The Jesus Tree, New Haven

January, 2009 by Ray Bendici

The Jesus Tree
Photo by Sal Rizza

The Damned Story: In 1992, a young woman (who it should be noted was allegedly losing her sight and hearing) was walking in New Haven's Wooster Square Park when she noticed that a certain sycamore tree that, between its mottled bark and the light from a nearby street light, seemed to contain the image of Jesus Christ on the crucifix.

Of course, like any time the Savior (or his mother) appears in an unusual place (tree, building, pancake, pierogi), it draws a crowd. Hundreds flocked to the park to see the divine vision, including some of the local clergy who were quick to dismiss it as "an optical illusion." Still, that didn't deter the faithful from continuing to make regular pilgrimages to Wooster Square, lighting candles, saying prayers and enjoying His holy shade, right up to this day.


The Jesus Tree
Photo by Sal Rizza

Our Damned Experience: Very good friends of ours live right on Greene Street facing the park and were more than happy to show us the tree on cold night in January 2009. Although the street light right next to the tree was out -- and thereby allegedly reducing the Jesus apparition -- with a little imagination and an open mind, you could see how someone might think it looked like Christ on the crucifix.


Then again, stare long enough at the bark of any tree -- especially an old sycamore -- and you could probably see Mohammad, Buddha, Odin, Joe Willie Namath or any deity you wanted to.

If You Go: Wooster Square Park and the Jesus tree is located in the block formed by Chapel Street, Wooster Place, Greene Street and Academy Street in New Haven, about a block away from Pepe's, Sally's and all the other famous eateries on Wooster Street. The tree is in the southwestern quadrant of the park, not too far from the path and street lights. Sometimes you will find candles and other offerings at its base. Since it is a public park, it's open year round 24/7 -- although it's not always smart or safe to be wandering around a big city park after dark, divinely designated or not.

Special Note: A shout out to Sal Rizza for taking the pics! Thanks!
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Submitted by Steve Frank on

Submitted by Ben G (not verified) on
Wooster Square Park is bounded on four sides by Chapel Street (NOT Whalley Avenue), Wooster Place, Green Street and Academy Street.

Submitted by Steve Frank on
Yeah Ray!

Submitted by ashley riccaboni (not verified) on
Ok im visiting my grandmother in new haven right now and she insists that 1. The jesus tree has been cut down) and 2. When she saw the jesus tree there was another tree in a different part of the park that had the face of Satan so scary she had to leave. She says this says this was about 20 years ago. Anyone hear. Anything like this?

Submitted by Mike L. (not verified) on
I remember going to see this on a Saturday night in October, 1992 when this was first discovered (I was around 10 at the time). There was a huge crowd of people gathered around the tree and, yes, there was another tree nearby that some said looked like satan (if I remember correctly, there was also one that people claimed looked like the Virgin Mary).

Submitted by Frank (not verified) on
Well, i don't know where to start. There are quite a few variables and questions that can arise from my experience at this park, though. First of all, my name's Frank and I lived on Academy Street. The building i lived in was some kind of memorial home, very antiqued. This now belongs to a sober house program called Turning Point, which is why I was there. It's beautiful and I lived on the first floor with the park right outside of my window. Now, i'm going to say right now: either the house or the park IS HAUNTED. I have no doubt in my mind. I've heard very eerie noises coming from the park whilest smoking a cigarette around 2 or 3am. My roommate was kinda into demonology and paranormal, and it surely intrigued me. Here's some of the freaky shit that I'd experienced while living there. - The Satan faced tree is absolutely TRUE. I saw it while walking up the street to my car one night, got chills, but ignored it. - The carpet in my room at the house (as my roommate pointed out) was in fact 100% demonic in design. The patterns were woven to look abstract, but looking at it with knowledge of the theory allowed EVERYONE who checked it out to see different sculptures of demons (i.e. one cross-legged with tall altar-like candle posts mounting skulls at the top. THE SAME NIGHT THAT this was pointed out, some REALLY freaky shit started happening. - Our dumb asses decided to research demons and ghosts and ways to summon them. We didn't have any of the necessary items, but I don't think it was necessary. Every time we went out for a cig, the chandalier directly above our heads would make a rattling noise, and twice a piece of fake crystal fell off. But here's the f**ked up part. - After playing WoW for a while, my roommate and i decided to try to sleep, being bored and all. As if we weren't spooked enough already, WE STARTED HEARING MUSIC IN THE DISTANCE. We heard it a few times and tried to investigate. Our window was open, but putting my ear up to it revealed that the music was coming from inside. The dishwasher was also on, yet when i went to check it out, the tones did not match up whatsoever. I returned to the bedroom, and on the way the lights turned on in the dining room (which you must walk through to get to my room). At this point, he and I are standing in the hall, and we hear the music a bit louder. The living room is right next to us, so we take a peek inside. The moment we stick our heads in, the music played again, and much louder (kind of a chanty choir thing that played 3 long notes and would stop after that). It sounded like the theme music for Halo in a way, but muuuuch creepier. So we go back to our room (which is connected to the living room by a set of sliding double doors, FML) and try to relax. Unfortunately, i had to use the bathroom very badly. Often my roommate would fuck with me when I'd go do #2, moving the refrigerators in front of the door. But this night, whilest in the bathroom, i heard no footsteps and randomly the fridges get moved in front of the bathroom door. I hear the microwave beeping like crazy and the iPod radio dock thing turning on and off very rapidly and getting super loud. I figured it was Branden, being a douche as usual. I finish up and walk out, move the fridges out of the way and back into place, and i come out to a bloodstain on the floor, the timer on the microwave set to 6:66 and blinking, the stove clock set to 6:16, and the radio dock which was on and staticy turned off the moment i walked out. As I walked back threw the dining room, the light turned on again, and when i got to the bedroom Branden was fast asleep. Freaked the fk out, i needed a cig, so i walked to the front porch to smoke one down. When i got out there, i saw a black cat ("F my life" was the first thing i thought haha) and ignored it. When i almost finished my cig, i heard a scream from inside the house and the door slammed shut. Luckily it didnt get locked, but the second i turned around to open it i figured I'd seem my roommate running back to the room. Well, no one was there, i heard no footsteps, and when i got back to the room and turned the lights on, he got up in a sleepy daze and asked me "why would you fuck with me like that?". I told him the noise came from inside, and he responded "umm, no, it was definitely a women getting raped or something on the front porch. it woke me up. i was scared and curious but didn't really wanna move". I assured him it came from inside, and he eventually agreed, but asked if I'd like to smoke a cig. Even though i just had one, and had been scared shitless at this point, i agreed to go out for one cuz I felt like talking to him about all the ghost shit as a joke. And the grand fucking finale: we get outside, spark our bogeys and see a woman in my room through the side door. O_O was the only expression on our faces lol. The sober house is all dudes and we both saw a "real-life" chick through the shades standing by my clock. I wish i had an epic ending, but seeing her was scary enough to top it off for me, let alone all the other crazy bullshit that happened that night. Anyways, it may just be the house, but new haven is pretty fucked to begin with when it comes to haunting stories. Hope you enjoyed this one. Google the house if you want, theres something historical about it (20 Academy) but i haven't really gotten around to it. First hand experience with paranormal shit is all the proof i need. PS - the noises an music continued for the remainder of my stay and i adapted to it, but the woman figure sticks in tmy head to this today like a sore thumb. Don't be surprised if i use the image as basis for a horror-ecchi anime show someday.