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The Scares in Your State

The Most Haunted Places in New Jersey


Scares in Your State 1It is that time of year again. The days are shorter, the nights are cooler, and tales of ghost stories and hauntings are sought out by many.

The ghosts of the dead can make their presence known by running us off the road, or giving us a glimpse of them. We might hear their footsteps and find that objects were moved when we were not looking. Maybe it was just your imagination, or maybe it was the ghosts of the dead reaching out to you.

New Jersey hosts one of the most haunted roads in the United States, a ghostly colonial manor, and has its own homegrown tales of terror.

Some people believe in ghosts and some do not, but one can go to these haunted places and find out for themselves if they are a true believer.

One of the most haunted roads in America is located in West Milford. With a history of unexplained phenomena, Clinton Road is a 10-mile stretch of road surrounded by woods. “There’s a lot of strange activity here on Clinton Road,” Mark Johnson of New Jersey Paranormal Research said. “Many people have had accidents here and some people have died.”

The phantom truck whose headlights appear out of nowhere is known to chase unsuspecting drivers late at night. “It drives erratically, it tailgates, and it tries to force you off the road,” Johnson said.

An unidentified man featured on “Most Terrifying Places in America 2” talked about his experience with the phantom truck. One night, he was traveling on Clinton Road when a truck’s headlights appeared in his rearview mirror.

The speeding truck raced up behind him, causing him to try and out run the menacing headlights. As he came up on dead man’s curve, the most dangerous turn, he barely managed to keep the car on the road as the woman in the backseat of his car was screaming in fear. The phantom headlights suddenly disappeared as the driver reached the main highway.

Among rumors of witchcraft and satanic cults, it was also known as a dump site for corpses. The “Iceman” was a mob hit-man and serial killer who would dispose of his victims on Clinton Road, Johnson said. He admitted to killing over 100 victims. The “Iceman” was known to freeze his victims before leaving them to rot alongside Clinton Road.

On the northern border of New J ersey, there is one haunted house that needs no actors or decorations. Ringwood Manor’s history goes back to the era of the flourishing iron ore industry and its ghosts are still among us. In 1764, a German iron master, Peter Hasenclever, moved to Ringwood and brought in more than 500 German workers to mine and forge the metal, according to the book “Haunted New Jersey.”

He lived a lavish lifestyle, spending the money earned instead of paying dividends to his London investors. He eventually went bankrupt and is said to haunt the Ringwood Manor. People have seen him dressed in his 18th-century attire, trying to invite people to one of his fabulous parties.

Hasenclever is not the only ghost haunting Ringwood Manor. Robert Erskine took over the property in 1771. A mining engineer, his iron production supplied cannons and cannonballs to troops during the American Revolution. Erskine also played a vital role as George Washington’s mapmaker and geographer, and created over 200 maps that Washington used to plot his troops’ movements. Erskine died at a young age and is buried in a tomb near the Manor.

Scares in Your State 2“It is said that his ghost walks the grounds, checking on the ruins and buildings of what was once part of America’s industrial war machine,” according to “Haunted New Jersey.” Erskine’s ghost also roams the Manor’s hallways and rooms during the night.

The 78-room Manor is also haunted by the ghosts of French soldiers who died from a disease epidemic, miners who met an untimely death, and a housemaid who frequents the second-floor bedroom she previously occupied, according to the book. The Ringwood Manor holds free tours year round and an “Enchanted Evening Tour” during the Halloween season.

Local folklore is sometimes taken very seriously by town residents. The Old Canal Inn in Nutley has what is named the “death seat.” The story goes that two men dropped dead while sitting on the same bar stool, according to the Shadowlands Web site.

The new owners now chained off the seat deterring anyone from sitting there.

If students are interested in visiting a real haunted building, look no further than the Library or Wilson Hall. The library’s previous owners, Murry and Leonie Guggenheim, are said to still haunt the historic structure. Late at night, security has reported hearing strange noises, loud bangs, and lights turning on and off by themselves, according to the documentary, “Shadows of Shadow Lawn.” There has also been a sighting of Leonie ascending the staircase only to quickly vanish into thin air. The documentary shows a statue of Leonie on the grounds, and during film editing, revealed the facial expression of the statue changed slightly. When the editors zoomed in, it showed the eyes appear to blink and the lips seemed to smile.

In Wilson Hall, people have reported hearing organ sounds, even though the resident instrument has not been operational for several years, according to the documentary.

The women working in the event planning office sometimes feel a cold chill and spiritual presence when planning a big event at Wilson Hall. They think Maysie Parsons, who lived there with her husband Hubert, is visiting them.

PHOTO COURTESY of ghosthuntingphantomsociety13.blogspot.com

PHOTO COURTESY of ringwoodmanor.com

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