The Witch’s Hat*

Photo courtesy of

The Witch’s Hat Tower of Prospect Park East River Road
a Halloween story by Annette Marie Hyder

Sometimes on the day after Halloween you can see a new tree growing, like a blemish, on the hill where the tower stands. Some folks wonder at this — ask themselves if the trees upon the hill don’t look somehow more numerous — and some folks never notice. And then there are those folks who know what such a growth on the hill portends. They know why there is a new tree growing in the shadow of the tower the day after Halloween.

The tower is called The Witch’s Hat. Most think it was named in a light-hearted mood of whimsicality. But there was no whimsey involved in this naming. No. The Witch’s Hat tower looks like it is wearing a witch’s hat and so it is called eponymously. But the truth is, it not only looks like a witch’s hat, it is such a thing. And the tower itself is a witch imprisoned in the form of a tower for every day of the year, except for Halloween.

The tower is a real witch and she walks the streets of St. Paul every Halloween. She shows up at public spaces where parties are being held, at bars and at open venues and mixes with the crowds. She is looking for lovers to spend the witching night with. She lures them with her great beauty, for that was one spell she never had to cast. These lovers of hers think that they will spend one night with her but they end up staying forever — or until the end of time when it is rumored that she and her forest of lovers will have the choice of fighting on one side or the other in the battle that is prophesied to come.

But in the meantime, young men and women both have been caught by her, have disappeared without a trace other than their shaking limbs upon the hill, other than the low moan that escapes them collectively when the wind is just right and can carry their lament off the hill.

The only way to make sure you are not caught by the tower witch and turned into one of her trees — if you are intent on going home with someone strange on Halloween — is to look for the extra finger on her left hand. She has two middle fingers instead of one. And she has one more tell-tale feature, a mole that she can’t conceal — no matter the spell — at the corner of her left eye. Two middle fingers and a mole stricken left eye are the only warnings you’ll receive. But she is clever and wears gloves, the one on her left hand skillfully constructed to conceal her extra digit. And she keeps her left side in shadow, turned away from your gaze, using all of the allure of her person to keep your attention fixe.

So be on your guard this Halloween. Don’t let a stranger bewitch you into a tryst because the stranger whose beauty and great personal allure tempts you might come with a horror filled twist. That sexy treat of a siren just might be the ensorceled tower witch.

And her liaison with you not any sweet treat but her annual snatching trick.

*Composition note: If you’d like to read the official history of the Witch’s Hat Water Tower, the story they would like you to believe of how it came to be, you can read all about it here. Boo!