In 1932, a spider that was trapped in a clock became famous

"Spider in a Bitter 18-day Fight Against Time." This headline reads like Upworthy clickbait, but it's from a 1932 newspaper article about a tiny arachnid in Ohio that became famous for repeatedly attempting to weave a web between the minute hand and the hour hand inside a clock. The web tore every time the hands separated, but the spider would try again. After a little girl named Louise Thompson noticed the Sisyphean spider and told her family about it, word spread around the neighborhood and eventually reached the media.

From Nag on the Lake:

By this time the insect had grown to the size of an ordinary house spider, and the hands of the clock were covered with fine threads. The clock and its eight-legged prisoner were taken to the University of Akron where a biologist attempted to unravel the mystery of how the spider was surviving without a food source.

But there were protests over the fact that the spider was being kept in the clock, instead of being released into the wild, where it could experience its true spider nature. From About:

Not everyone was taken with the spider in the clock. Some were appalled by the entire spectacle. In particular, the members of the Akron Humane Society deplored what they perceived to be a case of arachnid imprisonment (albeit self-imprisonment).

On December 10, an agent of the Society, G.W. Dilley, issued an announcement to the press, declaring that he would permit Kraatz one week to study the spider, then he would demand its release. He conceded that the spider would probably die if let out in the cold weather, but he nevertheless insisted that it was cruel to allow the insect to continue to suffer in its "clock-face prison."

Kraatz responded that the spider was not suffering because it had "a low type of nervous sensibility." Also, he assured the public that it wasn't starving because its species could survive an entire winter without eating, living on stored-up body tissue.

Cyril Thompson, owner of the clock, evidently hoping to avoid being branded as a spider torturer, added that he had always been in favor of freeing the spider, but hadn't done so because it would require taking the entire clock apart.

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