So apparently the mandrake plant from Harry Potter is an actual plant. And also that just like in Harry Potter people of old would cover their ears when around them (see illustration above) for fear of condemned to hell:
In one superstition, people who pull up this root will be condemned to hell, and the mandrake root would scream and cry as it was pulled from the ground, killing anyone who heard it. Therefore, in the past, people have tied the roots to the bodies of animals and then used these animals to pull the roots from the soil. —Wikipedia citing John Gerard (1597). “Herball, Generall Historie of Plants”. Claude Moore Health Sciences Library. Archived from the original on 2012-09-01.
(via Chris Aldrich)