The Creepy Cellar Of The Merchant Of Venom

Chuck Kristensen has spiders in his suburban basement--50,000 of them

If one of the greatest gifts is to discover early in life what you are meant to do, then Charles (Chuck) Kristensen, 49, must be counted among the lucky ones. He found his calling in 1973, at 22, while working for an entomologist at the University of Minnesota. "I spent a lot of time watching spiders," he recalls. All that webmaking, spider mating and insect catching resonated with something in his personality--he still can't say what. "It just nailed me," he says. "I knew I would be working with spiders for the rest of my life."

The evidence of Kristensen's arachnophilia...

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