The Legend of Man eating tree of Madagaskar


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In 1881 a magazine called the South Australian Register ran a story by a traveler called Carle Liche. He tells us that while travelling through Madagascar, he was horrified to watch the native Mdoko tribe sacrifice a woman to a man-eating tree. He stated that the , a young girls is forced to drink the liquid from the tree. Then she is compelled to get up into the middle of the tree. The leaves raise slowly and completely hide the girl. The tree's tendrils took the woman by the neck and strangled her, before apparently engulfing the body. As her screams fade, the leaves rise until she is visible no more. Upon returning to the site ten days later, Liche finds nothing but a grinning skull within the plants’ now-lowered leaves. The story of the Man-Eating Tree of Madagascar is one of the great tall tales of the colonial era. It first appeared in the South Australian Registar, apparently having been written by Liche himself. It was repeated in several books thereafter. In central America, reports of a similar tree called the Ya-Te-Veo appeared around 1887.In his 1924 book "Madagascar, land of the man-eating tree" former Michigan Governor Chase Osborn recounted Liche's tale, and mentioned that missionaries and locals in Madagascar all knew of the deadly tree. The tree, is described as similar to a colossal pineapple. It is about eight feet tall and six feet around the base. It has long tendrils, which reach upward, each about as thick as the arm of a man. The leaves are large and concave, and are lined with "claws". From the tree comes an intoxicating liquid, which the natives drink.Tribes seem to worship it, giving it young girls as sacrifice. It is said to take the lives of young girls rather than men. When the sacrifice begins, a young girls is forced to drink the liquid from the tree. Then she is compelled to get up into the middle of the tree. The leaves raise slowly and completely hide the girl. The pressure of the tendrils and leaves is like a vise and it is said the body of the girl is crushed. Only the bones of the victim are found. Unfortunately, Liche's accounts may have been an exaggeration, as both the Mdoko tribe nor the man-eating tree have ever been found anywhere on the island of Madagascar. Researchers who investigated this case in the 20th century found no evidence to prove Liche’s story . They guessed that the idea of man-eating plants might have come from carnivorous plant or "meat-eating" trees that rather trap animals, mostly insects, and take the nutrients out of the unfortunate victim's body. As Madagascar is at this time a still heavily-forested country that remains alien to outsiders and most of its part is still kept under the wraps. So, we can hope in near future we will come to know about the reality behind this fact. Source: Article

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