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A little something I discovered while I was wondering around my house at 3 in the morning pulling stuff of shelves. This is done in 6 easy steps.

  1. Procure 1x black shoelace. Any darkish color is acceptable but for best results black and long is good. Optional: giggle insanely
  2. Bunch shoelace up into a spidery mass of fear. The best method is to create a bunch of loops and then holding one end give it a thorough shake. If necessary use a twistie. Optional: giggle insanely
  3. Cup the shoelace in your hands as you would a real spider.
  4. Approach unfortunate victim, making sure he/she can see your hands, and ask them:
    "Hey you're afraid of spiders aren't you?"
    Optional: giggle insanely - highly recommended. By now they should have a wary look in their eyes and body language should indicate prepared flight. However it's too late!
  5. As they answer, use a quick underarm to gently lob the shoelace at them. Too fast and they won't see it, too slow and they'll recognise it.Optional: giggle insanely
  6. Giggle insanely
Warning: The effectiveness of this trick depends entirely on your delivery. I make no success claims, but it worked for me (and against me).

Also, despite being quite hilarious, this is a very, very evil thing to do. If you're friend truely suffers from arachnophobia you will utterly freak them out. Don't expect them to ever talk to you again. Ever If they're a jittery type they might actually hurt themselves reacting to it. Make sure there are no sharps or furniture around.

Hmmm... as an arachnophobic myself, I can vouch for the effectiveness of the tactic described by Ads, above. It certainly gives me the jitters, I can tell you.

However, I'm a good sport, and I don't take offense at such things, once I realise the nature of the "spider". Actual spiders are a different matter entirely, however.

In fact, I'm such a good sport that I'll add another useful tactic to this node.

Apart from my arachnophobia, I also have a mortal dislike for cockroaches. I used to live in the tropics, and I've had my fill of creepy things. One tactic that still works on me, though I now live in roach-free environs, is this:

Approach your victim nonchalantly, then carefully and very softly (simulating the pitter-patter of little feet, so to speak) place your fingertips on his shoulder, while saying, in a level and unexcited tone of voice: "Cockroach."

It really is amazing how effective the power of suggestion is - certainly, this prank never fails to elicit a startled response, and often a satisfying "Eek!".

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