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The Hippie Tree

Deep in the woods outside the Old State Hospital Grounds in Traverse City, Michigan, down a small steep path at the edge of a clearing, lie the bones of a sprawling old willow. The heart of the tree has long since rotted, but life still persists from the tips of its branches. The pale trunks are adorned in layer upon layer of lurid, neon paint left there by generations of local painters. The effect is a spectacle of twisting, iridescent growth along the length of the great fallen behemoth.

The Hippie Tree is named such because of its place in local folklore. The tree is said to be a nexus for the unquiet spirits of those that once inhabited the hospital—and, by extension, the madness that haunted them. Visionaries, mystics, and other spiritual folks (hippies, as they were dubbed by the locals) would come to meditate beneath the tree and would then paint the products of their subsequent enlightenment on the warped limbs surrounding them.


About the source: Atlas Obscura

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