Either it’s a good time or a good story. How would you like to have been exploring the outer corners of Madagascar and stumbled upon this monster?!
The earliest well-known report of a man-eating tree originated as a literary fabrication written by Edmund Spencer for the New York World. Spencer’s article first appeared in the daily edition of the New York World on 26 April 1874, and appeared again in the weekly edition of the newspaper two days later. In the article, a letter was published by a purported German explorer named “Karl Leche” (also spelled as Karl or Carl Liche in later accounts), who provided a report of encountering a sacrifice performed by the “Mkodo tribe” of Madagascar: This story was picked up by many other newspapers of the day, which included the South Australian Register of 27 October 1874, where it gained even greater notoriety. Describing the tree, the account related:
The slender delicate palpi, with the fury of starved serpents, quivered a moment over her head, then as if instinct with demoniac intelligence fastened upon her in sudden coils round and round her neck and arms; then while her awful screams and yet more awful laughter rose wildly to be instantly strangled down again into a gurgling moan, the tendrils one after another, like great green serpents, with brutal energy and infernal rapidity, rose, retracted themselves, and wrapped her about in fold after fold, ever tightening with cruel swiftness and savage tenacity of anacondas fastening upon their prey.
The hoax was given further publicity by Madagascar: Land of the Man-eating Tree, a book by Chase Osborn, who had been a Governor of Michigan. Osborn claimed that both the tribes and missionaries on Madagascar knew about the hideous tree, repeated the above Liche account, and acknowledged “I do not know whether this tigerish tree really exists or whether the bloodcurdling stories about it are pure myth. It is enough for my purpose if its story focuses your interest upon one of the least known spots of the world.”
In his 1955 book, Salamanders and other Wonders, science author Willy Ley determined that the Mkodo tribe, Carl Liche, and the Madagascar man-eating tree all appeared to be fabrications: “The facts are pretty clear by now. Of course the man eating tree does not exist. There is no such tribe.”Read more about this thrilling monster on wikipedia here: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Man-eating_tree#/media/File:The_ya-te-veo.jpg