Horsehair worms, also known as Gordian worms, belong to the group Nematomorpha. They are mostly found in open areas that contain water and haunting my dreams. Horsehair worms develop as parasites in the bodies of insects like grasshoppers and cockroaches.
Fortunately these monsters from John Carpenter’s The Thing do not target mammals at all, at least for now. When the Horsehair worms are mature they will leave the hosts body to go lay eggs that gestate for 3 weeks to 2 months depending on temperature. Once they hatch they lay around chilling in a protective cyst or covering. They remain in that state until they are eaten by a suitable insect, at that point the covering will dissolve and release the larvae.
This is starting to sound eerily similar to a little movie called alien. Instead of being nice and killing you right away like the xenomorph this angry string will eat its host from the inside out, while zombifying it’s host. These parasites can grow from 1 up to 6 fucking feet depending on the species. It is still unknown what insect the 6 foot species inhabits while fully maturing but I sure it’s shittin it’s britches right now.
Essentially what we have here is a mutation away from becoming a nightmare for people. There is nothing more terrifying in this world to me than a parasite that could do exactly what the Horsehair worm does. Just to make sure you get a good idea of how fucking horrific these parasites are I have attached a few videos below for your viewing pleasure.