April 16, 2012

The Cursed Devil's Tree

The Devil's Tree in Bernard's Township, New Jersey
Standing in Oak Hammock Park in Bernards Township, New Jersey is an unusual and sinister oak tree, commonly referred to as the Devil’s Tree. According to local legends, unexplainable things happen near it, and many deaths and suicides are said to have occurred under its branches.

Some people have reported feeling an oppressive, evil presence near the tree, hearing screams and seeing dark, hooded figures skulking about. Others claim to have been pursued by a black phantom car that disappears without a trace as you approach a major road.

Damaging or disrespecting the tree in any way is said to have severe consequences. Those who so much as make mocking remarks within hearing range will soon come to harm, possibly by getting into a car accident or by experiencing a major breakdown.

Strangely enough, when the city ordered the tree cut down to make way for a public park, the workers’ chainsaws refused to function near it – but were perfectly fine later. Not about to give up so easily, they brought in an old-fashioned pull saw made of tempered steel. The attempt failed again; the teeth broke right off the saw, and the city had no choice but to leave the tree where it was.

Why is this innocuous oak such a hub for strange happenings? Some people believe the tree is the property of the Devil himself and serves as a gateway to hell. It supposedly remains warm to the touch no matter how cold it is outside, and no snow will fall near it even in the middle of winter.

Others still say that the malevolence around the tree is caused by the lingering pain and despair of all those who have met their untimely ends in its vicinity. During colonial times, rebellious slaves may have been hanged from its branches, and in the Ku Klux Klan’s height of power, the organization supposedly held meetings and lynchings under it. Yet another legend states that a man killed his entire family, then walked to the tree and hanged himself.

Despite the warnings, the Devil’s Tree is scarred by apparently unsuccessful attempts to cut it down with saws and axes, and it has at some point been stained by graffiti. What became of those who vandalized this cursed tree is not known.

Image by chrysostom

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