yet another "the most important thing on the internet" post.
seriously, propers to r.p. for linking to this comprehensive history of the world with a slight emphasis on combative martial arts.
According to the legend, when the [Mandrake] root is dug up it screams and kills all who hear it. Literature includes complex directions for harvesting a mandrake root in relative safety. For example Josephus (c. 37 AD Jerusalem – c. 100) gives the following directions for pulling it up:
A furrow must be dug around the root until its lower part is exposed, then a dog is tied to it, after which the person tying the dog must get away. The dog then endeavours to follow him, and so easily pulls up the root, but dies suddenly instead of his master. After this the root can be handled without fear.
Yoro Diallo - San Wo San
via Awesome Tapes From Africa.