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Dire Warning About Carnivorous Caches In Dark Damp Forests


Vinny & Sue Team
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I have been seeing several threads pop up lately here on the fourms about caching with kids or offering cutesy fotos of geocaching kids. I believe that it is time to pay attention to the dark side of this phenomenon of taking children geocaching as well. And so...

 

I hate to throw a bit of cold water on the party, but please be advised that it is well-known that some "geocaches" in the woods and rural areas, particularly some backcountry caches in dark forests, are carnivorous -- much like pitcher plants and the venus flytrap plant -- and they lure small children (and even pet dogs) close and then eat them. There is even a committee at geocaching.com dedicated to learning more about this phenomenon and the goal is to eventually create an advertising campaign to educate people about this danger. From the log reports we have seen on most of these caches, the majority of the carnivorous child-eating caches look like cute small gingerbread houses sitting in the woods at or near the cache site. The "houses" often emit an enticing odor of baking bread or baking cookies, and small children are lured inside by the sights and the nice smells. From the reports that I have heard, once a small child or a pet dog has gone fully or partially inside one of these "houses", the entire "gingerbread house" closes its doors and windows and kinda folds in on itself, digesting the child or the dog. There seems to be a second type of carnivorous cache, more a carnivorous cache hide site, where an alluring cache container seems to be under a large clumb of dense underbrush and briars. Reports from across the world tell us that geocaching children are lured into the bushes to grab the cache, and then there is a big gulping sound, and the child is gone.

 

Most of these carnivorous caches are small enough in size that they can digest only small children. However, experts tell us that a few have grown large enough to eat even full-grown adults, and there was a rather famous case in 2005 of a carnivorous cache in Oregon eating a 6 foot tall 250 pound lumberjack who was geocaching on his lunch break.

 

Most experts agree that these carnivorous geocaches were not really placed by cachers at all, and rather that they are likely a primitive plant life form which has existed on earth in deep forests since life first appeared on earth, feeding on animals and people. The experts tell us that these carnivorous plants are highly intelligent and highly adaptable, and when they realized that people were tramping around in the woods looking for geocaches, well, the immediately started to mimic geocaches and geocache hide sites. Apparently these carnivorous plants which look and act like geocaches can survive only in dark damp forests. At this point, the problem seems to be confined to several sharply circumscribed forest areas in the Pacific Northwest, the damp Appalachian forests of Western Maryland, Central and Western Pennsylvania and New York State, and the dark damp forests in northern Croatia and similar forests in eastern Byelorussia (Belarus.) There is also one swamp in southern England where they have been reported.

 

These carnivorous forest creatures have been well-known to many traditional cultures and have therefore been staples of folklore for hundreds or even thouands of years, and have even appeared in works of fiction. The famed author Manly Wade Wellman, who was a dedicated student and collector of folklore in the Appalachians, wrote a number of novels set in the Appalachians on the east coast of the USA. In several of these novels, he wrote knowingly about "gardinels", which seem to be identical the the gingerbread-house type carnivorous plants described above. He said in a radio interview in 1978 that he had first heard of the gardinels (carnivorous creatures of dark forests which look like gingerbread houses and lure people inside to eat them) from the mountain people of Tennessee and Kentucky, and later from the hill folk of Western North Carolina. One good web article on gardinels appears at http://www.gwthomas.org/gardinel.htm and you can learn a lot more about gardinels if you do a web search on Google using the terms [Manly Wade Wellman gardinel].

Edited by Vinny & Sue Team
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My Son and I barely escaped a gardinel a few months ago. I was tying my shoe when I turned and he was standing in front of this brown, almost sugar coated looking lump. It had gumdrop looking lumps all over it. My son has a huge sweet tooth and was just about to reach for it when I yelled for him to run away. The gardinel made a desperate attempt to chomp him but just caught the edge of his coat. My son shed his coat immediately and we ran from the area. We dared not tell anyone for fear of being ridiculed. Thank you so much for bringing this subject to light. ;)

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Is this issue best addressed by the terrain rating, the difficulty rating, or a cache attribute? Personally, I think it factors into the difficulty rating -- that is, how hard is it to retrieve the cache once you've arrived at ground zero? If a member of your team is eaten, I would think that is worth a couple of rating stars. I don't know that we need another attribute. I think that selecting "not kid friendly" is preferable to a custom new attribute depicting a pair of feet belonging to a child slipping into a hellish abyss. Ditto all that for dogs.

 

kids-no.gifdogs-no.gif

 

Vinny, you've done more research on this, so please help me out: Do these carnivores savor hamsters, or are my signature items safe?

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Is this issue best addressed by the terrain rating, the difficulty rating, or a cache attribute? Personally, I think it factors into the difficulty rating -- that is, how hard is it to retrieve the cache once you've arrived at ground zero? If a member of your team is eaten, I would think that is worth a couple of rating stars. I don't know that we need another attribute. I think that selecting "not kid friendly" is preferable to a custom new attribute depicting a pair of feet belonging to a child slipping into a hellish abyss. Ditto all that for dogs.

 

kids-no.gifdogs-no.gif

 

Vinny, you've done more research on this, so please help me out: Do these carnivores savor hamsters, or are my signature items safe?

 

First, as for ratings, I suggest that if a cacher even suspects that her or his cache has been replaced by a carnivorous cache-mimicing plant, or that one has stationed itself nearby, then at the very least, the Terrain rating should be raised to a 5, and better, I feel that the cache owner should place a warning note on the cache page.

 

In fact, there is a very old gardinel of the gingerbread house, large enough to digest an adult human easily, in the mountains near our home, not too far from our Psycho Backcountry Cache - Point 29 Zero cache, and Sue and I have joked about listing a 5/5 cache at they waypoint for the gardinel, just to see if anyone survives the hunt, so to speak.

 

And, as for your question about hamsters and these carnivorous cache-mimicing monsters:

Leppy, I wonder if you are psychic, because you have asked a very timely question! I am the volunteer who manages the database which lists all deaths and near-death incidents involving cachers and these carnivorous creatures across the world. It just so happens that while there was only one report between 2002 and 2005 of one of these things eating a hamster, there have been four closely-clustered incidents in the first few months of 2006, two of them in Cooks Forest State Park in Western PA, one in a small area known as White's Woods in Indiana, PA and one in the Adirondack Mountains of upstate New York. At this point, it appears that in each case, a geocacher took their pet hamster caching with them on a flexi-leash or a traditional long leash. And, in each case, it seems that the hamster wandered into an appealing-looking little house (in the fourth case, it was a bush which seemed to bear cute little blueberry cupcakes as fruits) at the cache site and... gobble, gobble, the little hamster was gone, never to be seen again.

Edited by Vinny & Sue Team
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I haven't been geocaching in the Adirondacks, or recently in Indiana County, but the Cooks Forest report is hauntingly familiar. You see, my young daughter occasionally gets herself attached to one of the hamsters produced by our signature item factory. (If you clicked on the link and were curious, it's girls on the left, boys on the right, and we control the gate between them as necessary to ensure a pace of signature item production consistent with our current level of finding geocaches large enough to hold them.) Oops, I digress. I fear that cannot be helped in a Vinny & Sue Team thread, so forgive me.

 

Anyways, Little Leprechaun named this one special hamster "Softy" because he was so cute and cuddly! She took him everywhere, including terrain 3 caches, with the only difference from our normal routine being that Softy actually returned with us to the car after we found the cache. But that day in Cooks Forest, he didn't. ;) Along the trail, Little Lep felt a tug on the leash and poof! Softy was gone. We will never forget the look of shocked surprise on Softy's face as he slipped away.

1f349923-d638-4ac1-8db9-df2024b87985.jpg

The authorities were understandably tight-lipped when we asked them what may have caused this. So, thank you for exposing the truth, horrific as it is. It brings a sense of closure to our family that is comforting.

 

I hope that others are able to learn from this example.

Edited by The Leprechauns
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Is this issue best addressed by the terrain rating, the difficulty rating, or a cache attribute? Personally, I think it factors into the difficulty rating -- that is, how hard is it to retrieve the cache once you've arrived at ground zero? If a member of your team is eaten, I would think that is worth a couple of rating stars. I don't know that we need another attribute. I think that selecting "not kid friendly" is preferable to a custom new attribute depicting a pair of feet belonging to a child slipping into a hellish abyss. Ditto all that for dogs.

 

kids-no.gifdogs-no.gif

 

Vinny, you've done more research on this, so please help me out: Do these carnivores savor hamsters, or are my signature items safe?

 

First, as for ratings, I suggest that if a cacher even suspects that her or his cache has been replaced by a carnivorous cache-mimicing plant, or that one has stationed itself nearby, then at the very least, the Terrain rating should be raised to a 5, and better, I feel that the cache owner should place a warning note on the cache page.

 

In fact, there is a very old gardinel of the gingerbread house, large enough to digest an adult human easily, in the mountains near our home, not too far from our Psycho Backcountry Cache - Point 29 Zero cache, and Sue and I have joked about listing a 5/5 cache at they waypoint for the gardinel, just to see if anyone survives the hunt, so to speak.

 

And, as for your question about hamsters and these carnivorous cache-mimicing monsters:

Leppy, I wonder if you are psychic, because you have asked a very timely question! I am the volunteer who manages the database which lists all deaths and near-death incidents involving cachers and these carnivorous creatures across the world. It just so happens that while there was only one report between 2002 and 2005 of one of these things eating a hamster, there have been four closely-clustered incidents in the first few months of 2006, two of them in Cooks Forest State Park in Western PA, one in a small area known as White's Woods in Indiana, PA and one in the Adirondack Mountains of upstate New York. At this point, it appears that in each case, a geocacher took their pet hamster caching with them on a flexi-leash or a traditional long leash. And, in each case, it seems that the hamster wandered into an appealing-looking little house (in the fourth case, it was a bush which seemed to bear cute little blueberry cupcakes as fruits) at the cache site and... gobble, gobble, the little hamster was gone, never to be seen again.

 

may i have the co'ords for this please. i want to take my husband, "the big doop", caching. ;)

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Is this issue best addressed by the terrain rating, the difficulty rating, or a cache attribute? Personally, I think it factors into the difficulty rating -- that is, how hard is it to retrieve the cache once you've arrived at ground zero? If a member of your team is eaten, I would think that is worth a couple of rating stars. I don't know that we need another attribute. I think that selecting "not kid friendly" is preferable to a custom new attribute depicting a pair of feet belonging to a child slipping into a hellish abyss. Ditto all that for dogs.

 

kids-no.gifdogs-no.gif

 

Vinny, you've done more research on this, so please help me out: Do these carnivores savor hamsters, or are my signature items safe?

 

First, as for ratings, I suggest that if a cacher even suspects that her or his cache has been replaced by a carnivorous cache-mimicing plant, or that one has stationed itself nearby, then at the very least, the Terrain rating should be raised to a 5, and better, I feel that the cache owner should place a warning note on the cache page.

 

In fact, there is a very old gardinel of the gingerbread house, large enough to digest an adult human easily, in the mountains near our home, not too far from our Psycho Backcountry Cache - Point 29 Zero cache, and Sue and I have joked about listing a 5/5 cache at they waypoint for the gardinel, just to see if anyone survives the hunt, so to speak.

 

And, as for your question about hamsters and these carnivorous cache-mimicing monsters:

Leppy, I wonder if you are psychic, because you have asked a very timely question! I am the volunteer who manages the database which lists all deaths and near-death incidents involving cachers and these carnivorous creatures across the world. It just so happens that while there was only one report between 2002 and 2005 of one of these things eating a hamster, there have been four closely-clustered incidents in the first few months of 2006, two of them in Cooks Forest State Park in Western PA, one in a small area known as White's Woods in Indiana, PA and one in the Adirondack Mountains of upstate New York. At this point, it appears that in each case, a geocacher took their pet hamster caching with them on a flexi-leash or a traditional long leash. And, in each case, it seems that the hamster wandered into an appealing-looking little house (in the fourth case, it was a bush which seemed to bear cute little blueberry cupcakes as fruits) at the cache site and... gobble, gobble, the little hamster was gone, never to be seen again.

 

may i have the co'ords for this please. i want to take my husband, "the big doop", caching. ;)

 

I was thinking along those lines, too.

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Is this issue best addressed by the terrain rating, the difficulty rating, or a cache attribute? Personally, I think it factors into the difficulty rating -- that is, how hard is it to retrieve the cache once you've arrived at ground zero? If a member of your team is eaten, I would think that is worth a couple of rating stars. I don't know that we need another attribute. I think that selecting "not kid friendly" is preferable to a custom new attribute depicting a pair of feet belonging to a child slipping into a hellish abyss. Ditto all that for dogs.

 

kids-no.gifdogs-no.gif

 

Vinny, you've done more research on this, so please help me out: Do these carnivores savor hamsters, or are my signature items safe?

 

First, as for ratings, I suggest that if a cacher even suspects that her or his cache has been replaced by a carnivorous cache-mimicing plant, or that one has stationed itself nearby, then at the very least, the Terrain rating should be raised to a 5, and better, I feel that the cache owner should place a warning note on the cache page.

 

In fact, there is a very old gardinel of the gingerbread house, large enough to digest an adult human easily, in the mountains near our home, not too far from our Psycho Backcountry Cache - Point 29 Zero cache, and Sue and I have joked about listing a 5/5 cache at they waypoint for the gardinel, just to see if anyone survives the hunt, so to speak.

 

And, as for your question about hamsters and these carnivorous cache-mimicing monsters:

Leppy, I wonder if you are psychic, because you have asked a very timely question! I am the volunteer who manages the database which lists all deaths and near-death incidents involving cachers and these carnivorous creatures across the world. It just so happens that while there was only one report between 2002 and 2005 of one of these things eating a hamster, there have been four closely-clustered incidents in the first few months of 2006, two of them in Cooks Forest State Park in Western PA, one in a small area known as White's Woods in Indiana, PA and one in the Adirondack Mountains of upstate New York. At this point, it appears that in each case, a geocacher took their pet hamster caching with them on a flexi-leash or a traditional long leash. And, in each case, it seems that the hamster wandered into an appealing-looking little house (in the fourth case, it was a bush which seemed to bear cute little blueberry cupcakes as fruits) at the cache site and... gobble, gobble, the little hamster was gone, never to be seen again.

 

may i have the co'ords for this please. i want to take my husband, "the big doop", caching. ;)

 

I was thinking along those lines, too.

 

i was just getting ready to invite you 2 along. :)

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That picture looks like it was taken from where I live - Wisconsin! Speaking of which, are there any known reports of carnivorous wife eating caches here? :blink: My husband seems to push me forward with his walking stick through briars and barbed wire fences with a devious look to his face. Me, "honey, you go first". Husband - "NO, YOU go first - you have the GPS." poke, poke. I know my life insurance is worth a bundle... :D uh oh hmmmmm...

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By your warning, you obviously underestimate the monstrous powers of some toddlers. For example, I believe little Sarah and I may have encountered a gardinel last August. As we neared ground zero in woods last August, I got Sarah out of her backpack seat to help locate a cache. All I noted were some unusual features in the dark woods, and as I began searching, I heard quite a scuffle to my left. I heard a shriek, and naturally grew quite concerned. I shuffled to the noise, fearing the worse, and there was my two year old grinning from cheek to cheek, and all seemed fine, except she was stomping away and some biological material. "Did you yell, honey?" "No daddy. Cache plant gone, now." I had no idea what she was talking about, and never did find the cache.

 

Now, I know it may have been a gardinel. Your warning would be better written "Dire Warning About Carnivorous Toddlers In Dark Damp Forests, Watch Your Gardinels Closely and Place them Cautiously."

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I was aware of dwarfs and trolls but my goodness if i knew there was something that could eat my wife i would have taken her out geocaching sooner.

Is there anyway to attract, i mean defend against one. Are they attracted to anything specific, is it movement or bug spray.

I'm thinking if we could demosticate a few we could reduce taxes by having them run the jails. I know they are probably cheaper than a divorce lawyer.

Just think of the possibilities. I think we should not fear them but you not me should embrass them as part of our future.

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I'm not afraid of gardinels! You can usually detect the presence of one by the disgorged "pellets" surrounding one. These, like owl pellets, contain the undigestable matter such as bones, hair, clothes, walking sticks, shoes and GPSrs.

Too bad the GPSrs are too slimy and coroded by stomach acid to work after being digested.

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I fear that even urban cachers may not long be safe from this menace. If the gardinels have adopted to attracting cache hunters in only five years (since caching began) then I am horrified to believe they will soon adapt to the whole caching spectrum.

 

How long before they evolve (or be created/intelligently designed - take your pick) to appear as tall, thin, silver poles with swollen bases? Or long, thin, horizontal silver rails? Surely they will be attracted to the child/pet dense areas of mall or mart parking lots.

 

"Just look under the skirt of that light post, sweetie. Sweetie?...SWEETIE!!"

 

Horrors!

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And, as for your question about hamsters and these carnivorous cache-mimicing monsters:

Leppy, I wonder if you are psychic, because you have asked a very timely question! I am the volunteer who manages the database which lists all deaths and near-death incidents involving cachers and these carnivorous creatures across the world. It just so happens that while there was only one report between 2002 and 2005 of one of these things eating a hamster, there have been four closely-clustered incidents in the first few months of 2006, two of them in Cooks Forest State Park in Western PA, one in a small area known as White's Woods in Indiana, PA and one in the Adirondack Mountains of upstate New York. At this point, it appears that in each case, a geocacher took their pet hamster caching with them on a flexi-leash or a traditional long leash. And, in each case, it seems that the hamster wandered into an appealing-looking little house (in the fourth case, it was a bush which seemed to bear cute little blueberry cupcakes as fruits) at the cache site and... gobble, gobble, the little hamster was gone, never to be seen again.

I've done two caches in Cook (singular) Forest [one has since been moved to another location]; I was near White's Woods in Indiana on Saturday last, and we cached in the Adirondacks last summer. Had I known.....HAD I KNOWN, PEOPLE!!....I never would have taken our very youngest child, the PeachPit, with us!!!! He was the often referred to, but seldom seen, obstreperous three year old who was (not) our pride and joy. Yes, that word "was"!

 

He had bravely accompanied us to the top of Mt. Jo in the Adirondack High Country to enjoy the vista and help me find the elusive Heart of Jo cache. There had been reported sightings of the possibly missing cache, so we left Dr Peach and the PeachBud, our next oldest, to enjoy the view and munch on some snacks. The PeachPit and I went looking for the cache, me with the GPSr and he with the compass. We approached the apparent location of the cache; yes, I found the ledge, but the pile of sticks was missing as was the cache. I bent over to look further into the outcropping, turned to say something to the PeachPit....and he was gone.....GONE I TELL YOU!! He must have been lured into the sweet little brown shack just down through the trees; there was no path leading to it, so the poor kid had to have bushwhacked his way. He left behind no footprints, but there was a telltale line of drool leading up to the door.

 

We looked and looked for him until it was getting dark and had to call off the search. The path down Mt. Jo is difficult enough in the daylight. We left notice at the ADK Club Loj; actually we had to leave a photo and log his disappearance with those of other children in the same location. There is a hardbound logbook for The Disappeared at The Loj. Now I've been warned; I'll have to leave the PeachBud at home when I go caching from now on. You know what I miss most? My compass.......it was a gift from Dr Peach. :D:blink::anicute::D

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I offer proof that some gardinels would do well to stay out of certain children's paths.

 

fc366e57-74aa-4338-94a7-bfd024ebe090.jpg

 

See...my youngest will be dissecting this brain, and I suppose if we discover any profound secrets as they pertain to the MO of these beasts, maybe we'll share, as a warning.

 

But then again, maybe we'll just go on collecting brains.

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Most of these carnivorous caches are small enough in size that they can digest only small children. However, experts tell us that a few have grown large enough to eat even full-grown adults, and there was a rather famous case in 2005 of a carnivorous cache in Oregon eating a 6 foot tall 250 pound lumberjack who was geocaching on his lunch break.

This is just another example of the "Urban Legend" phenomena.

I can personally attest to the exaggerations of the facts as I am one of the EMTs the responded to this incident.

The 250 lb logger was actually a 165lb whistle punk, named Clint R., that had been in the woods for less than 2 weeks. He was not geocaching, but had wandered a couple of hundred feet from the landing to find a place to eat his lunch.

The more experienced loggers had warned Clint of the dangers of wandering in the woods, and specifically warned him of the carnivorous flora found in the area.

Deciding that they were merely trying to scare the new guy, he ignored the warnings and wandered until he found an inviting, cool spot under the tall firs.

Clint's shouts brought the rest of the crew running to where they found him up to his knees in a large sticky sweet mass.

As they pulled the Clint out, they found that his boots and socks were gone, his pants disintegrating below the knees, his toes black, and the flesh of his feet and legs looking red and swollen.

We met the crummy about 15 miles from the landing as they were bringing him to town and transferred him to the ambulance where we administered what aid we could.

The rest of the crew followed us to the hospital where they told me what had happened, and the next day they let me know that whatever had attacked him was not to be found when they returned to the woods.

I am happy to report that Clint is now out of the hospital and recovering nicely. He has an appointment with the prosthetics department soon and should be walking again in a few months.

I hope this lays to rest any fears you have of "Man eating plants".

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