Commonly called "Dead Man's Fingers", this odd mushroom dons a variety of costumes in its rather long life span. When young it is pale (often bluish), with a whitish tip; in early spring. By summer, however, the mushroom begins to blacken, and by late summer or fall it is entirely black and dried out. Somewhere in the middle of this progressive costume change, Xylaria polymorpha does indeed look like a creepy set of "dead man's fingers." By the final stages, however, one is more likely to mistake it for something, um, left by a house cat.
Sometimes mistaken for Xylaria longipes "Dead Moll's Fingers"
this was a first time I have seen this mushroom. It is hard to see because of its black colour.