Spiders, snakes and owls? Oh my!
By Katrina Aman
It was a day like any other.
On the morning of Sep. 10, sophomore Jordan Johansen, exhausted from early morning baseball workouts, decided to take a nap.
Little did Johansen know that his day would soon go from ordinary, to strange and even frightening.
Upon waking up, Johansen noticed a small swelling near his left eye. The seemingly insignificant mark continued to swell throughout the day.
“I thought it was an allergic reaction, but it was weird because I’ve never been allergic to anything,” Johansen said.
The nurse was quick to help, suggesting mosquito bites, pink eye, or possibly inflation of an eye duct. When he went to the hospital the next day however, Johansen was informed that he had fang marks on the inside of his nose which was causing the swelling.
Something had bit him.
By the next morning, his eye was swollen shut.
“I knew I had gotten bit,” Johansen said. “But it didn’t hurt at all.”
It didn’t take long for the news to spread around campus. Only a day after the incident, Johansen was sitting in a class when he overheard a student talking about ‘the student’ who was bitten by a spider.
“People were definitely freaking out for me,” Johansen said.
Johansen was soon discovered to not be the only victim of the new creature in the PVG dorm halls.
The following night after the incident, senior Brett Johnson was lying down for the night when he felt something hit his face.
“I told my roommate that I thought a spider had hit my face but of course – because of what happened to [Johansen] – he thought I was kidding,” Johnson said.
Johnson felt the spider on his back and went to swat it. The next thing he knew, his wrist was swelling significantly from where the spider had managed to dig its fangs.
Johnson immediately reacted, knowing he had to suck the venom out. He recognized the risk.
“I kept thinking ‘Why am I doing this? I am going to die,’” Johnson said.
Johnson sucked the venom out of the bite, brushed his teeth several times, and even swallowed mouthwash after releasing the venom.
While student teaching at Turner Elementary after the incident, Johnson ended up finding a Hobo spider – the kind of spider the guys thought they had encountered in the dorms. Johnson decided to make the spider his new pet, taking him home and dubbing him with the name ‘Peter Parker.’
Both Johnson and Johansen have healed smoothly and Campus Care have sprayed the dorm rooms to prevent future spider occurrences.
“We’ve taken all the precautions and done the best we could,” Director of Campus Care Tom Samek said. Since the spiders that bit the students were not actually seen by Campus Care, there can be no confirmation that the guys’ suggestion of Hobo spiders is accurate.
Campus Care will be keeping a close watch on the dorms as the weather changes and the spiders look for moisture and warmth, but recent reports suggest that there might be more than spiders that Campus Care will have to keep a look out for.
On Sep. 12, just two days after the first spider incident, junior Hattie Sturley, also from PVG, was lying in the lawn outside the dorm when a snake suddenly approached her and bit her on the inside of her left elbow.
Sturley recalled the snake to be very thick and around two feet long. It was later classified as a Pacific Northwest Gopher snake.
“I didn’t even hear him, ” Sturley said. “But when he clamped on, he wouldn’t let go.”
Being a “mountain girl” and having released the snake on her own, Sturley didn’t visit a nurse until the following day.
“I didn’t realize non-poisonous snakes can give symptoms too,” Sturley said. The non-poisonous venom gave Sturley a fever of 102 degrees and an infection in her blood system. She is, thankfully, recovering successfully.
But the spiders and snakes weren’t the only wildlife crawling around campus.
Several days before those ‘attacks’ a strange incident had occured in Farrar.
Sophomore Phil Swistak and his roommate were sound asleep on the night of Sep. 3 when all of a sudden, something crashed into their dorm room window, scaring Swistak awake.
“I immediately noticed it had wings, and with some early-in-the-morning logic, I deduced that it was a bird,” Swistak said. “An owl to be exact.”
After hitting the window, the owl flew inside their room.
“It flapped its wings at first, but then it touched down under our sink, twitching its head frantically and freaking out,” Swistak said.
Surprisingly, Swistak’s roommate, sophomore Quinton Butterfield, did not wake up to the commotion.
“I woke him up and, after explaining the situation a few times, he finally understood,” Swistak said.
“The owl was still there. All 10 inches of it. I had to get it out,” Swistak said. “[I knew] that owls [had] talons and, attempting to preserve my face, I put on a pair of jeans over my head and ran at it blindly while it was under the sink. After taking the pants off my head, I asked Quinn where it went because I noticed it wasn’t there anymore.”
After searching for a few seconds, the guys found the owl on Swistak’s bed. Having ran out of ideas, they contacted their RA who couldn’t believe there was an owl in the room.
Security was called but Swistak wanted to attempt to scare the owl off just one more time.
“I decided to go back in and try to scare that punk off my bed,” Swistak said. “[But] alas, he was gone.”
These ‘attacks’ could not be explained to this day. What brought upon this surge of wildlife on campus?
PVG and Farrar residents alike, will be sleeping with the lights on from now on as they attempt to recover from these odd happenings.