contribute to the conversation and I told a few tales about motorbike crashes, sport etc., but I said nothing about one particular experience because, knowing my friends, I would have been laughed at or even ridiculed. However, one other person does know about this happening. He was there with me all those years ago. I will refer to him as John (not his real name!) as he prefers to remain totally anonymous. Let me take you back a few years. To 1973 in fact, and this is what happened...........

I was serving in the Royal Air Force here in Hong Kong from 1971 to 1973. I was stationed at RAF Kai Tak which was both the RAF station and civilian airport at the time, and I can still remember flying into Hong Kong and coming in to land with buildings all around. They seemed to be very close to the aircraft, although in reality they weren't that close and most of the pilots who regularly flew in and out of Kai Tak were quite used to this very testing landing.

My job took me to various parts of Hong Kong, although I spent most of my working hours on Tai Mo Shan. The job involved shift work and we used to work mornings, afternoons, evenings and midnights. These were rather unnatural working times, but we adjusted. We had to. On one memorable occasion we were trapped on the mountain for two days and nights when Typhoon Rose struck Hong Kong in August 1971. This was an interesting experience because all the snakes and wild dogs on Tai Mo Shan also wanted to shelter from the typhoon, so we didn't sleep too well for 48 hours. The king cobra in the canteen made eating rather hazardous for a few hours until he left when the typhoon departed!

  As we worked these strange hours we all had to get on well together, and that included everyone from the C.O. (commanding officer) down to the other ranks. There were a couple of jobs that everyone had to do occasionally and we had a rota system worked out so nobody skived off. As there were quite a few of us there on duty at night, we had to clear up in the mornings and take the accumulated rubbish up to the collection area where all the dustbins (garbage/trash cans) were situated some 200 metres from the main buildings. It was our turn on this cold sunny February morning in '73. John and I collected the rubbish bags and walked out of the building past the guards and towards the collection area.

  John and I had managed to get at least an hours sleep during the night, so we were both quite drowsy as we approached the bins. We dumped the bags and were just turning to return to the main building when we saw it!.....I guess that many people have an aversion to creepy-crawlies, and we were no exception. What we both saw that morning was no ordinary creepy-crawlie. This was the creature of nightmares! .....A huge spider with a body the size of a rugby ball and legs seemingly as thick as our wrists had appeared from behind one of the bins and stood there looking at us as we stood rooted to the spot. We could see his eyes just staring at us as he stood there on his huge but rather shaky legs. He made no move towards us, and we gradually came to our senses and backed slowly away. After a few seconds he slowly disappeared behind the bins and was gone from our sight. We looked at each other in disbelief. What the hell had we just seen? Such things just don't exist. Well it seems they did. As we endeavoured to stroll back into the operations area in a casual manner, John collapsed to the floor. He had fainted, but only briefly. When he came round a few moments later in the small sickroom that was seldom used except for emergencies, he made a bad joke about fainting because he was in early pregnancy (!), but made no mention of the apparition that we had both seen. Neither did I. Had we talked about this to anyone, we might have been classified as being unstable. You don't need that in the armed forces, so we kept the incident to ourselves. And that's the way it stayed until now. Why am I writing about it now? I leave that to the reader to figure out. It was a long time ago.

  I have never forgotten the spider and never will. Seeing one of the Harry Potter movies with the large spiders did bring back a strong memory. I spoke to John recently. He said "Pity we didn't have a camera with us that morning!" What a scoop that could have been. With pictures! We saw the world's biggest spider. Or,....... is there another even bigger just waiting to be found?..............

N.B.  It's highly unlikely that this monster lived for many more years, but his descendents may still be there. Keep your eyes open on Tai Mo Shan and keep your camera handy........

As an update to this story, I have recently been informed of a giant African spider seen in the remote Congolese jungle that is considerably larger than the one that we saw on Tai Mo Shan. The locals have a name for it. They call it J'ba Fofi.  It exists!

 

 

 


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