The phobia of insects is one of the most common there is, according to the American Psychiatric Association 40% of patients suffer from a paralysing fear of bugs.
While these fears are often unfounded there can be no doubt that insects are as amazing as they are alien, with the largest biomass of any species on earth and with new species being continually found could it be possible that there are species out there that have grown to truly nightmarish proportions just waiting to be discovered?
5 Giant Spiders
Spiders are easily one of the most feared creatures on earth; there is something about spiders that people find inherently frightening, from just the way they look to the way they hunt and even the way they move. The prospect of catching a spider can make even the most macho curl up in the fetal position.
In 1938 British naturalist and adventurer R.K Lloyd reported that whilst driving through the Congo rainforest he and his wife spotted an animal crossing the road ahead, at first the Lloyds thought they saw a monkey, but as they drew closer, they were horrified to see it was, in fact, a huge, hairy brown tarantula, with a leg span of 5 feet, which scuttled into the undergrowth before he could reach his camera.
While the story may sound far-fetched, the local Congo natives have told tales of gigantic spiders for generations. The arachnids, which they call "J'ba Fofi", are so large the natives say they can kill antelopes and even small children.
It should also be noted that stories of huge spiders are not just limited to the Congo, sightings have been reported from Iraq, Indonesia, Vietnam and even Louisiana, with William Slaydon reporting that as a child in 1948 he saw a spider "the size of a washtub" dart across the road in front of him in Leesville.
4 Giant Centipedes
Famous for their many legs centipedes are aggressive and vicious predators that overpower and tear apart their prey before it has a chance to escape, which makes these next sightings even more unnerving.
In the 1800's Folklorist Silas Claborn Turnbo collected many stories locals of the Ozark region of Arkansas and Missouri allegedly had with an unknown species of centipede up to 18 inches in length, much bigger than any known North American species.
The centipedes were said to be as aggressive as they were large, and in one case a young boy was bitten on the leg by one, causing the flesh to rot away around the wound and leaving him crippled for life.
Another encounter told of a massive centipede chasing a boy out hunting in the woods until it was shot dead by his brother. There is also an ancient Japanese legend of man-eating centipedes called Ōmukade that live high in the mountains, waiting for people to pass by their lair.
3 The Terror At 30'000 Feet
Doctor Marco Gessatti thought he was in store for a routine flight as he headed from Rome to Boston one night. As he sat in his seat he suddenly became overwhelmed by a sudden sensation of panic followed quickly by a strange nauseous feeling he had never experienced before, even more, peculiar the eight or so other passengers in the cabin also appeared to be feeling discomfort.
Gessatti believed he was suffering from a panic attack. Then, suddenly, there came a loud thud as though something had collided with the plane, as Gessatti and the other passengers turned to see what it was, they were amazed by what they saw. Clinging to one of the cabin windows was what looked like a gigantic, green beetle. The gigantic insect stared in with its huge segmented eyes, and Gessatti claimed it was so large he could see the hairs on its legs as well as some sort of adhesive pad on its foot that helped it hold onto the plane. Then, just as quickly as it appeared, a massive pair of veiny wings unfolded from the creatures hard, green shell, and it took off back into the blackness of the night sky.
Gesatti and all those on board were stunned. This sighting is one of the most incredible ever recorded, if not for the sheer number of problems it poses, for example, even if a beetle could attain such a size, how could it attach itself to a plane moving 500 mph 30,000 feet up in the atmosphere? And why did all the passengers suddenly feel ill just before the insect appeared?
While the sighting is certainly odd the fact that a doctor is the one who reported it makes it all the stranger since stories about giant bugs attacking aeroplanes would hardly do much for his professional reputation, the exact date when Gessatti saw the beetle is not known. However, he reported his encounter to the website www.cryptozoologynews.com on the 25th of July 2013.
2 The Mantis Man
To top that story you know this one has to be weird. In 2006 Paul Jacks and his boss were enjoying a fishing trip on the Musconetcong River, New Jersey. As he waded through the water, Paul noticed movement out of the corner of his eye on the other side of the bank, turning to look, Paul was horrified to see a large, terrifying creature which he stated to be "a praying mantis man" with snake-like skin and jet black eyes staring back at him.
Both Jacks and the monstrosity locked eyes with each other then, amazingly Jacks claimed the creature vanished into thin air, as though it had cloaked itself, Paul ran back in terror and immediately left the area. Surprisingly the sightings don't stop there.
Joe Perentie was fishing the same river several years before Paul's sighting. While stood on the shore Joe began to have an odd feeling of being watched then he saw movement and turned to see what he described as a nearly 7-foot tall, humanoid creature, with dark green skin and the head of a monstrous praying mantis, it appeared to be chewing something in its huge mandibles.
Joe froze in terror, and the beast spread a pair of large wings threateningly at Joe. Joe got the odd feeling that the creature was somehow reading his mind, gaining information. Suddenly, a strange mist surrounded the creature, and it vanished, leaving Joe in a state of sheer panic. Both of these men appeared on the show Monsters and Mysteries in America relating their encounters.
1 The Mongolian Death Worm
The Gobi Desert is one of the most inhospitable places on earth, blisteringly hot during the day and freezing cold at night, and if legends are to be believed, this forbidding landscape may be the home of a true monster.
For years the local tribes in the area have told tales of a very strange creature, up to two feet long, bright red in colour and lacking any legs or eyes, it burrows beneath the desert sand, rising up to capture prey, it has been dubbed "the death worm".
First made public to the western world in 1926 when Gobi tribesman shared their sightings with paleontologist Roy Chapman Andrews, the creature is said to be extremely dangerous, able to spit a corrosive acid like substance at its attackers that can melt through solid metal, and it is even said to be able to discharge an electric current strong enough to kill a man on contact.
Many expeditions have been launched to the Gobi to try and find the death worm, and while none have found conclusive proof of its existence, the locals of the area treat its existence very seriously, to the point that they will abandon villages when a death worm sighting is reported nearby.