I remember a very, very hot night. I was about two or three and it was so terribly muggy that we had to sleep on the floor under the open bay window. Even the huge old fans didn't help. It was also a very bright night, though I don't know if the light came from the full moon or from the street lamp outside.
I woke up quite suddenly that night. There was an enormous green thing on my white cotton nightgown. A lanky thing with oddly jointed legs, fluttering wings, and quivering antenna. It was on my nightgown and looking right at me. Needless to say, I screamed. And, even once the creature was gone, I refused to ever wear that nightgown or sleep under that window again.
That was my first encounter with a praying mantis and, to a little child, it seemed like a hideous monster. It was also my only encounter with one until yesterday when I spotted this one on a granite platform on the State Street side of the Empire State Plaza. It was hanging on against the wind...and stayed still long enough for me to dig my camera out of my cluttered backpack and take a photo.