Most Haunted Forest

The Pine Barrens of New Jersey encompasses over 1.1 million acres of preserved woodlands spanning seven counties. Though this forest is in the heart of America’s most densely populated state, situated between two major cities (New York and Philadelphia), the land is mostly rural and dotted with ruins of former mill and mining settlements.

Along with an incredible assortment of ghost towns, this heavily forested stretch of the state is also known for an abundance of ghosts. Many national publications have listed this scenic spot among the most haunted places in the country.

Jersey Devil

The Pine Barrens gave rise to the legend of the Jersey Devil, said to have been born in 1735 to a local woman named Mrs. Leeds. It was said that he was her 13th child and, because of the unlucky number, he was cursed. Another story says that the mother gave birth to a hideous monster that attacked her and her nurses, before flying up and out of the chimney and disappearing into the Barrens. The Devil is said to roam the Pine Barrens, with many sharing stories of encounters with the Devil during dark nights in the Pinelands.

Reports of Jersey Devil sightings date back to 1820 when Joseph Bonaparte (brother of Napoleon) claimed to have witnessed the Jersey Devil on his Bordentown estate. The creature was blamed for livestock killings in the 1840s and again in the 1920s.

The most famous incidence of panic over the Jersey Devil occurred in 1909. In the month of January, hundreds of sightings were reported along with attacks in Haddon Heights and Camden. Newspaper coverage led to widespread hysteria. A $10,000 bounty was put on the creature’s head and schools were even closed for a short time.

A Small Boy

The ghost of a small boy is said to haunt the Atco area. The victim of a hit-and-run, he roams Burnt Mill Road, still searching for his killer. If you drive down the road at night and turn off your lights, you may just see a boy running for his ball.

The Black Doctor

Another spirit said to roam the Pine Barrens is the ghost of James Still. An African American doctor during the time of slavery, legend says that he was lynched when locals found that he was practicing medicine. Some say he died of natural causes, but most believe he is a friendly ghost, assisting those lost or injured in the area.

Captain Kidd

Pinelands folklore often mixes the legend of the ghost of Captain Kidd with that of the Jersey Devil. According to locals, New Jersey’s Barnegat Bay is one of the resting places of the notorious Kidd’s many treasures. During the 17th and 18th centuries, some locals told stories of the ghost of Kidd walking along the beach with the Jersey Devil. In these reports, Kidd is often headless.

The Black Dog

The Black Dog is a ghostly creature said to roam the beaches and forests from Absecon Island to Barnegat Bay. In most folklore (such as English and Germanic folklore), black dog ghosts are malevolent or considered forces of evil. However, the Black Dog of the Pine Barrens is often considered a harmless spirit. According to folklore, pirates on Absecon Island attacked a ship and killed its crew. Among those killed were the cabin boy and his black dog.

The Golden-Haired Girl

The Golden-Haired Girl is a ghost said to stare out into the sea, dressed in white, mourning the loss of her lover at sea. The Jersey Devil is sometimes said to sit alongside her, accompanying her on her vigil. Another legend says the Jersey Devil had a son, strangely human, who fell in love with a rich girl. However, her family did not agree with this. They took her away and she killed herself upon reaching the destination. Heartbroken, he became the next generation. Now her ghost follows him.

The White Stag

Is a ghostly white deer said to aid travelers lost in the Pine Barrens. The Stag also prevents impending disasters, and is said to have stopped a stagecoach from crashing into the Batsto River. The near “disaster” in question occurred at Quaker Bridge when the horses of a stage refused to go any further. When the driver climbed off the stage, he noticed a white stag in the road which then disappeared. Walking up the road, he saw that the bridge was out. According to the legend, if you see a white stag, it is supposed to be good luck.

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