The Creepy Shoe Tree in Bath
Shoe trees are an enigma.
Not all of them are mysteries of course, because many people start these shoe trees themselves. But the people who start their own trees may not know the true origin behind them. There are theories, speculation, myths, and just plain B.S. about these trees.
The town of Bath has a shoe tree of its own, but I'll get into that in a couple of minutes.
The Child-Killer of Oakland County is one of the main stories behind the shoe tree origin, and a TRUE one. This person killed two boys and two girls - possibly more - between the ages of ten-to-twelve from 1976/1977 and has never been caught. A handful of names are on the authorities' list of suspects but all information reaches brick walls.
The urban legend part of this story states there was a tree at Walled lake Amusement Park with the shoes of the killer's victims dangling from the branches. The bodies were buried a quarter mile down the road in a field. This has been proven false, as the actual victims were discovered in various locations in Franklin Village, Livonia, Southfield, and Troy.
That's the popular version of the shoe tree origin.
Another version goes back even further, back to the early 1900's. This story is similar to the above legend, where a twisted, cold-hearted man murdered local kids, got rid of the bodies, and threw their shoes into the branches of a tree.
Even though most shoe trees are devoid of anything sinister, there are still a few that carry a sinister aura.
The shoe tree in Bath is one that not only feels creepy, it looks creepy. This tree can be found two miles west of Bath. Take Clark Road west until you reach Chandler Road. Turn right (north) and the tree is a few hundred feet down on the right side of the road. When the leaves fall off late in the year, the gnarled branches seem to reach out like old, bony fingers. The shoes are scattered in the branches, the trunk, a telephone pole, and nearby bushes.
More than likely this particular tree was started by local students. Even if it was or wasn't, the tree still retains an atmosphere of eeriness. Take a look at the photos below, then go take a look for yourself.
Do you dare go on a moonlit night around midnight?