Claim And Counterclaim – Fig Tree Growing Out Of Murder Victim’s Stomach


Some stories are just too good to be true. At which point we get those spoilsports in responsible media outlets telling us that they’re not true. Proving, once again, that a lie can be halfway around the world before the truth has got his boots on. So it is, apparently, with this delightful tale of a fig tree growing out of the stomach of a murder victim. Yes, of course there’s a gruesomeness to it, but that’s what makes it so interesting:

When a person has been missing for over four decades it’s obviously pretty difficult for family members to hold out hope that their remains will ever be found, but that’s just what happened in the case of Ahmet Hergune. Missing for roughly 44 years, the man’s remains were recently discovered in a cave, but the circumstances surrounding the discovery are truly extraordinary.

Hergune’s final resting place wasn’t found by hikers or cave-divers who just happened to stumble across it. As luck would have it, his remains were located after a fig seed he had eaten before his death grew into a tree.

Hmm, yes, well. Remarkable if true, obviously.

Fig trees don’t normally grow in the area where Hergune’s was killed, and when a researcher found the tree and began to investigate it further he unearthed the long-dead man’s remains. A subsequent investigation filled in the details of the dynamite attack, the death of the three men, and the eventual growth of the tree from a seed inside Hergune’s stomach. The remains were original discovered back in 2006.

What a story, eh? At which point we turn to that fount of the truth, the Mirror:

His sister said: “The fig remnants in my brother’s stomach grew into a tree as the sun crept into the cave through the hole made by the explosion. They found my brother thanks to that fig tree.”

Well, no, not so much really:

One person lost in the conflict was Ahmet Cemal Hergune. The details of his gruesome death and miraculous discovery have gone viral over the last few days, and for good reason – the story, with official-looking photos from Central European News, seems just too bizarre to be true.

Unfortunately, if something is too bizarre to be true, it probably means it’s false.

Good advice there.

It’s a good story. But unfortunately, a bit of investigative digging by local news outlet Cyprus Mail has revealed the truth is not quite as sensational as it’s been reported.

It’s not in fact true:

The remains of the three Turkish Cypriots, the sources said, were found several metres away from the tree roots during the excavations, suggesting it did not grow from a seed inside the deceased man. “There were similar news reports at the time that the tree had grown from the remains,” said one source.

Sources in the north close to the CMP also concurred that the remains were found away from the tree, adding that scientifically it was not possible that it happened the way it was related by the family. “It’s their belief,” the sources said. They added that sources said Hergune’s family wanted to believe that it happened that way. “It helped them with finding closure.”

So, we need an explanation for how this happened. Ah, yes, what’s that old advice? Don’t believe everything you read in the newspapers?

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