The 20 Most Bizarre and Controversial Experiments Ever Conducted

20. Black Widow Spider Bite

Professor Allan Blair worked at the University of Alabama’s medical school in the early twentieth century. In the early 1930s there was a genuine debate over whether or not the Black Widow spider was in fact harmful to humans. Many skeptics argued that the tiny arachnid was not toxic to humans, something Blair set out to disprove. The Canadian-born professor subjected himself to a rather lengthy bite from a female Black Widow in 1933. Blair pressed the spider against his hand and endured a 10 second long bite complete with a generous injection of venom. He then began recording the effects. Pain, dizziness and a drop in blood pressure all led him to the hospital where things progressively got worse. Sweating, vomiting and diarrhea soon set in along with significant pain and swelling. The effects of the bite lingered for days. When he had recovered enough to begin living normally again, he found a scientific community more than willing to accept the fact that Black Widows are toxic to humans.
20. Black Widow Spider Bite