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The Mysterious Basking Ridge Devil Tree


It’s actually Liberty Corner –
The Devil Tree

The infamous Devil Tree at the Liberty Corner section of Bernards Township.
This photo was taken in the 90’s. Boy the area has changed.


Join us online Friday, Oct 30, 9pm as the film team of Matt Ryan and Will Cook join Mr. Local History and look at the paranormal activities around the devil tree and the nearby farmhouse – Details

The tale of the devil tree continues as the documentary “Haunted Roots” wins the American Golden Picture International Film Festival best documentary short film.

Story #1

Devil’s Tree – More Than Just a Tree

Me and my friends were all contemplating going up to Devil’s Tree. I had been up there one time before, and a truly weird thing happened. It was about November or December when I was first told about the Devil Tree up in the mountains. I was told “Don’t touch it or something will happen to you or your car.” I had just had my car serviced though, and had a new fan belt installed. We went up to the tree and noticed that all the snow around it was all melted. After we’d touched the tree and gotten back on the road, a black truck with some very bright lights started tailgating me like crazy. I was doing 85 mph down the VERY winding road. I was scared. All of a sudden just as the truck’s lights and the truck disappeared, my fan belt snaps and I had to pull over (reluctantly). I was scared, but relieved that it was all over with.

Then just last week we went up to the tree with a bunch of friends. We all went up and touched the tree. We even took a Polaroid of the tree with a flash. When we got back to the car the picture had developed. To our astonishment there was a lady with a red dress on the right side of the tree hanging from what looked like a brown noose. We all were so freaked out. We were awe struck. We plan on going back up there soon.

Personally, I don’t think it could ever have been used as a lynching tool – the ground under the tree is too uneven.  But ya never know…?

Story #2

Not far from Chimney Rock is a tree with quite a history.  By all accounts, it is at least two hundred years old, and it is striking in both its placement and appearance.  It sits at the bend of a long country road.  Various legends surround the tree, including that it was once used as a “hanging tree” by the local chapter of the KKK (yes, we had them, and probably still do).  It seems impossible now, but the location in the mountains was probably more remote in the past than it is now.  Some attempts have been made in the past to cut the tree down – it bears deep scars near its base – and of course legends surround what might have happened to those who tried to bring the tree low.  Today, the tree is on private property, but is embarrassingly vandalized.  Bottles and cans of all description litter the area.  Some joker even put a “noose” around the low branch. Personally, I don’t think it could ever have been used as a lynching tool – the ground under the tree is too uneven.  But ya never know…?

The Farmer Who Murdered His Family

According to the locals, who tell of the legend, everyone in the vicinity of Bernards Township seems to have a story about it. One story was, at one time a farmer killed his entire family, then went to the tree to hang himself. According to others, numerous suicides and murders occurred around the tree.

Supposedly anyone who tries to cut down the unholy oak comes to an untimely end, as it is now cursed. It is said that the souls of those killed at the spot give the tree an unnatural warmth, and even in the dead of winter no snow will fall around it.

There have been many attempts have been made over the years to take it down. The tree stands all alone in the middle of a large field. Its trunk has been severely scared by axes and chainsaws, some wounds appearing to be quite old. Why no one has yet been successful in felling the evil oak we can not say for sure. Nor do we know what has become of those who have tried.

Haunted Roots with Mr Local History Project
Haunted Roots with Mr Local History Project

One local described the Devil’s Tree this way: “There’s a big field and right near the road is the tree. It’s the only thing in the field. Supposedly it’s a portal to hell and a sentinel guards it. He drives an old black Ford or Chevy pick-up truck and will chase you down the road until a certain point. You will see headlights one second, and the next nothing – the car is just gone.”

Another local says that the inherent unholiness of the Devil’s Tree is the result of the evil that men do, and nothing supernatural at all.


“There is a very evil truth to the mythology of the Devil’s Tree. At one time, Bernards Township was one of the central headquarters of the KKK in New Jersey – they held many demonstrations in our town and held many meetings throughout the hills. As per KKK policy, often they would ‘lynch’ local African-Americans to set an example, not only to other African-Americans, but also as an example of their principle and resolve.

The Devil’s Tree was more secluded in those times before the developments spread across the mountain like a plague. It sat in a very isolated section of woods and fields, far from the prying eyes of the police. The Devil’s Tree was the site of many of the KKK’s meetings and hangings. The evil energy around the tree comes from the souls of dead men and women who were killed by this vile organization. If you look at the picture, the left most branch extends almost parallel to the ground. This was the hanging branch. Pretty freaky and true stuff. When the moon is a full red harvest moon, and the wind is blowing just right, it looks like there might be bodies hanging from the branch, slowly swaying in the breeze.”

Mike’s Comments:
This is one sinister looking tree. It is on an open field with just the tree. It was probably more secluded back in the day, as there are some houses off the road a little bit. The odd thing was that there was no snow around the tree. We kept going back to the truck every time we saw headlights coming down the road, just in case. John’s hand started bleeding out of nowhere as we approached the tree the second time. And John scared the shit out of me by screaming for no reason.

Other Tales

Here are just a few of the tales we’ve heard over the years about the Devil Tree in Liberty Corner:

The portal to hell.
  • Hands turn black if you touch the tree.
  • Axes fall from your hands if you try to cut the tree.
  • The “guardian of the tree” comes after you in his white pickup truck.
  • The stone in front of the tree is a gateway to hell.
  • The tree and the stone are warm and snow never gathers at its base.
  • Children have been thrown from the tree’s branches.
  • The Klan has hung people from the tree.
  • Farmer Nick killed his family at the tree.

Have one to share? Add below.

Check out the comments. They’re really funny.

Ghost Tales from the Somerset Hills
Check out The Horror in the Hills – 6 tales from the darker side

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