Wednesday, October 31, 2007

The Curious Case of the Mandy Tree

Because it's Halloween today, I'm breaking routine. Instead of my regular Wednesday hot sauce post, I thought I'd share a spooky story with you.

The story comes courtesy of Brother Dave, who found online a version of a local legend we grew up with in Madisonville, Kentucky. It's the tale of the Mandy Tree. The tree was long gone before I was born, but I remember family drives out West Broadway to take a look where the tree once stood, and someone would tell the creepy tale of the tree.

Somehow I wound up with a photo of the tree that I've kept for years in a scrapbook. I hadn't thought about it for years until Dave found the following write up on Linda Linn's Kentucky Home and Ghost Stories site (sorry, the link no longer exists). Here's her item about the tree.

The Mandy Tree

Besides being a good wife and mother who dispatched her husband and kids each day with overflowing lunch pails, Mandy Holloman of Madisonville, Ky., was a gardener who loved to work in her yard. Shortly before she was found mysteriously shot to death in her home in the 1920s, she had planted a tiny oak tree in her back yard.

Around 1940 the plain oak on West Broadway suddenly burst into something townsfolk found extraordinary, maybe even supernatural, said Jeanetta Traylor, a Madisonville storyteller. The tree's foliage took on the shape of Mandy's profile.

"It was written up in 'Ripley's Believe It Or Not,' " recalled Ms. Traylor, noting the tree kept the features several years.

Although the tree later died, photographs exist of a phenomenon sometimes called the "haunting" of West Broadway.

Have a safe and fun Halloween!

(NOTE: See an updated post about the Mandy Tree)


Chef JP said...

Ahwoooooooooooo! A nice slice of mystery--enjoyed your post--Happy Halloween!

I am a lover of children's literature said...

Fantastic shot of the Mandy tree! Hell, its sad but true, but that tree looks better than I do!

sullicom said...

That can be said about many of us, including yours truly.

mrsrexmanning said...

i grew up in Madisonville & remember hearing all about that tree.
My grandmother has pictures of it as well, good story.

angie traylor said...

i lived at 829 west broadway and even tho it was dead and half gone by a tonado it still stood across the street from our house..i picked apples from a free next to it when i was young..

Anonymous said...

I'm only 28 born and raised in madisonville. Never got the opportunity to see this :(. I heard the stories, and even different ones, one was said that she was murdered and buried under or inside the tree and it took her form. Would've been cool to see tho