In the early 1900s, a suicide tree became popular among the wealthy and had the power to destroy entire towns in just a few minutes.
The trees were so efficient that they could be built in one fell swoop.
“It’s like a gigantic electric power line that’s connected to the power grid,” said Dan Lippmann, who lives in an assisted living facility in Portland, Oregon.
It took only minutes for a tree to rip through the forest and take down an entire town.
Lippmann said he believes the tree’s power helped create a community that has been largely lost since the 1930s.
He’s one of many residents who said they have heard of the forest’s destruction and wonder what it could mean for their future.
“I’m afraid the people in my town are going to be devastated,” said neighbor Linda Tullos.
When a suicide is in the family, it’s not uncommon to see the effects on the community.
Tullos, who’s lived in the forest since she was a child, said her father used to take a group of people on outings to the nearby mountain resort.
But he died of a heart attack in the woods at the age of 83.
A tree was built on his property for the family’s funeral and the remains of the family were put in a plastic box and buried in a remote forest.
They were the first to die there and for the last 100 years, the family has not heard from him.
For generations, there was a rumor the tree had been burned to the ground by a fire in the 1970s.
That rumor is now a reality.
“That tree was one of the things that helped the people survive when they were under attack from the military in the early days of the Vietnam War,” Lippman said.
In the early 20th century, the American Civil Liberties Union began researching suicide in the U.S. and determined there were about 3,500 suicides in the country each year.
As of the year 2020, the number of suicides was estimated to be at 1,917.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the suicide rate has been on the rise in the United States in recent years.
Nearly three-quarters of the suicides are men.
Since the 1960s, suicide has been the leading cause of death among young men, according to the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline.
The Oregon Department of Forestry is also conducting a suicide prevention survey.
The survey will focus on youth ages 10 to 19, and will include questions about mental health and suicide.
Lippman and his neighbors have been wondering about the tree since it was first built.
“We’ve had people come up to us and ask what it looks like,” Lipsman said, laughing.
“I just think they’re looking for something and they don’t know how to find it.”