Ahmet Hergune, a Turkish Cypriot, went missing in 1974 — over 40 years ago. His family was unable to find any trace of him, but his siblings never gave up hope that their brother would be found. While he was not recovered alive, his body has formed the roots of an incredible phenomenon, according to the Cyprus Mail.
After being thrown into a cave with three other men, Ahmet died from the force of an explosion. His assailants, Greek Cypriots who hated the Turkish Cypriots, threw a stick of dynamite into the cave and shut the men inside. While they perished in the blast, the side of the cave was blown out in the process. This allowed sunlight to filter into the cave, directly on top of Ahmet’s body.
Earlier, Ahmet had eaten a fig. The seed in his stomach took root and flourished in the sun, and later became a fully formed tree. While his story is tragic, his legacy did not end with the tree. Decades later, his family has received some degree of closure by learning of his fate.
In 2011, a researcher in the area was curious how a fig tree ended up in the mountainous area. It was an unusual place for a fruit tree, especially one that grew figs. According to MSN, he began digging around the tree to determine whether it had been transplanted there. He was horrified when he discovered a body beneath the roots of the tree.
Two more corpses were found upon police investigation, and the remains were determined to have belonged to Ahmet and his two companions. However, it is believed that the seed originated from Ahmet’s stomach.
Luckily, Ahmet still had living relatives that could offer DNA samples. These samples, along with fragments taken from Ahmet’s remains, have led the family to believe that their brother’s body has finally been found.
His sister — Munur Herguner — was more relieved than sad to finally discover the truth. At age 87, she had nearly lost hope that she would ever discover what had truly happened to her brother.
“We used to live in a village with a population of 4,000, half Greek, half Turkish. In 1974, the disturbances began. My brother Ahmet joined the Turkish Resistance Organization (TMT). On 10th June, the Greeks took him away,” she said. “For years we searched for my brother in vain.”
“The fig remnants in my brother’s stomach grew into a tree as the sun crept into the cave through the hole made by the explosion. They found my brother thanks to that fig tree.”