Alterpedia: Arachne

In the Alters’ World (and the series of books found here), creatures of legend reveal themselves to the world. Born through genetic abnormalities, defects and mutations, the Alters have lived for centuries as outcasts of human society, hiding their true nature from the world while colorful stories have been written by many to describe what they’ve seen. How are these creatures different from what was described in the stories? What relationship do they have with humanity? Every entry of the Alterpedia will delve into a new creature from around the world. This week we cover:


Natalie Mendoza, as Arachne in the musical "Spider-man: Turn Off the Dark," at the Foxwoods Theater in New York.

Around the world there are creatures which are universally known by humanity to symbolize conflicting emotions. It is no mistake that in each of these regions you find mythology which, in turn, connects to these creatures. For instance, snakes are a common symbol across many human civilizations – from the Naga of India to the Grootslang of Southern Africa. In similar fashion, spiders are a symbol of both fear and creation the world over.

In Japan they are known by the names Tsuchigumo and JorĊgumo, in Africa there is the famous trickster Anansi, and in Greece there was the story of Arachne. But regardless of the location, the primary trait remains the same: these are creatures which appear to be a hybrid of humans and spiders. The stories change depending on the relationship the locals have with the spiders in their area, but many of the aspects remain the same.

So are these creatures really just giant spiders, lurking in the shadows and tormenting the humans around them? Was Anansi really a profound trickster or just a misunderstood soul? Am I valid in contemplating burning the whole planet to purge these people from the world?

Probably not the last one, but for the rest, let’s take a look…

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