Halloween is coming up in just a few days, and folks all over the Garden State are looking for a good haunt. However, you don’t have to look beyond the border of our state to find some chilling legends lurking in our backyard. Throughout New Jersey’s long history, tales and legends of creatures lurking in the night have been passed down from generation to generation. To help get you in the Halloween mood, we’ll be exploring some of the spooky creatures and cryptids that started right here in our home state.
THE JERSEY DEVIL: When you think of New Jersey folklore, the first thought to pop into your head is likely the Jersey Devil. And with good reason: this legend is one of the most famous tales of folklore to ever emerge out of the Garden State. The Jersey Devil is rumored to lurk in the deep woods of the New Jersey Pine Barrens. Per the Pinelands Preserve Alliance, this creature is “a kangaroo-like creature with the face of a horse, the head of a dog, bat-like wings, horns, and a tail.” Legend has it that Mrs. Leeds, a New Jersey resident, became distressed upon finding out she was expecting her 13th child. In her anger, she cried, “Let it be the devil!” upon his birth, she found her curse had come true. The devil-like creature was said to fly out the window and into the swamp, where the Jersey Devil is still rumored to lurk around today.
THE DEVIL’S TREE: If you take a journey up north, tucked away in the hills of Bernard Township is the Devil’s Tree. Tragically, this tree’s origins have a dark history, with many losing their life in its path. Since then, many locals swear you can still see ghostly figures swinging on its branches. And you may be thinking – if the tree is haunted, why not cut it down? Legend has it: you can’t. Although many folks have tried over the years, marks from previous attempts testify to the tree’s longevity. It is unknown why this tree cannot be cut down, nor what happened to those who attempted to topple this haunted oak.
THE GHOST TRAIN: All aboard this haunting tale, the Ghost Train is a legend from up north in Newark, NJ. The story states that on the 10th of every month at midnight, a ghost train passes through what is presently the Pennsylvania Rail Road Station. Although only a handful of people report seeing the phenomena, thousands report hearing it. Over the years, dozens of locals have reported hearing a train whistle, wheels whirring along the tracks, and more. Although this phenomenon remains a mystery, we’re relieved not to be passengers on this tormented train.
These haunting tales only begin to scratch the surface of the horror-inducing stories in the Garden State. These stories passed down through the generations, connect us, giving residents of New Jersey a shared heritage we can celebrate together. In the spirit of the season, may we raise a toast to the sights and stories that bring our community together. And remember, while enjoying your Halloween festivities, be careful – you never know what sorts of haunted happenings you might encounter!
The post Historic Happenings: The Haunting Folklore of the Garden State first appeared on TrentonDaily.
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