The Devil's Tree
Like many other high-schoolers in the early 2000's, I bought into the legend of the Devil's Tree wholeheartedly. How can one resist an eerie fascination with a solitary oak tree that is supposedly a portal to Hell itself? Of course I believed the stories on WeirdNJ.com about people being chased away from it by a ghostly pickup truck. Of course someone touched the tree, then sat down for a lovely meal with hands that turned black. Of course no snow gathers around the trunk of the tree when it snows.
My logic was fueled by sleep deprivation, soda and boredom.
It's been well over ten years since my initial encounter with this tree via the Internet. Only recently did I visit it for the first time, and then make a few return trips before I captured an image I was happy with.
As for the tree itself? Well, it's clearly seen some shit.
It's been scorched, sawed, and axed. And yet, it stands. There's nothing inherently creepy about that -- oak trees are solid bastards. Perhaps people are taking revenge for some of the alleged atrocities that took place there centuries ago. Foolish actions. If true, the tree didn't do it, people did. Leave the damn tree alone.
Still, there wasn't any snow at its base...
My grown-up logic tells me that the trunk blocked snowfall in that direction. Or maybe, given the foot traffic around the tree, it's naturally been swept away. Or maybe, some local prankster likes to clear the snow away from its base to keep the legend alive. Or maybe, there's some weird geothermal activity right below Bernards Township, New Jersey, and it'll soon be a rival for Yellowstone.
I shouldn't be fooling anyone, though. I'm still a kid, and the kid logic is way more fun. Next time I'm in the area, I'll be sure to photograph that ghost truck and the portal to Hell.
Top image taken with the Nikon D810, 24-70mm lens, and new Lee Super Stopper ND filter.