THE GUARDIAN OF MYSTERY ISLAND (1896) – Written by Dr Edmond Molcini. Mystery Island lies off the coast of Maine and everyone near the coast considers the place haunted by a true monstrosity – a large ghost-dog.
Sam Lenartson, the hero of the story, is new to the region and is bemused by the superstitious whispers about Mystery Island. He decides to investigate by sailing over to the place but can’t find anyone willing to brave the isle with him.
Sam arrives alone and, though he hears distant barking of an apparently large canine when he follows the sounds he finds a small dog and its owner. That owner is a very, very, VERY old French woman who is either senile or insane. She says she has been around since the 1790s, kept alive by chewing what she calls “Devil Weed.”
Lenartson is skeptical, of course, but the dying old lady also claims that chewing on Devil Weed has kept her dog alive for over a hundred years. Sam goes in search of the weed and encounters its source: a large, roaring, man-eating plant.
The plant’s vines traverse the entire island, and are like tentacles with which the creature entangles its prey and drags it to its hideous, gaping maw. Sam narrowly escapes becoming a meal for the Devil Weed and flees back to the old lady.
She lies dead and there is no sign of her dog. The unnerved Lenartson sails off to get a party to come back with him to bury the old woman. When the reluctant townspeople DO return to see to the woman’s burial they find no sign of her or her dog.
The insinuation is that the tentacles of the Devil Weed were finally able to snare the elderly woman as she lay dead and her faithful dog may have perished with her. The terrified party – including Sam Lenartson – leave Mystery Island, determined never to return. +++
FOR TEN MORE EXAMPLES OF ANCIENT SCIENCE FICTION CLICK HERE: https://glitternight.com/2014/03/03/ten-neglected-examples-of-ancient-science-fiction/
FOR WASHINGTON IRVING’S 1809 depiction of an invasion from the moon click here: https://glitternight.com/2014/05/05/ancient-science-fiction-the-men-of-the-moon-1809-by-washington-irving/
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