Tag Archives: spiders crawling up your spine

Spiders Crawling Up Your Spine

Text Transcribed from Informant

“Spiders crawling up your spine, spiders crawling down your spine, snakes slithering up your spine, snakes slithering down your spine, scorpions slithering up your spine, scorpions slithering down your spine – gotcha!” (person then pinches partner after reciting rhyme)


Just like the “giving one the shivers” game, my informant learned of this custom/game in his elementary school years. Generally a student will say the text above outloud, while using their fingers to act out the actions being described in the text. When asked for his interpretation, my informant replied that this motion and speech based game, and other games like it, are called “giving one the shivers,” even though this specific one he knew simply as “spiders crawling up your spine.” He often played this game as a child, either reciting the words to other students and pretending to have nefarious creatures crawl up their backs, or having the game recited to him and motions done upon him.

My Analysis

While I never played this specific game myself, I remember partaking in similar games to this as a child. I think the game” is to provide the game’s participant an ASMR-like sensation. I think this folk game also speaks to the near universality of ASMR sensations, as well as adolescent inclinations to trying and recreate a head tingling sensation that doesn’t quite have a term for it.