The Death Willow of Dyson Ditch

The Death Willow of Dyson Ditch 

Christopher Bloodworth


T his famous tree grows on the shore of the Dyson Ditch Wildlife Refuge in Louisiana.

It’s famous for one reason: dead animals and the occasional human are often found hanging from its branches.

Smaller animals, such as birds and rodents, are found with the thin tendrils seen in the picture wrapped around their necks. The animal’s necks are never broken.

The earliest recorded case of a human found hanging from the branches of the Death Willow took place in the early 1940’s.

From the police report:

“…and the tendrils were woven in a manner consistent with a French Braid, and then tied in a rough sort of Hangman’s Noose. No suicide note was on or around the body, nor at the deceased’s residence. Foul play is not suspected although the deceased had scratches on his wrists and ankles. I would also like to make a curious note: the deceased was found to have tree bark beneath all of his fingernails.”

47 humans, as well as hundreds of small animals, have been found hung from the branches of the Death Willow. This includes 23 adult males, 11 adult females, and 13 children. Of these 47 humans, no suicide note has ever been found, and the form of death is always the same.

  1. Tendrils woven in a French Braid then tied into a rough Hangman’s Noose.
  2. Scratches on the deceased’s wrists and ankles and tree bark under the fingernails.
  3. Death by suffocation, not by the severing of the spinal cord that comes from a broken neck.