spookiest seedpods. ever.

(Images courtesy of the super talented Sara Weiss.)

So there we were – taking a lovely Sunday stroll along the picturesque Nyack Beach, showing our Brooklyn friends Josie and Steve that the suburbs aren’t so scary after all. (More accurately, we were proving this to ourselves long after it was necessary –  this path along the Hudson always makes our decision to leave NYC a no-brainer.) Things were going smoothly, even swimmingly, as we headed toward an enclave my husband and I have nicknamed Maui, where there are a bunch of trees and a few picnic tables that remind of us a spot where we stopped briefly during our honeymoon sojourn in Hana.

We said: “Would you like to walk to Maui?”

Josie and Steve, ever up for adventure, answered: “Sure!”

Just after we happily arrived in Nyack’s very own Maui, we stumbled upon them… the most terrifying pieces of nature any of us had ever seen:

They were washed up on the beach: hundreds of them, maybe thousands, it was obviously an invasion of some sort. Though inanimate, they threatened us with their sharp claws and pointy fangs and caused us to shudder in our sneakers.  We would have covered our eyes in horror, if we weren’t so intrigued. We mustered the courage to collect a few specimens and cornered them on a nearby picnic table. Then the four of us sat there and pondered what on earth these strange things might be. Here is what we came up with:

  • Petrified bat babies
  • Freeze-dried gremlins
  • Devil droppings
  • Part of an infant’s Darth Vader costume
  • Discarded heads from a million defective Yoda dolls
  • Cuff links of an evil scientist starring in a Tim Burton film
  • Rotten alien teeth
  • Dice of an all-too realistic board game called, Death

And most importantly, what could we do with them?  Freakish as they were, making good use of them was my immediate instinct, and I began to gather them into my proverbial apron (a.k.a. lime green messenger bag). Here are a few of the options that came to mind:

  • Attach handles and market them as maracas for ghosts, since shaking them did produce a faint jangling of smaller pieces inside. (First check Amazon to make sure these don’t already exist.)
  • Take a photo and run away screaming, threatening to write a blog post about them. (Take that!)
  • Leave them right where they are and act nonchalant. Once back in the safety of our home, calmly assure city friends that afternoon strolls around these parts aren’t usually so frightening. Then discreetly slip away in order to change into clean undies.

Here is what I ended up doing: I captured two of them in order to prove to non-believers that they do indeed exist. I stored them in a wrought-iron cage with multiple locks to prevent them from escaping. Then my husband consulted with our good friend Google. He discovered that they are in fact Eurasian Water Chestnut seedpods. While they are not known to attack humans, they are in fact nefarious and are clogging up local waterways.  To quote LoHud.com, they are on New York “state’s most-wanted aquatic invasive-plant list.” I suspected that they were up to no good…

All kidding aside: don’t let the spookiest seedpods on earth keep you from visiting beautiful beautiful Nyack Beach! After a few more years of psychoanalysis, hypnosis, and PTSD treatments, I’m definitely going to go back there, too.

Categories: Around Town, Garden

12 replies

  1. Ah yes, the tiny girls and I have encountered these, too. The littlest of girls wants to eat them. And now I know they are as nefarious as they look!

    • Yeah, doesn’t seem like a great idea to eat them,,,,but I could see throwing them in a witches brew…. 🙂

  2. Whoa – I have never seen those before. Yes, they would be good to tie to string and hang from a tree for halloween!

    You asked about the allium flowers.(the purple pom-pom shaped ones) Yes, they are deer resistant (yay!) You plant them in the fall along with the daffodil or crocus bulbs. So easy to grow – they come in white and pink too

  3. Thanks for the information. We found these all over great Kills Beach on Staten Island the end of September. Your posting was funny and informative.

    • Thanks for reading – I hope you have recovered – I know from experience that stumbling upon a bunch of these can be very traumatic! 🙂

  4. Thank you for solving a mystery. I collected dozens of them at a wedding by the river in Cold Spring and never could find anyone who knew what they were. They are beautiful and eerie. One handsome wedding guest made a beautiful garland and wore it all afternoon. Oddly enough, years after finding the original batch on a pristine beach, I was poking along the beach at Coney Island and trying not to slice open my foot on all the glass when I spied a lone seedpod right there among all the litter.

  5. I found one of these several years ago on Coney Island. It was a unique find. Mine is so symmetrical and floral; not so much bat baby or alien. The friend I was with suggested it was a petrified seed pod, but I never investigated until finding it again just now while unpacking after a cross-country move. I first googled “beautiful seed pods,” then narrowed the search with “beautiful 4-pointed seed pods.” Your photo nailed the comparison. THANK YOU for such humor!

  6. Thank you for this! I found – and gathered – lots of those sinister looking seeds or seed pods (I figured as much, but could not imagine what tree produces them) on a beach by the Black Sea, in Romania. I thought they come from an far away and exotic land, brought by some sea storm…nasty spiky things, I don’t want to imagine how it must be to step on them! Not a bad idea, keeping the under lock! 🙂

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