Abilene Reporter-News from Abilene, Texas on December 25, 1927 · Page 38
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Abilene Reporter-News from Abilene, Texas · Page 38

Abilene, Texas
Issue Date:
Sunday, December 25, 1927
Page 38
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SUNDAY, DECEMBER 25, 1927. PAGE FIVE Trapped in Devil-lree Tentacles Woman Narrowly Escapes Death bright scarlet blossoms and stiff, prickly, green, heart-shaped leaves. Through a labyrinth of tropical wilderness Sambino led his unfaltering companion, past the clustering flowers into a veritable forest of peculiarly shaped, moss- hung trees that stood huddled together as If in deadly fear of !-'·--"-· TB iri'O I'--yj- h'itherto un- Intrepid Jungle Guide Averts Horrible Fate With Sheer Heroism By Muriel E. Eddy T O Mrs. Leoda Eddison of San Francisco, Cal., belongs the unique distinction of being the only woman explorer living who has successfully met and combated the awful clutches of the man-eating cannibal tree of Mindanao Island, and escaped death with scarqely .a scratch as » relic of her hair-raising experience. Mrs. Eddison, whose late husband well earned the reputation of being one of the most intrepid explorers of his time, felt the urge, upon his demise, to follow in her husband's footsteps and continue explorations where he had left off. Her children were grown and she no longer had any family ties to bind her to the filial fireside. Thus it happened that one day last spring the plucky little widow, who tips the scales at exactly 100 pounds, packed her trekking outfit and started off to begin her adventure on the long and somewhat dubious trail into the jungle lands of Mindanao Island. Outside of having taken frequent excursions with her late husband, Mrs. Eddison knew little or nothing about the land which she was about to explore. Once he had ventured into the interior intent on discovering sec;^.. and vegetable 'world in tae confines of the Mindanao jungle, but owing to an ex- Iceptionally severe electrical ·storm he had been forced to turn back. .It was Mrs. Eddison's firm intention to finish her husband's investigations as nearly as possible. Auspicious Start The plucky little woman pur- Bu»d thi: journey alone until she reached the head waters of the IBurigoa River, where it became ·suddenly necessary for her to en- igage a native, or Moro, guide, as toere the river changes its whole course abruptly, and to the unini- Itlated it is a discouraging pros- ipect to attempt to follow those Iswift, extremely treacherous green '.waters. Sambina, the guide, experienced po difficulty in passing over the [turbulent rapids until Lake Main- it was reached. Here camp was pitched in the midst of a dry Iplatenu covered with tall, wiry [gross, and Mrs. Eddison slept that ·night under the blood-red tropical jnoon undisturbed by any qualms ;a* to the future. So far, in the j-vernacular of the day, everything 'had been "peaches." The next day dawned blazing .hot, and the Moro pleaded with (his demure "boss" to abandon her «xplorations into the heart of the ·teaming Jungle for at least another day. The air was unspeakably close and fetid, which foretold all too plainly to one accus- rcoraed to that climate an oncoming storm. But Mrs. Eddison !waa obdurate hi her plans, and ·oon persuaded him. despite his ' ' a. that no h»rm would Thilc he guided her on her Jon into the somi-ever- of the Island. A Steutge Tnc There was not evwn a rustle of i or the sound of an insect as pair plod**! alone, finally JUEStotUre growth of jungio. As Mre. Ektdison poiiuvivca over tile unuGHOl scene she stopped abort in her tracks, as if deliberating: whether or not to follow; the Irail farther. For there, standing directly in her path,' stood the queerest looking tree tt had ever been her good fortune -or misfortune -- to witness! This tree stood about forty feet high, and had an amazingly mottled, or shingled, appearance. Its trnnk was swoHen and distended, and the bark was ashen-colored, covered in white, Icprow juUches, over which a dense canopy of heavy, anil-green leaves dune closely together as if hidbmj something extremely repellent. Native Fear Down near the foot of the tree trunk was a shiny, sticky exudation. BtneuMi this moisture could be seen a pH«i of dry, white bones, the son-bfoaehed bones of jungle animals. Mrs. Eddison thought, little dreaming of the near-trag- ·cdy lurking ait that very moment so near hersetf and the Moro guide at her side. "We go 'round dls way," came from the dry lips of the now .shaking native, clutching. at Mrs Bddison's khaki skirt, while the nervous perspiration streamed down his dusky face. "Me no want you get keel. Tree eat up peoples, mebbeso." "Why, Sam, you funny fellow. Of course, a mere tree, no matter how Interesting or peculiar it may look, cannot harm us. If you're afraid, I'LL Iliad YOU I Gome onl" So saying, the fearless little ·widow swished dauntlessly through the unnaturally thick growth of congonol gross into the very heart qWthe ground on which stood the tree. At that precise , a sudden and unexplain- 2 sprang up, dispelling heat of the day and o branches of the tree uddroly down nnd treat to an unexpected, Ke cares*. As aha a slender h*ad to _ ,, . _ . tfcpse peculiar dull green IOMW to lake back home Caught in the tetiiacfes of a devil-tree, a strange janglf^'growtb which crashes huniati 1 ife. Sfrs. Leoda Eddison (inset) was snatched from the jaws of a horrible tiestii by native guide. ,, . - _ 'cm3EiDSiYtoei_cffltered.with,._ sw.a.souwiit se_-Berc«iyed. with horror that this foliage was 'Undulating with increasing rapidity. A PAINT, HISSING NOISE MADE'HER START IN TERROR AS SHE RECALLED TALES OP JUNGLE R:tTILES RELATED TO HER B-E HER LATE HUSBAND. THPN T.Ttcre A FLASH OP LIGHTNING THE TRUTH STRUCK HOME TO HER--THIS MYSTERIOUS TREE, WITH ITS STRANGLING TENDRILS, WAS NONE OTHER THAN THE DEATH-DEALING CANNIBAL TREE, ABOUT WHICH HER EXPLORER H0SSAND HAD OFTEN TOLD HER AND WARNED HER AGAINST I IN A TWINKLING SHE RECALLED THE DESCRIPTION OF IT WHICH HE HAD GIVEN HER, AND, TO HER INCREASED HORROR, IT TALLIED EXACTLY WITH THE TREE WHICH NOW HELD HER A PRISONER! In vain the terrified .woman sought to break away from the grasp of those slimy, talon-like tentacles which were the branches of the tree. With doubled fists she tried to fight off those living, pulsating boughs. The branches were literally reaching out for her from every direction, stretching down on their snaky stems with uncanny speed and seme of accuracy. The air was foil of horrible hisaing sounds, and the woman, ducky and brave though she -wa*. felt hersalf involuntarily growing weak arid giddy, unable to withstand the terrific strata on her nerves and body. A Close Call Had not Sambino, tbe M»ro guide, luiJ 'the rare presence of mind, not nuvsnal in uji aborigine of the islands, to throw his body quickly upon that of Mrs. Eddison, bearing her, swiftly to the eartb and out of the datum of the treo monster, it is not at all doubtful aa to whet might have been her fate. No doabt her bones would now be bleaching beside those others under what is now left of that frightful aian-eatta; cannibal tree! Now. to add to his native superstition and dread of the "devils" supposed, to be confined within that tree, the leaves commenced an attack upon. Sambino, but by this time the wily Morn's anger was aroused and, not to be outwitted by a rnero devil tree, he reached forth his sinewy brown . hands and grasped each slippery tentacle violently and firmly, and placing them between his sharp white teeth quickly severed the Ie»ves from their stuns. At he did so a slimy, putrid, oily sob- stance slowly trickled from each severed tentacle of tbe tree. Finally Sambina. by dint of much Kttrc aau b*ck.wanl.cniifl-. Inc. dragging the body of Mr«3 Eddison along with him ae Gently} as possible, managed to evade the clutches of the dripping, brolna tendrils and reach the snelterlnc border of congonal gr*ss, where h* crouched and bathed his unconscious mistress' fa« Wth cool' water from the skin pouch he carried in the emergency kit. As soon as Mrs. Eddison h*d| recovered consciousness she gav«t one look at the tree and urged hert guide to aid her in retracing her ^jfsps as quickly as possible. EVEN A3 SHE LOOSED, Til* HEAVENS DARKENED OMNI-i OUSLY AND THUNDER PEALJBJi AND ROARED THROUGH TOT IMPENDING GLOOM. SUDDE* LY A VIVID FLASH OP LIGHT* NDJG RENT THE HEAVENS AND WITH INCREDIBLE SPEED THE DAZZLING BOLT Of "HELL-FTRB," AS THE NATTVBi CALL IT, STRUCK THE TRM WITH A RESOUNDING CRASH THAT ECHOED W E I R D T H R O U G H THE JUNOL*. SPELLING THE DOOM OP THAT DEATH-DEALING TREE AMI* CLEARING THE J0NOLE fOR- EVER, IT IS TO BE HOPED. OF THAT ABBORRKHT OKOWTK. THKN. AS IF BY MAGIC. TKK HSAV8K8 CLEARED. LKAVDK* MHS. EDDISON OA3PINO AMD PRAYING, BOTH- IN THE SAMOR . BREATH.

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