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Bug in the Ear

Bug in the Ear - Reviewed by Kidzworld on Dec 27, 2006
( Rating: 1 Star Rating)

We've all heard stories about bugs crawling into people's ears and staying there. Find out what happened to John Hanning Speke after a beetle crawled in his ear and he couldn't get it out.

It was the mid-1800s and John Hanning Speke sat in his tent waiting for a violent storm to end. When he lit a candle the tent became covered with small black beetles. They seemed to be attracted to the light. John tried brushing them off his clothes and bedding but as soon as he flicked one, another one replaced it. Worn out, he blew out the candle and with some difficulty (the beetles were in his pants, up his sleeves and in his hair) he fell off to sleep.

A beetle woke John up as it tried to get into his ear. As he tried he get it out, John only managed to help push it in. He felt the bug crawl into his ear until there was no where or room for the beetle to go. Determined to get out, the beetle began to dig - like a rabbit in a hole. The weird sensation of the digging beetle drove John crazy. He didn't know what to do. He didn't have oil or salt so he tried putting melted butter in his ear to get the bug out but that didn't work. Desperate, John used his penknife to stab the beetle. After jabbing the beetle a few times it stopped moving. The only problem was, John had done some damage to his ear.

It didn't take long for the wound to swell and become seriously infected. John's facial glands from the ear to the shoulder became deformed. The area became covered with boils. It was the most painful experience John had ever been through. He couldn't chew for several days and had to eat broth. For months he was deaf. The infection in his ear began to spread. It ate a hole between his ear and nose. When he blew his nose, his ear whistled so loudly that anyone who heard it couldn't help but laugh. Six or seven months after the beetle slaying, bits of the beetle - a leg, a wing and other parts of the body - came out in his ear wax.

Believe it or not? Was John making this up or did a beetle really cause him that much trouble? Take our poll and see what others think or

1 Well I don't know about all that stuff he went through but when I was around 2 or 3, a bug flew up my nose and I remember trying to blow it out but soon after I forgot about it. Then when I was 5, my mom was cleaning my ears with a Q-tip and she was like, "What the heck is this?!" and it was a smashed ladybug that had been in my ear canal and I believe it was the same bug from 2 years before. (I don't know why or how I remember this; it definitely wasn't a dream though.)


Kidz Submit by:

Nickname: Ezalyloved
Age: 15

Last week I did a story about the lost city of Atlantis - an island buried under the sea. Whether it's true or not is up to you. Plato wrote about it but that doesn't prove it exists. But then again, just because it's never been found doesn't mean it's not out there.

Here are last weeks poll results:

Believe It or Not?

  • Yes: 40 percent
  • No: 36 percent
  • I don't know: 24 percent
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Did John Really Have a Beetle Crawl in His Ear?

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