So what makes your skin crawl in terror? Or at least inspires a sudden frisson? Seems some of our field collectors are not immune; sometimes they even share a few notes about it in their field books. We thought we’d share one for this hallowed eve. Florence Merriam Bailey included the story below in her journal from California in 1907.
[Catalina] In the Aquarium were star fish, sea anemones, and octopus – horrible creature- & H told of his fight with one in Bermuda - how he tried to get it and it got angry & chased him on the reefs, swimming so much faster than he could that he had to fight it not to have it throw it's arms around him - fight it with barrel staves beating it off. He said it was funny how a thing of that kind would take hold of your imagination - that he sweat blood before he conquered it. He said their strength is tremendous & they put out arms and grasp you and hold on with suction discs & then draw the object up and cut it across the back of the neck with thin knives.
Curious to learn more?
- Learn about her field notes and collection on Smithsonian's Collections Search Center
- See her field book on Smithsonian's Transcription Center
- Read her publications on Biodiversity Heritage Library