It’s only fair, since I’m writing about scary stuff this month, is to highlight some spooky places in New Jersey. Despite being the Garden State, there’s a ton of mysteries surrounding some of the horse pastures and lovely farms.
So light the lantern and let’s take a closer look behind the cobwebs.
The Jersey Devil
The Jersey Devil is a legendary creature or cryptid said to inhabit the Pine Barrens of Southern New Jersey, United States. The creature is often described as a flyingbiped with hooves, but there are many different variations. The common description is that of a kangaroo-like creature with the head of a goat, leathery bat-like wings,horns, small arms with clawed hands, cloven hooves and a forked tail. It has been reported to move quickly and often is described as emitting a “blood-curdling scream.”
I’ve seen some pictures of the Jersey Devil that looks my dog trying to dress up for Halloween. There is even reported “video” of the Jersey Devil. Obviously, is a legend and a kinda corny one at that, but still, it makes me laugh to see the claims. If you happen to see the Jersey Devil while you’re wandering around in the Pine Barrens, give him (or her) a carrot and a cube of sugar.
Snippets from the New York Daily News:
“It’s like a dark highway into people’s innermost fears.” That’s how Mark Moran, publisher and co-creator of the Weird NJ magazine and website, sums up Clinton Road, a quiet and twisty stretch of road roughly 55 miles northwest of New York City.
“People definitely play on the legend [of Clinton Road],” said Mark Moran. He mentions the menacing black truck that lurks on the road. Appearing out of nowhere, the truck gets extremely close to your rear bumper, flashes its lights, and then suddenly disappears into the night.
This rugged ten mile stretch of deserted road is so rich in lore that it has been attracting late night visitors for generations. The stories that these sightseeing sojourners have brought back with them of their adventures are sometimes harrowing, often terrifying, and almost always intriguing. Many of these tales of midnight joyrides may seem unbelievable, while others leave one wondering just where truth ends, and an overactive imagination begins.
If you ever decide to travel down Clinton Road at midnight, stop at the bridge by dead man’s curve. As the story goes if you sit on that bridge and throw pennies into the river, the ghost of a young boy will throw them back to you. –Anonymous
My friends and I decided to find out for ourselves what is true and what is not. We went to the bridge and threw a quarter off. Not but a minute later you hear the bloop, as if you dropped the quarter in again. The water filled with ripples and a child’s reflection appeared. I flew back to the car. That scared all of us. –Dina, West Milford
The Devil’s Tree
Local legend suggests the tree is cursed: those who damage or disrespect the tree (usually by urinating on it, or making disparaging remarks about it while nearby) will soon thereafter come to some sort of harm, often in the form of a car accident or major breakdown as
they leave. The tree’s history is surrounded by superstition, and common theories claim that Bernards Township was one of the central headquarters for the Ku Klux Klan in New Jersey and that the tree had been used to lynch African Americans and rebellious slaves since Colonial times. Another theory claims that a farmer hanged himself from the tree after killing his family and that anyone trying to cut the tree down will “come to an untimely end”. Other urban legends surrounding the tree allege that visitors who get too close to the tree will get chased by a black Ford pick-up truck that will then disappear at a certain point, or that anyone who touches the tree will find that their hands have turned black if they try to eat at a restaurant.
In winter, the ground beneath the tree is allegedly free from snow, no matter how much has fallen or how recently. A nearby boulder called “Heat Rock”, and sometimes the tree itself, are said to be warm to the touch regardless of the season or time of day, and is believed to be a portal to Hell.
The township’s plans to develop the land might have required the tree’s removal, but it decided to protect the tree and keep it intact. In 2007, a sign was posted at the site stating when it is open to the public. The Devil’s Tree is currently surrounded by a chain-link fence due to vandalism.
There are so many other scary/haunted places in New Jersey! Check out WeirdNJ.com if you want to read more.