Kentucky Lore: Visit the Witches’ Tree in Louisville
Louisville, Kentucky is known for many things like bourbon and horse racing, but located on a rather unassuming street within the city is what the locals call the Witches' tree.
The Legend of the Witches' Tree
According to Louisville lore, during the late 1800s, a coven of witches would gather for ceremonies and castings around this one particular maple tree that stands at the intersection of what is now known as Sixth Street and Park Avenue. It's said that the witches were not a bother to the other residents of the city and "generally didn't create too much of a nuisance," according to the Kentucky Tourism website. They say it wasn't until the city decided to cut down the tree to use as part of the May Day celebration that the relationship between the witches and the rest of the town took a turn.
The Witches Cursed the City of Louisville
When the tree was cut down, the witches laid a curse upon the city of Louisville, claiming that revenge would come in less than a year's time. It was just eleven months later on March 27, 1890, when a terrible storm began to brew, bringing with it a devastating tornado to the city. From this storm a bolt of lightning erupted, striking the stump of the downed maple tree. From that strike, the tree began to grow - not straight, and beautiful as before, but rather as a crooked, gnarled monstrosity.
This displeased the witches greatly. So much so, they cast a curse. And exactly 11 months to the day after the tree was cut down, the city suffered a storm so severe that it was generally assumed that the witches had made good on their curse and summoned a storm demon. During the storm, lightning struck the stump of the old witches tree and a new tree began growing there. Not a healthy, happy tree, but rather the otherworldly thing that stands there now.
Visiting Kentucky's Witches' Tree
Nowadays, those who visit the Witches' tree leave their offerings to appease the witches. Trinkets adorn the tree in the form of beads, baubles, spells, and more. If you do plan to visit the tree, be mindful and respect the private property nearby. Indiana resident, Tasha Whipple recently visited the Witches' tree and she was kind enough to share her photos with us. Keep scrolling to see some of the offerings left on the tree.