Spooky Story #4 – Dead Man’s Tree

Selene Hofstetter, Contest Winner

Dead Man’s Tree

Dead Man’s Tree

they used to call it.

Long and wiry,

it stood innocently


the naked trees.


At first glance,

it was a normal,

ordinary tree.


secrets were buried deep

beneath the roots,

upon a pile of

crisp, white, human bones.


A stuffed scarecrow,

totem of death and fear,

an evil omen to a passing traveler,

place of sin to a priest,

symbol of bad luck

according to the

local town drunk and crazy.


But nevertheless,

an ordinary tree.

Only from a distance,

ordinary, forgettable, boring.

But nevertheless,

an ordinary tree.

old dead tree ( Photo by icon0.com from Pexels)


But deep beneath

the dirt under our feet,

the tragic stories of this town’s

death, fear, and tragedy

in history took place.


Hand braided ropes

swung gently in the wind,

an ornament,

a common spectacle,


a primal tradition,

a barbaric practice,

echoes of the past once lived.


Crowds came in droves

from local towns.

Eyes lightened with

sick satisfaction,

toe-curling smirks,

and soulless eyes,

forever ingrained in

one’s own mind.


The hand of evil touched

these very grounds,

hellhounds guarded this very tree.

The devil himself graced

humanity with his very presence.

Sorrow, despair, and agony

left in his wake.


His very hands

braided the rope,

planted the tree,

tied the knot.

His influence

corrupted man’s mind

with evil thoughts.


They brought them up,

with gleeful spirits,

as they cuffed their stiff

necks with rope.

Hands tied behind their back,

heads bowed to the earth

in forgiveness and mercy.


They helplessly stood amongst their

friends, families, and neighbors

in humility, despair, and misery.

In pure innocence and grace.


They were ordinary, tragic souls

hung on the tree for sport,


strung up for decoration;

displayed as a

symbol, warning, sign,

to all of humanity.


Their pleas for forgiveness

disappeared into the crowd,

confessions of innocence

left their cracked lips,

whispers of sins

forever lost to the wind.

Their secrets kept buried and safe,

in the depths of their story and soul.


Their souls forever

a dark reminder

of great injustice;

Victims of a

heinous hate crime.

The timeless, classic story of

sorrow, despair, and agony;

Forever written into the pages

of the history books.

Forever past down

throughout time

as a local legend,

a ghost story,

a dead man’s tale.


Bodies gently swung

in the wind,

tragic souls lost over time.


forever tied together in unity

upon the branches of

Dead Man’s Tree.

To read Story #5 click here