Neither the veteran’s nor his son’s names are given in this story, but multiple comments from soldiers having served in the same region have claimed the nightmarish story could very well be true… and since the article was first circulated among social media, images and video excerpts (some of which are included here) have surfaced claiming that the father’s story — and others like it — may indeed be factual.
When he was told by his father that a land mine had claimed the his legs, the boy had no reason to doubt him; it wasn’t the first disturbing story he’d heard about his father’s strange experiences in a faraway land torn by strife and violence… but it was absolutely the most terrifying, and left him with a feeling of mounting dread.
According to the son’s recounting, his father had participated in a recon which sent a detachment through a large Afghan village largely free from attacks by Al-Qaeda insurgents in the wake of Bin Laden’s assassination, and had returned to semi-normal activity. However, on this pass, the squad could tell something was wrong: the normally bustling community was entirely silent. It seemed they had either evacuated the town… or they were hiding from something.
That village was not their destination on this mission… but the strange silence which had overtaken it soon came into perspective after they reached the location of their potential target: a network of large caves in the foothills a few miles beyond. As they approached the entrance to one of the cave openings, they first noticed how it resembled an animal’s tunnel, rather than a natural geological formation.
That’s when the first solifuge, or “camel spider,” attacked one of his fellow Marines.
The large arachnid leaped onto his chest and immediately sank its sizable fangs into his flesh, causing him to flail about in panic and intense pain. The others made light of his predicament, needling him for losing his nerve over a common desert bug, no matter how big. Finally, the man calmed down and told the team he was rattled but otherwise okay to move forward. A few other men appeared reluctant to proceed further into the cave depths, but the squad leader ordered them to suck it up and press on.
A thorough check of the cave entrance showed no sign of human activity, and the unit went about the process of flushing out any insurgents who might have holed up in the shadows — as well as scouring for any booby-traps they may have left behind. Privates Darren and McDownell took point, descended into the darkness ahead, and eventually could not be seen — even in the ghostly glow of the soldiers’ night-vision goggles.
According to the father’s story, it was roughly 11:30pm when he heard the sound of a man screaming from far ahead, followed by bursts of gunfire. The screams were definitely coming from McDownell, and he could be heard calling for help. The others were frantically trying to bring their gunsights to bear on a potential target when they were surprised by Private Darren, who ran toward and through the group, propelled by blind panic. He yelled at them to follow him back out through the tunnel entrance, insisting they run as fast as they could.
That’s when they saw the outline of something that couldn’t possibly exist — a spider the size of a man.
The boy’s father shuddered reflexively as he recounted the tale. “I could see blood and guts in its jaws,” he told him. “Probably from McDownell.”
As the team raced toward their vehicles to beat a hasty retreat, he remembered how the creature then rushed directly at him. Only hitting the ground saved him, as the creature ran across him and toward the next soldier, who unloaded an entire clip into the beast, barely fazing it before it leaped on him, digging foot-long fangs into the man’s upper torso.
The others opened fire directly on the creature, but it was too late to save their mangled comrade… and again, even at point-blank range, the rounds failed to pierce the thing’s thick, armor-like exoskeleton.
That’s when the boy’s father said the thing came after him… and before he could reload, it had already pounced, its mandibles seizing his lower body. The last thing he remembered before losing consciousness was watching his own legs ripped off at the knees, disappearing into the thing’s gaping maw…
“I woke up in our camp hospital,” he told his son, and the doctors had explained how he’d been near-comatose for two days. The medics had no choice but to amputate what was left of his legs, as the severed tissue was necrotizing at an accelerated rate.
Honorably discharged, and later awarded a Purple Heart, he was also issued the official story by his superiors: he’d stepped on a landmine left behind in the insurgents’ hideout. Further, he was instructed to stick to that story, no matter what… and that any statements to the contrary could risk cessation of disability payments and other government-provided assistance.
“You are the only person I am telling this to, and I want you to keep it a secret,” said the father sternly to his son… “although people may find out soon.”
When his son asked from whom, he told him of similar reports from villages surrounding those caves — including the silent town he’d passed on the recon patrol — of giant solifuges laying waste to entire hillside communities, or driving them away from the mountains in fear for their lives.
“I just hope that thing — or things, if there are any more of them — doesn’t come here,” his father said. “Because they would kill us all if they got the chance.”
Although he’d always believed everything his father told him about his experiences in battle, the boy wanted desperately for this particular story to be false — perhaps the delusion of a man severely traumatized by his injuries, as well as the strong pain medications he received following the incident.
Either way, he tried to push the images out of his mind… but little reminders kept cropping up: news stories about missing persons in the vast, mountainous terrain of Afghanistan and surrounding regions… and more recently, a documentary crew who disappeared while searching for an elusive creature in those very caves.
This crew’s camera and sound gear, camping supplies, vehicles and other equipment were found several weeks later by another military patrol, along with a few minutes of vague but disturbing night-vision footage, withheld as classified by the US government for years… until a brief, edited excerpt was apparently leaked online (by a YouTube user whose account has since been deleted), and is the source for the screenshots in this article.