More shenanigans from Strange Cults And Secret Societies Of Modern London by Elliott O’Donnell (1934):
“Just out of bravado [my friend] had slept several nights under a tree (known to followers of the tree cult as dangerous) near certain old cross-roads, in the South Mimms district. Now, like murder, some vices will ‘out’; and when I saw my friend, after he had been sleeping under that tree, I was startled at the great change in his appearance. In his face I could detect signs of vice I had never associated with him before. He confessed his guilt to me, and attributed it, as I have already hinted, to the cross-roads and tree influence.
“As he lay under the tree in question, watching its gently swaying branches over his head, and its smooth, gleaming trunk, he felt a current of vice emanating from it and passing into him. He felt it was trying to communicate telepathically with him, trying to fill his mind with its own foul and beastly ideas, and when at last he fell asleep, his dreams so strengthened his vicious thoughts that he could never shake them off. Day and night they obsessed him, and eventually he indulged in the vice from the urge to which there seemed to be no escape. As a last resource, in his efforts to turn over a new leaf, he went abroad, and I have never heard of him since.”
Questions : to what foul and beastly vice did Mr O’Donnell’s friend succumb, and is the sinister tree at South Mimms still standing? And what type of tree? A larch? A yew?