I am copying an email from an arachnologist friend of mine who lives in Canada. I carried out extensive research on the internet in 2008 when the spiders in the basement of our house where at their most prolific. I was alarmed and horrified at seeing so many large, black spiders inside our house, down in our basement area. I got in touch with Rick and here is an extract from one of his emails to me which I am copying here in its entirety with his kind permission.
I particularly like the way his enthusiasm towards spiders (arachnids) really comes through in his email and the way he discusses his wife's initial reaction towards spiders and her gradual acceptance of them through constant exposure. It is heartening to read that in time his wife's fear turned into a fascination. I can identify with that aspect as it was the same in my particular case although, luckily my husband does not keep 200+ spiders at home. That would take some getting used to.
"Thank you for your message. Your fear of spiders is natural and is 'hardwired' into the psyche of human beings as an old ancestral survival strategy ... to be weary of those things that can harm us. This fear is a learned behaviour and anyone can learn to become desentisied to this type of fear. Through gradual and increasing exposure, you can become less cautious and even be appreciative or awed by these interesting creatures. Once you start to understand them,you will come to fear them less and even "like" them.
When I first met my wife, she could not enter a room if a 1/4" harmless spider was in the same room. Through me, she now has a fascination for all spiders ... she has to, I have 200+ live tarantula spiders and some scorpions, centipedes, stick insects, tailless whip scorpions and giant hissing cockroaches in our house that I study and use in my lectures. Although my children are a little more materialistic in their lives, and do not appreciate spiders, my grandchildren (I am 60) like them as I have taught them to appreciate and marvel at the wonders of nature.
If it weren't for spiders, we would not be able to live on this planet due to lack of food, carried diseases and other more deadly invertebrates ... such as some of the very venomous scorpions in Tunis. The Macrothele (Hexathelidae) and Ischnocolus (Theraphosidae) eat most of these wandering noxious pest before they enter homes and injure people and children. Yes, spiders are very maligned but, in reality are highly beneficial. I would be delighted to receive any parcel of mygalomorph spiders you wish to send to me. As I said earlier, true tarantula spiders (Theraphosidae) are my specialty but I would still be thrilled to receive one or more specimens from Tunis."