In honor of Halloween, this October’s tree of the month is a sinister looking tree located in the vicinity of Bernards Township, New Jersey. Local legends surrounding this tree are full of darkness. From stories of murder and suicide to unsavory gatherings with ill intentions, this old oak seems to have earned its namesake: The Devil’s Tree.
Supposedly, this tree is cursed. Anyone who attempts to harm the tree is said to come to an untimely end—and this extends not just to those trying to cut the tree down. Verbally abuse the tree, or steal a bit of its bark, and you may find yourself facing the consequences too. Car accidents, strange markings, visual and auditory illusions, and even death have all been blamed on interactions with the Devil’s Tree!
It is said that the tree produces an abnormal heat, and some claim to hear the sounds of children screaming and playing when you press your ear to the tree’s bark. These eerie rumors further fuel the hearsay that this tree may be guarding the gateway to hell, but the story of the black pickup truck associated with the Devil’s Tree further thickens the plot. Rumor has it, if you visit the Devil’s Tree at night you’ll be chased off by a black Ford pickup that suddenly disappears after a certain distance. Some might dismiss this as park rangers chasing away trespassers, but others have proposed that the driver of this truck is either the devil himself, or the ghost of old Mr. Coddington, chasing away apple thieves from his orchard even after his death in 1962.
Whether or not this tree is actually cursed is outside of our Arboricultural expertise, but if you ever find yourself visiting this gnarled old oak, remember…only the unwise harm The Devil’s Tree!