Barnett’s Cabinet of Curiosities – Exhibit 3: The Horror Tree

This is one of the few off-site exhibits that is linked to the Cabinet of Curiosities, being too large and – in many senses of the word – too much alive to be taken inside the facility.

The Horror Tree is situated in a children’s playground near Bingley, West Yorkshire, and all the more horrific for that. Consider its almost Cthulhoid appearance: thick, sinewy trunks curling into each other like tentacles, growths and tufts that resemble seaweed or dune-grasses, and that malevolent “eye” peering out with cold, sinister intelligence.

It could, of course, be just a freak of nature, a collision of ordinarily-occurring phenomenon that, taken together from a human viewpoint, create something that shrieks of otherness and dark, squamous intellect.

Suffice to say, that the tree is shunned by children playing in the park, and no training shoes scuff its gnarly trunk, despite the existence of hand and foot holds that make this tree, you would think, perfect for climbing.

Cthulhoid, perhaps, but so far from the sea, in land-locked West Yorkshire? Maybe transplanted here from maritime parts by cultists long ago, or evil seeds borne on a black wind. Or perhaps a thing all on its own, a dark, arboreal intelligence fed by the happy screams of children and growing bigger, in the deserted night, for purposes known ultimately only to itself.

The Horror Tree will continue to be under the supervision of the Cabinet of Curiosities until such time as it is deemed appropriate to fell it and transfer it into the facility.

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