The 1st time I visited this location was in the Spring of 2013, for so long I wanted to go back for an update and this Fall afforded the perfect weather day to go back and see if there were any updates. So I gathered the gear and charged the cameras and headed off. Luckily for me, the location is only 3 miles from my house.
Since the 1st draft of this article went live a year ago, this location raised more questions than answered. I decided to put my nose to the books for even more research, in hopes of finding more information. Area residents were unaware of this dark history that this location held, but then again, many didn’t know that a dinosaur1 was found in Haddonfield many years ago. Too many people are shut ins, and if facts aren’t blatantly obvious, then it did not exist or happen. Also a member of the popular Facebook group that featured my piece went ballistic seeing the word “Nazi” in the headline. They never bothered to read the article, just that word, and they thought Neo-Nazis were invading.
I pulled up and parked in the VFW parking lot which takes care of the park and has a nice garden and picnic bench set up in the center. It was a beautiful autumn day, 51 degrees, not too cold and not too hot, the leaves were falling, a nice 51 degrees, just perfect for a walk in a hoodie. While getting out of my car, an older gentleman was making his way towards the benches with his newspaper ready to enjoy the day.
On the peninsula I walked along the waterline of Newton Lake snaking its way to Newtons Creek, part of the infamous Haddon Lake before Blackhorse Pike, Route 130 and 76 were built. It is such a beautiful view and the water was a crisp blue hue. I made my way to the tree that claimed many lives, several of the “suicide” branches were cut in an attempt to stop the curse. The blue spray paint on the trunk of the tree was faded to a degree that you could not tell what it was. Many times a swastika was spray painted on the truck hence how the Nazi part found it’s way into the tree’s name.
The 1st time I visited this tree one of the rope pieces was still visible on a branch that was cut down from a previous suicide. This time I did not see any evidence of the rope. The location is still used as a party spot as I could see beer cans, blunt wrappers, condoms and what appeared to be a burnt hoodie on the ground. When teenagers come back to this isolated location they get a great view of the lake while they drink, get high and have sex.
On the bank of the lake I found a segment of police caution tape, I wonder if that was left over from some prior or recent incident. After an intense internet search, reviewing the last few weeks of headlines, I did not find anything pertinent to the location except for this article at philly.com.
Det. Charles Antrilli of the Oaklyn Police Department worked with Jackson last spring. A man who had hanged himself in a park had been “unidentified for two or three days,” Antrilli said. Jackson made a drawing of the man’s face from a photograph.
The night before Jackson’s drawing was to be published in a local newspaper, the dead man’s wife reported him missing – to Jackson. “As soon as she showed me the photograph, I knew it was him,” Jackson said. The man had lived in Haddon Township.2
We couldn’t substantiate any reports either. Here is our report from issue #39 including the original letter.
Thanks for the photos!
I forwarded them some of my photos, requesting more info, but they didn’t have anything new either.
And now, for your reading pleasure, my original piece on the tree.
“The Oaklyn Suicide Nazi Tree” Oaklyn, NJ
April 7th, 2013
This ominous tree stands sturdy in Oaklyn NJ, on a small peninsula jutting out from a public park in this quiet
suburb. This location is used by teens as a party spot and you can see beer cans and other evidence of partying on the ground near Newton Lake right off of Manor Ave.
Stories range that anywhere between 6-12 people took their own lives by hanging themselves from this tree over the years. It was on a bright and sunny Sunday we went to visit the tree beside the lake. Upon inspection of the tree we noticed the swastika was stripped from the tree and appeared it might have been painted over several times and 2 of the main branches that were used in previous suicides were cut down to “prevent” future attempts. A rope that was used by the last person that hung themselves can still be seen on an upper branch after they cut the person down. The tree is also in close proximity to the notorious location known as Haddon Lake. Rumor also has it that on Manor ave someone committed suicide in one of the houses.