The Devils Tree in Bernard Township…is pure evil. Rumored to be over 200 years old, ” The Devils Tree ” has multiple legends surrounding it that have kept teens and adventurers coming back for years. In the early 1920’s it was known that the Ku Klux Clan inhabited parts of the state including Trenton, Camden, Monmouth country and other territories in the north. In accordance with many of the locals, the clan also occupied Basking Ridge, NJ led by Rev Carl Mellberg of a local Methodist Church. It was said that the clan used the tree, which at the time was located in a desolate part of the town, away from the community. It was here that African Americans and others who opposed their beliefs were hanged.
Through time, more legends were created as well:
You cant cut it down
Due to the unnatural history of the location, many locals have tried to chainsaw, cut, hack and destroy the tree. But, as rumor states those who inflict harm on the tree will meet an untimely demise. It has been burned and is scared with multiple scratch marks from over the years. In the recent years a metal fencing was put around the tree to prevent any further harm from coming to it. That has not stopped locals from still attempting to cut it down. Over the years the wear and tear from visitors has caused it to lose some of its branches, including the largest one believed to be used for the hangings. It remains unknown what has happened to anyone who has inflicted damage on the tree. Personally our crew got caught in a huge lightening storm on the way home after removing a piece of the bark.
The Black Truck
Similar to the legends on Clinton Road, there is a large black truck that will chase victims after visiting the tree. Some say that you need to harm the tree, others say spitting on it will do the trick, and yet others say its purely from visiting the evil place. They claim that there is a man by the name of “Old Nick” whose spirit guards the perimeter and who appears to torture those who maltreat the tree.
The Devils Tree and the Farmer
Locals say there is even more to the tree. They tell the tale of a farmer (as the township land was and is widely used for crops) in the early 1900’s who was suffering from depression or yet worse, possession. The farmer took his entire family to the tree for a “picnic” one afternoon where in turn he killed each of them at the base with an axe. After performing the horrid act, he felt so guilty that he hung himself on the tree. It’s rumored that on certain nights the shadow of a hanging man can be seen on the branches.
Then there are the tree’s rumored connections to the underworld. Spray-painted demonic symbols have been found upon the tree’s trunk. A nearby boulder known as the “Heat Rock”—which also stays warm regardless of season—is thought to be a portal to Hell. Such legends have caused people to avoid the Devil’s Tree completely, while others delight in taunting the dark forces said to inhabit the area. Locals believe that anyone who “tests” the evil limits of the Devil’s Tree will meet an untimely end. Everything from car accidents and freak storms to suicide and murders has been blamed on the oak’s sinister influence. - Gary Sweeney
It’s so hot
Due to the untimely demise of so many at the tree, it has been said to give off a supernatural warmth. Locals say that the ghosts and lost souls are the cause for the excessive heat. While visiting the tree during the fall on a cool sunset (50 F) the rock was unnaturally warm to the touch. Rumors also state that no snow will fall around the tree during the winter months.
The Souls are trapped
Due to the countless tragedies which have occurred, it’s rumored that you can hear voices, screams and cries from those who were killed. While we could not hear anything by ear during our visit we did perform a session using the Echovox app and received some surprising results including the words “I’m Scared”. Is this a lost soul?