For our finally post about creepy places in New Jersey I wanted to branch out and do something a little different. While researching creepy New Jersey, one topic kept popping up over and over again and yet it was something I hadn’t heard about. Have you heard of The Devil’s Tree?
This tree is located in Bernards Township, New Jersey, near the corner of Mountain Road and Emerald Valley Lane. The tree stands off by itself in the middle of a field. This true is supposed to be cursed due to all the evil that has happened here. One story about the tree’s past says that there use to be a farm house by the tree. The farmer that lived there killed his entire family before hanging himself from the tree. No reason was given for why he did it. Another story or in addition to the farmer’s story involves the Ku Klux Klan. Some of the stories I read about the tree said that there use a chpater of the Ku Klux Klan in Bernards Township for many decades. They used the tree for their sinister meetings and evil doings. The tree was used to hang blacks, slaves, and other people they didn’t like. The one branch on the left side of the tree that runs paralell to the ground is the one that was used for the hangings. It was called the Lynching Branch. There have several suicides reported around the tree as well.
All this death has left its mark on the tree. People have claimed to hear screaming and crying coming the area around the tree. Some have claimed that when they put their ear to the tree, they could hear screaming, crying, and the sounds of children playing coming from the tree. On nights when there is a full moon, people claim to see bodies hanging from the Lynching Branch but if you get close to the tree, the bodies vanish from sight. The tree seems to be unusually warm year round. When it snows, the tree remains free of snow and the area around the base of the tree never has snow sticking to the ground. Locals say that the warmth is due to the tree being a gateway to hell.
For years, local teens used the tree to test their bravery. They would go up at night to see if they could touch the tree. Many claimed they couldn’t get near the tree because a large black pick up truck would appear from behind the tree and would chase the teens in their cars back down the road. The truck is said to tailgate the escaping cars at a high rate of speed. After getting some distance from the tree, the black pick up disappears. But the truck doesn’t always appear which allows some teens to get up close to the tree. If the teens are respectful, nothing bad will happen to them. For those that curse at the tree, urinate on the tree, or take a piece of the bark, the person will soon be in horrible car accidents.
With the history of the tree, the township tried several times to destroy the tree. Each time failed. The trunk of the tree is scarred with evidence from attempts to cut it down with axes or chain saws that failed to bring it down. Every time someone attempted to cut down the tree, those involved were seriously hurt in an accident. The township eventually decided to protect the tree instead to help curb the amount death and injury associated with the tree’s retaliation. They wrapped the trunk in a chain link fence to protect it from being cut down. The area around the tree was turned into a city protected park so that the local police department could kick out teens that snuck up there at night. The town even blocked request from developers wanting to build in the field because they wanted to tear down the tree.
Have you heard of this tree? Do you think it’s been cursed by those killed on or around the tree? Or is this just an urban legend used to scare locals teens who want to test their bravery? Let me know your thoughts in the comments below.
Come back next week where we will check out haunted and cursed locations in another state. Any guesses which state I will be writing about? I let you know Sunday which state we will be exploring. In the meantime I can let you know that it is a much warmer location that I wrote about a few times about a year ago. Leave your guesses in the comments below.