Many people think dragonflies are fascinating. Many people like dragonflies as they eat annoying insects, including mosquitoes. Dragonflies creep me out. I do not like dragonflies. They used to scare the beJesus out of me.
Why would I fear a harmless to humans insect?
When I was about five, a vulnerable age, a friend informed me that dragonflies were called darning needles, or even more specifically Devil’s Darning Needles. At any age, but at five for sure, the moniker “Devil” is always a bit concerning. Add to that, this friend informed me that darning needles were capable of firing sharp needles from a distance and the tips of these needles were poisonous. They were painful and they could kill you.
After I received this information I always avoided dragonflies. When I saw one, which was often, in the summer, I would duck, run or hide. It always amazed me that no one else ever seemed afraid of these deadly insects.
When I was ten or eleven I ran and ducked from a dragonfly and my brother asked what was wrong. I informed him about the danger of the Devil’s Darning Needle. He told me I was full of crap, that in the history of the world, a dragonfly has never hurt a human.
“They don’t sting or bite, and they sure as Hell don’t fire poisonous darts from a distance.”
Well I knew he was telling the truth. The only time my brother would lie to me would be to scare the crap out of me for sport, like the time he told me there were wild boars waiting in the bushes to gore people.
on Catalina Island and the goats on the island were man eaters. If he told me something was actually harmless, then it must be harmless.
So, at the age of eleven I was no longer scared of dragonflies, but they creeped me out and still do, because when an idea is planted in a five-year-old brain, it never completely goes away.
Except for Santa Claus, the Easter Bunny and the Tooth Fairy, be careful what you teach your children. Some fears and prejudices never go away completely.