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Alraune is German for "mandrake". In medieval German folklore, it was believed the Mandrake root (Mandragora officinarum) was produced by the semen of hanged men (apparently it grew under gallows frequently) because "the soil absorbed their final strengths". Witches who had intercourse with the mandrake plant were said to produce offspring which had no soul and could not love. This story was the inspiration for the modern incarnation of Alraune. Alraune was a popular novel by Hanns Heinz Ewers, published in 1911 (several films were made about it, with the most famous versions being from 1928/1930). A scientist takes the semen from a hanged murderer and impregnates a prostitute with it (artificial insemination was not invented at the time, making that a future technology depicted in the novel). That prostitute gives birth to a girl, named Alraune. She is a nymphomanic and was unable to truly love and experienced several twisted relationships. When she learns of her artificial origin, she takes revenge on the scientist, who was acting as her step-father.