Chinese village’s ‘magic’ stalk cut down by police because it’s ‘superstitious’
- Villagers had started worship giant sorghum stalk because they believed it had been endowed with supernatural qualities
Local authorities in east China have cut down a giant sorghum stalk that villagers had started venerating for its “magical” qualities.
Police in Heze in Shandong province confirmed that the 5.7-metre (18.7 feet) tall stalk had been uprooted and villagers had been warned their actions were superstitious.
Chinese tradition holds that objects that grow to an unusually large size can sometimes be endowed with magical powers.
In recent days, a video clip of large crowds of villagers worshipping the plant, dubbed the “Magic Sorghum”, in Fangshan village went viral on Chinese social media.
The plant could be seen in a patch of cleared ground outside some rural buildings, with giant lit incense sticks and prayer flags surrounding it.
Peddlers at the site were hawking incense and joss paper, traditionally burned for ceremonial offerings, near the plant.
“Sometime this week, the chief officer of the local police station and the village party secretary brought some workers there and used a bulldozer to excavate the sorghum,” a source at the Fangshan police station in Dingtao district told Thepaper.cn.
The plant was destroyed on Monday and was stored in a villager’s attic, where its length was measured.
Sorghum is a crop which is used for grain, animal feed, and for making the famous Chinese liquor baijiu.
“When growing in good conditions, it’s very normal for sorghum to grow over five metres tall,” Li Ye, a Heze Agricultural Management Bureau researcher, was quoted as saying.
Dingtao district police are investigating the incident.
In October 2017, several thousand tourists flocked to worship a giant wild mushroom in Yunnan province for good fortune. The 83.5cm tall edible fungi was nicknamed the “king of mushrooms”.