Today, my friends, we have another installment in our creepy places series. We are taking a trip to the east coast. We've covered probably the most known creepy story about this state already in a past episode, and now we're back for more creepiness! We know there are more than a few listeners from this particular state, so if we fuck up, we know we’ll hear about it. At the same time we would love to hear more stories about anything we cover from the people who are around it and may have visited these spots or encountered any of the crazy stuff we discuss. So without further ado...the train is pulling out of the station and heading east to none other than New Jersey. Keep your hands inside of the train and watch out for raccoons!
So a little less than a year ago, at the beginning of this whole covid plague, we did a quarantine mashup. We discussed Springheeled Jack, The Wendigo, and the one and only Leeds devil, aka The Jersey Devil! If you are looking for our take on the Jersey Devil Go back and listen to that episode, we will not be discussing him(it?) today. But we are going to head to a bunch of different creepy spots. First Up we head to Totowa (toe tuh wuh) NJ.
Totowa is a borough in Passaic County, New Jersey, United States. Totowa in its current iteration has been around since 1898, but the land that is Totowa has been occupied since the 1600’s. Its been around for a long time. Having been around for so long there are destined to be tons of creepy tales, like our first one!
First up is the legendary “Ghost Of Annie”. For more generations than anyone can seem to remember, Totowa’s Riverview Drive has been more commonly known to locals as “Annie’s Road.” And for just as long, it has played host to innumerable carloads of late night thrill seekers. What these adventurous night riders are looking for is the spectral figure of Annie herself, an other-worldly apparition that has long been associated with this snaking riverside byway. Running along the Totowa side of the Passaic River, Riverview Drive, or “Reefer Road” as it has been dubbed by many a partying teen, seems to be just brimming with the stuff from which local legends are made. At night it is a dark and treacherous drive that leaves little room for error between the steep hillside on one side, and the muddy slough of the Passaic on the other. It is a remote and wooded road, right in the heart of a densely populated area.
There are mythical places to be discovered here as well, or so many have alleged. The isolated community located on Norwood Terrace, an oxbow street found on one of Riverview’s many curves, has long had the reputation of being New Jersey’s much fabled “Midgetville.” We are not going to discuss midgetville here as it is one of the more famous Jersey legends.
But what really beckons people to Annie’s Road year after year, decade after decade, is the quest to see Annie herself. The lure of experiencing the supernatural first hand, has been the catalyst for countless late night adventures over the generations, and several notorious misadventures as well. In most cases, these ghost hunters and seekers of Midgetville are nothing more than carloads of bored suburban youth, looking for some harmless late night thrills. Annie’s Road has however, on more than one occasion led its nightriders down a pathway to danger, and even death. Riverview Drive is no stranger to severe auto accidents, and Annie is not the only soul who has been lost there. What better way to get to the heart of the legend than to hear it from the locals! This is the story of her death as recounted by a local who was young when it happened:
“As I have been a resident of Totowa all my life, I can tell you the actual story of this poor girl’s fate. Annie was walking home from her prom at school in Little Falls. The shortest and perhaps the easiest route to take was Riverview Drive. She was passing the Laurel Grove Cemetery when a large truck plowed her over and dragged her about 50 feet or so. Her blood can still be seen on the side of the road she had been dragged. If she is to be seen she is a short ways down the road from the blood. This is very close to the place where her tomb once is. My brother has been to the plot in the Laurel Grove Cemetery that was created for her. Though I was little, I do remember hearing that for no apparent reason at all, the tomb caved inward and looked somewhat like a cave”. —Court
Well Thanks Court for the info!!!
Another story we came across was that back in the 1960s, a couple was driving down the road in Totowa when they got into a huge fight which led the man to open the car door and throw out his partner. Ah, the 60’s! Alone, scared, and injured, the woman began wandering on the street only to be hit by a truck and die on the spot. Even worse, her dress got tangled in the car and she was dragged along the road, taking off her face. Sounds like a cannibal corpse song. While the stories may vary, they both have the same stories attached. The main one is that there is a trail of old blood on the road from where she was dragged and a splatter of blood on a guardrail as well. Here’s a story about the blood splatter from another local:
“ I have heard many stories about this road, and have been there numerous time. I was told roughly the same story that she was killed on her wedding night, and was killed on the road and dragged along it. The first time I went there my friends told me that there was a bloodstain on the road, and a splatter on the guardrail. It WAS there, whatever it was, and it scared the shit out of me. I have taken other friends there throughout the years, and have told them the same story. “Annie’s Lane,” as I have often heard it called, is a great place to bring people for a scary experience. —Marcus Freeman”
Sounds crazy right! So the cool part about researching all of these legends is finding different people recounting their stories and seeing all of the crazy variations on the legends. One story has her ghost appearing at midnight while another swears it's at 2am. There's the prom story, the couple story, then there was another that is positive that her cousin's uncle's brother's friend's grandpa was at the scene and that she was decapitated during a car accident. Then you have the tales of the blood on the asphalt and blood on the guardrail. There's a variation on that story that says that her deranged father would come back every year on the anniversary of her death and paint the guardrail red to keep the memory of his daughter alive and meet with her ghost. Regardless of what version you want to believe, it seems that overall the stretch of road is pretty creepy. There is a cemetery nearby where she is buried and supposedly is a hotspot for paranormal happenings as well. There are reports of video cameras being drained of their batteries, strange lights being caught on camera but not being seen by the naked eye, and some have reported seeing Annie's Ghost at the cemetery as well. Some people also have attributed the “hail mary murders” in NJ as having something to do with this story. We found this tale on another website. It goes as such : It was 1992, and six high school boys spent their days fixated by Annie’s tale. Believing she was run over by a car and that she now haunted the road, they spent their nights at Norwood Terrace, near the house she supposedly lived in, then they would drive up and down River View Dr, before ending up at the mausoleum where they thought she was buried.
Eventually though 5 of the boys felt that they no longer wanted to hang around with the 6th boy, and decided to make him leave. They made several botched attempts to burn his car, but they all failed. Eventually realizing that they couldn’t make him go away, they decided he needed to be eliminated. (and all this because they were bored with his company mind you)
They tried to stuff an aerosol can into his gas tank in the hopes of causing an explosion. It didn’t fit. They tried to convince him to be handcuffed to the steering wheel, after which they would stick a flaming rag into the gas tank. He refused. After so many botched attempts to scare him and even eliminate him, some of the boys wondered if he wasn’t protected by Annie herself…
They finally settled on a simpler method, and tragically it worked. One day they all drove out to the HS and parked in back. They all began to recite the Catholic “Hail Mary”, and then one of the boys in back took out an electrical cord and strangled the victim from behind, garrote style. Putting his feet on the headrest, the victim didn’t have a chance, and the other boys continued to recite the Hail Mary, until after nearly 10 minutes, he was dead.
They tried to cover up the crime by outing the body in the trunk and causing an explosion, but it didn’t work. They ditched the car, and predictably, were caught, arrested, and convicted.
Although this makes for a great story, after going through more than a few articles about the Hail Mary Murders, not one of them had any mention of the Annie legend in them. Doesnt mean its not true but we didn't come up with any proof!
Sounds fun...we’re there! Anyone out there experienced Annie’s ghost, or have you been there to check it out? Let us know!
There is, or once was, a legendary place off a dirt road called Disbrow Hill in Monroe Township (Middlesex County) known as Crematory Hill in local lore. As the stories go, back in the 1970s it was one of those scary places where at night anything could happen. The legend of this place was that it was a structure where bodies were cremated, with the remains either shipped out or buried in the graveyard adjacent to the building. It is said that it was abandoned long ago due to the presence of ghosts and spirits. We thought this would make a really cool story but it was hard to find a ton about this legend! There was a story that was on Weird NJ website that we found that has the most info and it came from a local so we are going to relay that story because it is pretty cool!
“Back when I was in East Brunswick High School, ’69-’72, it was a great place to go with friends or your date and get a good scare, especially on Friday and Saturday nights. It was considered a real rite of passage.
There was usually clothing and unrecognizable stuff hanging off the trees at the start of the road leading to Crematory Hill and sometimes further on down. On several trips, we saw a large wooden sign painted in red propped up on the side of the road with the warning: WELCOME TO HELL. That was the signal it was going to be a hell of a ride! Screaming sounds were often heard from the woods, but we drove on, excited and expecting anything!
On the way, there was one house close to the dirt road, always with the lights on, where it was rumored that you would see the family living there hitting each other with hammers in the windows. We never saw that, but even with the lights on, it really didn’t look like anyone lived there and it had a weird presence, stuck out there in the middle of nowhere.
After passing that landmark, we would look for the opening in the woods off the dirt road that would lead to the Crematory. It was on the right side. This is where the courage factor came into play. It was dark, real dark, and the woods were thick. Weird sounds startled you. You didn’t know what was out there. All we had were a flashlight and our nerve.
We walked the dirt path, adrenaline pumping, always aware that something was out there, and in the beams of the flashlights, the structure loomed. Covered with graffiti, it was imposing in the darkness, yet waiting for us to enter and explore. The large, empty building was built up on a dirt hill. It was made out of bricks, stone, and cement. There were openings for windows and doors; there was rubble in the basement. To get to the basement, you had to jump through a hole in the floor. There were some pipes through the floor, which were supposed to be part of the crematory equipment. The structure was probably built in the 19th century.
After exploring the Crematory, more courage was mustered to walk the grounds and find the cemetery. There was a low wall, which you followed to find the graveyard, taking you deeper into the woods, further away from your car, the only means to escape if anything happened. This took a lot more of your courage.
After locating the burial ground, the walk back seemed longer and scarier. When you got closer to the road and the car came into view in the flashlight beam, you breathed a sigh of relief, quickening your steps until the key was in the door and you were back in the car.
One time we got out of the car at the Crematory, started walking, and heard some rustling in the trees. All of a sudden from the dark came a combination of howling voices and figures, trying to attack us. We were close enough to the car and I had the key in hand fast enough for us to pile in and for me to spin my wheels in gear to get out of there like a bat out of hell. Luckily we escaped uninjured. One of my friends looked back and saw dark outlines of figures, but there were no cars around for them to follow us in. How and why they were there is a mystery.
I was told that the Crematory was used by Rutgers fraternities and Douglass sororities as part of the pledging/initiation processes since the 1940s. Crematory Hill provided lots of unpredictable excitement for us teenagers. The ride itself was scary enough, but you were always drawn to walk in the woods, to face the unknown.” –Lewis Sofman
There were other stories of people hearing howls and screams when they would travel through the woods to get to the site. There are stories of people being shot at while they were there. People claimed to have been chased but god knows what. It's odd cus there seems to be tons of local stories but there isn't much outside of that. Which is great for legends and myths though not so much for research. It does appear that the building was definitely there, there are old pictures of the building that you can see, we’ll definitely post them. Unfortunately for everyone the building has been demolished and condos now reside on the spot where the building used to be. We were unable to find any concrete evidence that the building was actually crematory either. If any of you folks from jersey can shed more light on this one we’d love to hear it, meanwhile we’ll keep digging!
Now we are gonna switch it up and talk cryptids. There are more cryptids than just the Jersey devil roaming and swimming around. First up we have the The Sandyhook Sea Serpent.
The North Shrewsbury (Navesink) River is one of the most scenic estuaries on the Eastern Coast of America. Known for luxury yachts, stately homes, and iceboating, it is hardly the place you would expect to find the legend of a sea serpent. But, in the late nineteenth century it was the location of one of many well-documented and unexplained sightings of mysterious sea creatures that plagued the waters of the North Atlantic.
The creature in question was seen by several people, all who were familiar with local sea life. While returning from a daylong outing, Marcus P. Sherman, Lloyd Eglinton, Stephen Allen and William Tinton, all of Red Bank, encountered the monster. The Red Bank Register reported the witnesses to be sober and respectable local merchants.
At around 10:00 P.M. the yacht Tillie S., owned by Sherman, was making its way back to Red Bank after a picnic at Highlands Beach. The men had enjoyed a pleasant Sunday evening escaping the warm early summer weather. The moon was shining bright, providing for high visibility as the yacht cut through the water. A stiff summer breeze was blowing and they rounded the Highlands and headed toward Red Bank. At the tiller of the Tillie S., Marcus Sherman steered through the familiar waters. At the bow was Lloyd Eglinton, who kept watch for debris in the water ahead.
Suddenly Eglinton yelled that there was something in the water dead ahead. Sherman steered “hard to port” to avoid the collision. As they looked to see what the obstacle was, they were shocked. There ahead of them was the Sandy Hook Sea Serpent that had been sighted many times over the preceding two years. So credible were the sightings of the Serpent two years earlier, that Scientific American had run an article issuing an opinion that the monster was in fact a Giant Squid. The article, complete with drawings, appeared in the December 27, 1887, edition of the prestigious scientific periodical.
The earlier sighting at Sandy Hook had been made by several credible witnesses. Most notably the members of the Sandy Hook Life Saving Service. The crew members had sighted a large monster in the cold waters just off Sandy Hook in November 1879. The sighting was so credible that scientists were dispatched to take statements. It is from these descriptive statements that it was determined the Sandy Hook Sea Monster was, in fact, a giant squid. For the next several years there were reports of all types of sea serpent sightings up and down the east Atlantic Coast.
What the Red Bank men saw was surely no giant squid. It was described as about 50-foot long and serpentine in shape. It swam with snakelike undulations slowly and steadily through the water. As it passed halfway past the bow, its head rose from the water giving forth a mighty roar. The head was described as small and somewhat resembling a bulldog’s in shape. It had two short rounded horns on its head just above its eyes. The eyes we said to be the size of silver dollars. Bristles adorned the upper lip of the monster, much like those that would be found on a cat. The beast’s nostrils were quite large and flattened. The serpent-like body tapered to a sword-like pointed tail. The frightened men stared in disbelief as it slowly and leisurely swam toward the shore of Hartshorne’s Cove. As the monster disappeared into the night, the men made their way back to Red Bank with a monster of a story to tell.
The men of the Tillie S. were not the only ones to see the creature. Other boaters on the water saw the serpent and gave near identical descriptions. In all over a dozen boaters had seen the strange creature on his nocturnal swim. Over the next months and years there would be other sightings of the monster in the Navesink. In time it came to be known as the Shrewsbury Sea Serpent. No scientific explanation was ever given for the sightings, as had been done for the so-called Sandy Hook Sea Serpent, however the description is not totally without merit. Other than the size, the description is very similar to that of the Oarfish. In any case the mystery remains as to the true identity and fate of the Sea Serpent.
Next up we have the blobs….yes the blobs. On August 6 a large mysterious blob appeared in a Little Egg Harbor tributary in 2003. The Jersey State Police’s marine unit was called in and the Department of Environmental Protection poked and probed the blob and determined that it was not hazardous, though they could not say for sure just what it was. The gooey mass was eventually towed out into the Great Bay using a 50-foot rope and then released.
The following year in May of 2004 another gooey, putrid mass surfaced in another waterway in the lagoon community of Beach Haven West, miles away from the original Blob encounter. This smaller “Son of Blob” was only about 10 feet in diameter, but terrorized the beach community nevertheless.
“It’s miserable, ugly and disgusting,” said resident Nancy Olivia in the Press of Atlantic City. Olivia called Ocean County officials to say “I went to work today, and I have a Blob in my backyard!”
The NJ Department of Environmental Protection, the NJ State Police and Ocean County Health Department were called in to inspect the mass, and samples were taken. The inspectors believed that it was not the same blob that appeared in Little Egg Harbor the prior year, but still didn’t have a clue as to what it consisted of. It smelled like rotten eggs and measured about 8ft.x10ft. Most scientists think it was just a mass of algae or plant waste. We like to think its something creepier.
The blob might just be the most disgusting and frightening thing ever encountered at the Jersey Shore, with the possible exception of some cast members from the TV show of the same name. The blob may still be at large, lurking in the depths––so BEWARE!
On top of those there are the numerous bigfoot sightings! These are my people. They are out there and we know they are! In some areas of Jersey they use the nickname Big Red Eye as many reports state he has glowing red eyes! Sussex and Burlington counties seem to be hotspots as they are the top counties for sightings. Here are a few sightings, just cus we love bigfoot sightings.
In 1975, five people reported in a local Sussex County newspaper that a large creature, about nine-feet-tall, was spotted near the Bear Swamp, south of Lake Owassa in the farthest reaches of Sussex County. The creature walked upright, and was covered with shaggy gray hair. Locals who hunt and fish in the surrounding forest said that it’s possible that something like that could exist because of the remoteness of the area.
In May of 1977, a Sussex County farmer in the town of Wantage reported that a large brown, hairy, Bigfoot-like creature with no neck and glowing red eyes had broken down a one-inch thick oak door and killed his rabbits. Some of the bunnies’ heads were torn off, while other hares were crushed and twisted. The man said there was an unusual absence of blood at the scene. Four men waited with loaded guns the following night for the creature to return. It reappeared at dusk, was shot at, and reportedly hit at least three or four times before running away growling. Although there was an account of the wounded beast re-emerging a few days later, no carcass was ever found.
Bob Warth, a member of S.I.T.U. (The Society for the Investigation of The Unexplained based in Little Silver, NJ), claims these Bigfoot-like entities may be UFO related.
“We know what robots are,” says Warth. “Is there a possibility that these bigfoots with super-human strength are an extraterrestrial biological robot up in North Jersey? These farmers encountered a bigfoot stealing animals from their barn, they shot at it, hit it right in the body cavity, but there was no blood. It then ran away. When you witness something like that, the first thing you do is relate it to yourself—physically and mentally. If you shoot it, you’re going to shoot where you know the heart is, or whatever, to be to bring it down. First of all, you don’t know what kind of armor it has, and secondly the brain (or control system) may be in his feet for that very purpose…if it is a biological robot.”
According to the report on The Bigfoot Field Researchers Organization website, this witness and his brother-in-law were hunting in an area that they had frequented for several years and heard a sound that neither of them could explain. The sighting,which took place in 2006, was recounted as follows:
The deer stood there for about a minute or two mostly looking to the north and east, then turned directly south and walked away. Shortly after this moment I heard a screaming sound coming from the east. The sound had a human quality to it and sounded more angry than distressed. I immediately thought my brother-in-law was hollering for some reason as he was in that direction but chose not to contact him via radio. There were several short 10 second screams lasting a little over a minute and then stopped. I sat there completely perplexed having never heard a sound like that before. After this I noticed the conspicuous absence of any sound or movement in the forest. Prior to this the woods had been filled with the sound of twittering birds and chattering squirrels. After this, the forest was dead quiet. This was the most eerie part of the whole event.
After this incident, the witness found a sound file from another website dedicated to Bigfoot encounters. He and his brother-in-law agreed that it was similar to what they had heard.
And then there are the stories of “the big hairy man”. No it's not Moody either, he's only been to Jersey a couple of times and we're pretty sure the timelines don't match up to any sightings, well maybe 1 or 2. A Bigfoot-like entity has been seen in the regions of Somerset County, including the Great Swamp area and the Somerset Hills. The locals call it “The Big Hairy Man,” and he has even been spotted as far away as Hillside. According to eyewitness reports The Big Hairy Man stands about eight-feet tall and is covered with hair the color of a deer’s. He walks upright with a human gait, according to a bone specialist and a physical therapist who encountered the Big Hairy Man while taking a shortcut through the Great Swamp on Lord Stirling Road in a hurry to reach the airport.
They claimed the Big Hairy Man walked in front of their car and hopped the fence alongside the road. They could not see his face because he (or it) was looking down. These sightings, according to the Folklore Project in Bernardsville, have occurred for many years.
We’ll finish up with a story about Big Red Eye:
Not that I’m a big believer of urban legend and folklore, but I must tell you this story because after reading about The Big Red Eye in a recent issue, I got the chills!
My wife and I live in Westwood now, but we’re formerly from Mahwah. One night, early last summer, we were walking our dog in our condo development (Paddington Square in Mahwah) and heard this guttural sound that scared us so much that we called the police. I’ve heard just about every animal noise imaginable and I’ve got to tell you this was the strangest thing I’ve ever heard. It wasn’t a dog, or bear, but it was big and angry, and had red eyes. I estimate it was roughly 30 yards from us. We were standing by a street light on the sidewalk.
I told my wife to pick up the dog and go into the street and walk home slowly. I was shaking in my boots as I slowly backed up, keeping my eyes on the brush. We made it home and called the police, not once, but twice, to find out what the hell that thing was. They investigated but found nothing. To this day my wife and I wonder what it was. –Mike V.
So now with some cryptids out of the way, we have another creepy haunted road. Texas has shitloads of haunted bridges...Jersey has haunted roads, there's always something. This may be the greatest road name ever though. It is called Shades Of Death Road. Yes that's the real name. It’s a two-lane rural road of about 7 miles (11.2 km) in length weaving from farm country just off I-80 along a portion of Jenny Jump State Forest, riding the edge of the unofficially-but-aptly-named Ghost Lake. The road is the subject of folklore and numerous local legends.
One tale relating to murder says that the original inhabitants of the area surrounding Shades of Death were an unruly band of squatters. Often, men from this vile gang would get into fights over women, and the squabbles would result in the death of one of the participants. As the reputation of these murderous bandits grew, the area they inhabited was named “Shades of Death.” When the civilized world encroached on and disbanded the bandits, the last remnant of their control over the meadows was restricted to one road that retained the name they made famous.
Another murder theory says that the road was originally known as “The Shades,” because of the low hanging trees which formed a canopy over the length of the street. Legend says that over time, many murders occurred there, and many stayed unsolved, causing local residents to add the sinister “of Death” twist to the formerly pleasant “Shades” name.
One of those legends is that many years ago, a car of teenagers was driving down a country road in Hackettstown, NJ after the prom. The road was slippery that night and it curved sharply to the left and right, winding into the dark. The driver lost control and the car crashed into a ditch killing one of the passengers. To this day, on dark and slippery nights, you can still see the girl who died wandering that murderous curve wearing her prom dress.
There are the stories of the random pillars of steam rising from the lake that people attribute to the souls of dead Indians that settlers tossed into the lake. The phenomena is also called The Great Meadows Fog. People claim to see the dead walking in the mist. The road was also the site of many deaths that were once attributed to a curse in the area. The deaths are also sometimes blamed on a plague caused by the waters in the lake, said to have been a malaria outbreak.
Lenape Lane is an unpaved one-lane dead-end street about three-quarter mile (1.1 km) in length running eastward off Shades just north of I-80. It ends at a farmhouse for which it is little more than a driveway, but halfway down there is space to park or turn around next to a wooden structure described as looking like an abandoned stable.
Weird New Jersey writes that visitors to this stable site at night have reported extremely local fog surrounding it and seeing apparitions in it, or sometimes even in clear weather, and also claimed the air is sometimes unusually chilly, and feeling general unease in the area for no immediately apparent reason. An additional legend claims that sometimes nocturnal visitors to Lenape see an orb of white light appear near the end of the road which chases vehicles back out to Shades Of Death, and if it turns red in the process, those who see it will die. This may be due to an old tree near the end of Lenape that was never cut down when the road was built. As a result, the road forks right before the tree, and a big red reflector has been nailed to the tree to warn drivers. Another legend says that if one circles around the tree and drives down the road again at midnight, a red light will shine and the driver will never survive.
There are some legends concerning a Native American spirit guide who supposedly takes the shape of a deer and appears at various points along the road at night. If drivers see him and do not slow down sufficiently enough to avoid a collision, they will soon get into a serious accident with a deer.
Another legend tells of a bridge where, if drivers stop past midnight with their high beams on and honk their horns three times, they will see the ghosts of two young children who were run over while playing in the road. This legend actually refers to a bridge over the Flatbrook on Old Mine Road, not far from Shades of Death. The bridge is no longer accessible by car as a newer, larger bridge has been built next to it. The original bridge can still be reached on foot.
And then there are the polaroids. The site Weird NJ, which is all about weird stuff in New Jersey, and quite on the nose, has a page about Shades of Death Road. Now, if you go to their page for Shades of Death Road and check out the tags at the bottom of the page, you’ll see one that says “Polaroids” but the story article itself never mentions Polaroids. From what we could find, back in the 1990s, when Weird NJ was a magazine, they shared a story from two readers who claimed to have found hundreds of odd photos while checking out Shades of Death Road. Some of the Polaroids showed a TV on different channels, and others showed various women bound and apparently in distress. Weird NJ turned the photos over to the local police but after that the story kind of weirdly ends with the police supposedly losing the Polaroids.
Were the Polaroids taken by a serial killer similar to that of the BTK Killer in Kansas? Or were they a hoax? The lack of any solid information on them, and the idea that the police lost hundreds of Polaroids makes most think hoax. Still, if you Google for Shades of Death Road Polaroids, some of the images will come up
Ok, how about some good old haunted buildings? Everyone loves haunted buildings, except pussies, they don't like haunted buildings. At any rate, first up is the so-called Spy House.
One of the most haunted houses in America is the Spy House, built in 1648, added on to and moved to its present day site. As a tavern during the Revolutionary war, it was frequented by British troops. The tavern owner would tell the Colonial troops about British plans of attack. For many years it was open to the public as a historical museum, but just a couple of years ago it was closed to the public.
Quite simply, it is one of the most haunted houses in the country with not one but up to five different spirits haunting it. A female spirit dressed in white has been seen walking from room to room looking for her crying baby. A full bearded old sea captain is also known to roam the grounds and halls, and a small ghost of a boy has been seen peering out of windows. Even the infamous pirate Captain Morgan was known to hide treasure in the house's basement and conduct sordid business and tortures in the old house. He's been seen in a ghostly form threatening children and others who visited the museum. This ghostly activity has been going on for years.
The Spy House once touted 22 active ghosts. Longtime volunteer curator Gertrude Needlinger would show videos of the seances! In October, 1993, Neidlinger was locked out of the museum after a dispute with the Spy House Museum Corp. The board claimed she continued to lead ghost tours through the house, with visitors carrying lit candles and posing a fire hazard. In 1992, while it was still an antique-cluttered, spirit-infested treasure of the Jersey bayshore, 13 nights of ghost tours drew about 1,800 people. Gertrude, an elderly woman who, by most accounts, was a colorful character with a vivid imagination, would spin yarns of the house’s past, weaving in threads of ghosts and espionage as she walked visitors around the museum. Though most historians today bristle at the tales she told, they will admit that Neidlinger’s narratives gained quite a bit of attention for the house in the public’s eye. ghost stories that began to circulate about the Spy House soon became the primary focus of the homestead’s appeal, much to the chagrin of the local historians.
Here's a couple tales of ghostly happenings:
Spy House Ghost Boy
One morning my friend Dave’s parents went to visit the old Spy House Museum in Port Monmouth. They were there at the appointed opening time but the curator wasn’t there. After about a half hour of waiting they said “the hell with it,” and left. As they were getting back into their car, my friend’s father looked up and pointed out a kid about 10 or12-years-old, looking at them from the upstairs window. His dad said that the kid had on one of those puffy shirts that they used to wear in the old days.
As they watched, he slowly backed away from the window. Just then the curator drove up and apologized for being late. They told her that they had seen a young boy in the upstairs window. She said no one is supposed to be in there. She opened the house up and together they searched the place, but found no one. –Ray
ROCKING CHAIR GHOST
On the way back from a very fun day at the water park in Keansburg, my dad decided to show my sister and myself the Spy House. When we got there we looked into the windows. It was extremely dark inside, and everything was locked. When we made it to the left side of the house my dad noticed something moving inside the house. I just shrugged it off as nothing, but then when I was looking in the same upstairs window I noticed that the rocking chair moved!
I was scanning all the windows to see if I could see anything else unusual, and I clearly saw a man sitting in a rocking chair reading. It couldn’t have been a ranger because he was wearing old clothes and was sitting in the dark, reading, in a locked up house. We snapped a picture and ran, and as we pulled away, a ranger pulled up and unlocked the doors, so we assume it must have been a ghost. –Ali
According to the caretakers, Ringwood Manor is one of the most haunted places on the east coast. It has layer upon layer of legend, myth and folklore. The Native Americans would even call it the Haunted Woods. In fact, before the home was built, prehistoric artifacts were found on the grounds of Ringwood confirming Native American occupation of the site dating back to the Archaic and Woodlands periods of prehistory. These Munsee-speaking Lenape peoples lived in a hunting and farming paradise at the head of the “Topomopack” or Ringwood River Valley and traded with other natives in the Pompton area. The Lenapi recognized special earth forces at work here, and as long as their memory is, this has been sacred ground with supernatural occurrences attributed to the area. Perhaps it is the earth’s immense magnetism at Ringwood that affects all type of matter. It is said that the Highlands region was a gathering place for all of the diverse prehistoric Native Americans of the Northeast.
While the “forces” remain a mystery, it was known that there were lots of iron in the hills and valleys of Ringwood. As such, in 1742, the Ogden family established the Ringwood Company and built the first blast furnace to begin mining and selling the iron. By 1771, the last ironmaster of the American Iron Company, Robert Erskine, was sent from England. He would manage the company during the Revolutionary War. The iron mined at the site helped to supply the Continental Army with components of the chain system used to defend the Hudson River, camp ovens, and domestic tools and hardware.
After the war, Martin J. Ryerson purchased the historic ironworks in 1807 and began building the first section of the present Manor circa 1810. The home was a small, 10-room, Federal style building. In 1853, the Ryerson’s house and property were purchased by Peter Cooper. Cooper purchased the 19,000 acre site, which included the Long Pond ironworks area, for $100,000. Cooper’s iron business, Trenton Ironworks, was managed by his son Edward and his son’s business partner, Abram S. Hewitt. Additions to the Manor were constructed in 1864, 1875, 1900, and 1910. Eventually, the iron industry moved further west in America and Ringwood’s iron mines finally closed. In 1938, the Hewitt family donated Ringwood Manor and its contents to the State of New Jersey. Preserved as a historic house museum and State Park, Ringwood Manor and its grounds are excellent examples of Victorian wealth and lifestyle.
The Ringwood Manor Hauntings
In total there are four different places that are said to be haunted. If you wander the halls of the Manor House at night, guests commonly meet the ghost of a servant known as Jackson White who haunts a small bedroom on the second floor. Legend states that in the early 1900’s Jackson worked as a servant for the family, but was caught stealing food from the pantry in the middle of the night. One of the white workers beat the man to death in this room. Many visitors have heard noises coming from the empty room – footsteps, sounds of heavy objects dropping, soft crying. And they keep finding the bedroom door ajar and the bed rumpled.
Behind the Manor pond is the grave where Owner/ General Robert Erskine is buried. The locals are afraid to come near the graves because at dusk General Erskine can be seen sitting on his grave gazing across the pond. The pond itself was created for a young woman known as Sally who can also be seen around the graves. She meets guests with music as well as flowery fragrances.
The French Soldiers
Also near Erskine it is said there is an unmarked grave filled with the remains of French soldiers who fought during the Revolutionary War. During the day, all you can see is a depression in the grass near the General’s grave. But it is believed that, at night, when the lights are out and the moon hangs brightly over the manor, the dead return to walk around the pond, and gaze over the shore in search of their loved ones. Sometimes, you can hear soft, sad voices speaking in French.
The last haunting is the grounds itself which were said to hold an ancient Indian burial ground. When the house was build over these remains, along came a curse and haunting which was resulting in various strange occurrences to visitors who say that a dark energy can be felt. Others claim that spirits come home with them.
"A purported meeting place for the KKK, notorious suicide site and rumored gateway to the depths of hell".
This was the first description of The Devil's Tree that we found, kind of had to put it in. While it's not exactly a building, Thrillest named The devil's tree one of the most haunted places in America and the most haunted in New Jersey! the Devil's Tree is infamous among locals and has evolved into a chilling tourist attraction," according to Thrillist. "Legend has it, anyone who harms the tree will suffer swift and violent retribution — so naturally, it has become a tradition for ballsy teens across the Garden State to pee on its trunk.
The infamous tree stands alone in an open field off Mountain Road in Bernards Township right on the border of the Martinsville section of Bridgewater and continues to draw in thrill seekers from all over the Garden State and beyond.
Legend has it that the tree has been cursed since as far back as the 1920s when a group of KKK members were rumored to hold cross burnings and hangings off the limbs of the tree.
Basking Ridge historian, or also known as mrlocalhistory.org, Brooks Betz confirmed there was in fact an active KKK clan located just down the road on the Bridgewater side near Route 202/206 and Brown Road, where the Hindu temple now stands. However, the clan activities have not been proven.
"One of the different rumors is that one of the guys, a grand wizard of the clan, who owned the property in Bridgewater would hold a series of KKK activity and cross burnings. And instead of doing it on the Bridgewater property they did it on the tree. There were tales of lynching and cross burning. But nothing was substantiated," Betz said.
Another rumor revolves around a farmer — who lived in the white farmhouse that had stood adjacent to the tree — who murdered his entire family at the home and then hung himself on the tree.
Betz said there is no record of the murders ever being reported.
"The property then laid dormant until the 1960s when a couple of local kids invented a story about a rogue white pickup truck that would come up over the hill and kill you," Betz said.
Betz said he spoke with one of those boys later on who told him that they made up the story and drove the "haunted" pickup in an attempt to keep people off the property so they could hang out and drink by the tree.
The tree has since been called "a portal to hell" because of all the rumors.
"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," Betz wrote in a piece about the tree years ago.
The tree gained much more attention after Weird NJ published a story on the tree in 2012.
To this day, thrill seekers come out to the tree and try to press their luck and see if they end up cursed.
Some try to touch the tree, while others pee on it or try to cut it or burn it down. You can still see the ax and burn marks permanently branded onto the tree. Many took pieces of the bark as a souvenir or proof they were at the tree.
With much commotion surrounding the tree the township designated the area a park where the field and tree are now sanctioned and protected. The tree has a protective chain link fencing around the trunk and the park remains closed with Bernards Township Police patrolling the area for trespassers.
Betz noted that there is "some element of truth" when you look at the rumors "but when you dig deeper" it doesn't all check out.
"Was there a clan there? Yeah. A white truck? Yeah. There were no hangings proven," Betz said. "You decide for yourself. Is it real? Is there any truth to it? Or is just some tree. You decide."
How about another road?
INDIAN CURSE ROAD
Route 55 has a long history of curious occurrences.
Home state HauntingsIn March of 1983, the Department Of Transportation started construction on a field just off Route 47 in Deptford, between Mantua and Franklin Township, to build a new 7.2 mile stretch of Route 55. Two months later mysterious deaths began to befall the workers involved with the project.
“All they had to do was detour around the field maybe three or four miles and nothing would have happened,” said Carl Pierce in a newspaper article at the time. Pierce, or Sachem Wayandaga, the chief and medicine man of the Delaware Indians, said the land was an ancient Indian burial ground, and therefore sacred.
“I told them what would happen if they didn’t stop the desecration, Pierce was quoted as saying. “The damage is done. The problem is I feel sorry for some of the people who will be traveling that road in the future.”
The first unfortunate incident was that of a 34-year-old worker who was run over by an asphalt roller truck. Another worker fell to his death when he was working on an overpass, swept up by unexpected high winds that had apparently come out of nowhere.
Soon after those incidents, an inspector fell dead on the job from a brain aneurysm. Other workers, or members of their families, suffered strange maladies. One worker’s feet turned black, while other workers’ family members developed cancer. Then a van carrying five Department Of Transportation employees caught fire and blew up. The parents of killed asphalt worker died during the first week of construction, and a brother and father of another worker died that same week.
A D.O.T. employee, who asked not to be identified because he fears the curse, said that Karl Kruger, the site engineer for the project, would often speak about the curse, and the coincidence of the events. The employee informed Weird N.J. that Mr. Kruger had died of cancer shortly thereafter. Yet another victim of the curse?
The Devil's Tower was built in 1910 by a millionaire sugar importer named Manuel Rionda. Before it received the name Devil's Tower, it was formerly known as Rio Vista. According to reporting from Forbes, the tower was built and dedicated to Rionda’s wife, Harriet Rionda, who was buried on nearby land but later moved to Brookside Cemetery, Englewood. Rumor has it that Mr. Rionda built the tower for his wife so she could look out at the New York City skyline. Others believe he built it as a mausoleum or for religious purposes. But, even with Mrs. Rionda’s death and later Mr. Rionda’s death in the mid 1900’s, many believe Harriet Rionda’s spirit still lives on at the tower.
The tower was connected to Rionda’s home by an underground tunnel. According to the local legend story, his wife was looking out of the tower when she saw Manuel with another woman. While she may have suspected infidelity for years, according to reporting from New Jersey Magazine, distraught from the site, she jumped off the tower, killing herself. Since her rumored suicide, there have been many reports of hauntings, including people who have said they have been pushed by something unseen. Others have reported strange noises and because of this, Manuel locked up the tower, filled in the tunnel connecting the home to the tower and even removed the elevator leading to the top of the tower proclaiming, “Nobody will ever go up here again,” according to reporting from Try To Scare Me.
Since that time, people have started calling it Devil's Tower. Witnesses report still hearing noises and smelling perfume, while at other times you can hear a scream as the wife jumps from the tower or a workman falls from it. Her ghostly spirit has also been seen as a shadowy figure in the windows.
Some have said that if you drive or walk backward around the tower a certain number of times, the devil or Manuel's wife appears.
Devil’s Tower and the spirit surrounding it clearly seems to be here for good, keeping a dark cloud around the rich community of Alpine. Even after Mr. Rionda’s death there were plans to demolish the tower by the Town but activities were halted and eventually aborted after several workers fell to their death.
BURLINGTON COUNTY PRISON
The Burlington County Prison is a historic museum property, located next to the Burlington County Jail in Mount Holly Township, Burlington County, New Jersey, United States. Operating from 1811 to 1965, it was the oldest prison in the nation at the time of its closure. The imposing structure was designed by Robert Mills, considered to be the first native-born American trained as an architect. Mills may be most famous for his government buildings and monuments, including the Treasury Building (featured on the back of the 10-dollar bill) and the Washington Monument, but he also designed several courthouses, churches, and prisons. The Burlington County Prison, built with 18-inch-thick walls made of stone and brick, was designed to hold 40 inmates. When it opened, the penitentiary didn’t have electricity or running water; it was the first prison in the U.S. constructed to be fireproof, and each cell was heated by a wood-burning fireplace. The first floor, for perpetrators of less severe crimes, had larger windows than the second, which held more serious offenders. A maximum-security cell (known as “the dungeon”) located on the top floor is flanked by niches for additional guards and has a steel ring on the floor to which a prisoner could be chained. In 1876, five men punched a hole through the ceiling of their prison cell, located on the top floor of Burlington County Prison. Four of the men slipped through the hole onto the roof, climbed down a woodpile, and over the prison yard wall to freedom. The fifth man, upset that he was too large to fit through the small opening, didn’t wait long before he snitched on his cellmates. The warden responded immediately to the alarm, but only two of the four escapees were ever caught and returned to the prison. The early laws of NJ required that prisoners convicted of capital crimes had to be executed by the county in which they were convicted. Except for two of the earliest executions in the 1830s (one of which was a woman, the other a young man named Joel Clough), public hangings took place in the prison yard, on gallows erected for each event. The first two mentioned were carried out on public lands at a crossroads a few miles from the prison, and from contemporary accounts, drew quite a crowd. According to records, Joel’s body was later buried in the prison yard in a corner where a large tree now grows. It is believed his ghost is the principle haunt.
Besides the executions, other violent deaths took place at the prison. During the 1920s some inmates managed to escape, making their way through the lowest level. They encountered a trustee near the kitchen and murdered him. A few decades later practically the same scenario occurred, with a second guard being killed in the same corridor.
The last execution to take place at Burlington County Prison was a double bill in March of 1906. Two men, Rufus Johnson and George Small, were executed just two months after their crime. They had murdered an English-born governess at a refuge for homeless children in Moorestown.
Joel Clough had been arrested and convicted of the stabbing death of a woman in Bordentown—apparently she had jilted him. Though he managed to escape, the 29 year old Clough was quickly recaptured and confined to the Death Cell on the upper floor of the prison. A brochure given out at the museum describes the maximum security cell this way:
The “dungeon”, or maximum-security cell, was in the center of the top floor. That location was carefully chosen to prevent escape by digging, to minimize communication with criminals in the cell blocks, and to ensure constant surveillance by guards making rounds. This was the only cell without a fireplace. It is flanked by niches for guards or visitors and has one very high, very small window and an iron ring in the center of the floor to which the prisoner could be chained. As one might expect, tradition states that this cell is haunted.
Policy of the time was to chain the condemned to a ring on the floor, naked. Accordingly, Joel’s spirit has been heard moaning and languishing there, and electro-magnetic indicators (used in ghost hunting) routinely register a “hit.” The Death Cell, complete with its metal ring, and all the “accommodations” at the prison, welcome inspection, and in many cases prisoner graffiti has been preserved on the walls.
The Prison now is a Historic Landmark and a nice museum, a fascinating place to learn about prison life. It still holds a few entities who don’t want to leave. This became evident when in 1999 renovation work began on the run-down building, in order to create this museum for the public.
The Prison now is a Historic Landmark and a nice museum. It still holds a few entities who choose to stay here. There is much psychic research done to support this haunting of the old prison. Thanks the North and South Jersey Paranormal Research groups. In a joint effort, they investigated this prison with video, photos, EVP equipment and came up with some interesting results.
During the renovation work, workmen experienced some paranormal activities.
They were treated to loud noises, voices and screams from their new friends – The entities who stayed behind.
The workers would find their tools missing and later found on another floor or other location much later in the day.
Because the workers were uneasy being the last ones in the building, they started to leave early, prompting the officials to call in the South Jersey Ghost Research team to confirm or deny the claims of the now scared workers, in order to ease their minds. Dave Juliano of theShadowlands.net was in on these early investigations and saw first hand evidence. This was the first of several investigations.
An apparition was seen in the shower area, and a foot print in the dust was found there as well.
The Maximum Security Cell – Haunted by entity or entities who spent their last nights here before being hanged. David Juliano observed with his team that a stretcher next to the maximum security cell moved by itself, and that the movement sensors were set off by a force in the cell itself.
Susan Bove (SJPR) meditates in the “Death Row” cell while two orbs move past.
The gallows which are on display are haunted by the condemned. Possible candidates may include convicted murderers Rufus Johnson and George Small, as well as others who were executed here.
Got to love old prisons and asylums! And speaking of asylums… We don't have one...I know I know, but all of the reportedly haunted asylums that sounded awesome to us have been demolished, and honestly… What's the point then?
Here's some quick guys for you guys since there's so many things we could cover:
Probably one of the more popular urban legends, the Atco Ghost is said to appear when drivers honk three times on Burnt Mill Road in the Pine Barrens. Legend has it that the ghost boy haunts the site where he was struck by a drunk driver.
The Hindenburg disaster occurred on May 6, 1937, in Manchester Township. The German passenger airship LZ 129 Hindenburg caught fire and was destroyed during its attempt to dock with its mooring mast at Naval Air Station Lakehurst. On board were 97 people; there were 36 fatalities. Though the disaster took place 77 years ago, some say that reverberations of the tragic event, of a paranormal nature, can still be felt around the Lakehurst Naval Base to this day––especially in Hangar No. 1.
Ok so there you have some of the creepy things we could find in Jersey. Honestly there's a fucking ton more, but… we saved the craziest,creepiest, and possibly the most tragic story we could find for last. Mad science, murder, and a lasting presence in new Jersey, make this the craziest story you may have ever heard. It goes like this:
Rumors had started circulating around the creepy plain building in Hudson county in New Jersey. It sat by itself and seemingly none ever went in or came out. No one knew who owned it or what it purpose was. That is until a mysterious fire gutted the building one night in 1974. After the fire was put out investigators quickly depot in and started to gather what was left and sweep it away without letting anyone see what was there. However, they were not as through as they thought and left behind some interesting evidence that was find by curious townsfolk checking out the site after the fire. As much as could be piecedd together goes like this. Apparently the government owned the building. After WW2 the government brought over Nazi scientists with operation paperclip. Well it looks like this building in Jersey played host to several of the worst. The files showed the scientist were working on some sort of biological weapon and also animal experimentation to train small animals to be weapons. They experimented with mice, rats, possums, raccoons, squirrels, moles, groundhogs, and other small animals trying to find ways to train them to deliver explosives and other biological weapons. When the fire started there were many animals that escaped. Most of them were near death due to mistreatment. But a local family stumbled across possibly the most disturbing pair of animals to have been tested on and experimented with. These two animals, a male and female raccoon, showed many disturbing characteristics that trains should not have. They acted almost human like and communicated with a series of sounds that seemed like their own sort of language. They had very little fur left except on their heads. The couple put it done food for them and the raccoons are the food and then took off. Nobody else saw these two raccoons but there's compelling and creepy evidence that they existed. Wandering the streets of Jersey today you may find yourself in some unsavory places. Within these unsavory places is where you can find the evidence of these raccoons existence. While you may run into many normal raccoons, you may also run into raccoons that are essentially… Human. They walk, talk and wear leather jackets. They are tough and will not hesitate to cut you as many of them carry switchblades. They generally have bad attitudes but have been known on occasion to help you out if you are being threatened by someone from the family Pepitone. These raccoons are said to be the direct descendants of the two raccoons that escaped from that burning building so many years ago. So when you're in Jersey the takes warn to beware the raccoons!
Well there you have it, our first installment of creepy Jersey! There will be another at someone as we've found so many cool creep places and things in Jersey. Because if its age and location there's a ton of really cool historical places there and events that took place there. We recommend checking out the history of the state. While it may have a reputation as being the garbage dump of the United States, there's actually alot to love, especially if you like creepy and haunted…. And raccoons!