Kentucky Ghost Stories: The Witches Tree

On the corner of Sixth Street and Park Avenue in Louisville, Kentucky you will find the infamous gnarled and twisted Witches Tree. According to legend the tree dates back to the late 19th century when a group of gypsies that were also practicing Wiccans converged upon Louisville. The group migrated north every spring and always stopped in Louisville at the spot of a tall maple tree to meet, conjure up spells and brew potions.

In 1889 city officials decided to cut down the tree. This decision didn’t sit to well with the gypsies who cast a vengeful spell on the town.

Despite the curse no buildings caught fire, nobody came down with the measles, and there were no locusts swarming around Louisville. Days turned into weeks and weeks turned into months and life went back to normal in Louisville despite the threats of the gypsies.

In March 1890 the gypsies came back to the Derby City and returned to their old spot and started chanting. Together the women cast a mighty spell that summoned a huge storm that spawned several tornadoes. As the storm tore through Louisville, dozens of homes and buildings were destroyed and several people died. When the clouds gathered over Old Louisville, a sudden burst of lightning from the sky hit the old tree stump where the maple tree once stood, and a new tree began to grow.

Unlike the beautiful maple tree, the new tree that began to grow on the corner of Sixth Street and Park Avenue was twisted and ugly.

Today, the tree is part of local lore and has become somewhat of a tourist attraction or what some would call a sacred or even holy place. Visitors to the Witches Tree leave beads, horseshoes, trinkets and other things in the bark and branches for good luck. According to legend, anyone who steals trinkets or offerings in the tree will be cursed.

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