The legend of Louisville’s Witches’ Tree

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Photo by @theloutoday

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Louisville is the 87th best city for witches, according to Lawn Love,  and while we couldn’t conjure up a top 10 spot, there’s one local legend that claims we have the scariest tree in the US made by witches.  

On the corner of 6th Street and Park Avenue in Old Louisville stands the Witches’ Tree, a gnarled tree clad with trinkets and other offerings to the practitioners that brewed it up. 

Before the tree became the creepy wonder it is today, local lore says a majestic maple tree stood there once + was a popular midnight hangout for those practicing the dark arts

Photo by @theloutoday

In 1889 — despite warnings from the witches that gathered there — city planners chopped it down  for the annual May Day festival + erected a maypole in its place. In response, the witches cursed the city with a storm that terrorized the city 11 months later on March 28, 1890. The very day the tree was cut down. 

The storm came with a tornado dubbed “the Storm Demon” that ripped through city streets destroying mansions, churches, bourbon and tobacco warehouses + claimed 100+ lives. The storm also brought down a single bolt of lightning that struck the former tree’s stump. Out of the lightning-blasted stump grew the twisted, knotted tree that stands there today

We visited the tree and made a LOUtoday offering. | Photo by @theloutoday

The Witches’ Tree draws in visitors from across the country to view its craggy branches + leave behind gifts to stay in the witches’ good graces and for good luck. 

You can find the tree at the northwest corner of Central Park + visit it during one of the Louisville Historic Tours, but be respectful as it does grow on private property and we don’t want another demon storm do we

Pro Tip: If you’re thinking of leaving a token for good luck, the higher you throw it up into the branches the more luck you’ll receive.

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