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People Have Tried To Burn, Cut and More Attempting to Destroy Florida ‘Devil Tree’

But this “witness tree" stands testament to the horrific crimes committed beneath its boughs.

In the sleepy community of Port St. Lucie on the eastern coast of Florida, in an unassuming park there grows a tree that has multiple connections to evil. In the 1970s, two bodies were found beneath the tree. Their discovery led to the arrest of one of Florida’s most notorious serial killers, Gerard John Schaefer. Schaefer was convicted of the teen girl’s killing, but confessed in prison that he had murdered around thirty women under that very tree.


Schaefer, in his role as a police office, would kidnap unsuspecting female hitchhikers, often in groups of two, tie them up to the tree in this secluded corner of wilderness, and torture them for days before finally killing them. Then he would do unspeakable things to their corpses.

Ever since the murders, ghost stories about the tree have abounded in the area. Some say they have seen black-robed figures surrounding the tree at night, engaging in dark rituals. Others claim to have seen people made of smoke, or heard the whimpers of the killer’s victims or the sounds of ropes swinging in the breeze.

In the half-century since, more misfortune has befallen the tree, as it became a place of occult fascination, with some attempting to burn or cut down the tree because of its grisly associations. The tree still stands, though, as if all attempts to remove it mysteriously failed.

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Some say its power remains as a tribute to the women who lost their lives in this spot, while others claim that the evil that permeates this spot is just too powerful to ever really kill. 

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