Did you see a dead man's fingers poking out of the ground? No, you're not on an episode of Law & Order and you didn't just discover a body. The answer, however, is only a little less creepy.

Most of the time, New Yorkers enjoy nature by looking up. The gorgeous Catskill, Shawangunk, and Adirondack Mountains, the rolling forests, and beautiful wildlife all combine to make some of the most memorable views in the world. The weirdness starts if you decide to look down.

ePhotocorp via Canva
ePhotocorp via Canva

Xylaria polymorpha, also Known as Dead Man's Fingers

Xylaria polymorpha, AKA dead man's fingers, is a fungus that can be found growing in New York forests, especially near dead or rotting wood. The fungus gets its nickname for a very obvious reason: the shape (and location) of Xylaria polymorpha often gives the impression of a corpse's hand reaching out from under the ground.

Adam88xx via Canva
Adam88xx via Canva

Are Dead Man's Fingers Edible?

Other than the way it looks, there's another reason why Xylaria polymorpha should give you the creeps. While some foragers have reported eating the fungus and experiencing no side-effects, a report revealed something troubling:

All Xylaria contain amatoxin and phallotoxin, which are the same compounds you don't want eat in some of the most dangerous mushrooms in the world

Is it Too Early to Plan a Halloween Hike?

Xylaria polymorpha joins a long list of fascinating New York flora, and this Halloween, hikers could get in the spirit by crafting their own spooky outing. First, a forest hike to search for dead man's fingers, and then a visit to some New York wetlands to see the four carnivorous plants native to the Empire State.

SEE ALSO: Meet the 4 Carnivorous Plants of New York State

If you need some inspiration for your next Hudson Valley, NY hike (with awesome abandoned ruins), get started with some suggestions below. Then keep scrolling to see the amazing hiking therapy animals of New York state that you might see along the way!

6 Hikes To Explore Abandoned Ruins in the Hudson Valley

Coming across abandoned ruins really spices up a hike. Check out these Hudson Valley trails that take you back in time.

Meet the Hiking Therapy Animals of the Hudson Valley

Eleanor Pigby made a splash on social media around the Hudson Valley this week. Turns out she's part of a pretty special team. Get to know Eleanor and the rest of the Pets For Purpose Animal Therapy group of The Summit School in Nyack.