OPERATION TIME: Unknown to present
STATUS: Still standing
The Devil’s Tree in Bernards Township, New Jersey is home to several sinister legends regarding death. Years ago, a farmer killed his entire family, then committed suicide via hanging from the tree. Many suicides and murders have occurred near the tree.
According to legend, anyone who attempts to cut down the tree dies an unusually early death, because the tree is allegedly cursed. It is believed that the unnatural warmth that emits from the tree are the souls of those killed in the area. Even during the winter, the heat is so strong that no snow falls around it.
Several attempts have been made to cut down the tree, all of which failed. Standing alone in the middle of a field off of Mountain Road, it is apparent that the trunk has been hit by axes and chainsaws over the years. According to some people, the tree is a portal to Hell, and a sentinel guards it.
He has been reported to drive an old black Ford pick-up truck, and he’ll chase you down the road until a certain point where he suddenly vanishes. Others say that the tree’s unholiness isn’t all the Devil’s work – but the evil that people have done by it.
At one time years ago, the Bernards Township was one of the central headquarters for the Ku Klux Klan in New Jersey, and they had many demonstrations in the town. Several meetings took place in the hills. The Devil’s Tree often served as a place to lynch the local African-Americans to set an example to other African-Americans.
During this time, the Devil’s Tree was in a more secluded place in the woods, far from the police. The evil energy from the tree is believed to come from the souls of those killed by the barbaric organization. The long branch on the left of the tree that is almost parallel to the ground was used as the hanging branch.
Those who have visited the tree at night report seeing bodies hanging from the tree, swaying in the breeze. In one case, the local football team hung plastic dummies in the rival team’s uniforms to intimidate the other team. One visitor saw a 6′ tall noose hanging from the “hanging branch”, along with the claw marks of a person or very large animal.
He climbed the tree to investigate the odd marks. While trying to remove the noose, he began to hear increasingly louder noises coming from inside the tree, such as a big banging sound and a burst of energy. He and his friend were thrown to the ground. The man landed on his ankle and broke it in two places.
Next to the tree, there’s a rock that has been nicknamed the “Heat Rock” due to the warmth it gives off. It is believed to be the gate to Hell. Those with enough nerve to touch the tree have gotten a black, sticky substance on their hands (believed to be ash from Hell) that is near-impossible to wash off. One visitor decided to put his ear to the Devil’s Tree. While doing so, he heard the sounds of screaming and children playing.
The tree is currently considered one of the most haunted places in the United States, due to its abundance of paranormal activity.
In Popular Culture
The tree was featured on Most Terrifying Places in America 3.