the NachtKabarett

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All Writing & Content © Nick Kushner Unless Noted Otherwise
Contribution from Maxim Marusenkov

Marilyn Manson : The Apple of SodomMarilyn Manson ; photoshoot circa 1997, the same year in which 'The Apple of Sodom' was released on the soundtrack to David Lynch's 'Lost Highway'

The Apple of Sodom is a fruit of a medieval mythical tree, and a symbol of despair in the Marilyn Manson song of the same name.

"The Apple of Sodom", says Wm. Emboden, "is a strange tree that many voyagers claim to have seen at Sodom and Gomorrah, the Biblical cities which the Lord chose to destroy by a rain of fire and brimstone from heaven. It was believed that God created a tree with deceitful fruit known as the 'Apple of Sodom' to lure the weary traveler passing through the area. If a man were so given to his senses that he would try to pluck one of these apples, it would turn to smoke and ashes in his hand, a sure sign of God's eternal displeasure with those who would succumb to their physical senses at this site of retribution." (Emboden Wm. Bizarre plants.) One of the first who mentioned that tree was Josephus Flavius. He wrote, "there are still the remainders of that Divine fire, and the traces [or shadows] of the five cities are still to be seen, as well as the ashes growing in their fruits; which fruits have a color as if they were fit to be eaten, but if you pluck them with your hands, they dissolve into smoke and ashes." (Josephus Flavius. Jewish War.)

A number of scholars of authority identified the Apple of Sodom with the fruit of the Asclepias gigantea vel procera, a tree from ten to fifteen feet high, of a grayish cork-like bark, which grows on the borders of the Dead Sea (Sodom and Gomorrah stayed on the western coast of it) and is also found in Upper Egypt and in Arabia Felix. The tree resembles the milkweed or silkweed found in the northern part of America. "The fruit," says E. Robinson, "resembles externally a large, smooth apple, or orange, hanging in clusters of three or four together, and when ripe is of a yellow color. It was now fair and delicious to the eye and soft to the touch; but on being pressed or struck, it explodes with a puff, like a bladder or puff-ball, leaving in the hand only the shreds of the thin rind and a few fibers. It is indeed filled chiefly with air, which gives it the round form:" (Robinson E. Biblical researches in Palestine.)

"The Apple of Sodom" is also an idiom that means 'appearances are deceitful; a beautiful but rotten fruit'

Marilyn Manson : The Apple of SodomMarilyn Manson ; magazine covershot from the same 1997 photoshoot as the above.