New Jersey is known for its busy roads, wonderful beaches, and diverse culture. It is also known as the state that has the most diners in the world.
A scenic view in New Jersey. (Link: https://www.onlyinyourstate.com/new-jersey/nj-relaxing-nature/)
New Jersey is also home to many ghost towns especially in Pine Barrens. It is regarded as one of the most haunted forests all over the world. Are you curious to know what people seeking paranormal activities have seen in this area of New Jersey? Read on to know more.
An aerial shot of Pine Barrens. (Link: https://www.gettyimages.com/detail/video/view-of-farmland-to-pine-barrens-new-jersey-united-stock-video-footage/555806667)
The History Of Pine Barrens
The Pine Barrens is also known as Pines or Pinelands. It got its name from the fact that the soil in this area is sandy, acidic, and has little to none nutrients. Although people could not grow crops in Pine Barrens, it is home to many orchids, carnivorous plans, and other plants. Pine Barrens is also of huge help in recharging the 17 trillion gallon Kirkwood-Cohansey aquifer, which houses some of the purest water in the whole of United States.
Ten thousand years ago, the Pine Barrens were occupied first by the ancestors of the Lenape people. They burned most of the woods during spring and full in order to improve the hunting conditions since agriculture was not a way of living. Another source of income during that time was charcoal making.
During the 17th century, the Swedish and the Dutch explored New Jersey after they settled in the area. Thus, a number of industries were put up in the Pine Barrens like iron furnace, charcoal operations, waterways, and more. The Indian settled in the area a little later and during the Revolutionary War in 1778, the British burned a village but they were not able to destroy the ironworks at another village.
One of the abandoned towns in Pine Barrens. (Link: https://www.pinterest.ph/pin/325385141804830844/?lp=true)
By 1799, the first glassworks opened in Pine Barrens and in 1810, the first cotton mill was opened. Two more decades, the first paper mill opened in New Jersey and by 1854, the first railroad across Pine Barrens started its operation. The railroads then connected the many small towns that were put up across Pine Barrens. After a few more years, other mills like sawmills and gristmills were put up in the area.
The railroad tracks in Pine Barrens. (Link: https://forums.njpinebarrens.com/threads/upcoming-railroad-repair.8582/page-2)
Later, the residents of Pine Barrens called “Pineys” started leaving the wooded area. Thus, the Pine Barrens became a ghost town because of the many abandoned villages and industries. Because of it being the home of many ghost towns, Pine Barrens became infamous for being a haunted place.
The Jersey Devil
One of the most famous entities in Pine Barrens belong to the story of the Jersey Devil. According to legends, the Jersey Devil was born in 1735. The Jersey Devil is the child of a woman named Mrs. Leeds, who had a home at Leeds Point. Allegedly, the Jersey Devil was Mrs. Leeds’s 13th child and it was believed that it was an unlucky number so he was cursed.
How the Jersey Devil allegedly looks like. (Link: https://www.inquirer.com/news/new-jersey/jersey-devil-history-fake-news-norman-jeffries-20190123.html)
He was said to be so hideous – he had leathery wings, a goat’s head, and hooves. The child attacked his mother and the nurses that attended to his mother when she gave birth before he flew out of their home’s chimney and into Pine Barrens. Reportedly, he attacked the livestock in the area and has been menacing residents in South Jersey ever since. Some even alleged that the Jersey Devil took children and their bodies were never found.
In January 1909, many people claimed to have seen the Jersey Devil that a reward amounting to $10,000 was offered to anyone who can capture the alleged monster.
Other Ghosts of Pine Barrens
The most famous ghosts of Pine Barrens are a doctor, a pilot, and a young boy.
First on the list is the Mexican pilot named Captain Emilio Carranza. He is known as the greatest aviator in Mexico. The story of Carranza states that he went to the United States for a goodwill visit in 1928. He then went back home despite the warnings of an electrical storm. His plane went down near Sandy ridge. Since then, people have seen footsteps near the monument that was built in honor of the Mexican pilot. Also, some say that if you park your vehicle at the gate of his memorial and shout his first name thrice, you will see his plane in the sky.
A photo of a newspaper talking of Captain Emilio Carranza’s death. (Link: http://whitesbog2.blogspot.com/2010/07/july-12-1928-emilio-carranza.html)
Another boy is said to haunt the Burnt Mill Road. He was out playing with his basketball when he was killed in a hit and run incident in the same road. Accordingly, people have seen him in the road and he appeared to be looking for the culprit behind his untimely death. One person who claimed to have seen the ghost of the boy shared a tip if you want to see the boy’s ghost: “Stop here and beep your horn three times and flash your lights three times, then sit in darkness for a bit. You will see the figure of a boy begin to cross the street dribbling a basketball, almost in slow motion.”
A snap of the Burnt Mill Road sign in Pine Barrens. (Link: https://weirdnj.com/tag/burnt-mill-road/)
A doctor’s ghost is also said to haunt the area. The ghost belongs to an African American doctor named James Still. He was reportedly murdered because he was practicing medicine. He is said to be a friendly ghost and does not harm anyone.
Efforts To Preserve Pine Barrens
Although the surrounding areas near Pine Barrens have been urbanized, the heavily-wooded area remains largely untouched. In 1978, the government created the New Jersey Pinelands National Reserve, which was an act to protect the area.
A well-preserved abandoned home in Pine Barrens. (Link: https://www.e90post.com/forums/showthread.php?t=1109136)