The following video, which has viewers around the world baffled — and more than a little bit creeped out — was taken by a man hiking in the woods with a friend near Defiance, Ohio.
As the two men approach a large tree, it appears to be burning red-hot from the inside, but as you can see, the fire is producing no smoke whatsoever.
The hikers are fascinated at first, but their conversation suggests their curiosity is slowly giving way to fear. “It’s starting to get out and around,” one of them says, suggesting that the fire is moving to the outside, as his friend asks, “What the fuck! How is this even possible?” They finally decide it would be smart to put some distance between themselves and the self-destructing tree.
The video has gone viral since it was first posted on December 21, after which it was soon nicknamed “The Devil Tree,” inspiring theories ranging from scientific (a lightning strike ignited the tree’s upper branches, which then burned from the top down) to the supernatural (a sign of the apocalypse, forest spirits, bigfoot’s signal fire…. and don’t forget aliens).
As of this writing, the clip has managed to pick up over a million views.