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Jersey Devils: four haunted places in New Jersey to visit

The+Devil%27s+Tree+in+Bernardsville+is+one+spooky+tree.
The Devil's Tree in Bernardsville is one spooky tree.

The Devil's Tree in Bernardsville is one spooky tree.

by Julia Spano

by Julia Spano

The Devil's Tree in Bernardsville is one spooky tree.

Julia Spano, Staff writer

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Whatever your beliefs are on the paranormal, you have to admit: it’s fun to explore the creepy side of life sometimes. And even though New Jersey might not look particularly haunted from the outside, it’s actually stuffed to the gills with strange landmarks, ghost legends and all matter of strange phenomena. If you’re interested in exploring the darker side of Hillsborough’s home state, take a look at some of these quirky locations…

 

The Devil’s Tower (Alpine)

Not to be mistaken with the Wyoming landmark (itself a pretty ominous location), this Progressive-era tower was built by millionaire Manuel Rionda. His main purpose was to give his wife Harriet a view of the surrounding landscape… a view which, according to legend, proved fatal. When Harriet died under mysterious circumstances in 1922, rumors spread that she had leapt from the tower’s window upon witnessing her husband with another woman. The rumors soon became so prevalent that Rionda locked the tower. Now it stands smack in the center of the road, looming over commuters on their way to Manhattan. Feel free to drive around it, as long as you don’t go around too many times; if you cross the Tower thirteen times, you might just see a woman peeking out the window.

 

Dead Man’s Curve (West Milford)

Nobody knows exactly why Clinton Road is considered haunted. Is it the woodland isolation of the street? The surrounding castles and looming historical structures? Whatever the reason, the Dead Man’s Curve has gained plenty of notoriety over the years, becoming the subject of campfire legends and indie horror films alike. The curve in the road overlooks a river; if you look closely, you can see the thousands of coins thrown in by passerby. Apparently, if you toss the coin into just the right spot, a ghostly, childlike figure will return it to you. The odds are slim, but who knows? You might get lucky…

 

The Devil’s Tree (Bernardsville)

If you travel a lot in Bernardsville, you might have seen this tree before. Located in the middle of a massive field on Mountain Road, The Devil’s Tree initially became notorious as a lynching site for the Ku Klux Klan. Now, thankfully, violence doesn’t visit this lone tree quite so often. But rumors continue to echo in the surrounding area. Some think that the roots go straight down to hell, causing the snow around the base of the tree to melt. Others– probably just for the fun of it– claim that getting too close to the tree causes a black pick-up truck to chase the invader away. It’s certainly not a tree that’s going to be converted to lumber anytime soon.

 

Cape May (Yes, The Entire Town)

Are you a fan of maritime ghost stories and haunted coasts? Today’s Cape May might be regarded as an overly expensive tourist trap (my father likes to call it “Cape Pay”), but in the early 1900s, it was a hotbed for haunted activity. One of the biggest hotspots on the area’s famous Haunted Tours is the house of Emlen Physick, a non-practicing doctor whose relatives and pets are said to linger within the walls. On the coasts themselves, the wreck of the S.S. Atlantis has stayed above water for ninety years, slowly crumbling. It’s a good reminder of how far maritime travel has come in the last hundred years, and how many people were sacrificed before we got here.

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Jersey Devils: four haunted places in New Jersey to visit