Note: we are republishing this story which originally made the news in July 2020.

In the world of Facebook groups, one stands out as a haven for nature enthusiasts, specifically those fascinated by fungi. Mushroomcore, boasting nearly 30,000 members, is where folks come together to share captivating photos and captivating stories about these mysterious organisms. However, even for the most dedicated nature lovers, some fungal species continue to surprise, like the Dead Man’s Fingers (Xylaria polymorpha).

Photo Credit: Nature Is Weird/X

Photo Credit: Nature Is Weird/X

This intriguing tale begins with Regan Daniels from North Carolina, who, in June, shared a series of photos on the group that left many baffled. The images depicted what appeared to be a severed body part, something reminiscent of a Halloween decoration. Daniels captioned her post, saying, “Saw this Dead Man’s Fingers (or toes in this case) fungus that I literally thought was a Halloween decoration!” Her snapshots quickly went viral, although a few doubt and questioned their authenticity. However, Daniels reassured everyone that what they were seeing was indeed real.

Photo Credit: Carla Valentine/X

Photo Credit: Carla Valentine/X

The Dead Man’s Fingers fungus, as it turns out, often thrives at the base of beechwood stumps and occasionally on other buried hardwoods. Typically, it emerges in clusters of three to six ‘fingers,’ which often bend and resemble gnarled, arthritic black knuckles.

Photo Credit: Regan Daniels/Facebook

Photo Credit: Regan Daniels/Facebook

Photo Credit: Regan Daniels/Facebook

Photo Credit: Regan Daniels/Facebook

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