Mary’s Monday Metazoan: A horror story

This is not a pleasant story. Sometime in the 1960s, a hunting dog shimmied up a hollow space inside a tree, presumably after some smaller animal, and when the hollow narrowed, got stuck. There was no rescue. The poor dog died of thirst, alone in the dark, and then its body was mummified by tannins in the wood, and remained there for decades until the tree was cut down. And there he was.

Now its on display in a museum, which is rather grim. I hope none of you are claustrophobes, because this would give me the heebie-jeebies.


  1. says

    This story gives me heebie-jeebies. Or, put more prosaically, It causes my heart rate go up and loops my mind in a rather uncomfortable thoughts. I would much like to unread it now. I haven’t had a nightmare of this kind for a long time and I prefer it that way. I have not been diagnosed as a claustrophobe, but I prefer walking over elevators and the very idea of enclosed space.
    I do not like to even think about it, so I excuse myself out.

  2. says

    The wood worker who cut down that tree and were greeted by this view must have had the shock of their life.
    I would not sleep for a while after that.

  3. woozy says

    I have no claustrophobia but have a high fear and empathy of dying alone, painfully, and trapped. Very unhappy story and I feel worse for having read it.

  4. Curious Digressions says

    Poor pup. He deserves a decent burial or corpse disposal. His people were probably crushed.

    Maybe I suffer from a surplus of empathy for an empty shell, but how horrible that end would have been. Days of crying and scrabbling. Grim. The tongue-and-cheek tone of the article and calling him “Stuckie” just seems disrespectful of his suffering.

    I had a similar visceral reaction to the BodyWorlds exhibit. Those bodies were somebody’s kids.

  5. magistramarla says

    Reminds me of the mummified (or it is more likely one of the plaster casts that were made) dog in the ruins of Pompeii.
    That poor thing also obviously died in pain. That one always gets to me.

  6. jack16 says

    Is mummification in a tree a rare occasion? I’d guess it fairly frequent.

    As for claustrophobia the Erl-delving in Alan Jay Garner’s “Weirdstone of Brisingamen” pretty much takes the prize for me.

  7. billyjoe says

    My brother was involved a claustrophobic incident on an obstacle course many years ago. At some point along the course, there was along pipe that they had to crawl through. There were about a dozen people at a time in the pipe and, when my brother was about half way along, the person at the exit decided to stop. People kept going into the pipe from the other end until those inside were jam packed tight. Despite increasingly anxious cries for him to move out of the exit, the joker continued to stay there laughing his head off. The situation did not resolve until eventually everyone in the pipe started pinching, punching, and scratching the person in front of them and kicking those behind them. The idiot finally moved out only when, in desperation, the person behind him was forced to physically assault him. My brother still has nightmares about that incident.

  8. cherbear says

    I’ve heard terrible stories of how hunting dogs are treated. Like disposable beings if they can’t or won’t hunt.

  9. Ogvorbis wants to know: WTF!?!?!?! says

    Up in the maritimes of Canada is a formation called the Joggins Fossil Cliffs. Preserved within the formation are fossilized tree stumps, molluscs, land snails, spiders, scorpions, flying insects, millipedes, and amphibian tetrapods plus what may be the eariest known reptiles. It dates from the late Carboniferous and is recognized as a world heritage site by UNESCO. It has almost 100 genera and around 150 species.

    Many of the fossil parareptiles (they may, or may not, be true reptiles as, with any clade, there is always a grey area as to what fits and what does not surrounding the nodes (think about the dinosauriformes which are closer to dinosauria than they are to crocodylia (there is still a great deal of confusion as to whether the earliest dinosaurs (Herrerosaurus or Eoraptor really do fit within dinosauria or whether they are non-dinosaurian dinosauriformes)))) are found within burned out hollow tree trunks. Apparently, the area was subject to frequent forest fires and inundating floods. So the muds left by the floodwaters could be a meter deep and, when the forest burned, the inside of the trunk burned leaving a hollow area. Which is where the parareptiles died and were fossilized.

    Not quite the same as the dog, but this has been going on since at least the Carboniferous.