This guy. Or, at least, someone who looked exactly like him. Or her. Not sure which and I didn't stick around long enough to find out. In fact, I didn't stick around long enough to take my own picture. It was almost 5 inches long and looked rather scary.
Turns out, it's a Zipper Spider or a Argiope aurantia or a Black and Yellow Garden Spider. All equally acceptable names for something exceptionally freaky. It's also not harmful to people. Thank God. It's just big and freaky and brightly colored like all venomous creatures. Joyously it is quite common here in NC and often finds its way into homes. (There goes any hope of sleeping tonight!)
It's called a Zipper Spider because it fashions a zipper-like design in its web.
See the zipper lines? It only adds to the creepy nature of the nasty little guy.
So, I can now add the Zipper Spider to my pathological fears. Right up there with the stupid Praying Mantis.