The Earwig Superstition: There is a long-standing European superstition that earwigs do, in fact, bore through the eardrum and tunnel through a person's brain, leaving eggs behind to hatch if they are female. Sources that cite this belief go back about a thousand years. This belief is also the origin of the insect's name. In May 2007, a 9-year-old boy in Albany, Oregon, US, had two spiders, one living and one dead, extracted from one of his ears. In 1862, British explorer John Speake, credited with being the European discoverer of the source of the Nile, suffered infections and other considerable ill effects from a beetle that crawled into his ear. In that case, however, the problems were not caused by the beetle itself, but by the attempts to remove it. Although there have been cases of maggots growing under human skin, usually introduced through a wound, medical literature has yet to record a case of burrowing through the eardrum.