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Devil Tree - Madagascar (1875)

Devil Tree - Madagascar (1875)

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Published by draculavanhelsing
Northern Territory Times 1875 (March 6)
Northern Territory Times 1875 (March 6)

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Published by: draculavanhelsing on Nov 22, 2013
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06/19/2014

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Northern Territory Times and Gazette (Darwin, NT : 1873 - 1927), Saturday 6 March 1875, page 4National Library of Australiahttp://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article3143901
The
DevilTree.
An
eminent
Germanbotanist,
named
HerrKarl
Deche,
has
dis-
covered
in
Africawhat
he
calls
a
carnivorous
tree,
an
account
of
which
is
published
in
theGerman
Magazine.
While
in
the
junglesof
Madagas-
car,his
Africanguide
describedtheexistence
of
a
singular
tree
thatfed
uponanimal
life,
andunder
his
leadership
Decheproceeded
to
the
landof
Mikados
-
a
tribe
ofdwarfs,
of
a
savage,warlikenature,
who
formed
no
family
ties,
dwelt
amid
forests
and
caverns,constructing
no
habitations,
and
having
no
other
religiousbelief
than
an
awful
reverence
forthecannibal
tree,
to
which
they
offered
human
victims,and
accorded
most
absolute
idolatry
andworship.
One
morning,
among
thedenseshades
of
a
tropical
jungle,they
came
suddenlyupon
one
of
the
trees,
to
which
their
attention
was
attracted
by
a
large
crowdof
natives,
shriekingwildly
and
scream-
ing
in
shrill
voices,
which
his
guideexplained
as
thepreliminary
cere-
moniesof
a
humansacrihcethey
were
about
to
offer
to
the
 
DevilTree. From
a
distancethey
watched
their
proceedings,and
whiledoing
so,
HerrDeche
wrote
a
scientific
botani-
cal
description
of
this
wonderful
tree,
which
we
will
endeavor
to
analyzeintocolloquialparlance.
Its
shape
is
like
a
pine
apple,
and
its
leaves
when
not
taking
their
unnatu-ral
nourishment,
are
of
a
dark,
dingy
browncolor,eightin
number,
which
hang
towards
the
ground,
are
two
feetthick,
three
feet
wide,and
i2
feet
long,taper
to
the
sharp
point,
are
covered
withthorny
pro-
are
pro-jecting
hooks,and
in
shaperesemble
the
century
plant.
Theapexof
thetruncated
cone
from
which
theleaves
grow
istwo
ieet
indiameter,
while
its
color
is
white,
its
formroundandappears
like
a
small
plate
set
in
a
largerone,
fromwhich
a
series
of
long
tendrils,
seven
or
eight
feetin
length,stretched
horizontalward
in
every
direction.
From
this
apex
exudes
a
clear,
syrup
likeliquid,
pos-sessinghighlyintoxicating
and
sopo-
The
shrieks
of
thenatives
grew
louderand
more
fierce
as
they
ap-
proached
the
tree.
Presently
theygatheredround
awoman
of
their
cwn
number,
and
withpointed
javelins
forced
hertowards
it,
andwith
a
lookof
despair
andsubmissionshe
begun
to
climbthe
stalk,
which
was
abouteight
feet,
and
as
shereached
the
apex
of
the
cone,
the
pendant
tendrils
of
the
tree
raised
themselves
upwards
and
began
gra
dully
to
twinethemselves
about
herneckand
arms.
 
Tisk
 
Tisk
 '
or
 
Drink
 
Drink
\ t
shouted
her
companions,
threatening
herwith
theirjavelins,
and
as
shebowed
her-
self
to
drink
the
homelike
liquid,
a
wild
frenzied
lookspread
over
her
features,
and
convulsive
shudderingsshookherform.She
essayed
to
Í'ump
to
the
ground
in
her'agony,
tut
the
nativesforced
her
back,
and
presentlytheleaves
and
tendrils
closed
abouther
like
an
anaconda,crushing
her
intheirterrible
embrace.
Herr
Deche
says,
 
It
was
a
repre-
sentative
of
the
Laocoonwithout
its
beauty. As
herdeathhadbeenaccomplished,the
horriblesavages
crowded
to
thebase
of
the
tree,
andgathered
in
cups
thesyrup-like
fluid
mingledwithher
blood,
whichflowed
copiouslydown
the
trunk,
unimpeded

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