Well the year was 1370 in Taranto Italy. Every summer in the town of Taranto the locals would begin to dance wildly, and this boogie repeated itself every summer for the next three hundred years. However, after the locals would calm down and gather themselves they would sit and wonder why it was that they suddenly felt an overwhelming need to dance. After using their ancient pre-science heads the locals thought that they had found the culprit–The large and hairy Wolf Spider.
And since then this spider has been called a tarantula, which was named after the town of course. However, once the 1600s rolled around a more enlightened group of folks rolled in from the north and quickly realized that their dancing was not caused by the Wolf Spider bite, rather they danced as an excuse to get drunk and act like fools. Nevertheless, the name tarantula stuck as even the more sophisticated northern Europeans took to calling the WS a tarantula. So there you have it! From that point on every hairy spider was known as a tarantula.
Have you ever seen a tarantula? Do they frighten you?