Why You’d Run Away From This Ghostly Infested Tree

Why You’d Run Away From This Ghostly Infested Tree

October 30, 2019 100 By William Hollis


– [Narrator] Are you up for something that’s bizarre, yet actually real? Look at this. Several years ago, these trees
popped up on the internet. It caught the attention of many, with people reacting in
both disgust and amusement. The trees are downright spooky, as if their health had been
sucked right out of them. Take my advice when I say that you must never approach a tree like this. I promise you’d regret it. So, what are these trees? Moreover, when, where, why
and how did this happen? Stick around as I uncover the mystery behind these ghostly trees. (slow soft music) First things first, when and
where were these trees spotted? See, the viral photos originated from Pakistan, way back in 2010. The backstory here is
important, so listen up. See all the water surrounding the trees? That was the result of massive flooding due to monsoon rains. It was so catastrophic, the UN called it the worst
disaster in its history. Pakistan’s Indus River became flooded in late July and August of 2010, affecting 20 million
people with a death toll of close to 2,000. With 5.4 million acres of crops destroyed, millions of people became malnourished. Moreover, the dirty
floodwaters made people susceptible to waterborne diseases. About 1.6 million houses were destroyed, leaving 14 million Pakistanis homeless. Even bridges and roads were damaged, so rescue efforts by both
the Pakistani Government and international
organizations became difficult. It was hard to provide
aid to the survivors with rising water levels. The total economic damage was
roughly 43 billion dollars. Fast-forward to October of 2010, and the water level of the
Indus River finally retreated almost back to normal. On the other hand, low-lying areas still had floodwaters up until early 2011, but something wasn’t right. As the deadly rain stopped,
villagers in Sindh, Pakistan, began seeing these ghostly trees. At first, it might of
been just one odd tree. But then they spotted another,
and another, and many others. This wasn’t an isolated case
of a single ghostly tree. And it was clear the floods
had something to do with it. Exactly what they are
will be explained soon. So stick around because their formation is bizarrely interesting,
and you’d run away from them as fast as you could if you knew. And you might be thinking, oh I guess I have no reason
to worry about ghostly trees since I don’t live in Pakistan. But you’d be wrong. Sure, the trees there got
the world’s attention, but they’ve also appeared
in other parts of the world. They aren’t a unique event,
and they could happen anywhere given the right conditions. Don’t believe me? First, there’s this forest
near Soreq Creek in Jerusalem. Just like the trees in Pakistan, the foliage here looks very unusual. Are these trees dead? If so, what caused their demise? It’s also interesting
to note that some trees and plants are seemingly unaffected. More then 11,000 kilometers
away at the woodlands of Lake Tawakoni State Park in Texas, US, the same phenomenon occurred. But the reception here has
surprisingly been positive. With several acres of the area
featuring these odds trees, at least 3,300 people visited the park over the Labor Day weekend in 2007. The entire park is 376 acres in size, so anyone curious enough
to witness the spooky trees could do so from afar. The land down under is also
prone to this happening. In 2012, the city of
Wagga Wagga, Australia, experienced a record amount
of flood causing rain. And just like the incident in Pakistan, ghostly trees and bushes began appearing. A field of green turned white. The same happened in 2016 as well, and Tasmania’s town of Westbury suffered from severe flooding. So as you’ve seen, they aren’t a once in
a lifetime phenomenon. But why should you veer away from them? Here’s a closer look. Can you see the problem now? How about here? Zoom in a little bit,
and zoom out back again. Yup, all these trees were
invaded by thousands of spiders. In the case of the floods in Pakistan, millions upon millions of spiders appeared seemingly out of nowhere, attached to any and every
tree they could find. Anyone with a fear of spiders would think their worst nightmares had come true. So spiders are the culprits
behind these web infested trees. But the mystery still lingers, why and how did these Spider Web Cocoon Trees appear in Pakistan? Spiders primarily live and crawl on the ground, or even underground. But the threat of
drowning due to the floods forced millions of them
to reach higher ground. Since floodwaters persisted
in many low-lying areas of Pakistan, spiders had no
choice but to go into the trees and seek refuge together. Still, how did they survive and not get caught up in
the torrential floods? Wouldn’t they have been
taken away by the murky, strong waters as heavy rainfall continued? Luckily for them, the answer
lies in their evolution, which has allowed them to
survive natural disasters. For one, spiders can sail on water. No, the spiders here didn’t
make any tiny web boats, instead they used their legs, or abdomens, as sails to traverse on water. This was discovered by
a team of researchers who published their findings in the BMC Evolutionary
Biology open journal. By analyzing how hundreds of spiders coming from at least 20 different species reacted to the winds while
they were on the water, the researchers found five
distinct water related behaviors. Four of which are relevant to
keeping safe during a flood. It’s important to note that
spiders don’t easily sink because of their water repellent feet, and while they can simply walk on water, they have three other
alternative forms of locomotion. First, the spiders can raise their legs to help them slide on the surface without causing any turbulence. Second, they could opt
to use their abdomen instead of their legs for sailing. The third spider behavior, anchoring, requires them to release
silk onto the water’s surface which eases the spider’s speed. In fact, this third
technique is what the spiders in Pakistan could’ve
used to get up the trees. As they sail the surface waters
with their legs or abdomen, they could’ve also released
silk on a tree branch or trunk. Apart from sailing, spiders also have another trick up their sleeve. While they don’t have wings
to fly away from floodwaters, they can appear to fly
hundreds of kilometers through what scientists call ballooning. Yes, you heard that right. Though most spiders only travel
this way for a few meters, spiders have been found
up to four kilometers in the sky caught in jet streams. Dispersing to places
as far away as hundreds of kilometers from their launch site. So you’d better run if you find one of these spider infested trees. Basically, after going to a
high area such as a treetop, they raise their backside waiting for the right conditions for takeoff. They then spin a triangular
sail made of silk threads into the air which catches the
breeze allowing them to fly. The vast majority of these
reverse skydiving spiders will die during the journey, being eaten by predators or succumbing to harsh weather conditions. But only a few need to survive to set up shop in their new home. Mass ballooning events happen
when spider populations want to spread or escape
inhospitable areas, which includes flooded grounds. In fact, researchers who
studied the sailing behaviors of spiders noted that
spiders that were prepared for ballooning were
also skilled at sailing. These two behaviors, according to them, are associated with each other. Even more interestingly,
scientists didn’t know until recently how
spiders can also balloon, even when there’s no wind. Tiny spiders of just a couple
of millimeters in length use ballooning with fair ease, thanks to their lightweight
characteristics. And they aren’t often noticed
by humans due to their size. Researchers have only
just come up with a theory for how large spiders, at one centimeter or longer in length have been
able to go airborne as well. Especially, with no breeze whatsoever. The answer lies with
atmospheric electricity and electrostatic forces. Insects such as bumblebees and honey bees can detect electric fields. So, perhaps spiders
are also aware of them. Similar to how your hair stands on end when you rub a balloon on your jumper, spider silk can be lifted into the air by natural electrostatic
forces in the atmosphere. These electric fields are present at all times around the world, but are most noticeable
during thunderstorms when they’re at their strongest. Researchers at the University
of Bristol in the UK tested this for the first time
in a controlled environment, and noticed that spiders could
feel electrostatic forces in the air using the
minute hairs on their legs. Once their sail had been deployed, they’d rise when the
electric field was turned on, and fall when it was turned off. This proved they could fly just using these electrostatic forces. But in reality, they’d use
a combination of both wind and electricity to balloon in their own natural environments. With sailing and ballooning skills, the spiders in Pakistan had a natural way to escape the floodwaters
and take refuge in trees. And in a historical context, this could explain why spiders
were one of the first animals to thrive in new habitats
around the world. Spiders not only had mastery over land, but they could also travel
on water and in the air. Interestingly enough, biologists
remarked that the type of spiders which balloon with
the help of electric fields, are the types capable
of weaving sheetwebs. Sheetwebs are exactly the
type of huge spider webs that surround the trees
and bushes in Pakistan, Jerusalem, Australia and
Texas over the years. So, how dangerous are these spiders? Well most of the spiders
caught in the ghostly trees are harmless to us humans, and although a few do have
venom, like Wolf Spiders, they aren’t fatal. It will only lead to mild pain. Even so, I doubt you’d want
to climb one of those trees. It turns out, it’s the trees
that should be worried. These Spider Web Cocooned
Trees eventually die because the sunlight can’t
reach their leaves anymore. Second, the people in Sindh, Pakistan, lost a natural source of shade. Especially since it becomes very hot in the area during the summer. But it’s not all bad. Usually a flooded area
would lead to stagnant water which invites mosquitoes
carrying malaria to breed. Yet somehow, the people living in Sindh saw fewer mosquitoes than expected. While one entomologist
said that one factor is the shift in climate, many believe that the spiders and their nets helped as well. Kind of like what happens
here when people allow spiders to do what they want. Basically, if you hate
spiders more than mosquitoes those ghostly trees
aren’t so bad after all. So, while there are no
paranormal factors to blame, I doubt those of you with
arachnophobia aren’t so happy to learn that spiders can
fly and walk on water. In case you do spot one of
these eerie spider filled trees tread carefully and hope that
they don’t get a sudden urge to fly straight on your head. How would you react if
you encountered a forest of Spider Web Cocooned Trees? Let me know your thoughts in
the comment section down below, and thanks for watching. (soft calm music)