Tophats and Mandibles

The Strand Magazine ran an alarming feature in 1910: “If Insects Were Bigger.” The editors inserted photographs of ordinary English insects into contemporary Edwardian street scenes, with pretty terrifying results. “What a terrible calamity, what a stupefying circumstance, if mosquitoes were the size of camels, and a herd of wild slugs the size of elephants invaded our gardens and had to be shot with rifles!”

“Panic Caused by a Mosquito in Piccadilly Circus.”

“Terrible Attack by a Larva of the Puss-Moth at Covent Garden.”

“The Araneus Diadema Spider Descends Upon Trafalgar Square.”

“Fierce Onslaught by an Earwig in St. James’s Street.”

“A Dragon-Fly Captures an Unsuspecting Four-Wheeler in Liverpool.”

“Exploits of a House-Fly at the Bank of England.”

“A Leviathan Grasshopper’s Arrival in Princes Street, Edinburgh.”

“A Lacewing Fly Spreads Consternation in Wellington Street.”

Author J.H. Kerner-Greenwood wrote: “It is true we are still molested by hordes of wild animals of bloodthirsty propensities. These wild animals only lack the single quality–namely, that of size–to render them all-powerful and all-desolating, and this quality they have not been able to attain owing to the lack of favouring conditions.” Mothra turned up 51 years later.