The Devil Tree in Oak Hammock Park, Port Saint Lucie, FL

Schaefer_treeAt the park of Whispering Pines, there is a commonly known tale of The Devil Tree.

Supposedly, years ago, two girls were raped and hung at this tree. The murder was your average man, or so many thought. It was disturbingly rumored that after their deaths he had gone back to the girls’ corpses and had sex with them several times.

In some stories, the girls bodies were buried near the tree and others the female bodies were found in the canal near the park. But the killer was never found.

The community insisted that the tree was to be cut down, but with any attempt the chainsaw would break and not be able to cut down the tree. There are even reports of the tree not being able to burn. Evidence of attempts to set the tree on fire remain, but all were unsuccessful.

Many people of Port St. Lucie, have claimed to have heard the girls’ screams and to have seen their ghosts. Sometimes, if you go at night you will see people chanting around the tree and you can hear the snap of a rope near the tree.

reader submitted

Saedy M. from Port St. Lucie, FL

Another Version of The Devil’s Tree

In Port St. Lucie on canal C-24, there’s beautiful 150-year-old oak tree located in Oak Hammock Park called the Devil’s Tree. This legend isn’t that old. On January 8, 1971, before Hammock Park was built, a serial killer (sometimes known as the Killer Deputy) Gerard John Schaefer captured two young girls while they were hitchhiking. Schaefer bound, gagged, raped, hanged, then buried 19 year olds Collette Goodenough, and Barbara Ann Wilcox at the Devil’s Tree. The crazed killer was said to have returned on several occasions to have his way with the decomposing bodies.

In January 1977, two men discovered bones sticking up out of the ground along with deteriorating ropes tied with a hangman’s noose. Since then, there have been reports of hooded satanic worshipers dancing around the tree, and some say you can still hear the girls screaming.

Though there have been several attempts to cut down the oak, it seems that chain saws refused to work when near the tree. All the teeth fell out of the saw blade when they tried to cut it down with a two-man cross-cut saw. When they tried an axe, the axe head came off of the handle and split open the head of the chopper, killing him. The tree is still standing in a small open area down a trail that cuts through the park. Locals pass along stories of cold spots in certain areas of the park and the park lady’s bathroom being haunted by the dead girls.

In 1992, a priest placed a cross at the base of the oak and performed an exorcism. In 1994 the cross was knocked over.

In 1995, Gerard John Schaefer was stabbed to death in prison. The park is located at 1982 S.W. Villanova Rd., Port St. Lucie.