I spent a few hours today, rummaging around on the interwebz trying to figure out the meaning behind a ‘shoe tree’. No, not those cedar thingies you stick in your shoes (although I learned about those too along the way).
Ummmm … make that shoe treeS – plural. And well on the way to becoming a forest from the looks of things.
Over the years, I’ve driven past this spot too many times to count. And always wondered about it. Why in the world are all of these shoes nailed to the trees? What does it mean? Does it mean anything at all?
I haven’t got a clue. And it’s not for lack of trying, believe me.
My fourteen year old tells me a young girl died there, and I found this a little ways in …
The black marker around the sides says "remember the ones you have lost" and it’s a picture of a smiling blond girl. At the top, in type, it says "Hey bebe!" It’s covered in plastic.
Searching around the ‘net, I found tales of demons who, should you have the stupidity to touch any given shoe tree, would yank you into the pits of hell and hang your shoes up for posterity.
And then there’s the serial killer theory. You know, the shoes of the victims? Yah. Nice.
The majority of the stories I came across involved the shoes being tossed and left hanging from branches, all for one oddball reason or another – good luck for newlyweds; newlyweds fighting and the groom tossing the bride’s shoes into a tree so she couldn’t split; good luck for newborns and the subsequent yearly hanging of shoes for each year lived … you get the idea. I also learned more than I ever needed to know about the meaning of shoes hanging from telephone wires, other than the requisite bored teenager tossing them. Did you know that tennis shoes hanging from a power line meant you could buy crack nearby? No? Me neither. It’s also used to (apparently) identify gang turfs. Good to know!
At the end of it all though, I still have no clue what this little group of shoe trees here, in my town, means.
What I do know? They creep me the hell out. That’s some spooky stuff to me. Honestly. The whole atmosphere of it screams horror movie and makes the hair on the back of my neck stand up and take notice.
One weird creak of branches and I got a little uneasy. Two weird creaks and I booked it the hell out of there. Fast.
I really have to stop watching so much Ghost Whisperer.
More shoe tossing/nailing/flinging links (there’s a gazillion out there, omg):
and an excerpt from this page cracked me right up:
"Not all people are supporters of these adorned trees, however. In fact, a popular shoe tree near Rice, CA was burned to the ground in 2004, leaving nothing but a sad, charred stump with melted shoes on top. Sadly, its neighbor, the underwear tree was soon after destroyed as well."
The underwear tree!!! buahahahahaaa!