When I was in Elementary School on Vancouver Island, BC Canada, I borrowed this book from the school library. The book was published in 1974 and as I was born in 1969 I would have probably been 7 to 9 years old when I read it. The illustrations inside were scratchy and creepy as hell! And the stories were all written by Charles A. Piddock. All the stories disturbed me, but the one that had the longest impact on me, the one that I remember to this day (more than 40 years later!) was the story called The Spider God. As I remembered it, it went like this:
It was a Vietnam horror story I read as a child about a soldier who, before burning down a village, butts his cigarette in the eye of a spider god statue. Then 10 years later at home he’s upstairs and his kids are downstairs he hears a weird noise, he goes down to investigate and finds 2 skeletons– bones picked clean– then he turns to see a swarm of spiders descend upon him.
Then I found a blog, which documents the blogger’s own experience with the book (HERE). He writes the synopses of all the stories contained in the book and his synopsis of The Monster Fly is remarkably similar to my own recollection…
THE SPIDER GOD
Captain Billy Joe Smith is with some South Vietnamese soldiers checking out a village. A building is still standing and they chase a VC into it. A fight ensures and Billy sees it is some temple. Filled with cages of spiders and an idol of a giant spider. Billy puts out his cigar in the eyes of the idol offending the Spider God. Years later in Denver him and his little daughter are attacked by hordes of spiders. Back in the village the idols eyes then start to glow signaling that the god has been avenged.
He also writes:
So this was a book that I checked out of the school library when I was in second grade. It is written for young kids and has illustrations on every other page to show what the story is trying to convey. The illustrations by Richard Maccabe are crude but effective in visualizing the story. I still vividly remember the drilling to Hell and meeting the Devil and the human zoo. The stories were quite effective on a young mind that I still remembered them after all these years and decided to search out this book. An enjoyable nostalgic trip back to my childhood.