Haunted Places in New Jersey: Exploring the State’s Spookiest Locations

  • By: Timothy Rose
  • Date: 7 December 2023
  • Time to read: 16 min.

I always found flying out of Newark very scary, but not just because of the airport’s bustling chaos. New Jersey, known for its vibrant boardwalks and rich history, also harbors a hidden world of spooky locations and ghostly legends. This guide to the state’s most haunted places unveils a side of New Jersey that chills the spine and quickens the pulse. The infamous Clinton Road, shrouded in eerie tales of phantom vehicles and strange creatures, offers a drive into the unknown. Then there’s the historic Burlington County Prison, where the spirits of former inmates are said to linger in its abandoned cells.

The Devil’s Tree in Bernards Township is another chilling site, with its dark history and unsettling aura. In Cape May, one of America’s oldest seaside resorts, Victorian mansions and hotels like the Southern Mansion whisper stories of the past, their elegant facades hiding spectral residents. The Essex County Hospital Center, an abandoned asylum, echoes with the memories of its troubled history, drawing those who dare to explore its decaying halls.

New Jersey’s haunted lore extends to its theaters and lighthouses too. The Union County Courthouse and the Proprietary House in Perth Amboy, each with their own ghostly encounters, add to the state’s eerie atmosphere. Exploring these haunted places in New Jersey isn’t just about the thrill; it’s a journey through the shadowy corners of the Garden State’s past, where every creaking floorboard and rustling leaf tells a story waiting to be discovered.

The History of Hauntings in New Jersey

New Jersey is a state steeped in history, and with that history comes a plethora of ghost stories and haunted places. From the Pine Barrens to the Jersey Shore, there are countless tales of spirits and supernatural occurrences.

One of the most well-known legends in New Jersey is that of the Jersey Devil. According to the legend, the Jersey Devil is a creature with the body of a kangaroo, the head of a goat, bat-like wings, and a forked tail. The creature is said to have been born to a woman named Mother Leeds in 1735, and has been terrorizing the Pine Barrens ever since. While there have been numerous sightings of the Jersey Devil over the years, no one has ever been able to capture or prove its existence.

Another famous haunted location in New Jersey is the Spy House, also known as the Seabrook-Wilson House. Built in 1663 in Port Monmouth, the Spy House has a long history of supernatural activity. It is said to be haunted by the ghost of a British soldier who was killed during the Revolutionary War, as well as several other spirits. Visitors to the house have reported hearing footsteps, seeing apparitions, and feeling cold spots.

Devil’s Tower in Alpine is another popular haunted location in New Jersey. Built in 1910 by millionaire sugar importer Manuel Rionda, the tower was originally known as Rio Vista and was dedicated to Rionda’s wife, Harriet. The tower is said to be haunted by the ghost of Harriet Rionda, who has been seen walking the grounds and peering out of the tower’s windows.

These are just a few examples of the many haunted places in New Jersey. Whether you believe in ghosts or not, the state’s rich history and abundance of ghost stories make it a fascinating place to explore.

Famous Haunted Locations

New Jersey has many famous haunted locations that have been the subject of numerous paranormal investigations. Here are some of the most well-known:

The Devil’s Tower of Alpine, New Jersey

Nestled in the affluent town of Alpine, New Jersey, the Devil’s Tower stands as a testament to both luxury and mystery. Built by a wealthy businessman named Manuel Rionda in the early 20th century, it was intended as a romantic gesture. Rionda wanted his wife to enjoy the view of New York City from the tower’s heights. However, local whispers suggest a darker tale. Legend says that Mrs. Rionda caught a glimpse of her husband with another woman from the tower. Heartbroken, she threw herself from its top, ending her life in a tragic fall.

The tower, now abandoned, is said to be haunted by Mrs. Rionda’s restless spirit. Late-night visitors have reported seeing a ghostly figure of a woman near the tower, her mournful cries echoing in the wind. Others have felt cold spots and sudden gusts of wind, even on the calmest nights. Some brave souls who’ve dared to circle the tower backward three times claim to have seen her apparition appear, forever searching for her unfaithful husband.

Today, the Devil’s Tower stands as a chilling reminder of love, betrayal, and the supernatural. While many visit to admire its architecture or the view it offers, others come hoping for a glimpse of the paranormal. Whether you believe in the tales or not, one thing is certain: the tower holds a magnetic allure, drawing both the curious and the brave to its shadowed embrace.

Stephen Crane House, Asbury Park

In the vibrant town of Asbury Park, New Jersey, the Stephen Crane House stands as a testament to the life and times of one of America’s literary giants. Once the childhood home of the renowned author Stephen Crane, best known for his Civil War novel “The Red Badge of Courage,” this historic residence has seen more than just the ebb and flow of time. Alongside its rich literary history, whispers of the supernatural have woven their way into the fabric of the house, making it a place of intrigue and mystery.

Stephen Crane House

Visitors and caretakers of the house have often spoken of unexplained occurrences. Soft footsteps echoing in empty rooms, the faint rustle of pages turning as if by an unseen hand, and even fleeting glimpses of a young man resembling Crane have been reported. Some believe that the spirit of the author lingers in his former home, perhaps still crafting stories or revisiting memories from his formative years.

Proprietary House

In the heart of Perth Amboy, New Jersey, stands the Proprietary House, the last remaining colonial governor’s mansion. Constructed in the 1760s, it was home to the Royal Governor of New Jersey, William Franklin, son of the famed Benjamin Franklin. While its walls have witnessed countless historical events, they also hold secrets of a more spectral nature. Local tales suggest that the mansion is not just a relic of the past, but a dwelling for spirits who’ve never left.

Over the years, visitors and staff have reported numerous paranormal encounters. Soft footsteps echo in empty hallways, doors creak open on their own, and ghostly figures drift through rooms, only to vanish when approached. The most famous apparition is believed to be that of a woman, often seen gazing out of a window. Some say she’s the spirit of a heartbroken lady who once lived in the mansion, waiting eternally for a lover who never returned from war.

Today, the Proprietary House serves not only as a historical landmark but also as a hotspot for ghost enthusiasts and curious visitors. Guided tours offer a glimpse into its rich history, while nighttime ghost hunts promise a chance to encounter its otherworldly residents. Whether drawn by its historical significance or the allure of the unknown, the Proprietary House remains a testament to Perth Amboy’s vibrant past, where history and legend intertwine.

Seabrook-Wilson House

Overlooking the scenic Raritan Bay in Port Monmouth, New Jersey, the Seabrook-Wilson House stands as a silent witness to centuries of history. Also known as the “Spy House,” it’s one of the oldest surviving houses in the region, dating back to the early 1700s. While its walls have seen the ebb and flow of time, they also harbor tales of ghostly residents who’ve never truly departed.

Seabrook-Wilson House
Seabrook-Wilson House

The house’s long history is rife with stories of espionage, pirates, and Revolutionary War activities. But it’s the tales of the supernatural that have truly captured imaginations. Visitors often speak of encounters with apparitions, including the spirits of children playing in the rooms and a woman in white roaming the hallways. The most chilling account is of a sea captain, believed to be Captain Morgan, who appears at windows, gazing out at the bay, perhaps waiting for a ship that will never come.

Today, the Seabrook-Wilson House is not just a historical site but a beacon for those intrigued by the paranormal. Tours of the house delve into its storied past, while ghost hunts offer thrill-seekers a chance to experience its spectral side. As the sun sets and the shadows of the Seabrook-Wilson House lengthen, one can’t help but feel the weight of its history and the lingering presence of those who once called it home.

Shippen Manor, Oxford

Tucked away in the historic town of Oxford, New Jersey, stands the stately Shippen Manor. Built in the mid-18th century by the Shippen brothers, prominent ironmasters of their time, this Georgian-style mansion has seen the rise and fall of industries, the ebb and flow of families, and, as some claim, the lingering spirits of those who once called it home.

The manor’s rich history is intertwined with tales of the supernatural. Soft footsteps on wooden floors, the distant sound of laughter from empty rooms, and the fleeting sight of figures in period clothing have all been recounted by visitors. The most prominent spirit is believed to be that of a woman, often seen gazing out of a window or wandering the gardens. Some say she’s a former resident, forever attached to the home she loved, while others believe she’s searching for someone she lost long ago.

Today, Shippen Manor stands as a testament to Oxford’s colonial past and its spectral mysteries. While many visit to immerse themselves in its historical significance, others are drawn by the allure of its ghostly tales. Guided tours offer a deep dive into the manor’s history, its architecture, and its place in the region’s industrial past. But as night falls and the shadows grow longer, the line between the living and the dead blurs, making a visit to Shippen Manor an experience that resonates with both the past and the present.

Princeton University

Nestled in the heart of New Jersey, Princeton University stands as an emblem of academic excellence and historic grandeur. Founded in 1746, its ivy-clad buildings and sprawling campus have been the backdrop for countless scholarly achievements, notable alumni, and, as some whisper, a few spectral residents who’ve never truly departed.

Princeton University - Credit Yakinodi
Princeton University – Credit Yakinodi

The university’s tales of the paranormal are as varied as its academic disciplines. One of the most famous legends revolves around the spirit of Aaron Burr Jr., the university’s third president and the man infamous for his duel with Alexander Hamilton. It’s said that on certain nights, Burr’s ghost can be seen wandering Nassau Hall, perhaps reflecting on his tumultuous life and tragic end. Another tale speaks of the spirit of a former student who roams the Holder Hall cloister, playing his harmonica, the notes echoing eerily in the stillness.

Today, Princeton University remains a beacon of learning and discovery, drawing students from around the world. But as they walk the paths once trodden by great minds of the past, some can’t shake the feeling that they’re not alone. Whether it’s the weight of history or the whispers of ghosts, a stroll through Princeton’s campus promises an experience that’s both intellectually stimulating and tinged with mystery. After all, in a place so rich in history, who’s to say the past doesn’t occasionally come alive?

The Proprietary House, Perth Amboy

In the bustling heart of Perth Amboy, New Jersey, the Proprietary House stands as a grand reminder of the state’s colonial past. As the only remaining colonial governor’s mansion, its walls have witnessed pivotal moments in history, from political gatherings to lavish social affairs. But beyond its historical significance, the house is also said to be home to spirits from eras gone by, making it a focal point for tales of the supernatural.

The mansion’s most renowned ghostly resident is believed to be a former governor. Visitors and staff have recounted seeing a figure resembling him, pacing the halls or standing by windows, lost in thought. Whispers in the dark, cold spots in rooms that should be warm, and the soft rustle of fabric from unseen sources have all added to the mansion’s haunted reputation. Some even claim to have seen the apparition of a woman, believed to be a servant from the 18th century, going about her duties as if time had never moved on.

Today, the Proprietary House serves as both a historical landmark and a hub for those intrigued by the paranormal. While daytime tours delve into its rich history and architectural beauty, nighttime ghost hunts offer a chance to connect with its otherworldly residents. Whether you’re a history enthusiast or someone seeking a brush with the unknown, the Proprietary House promises an experience that bridges the gap between the past and the present, the living and the departed.

These are just a few of the many haunted locations in New Jersey. Whether you’re a believer in the paranormal or not, these sites are sure to give you a chill.

Haunted Hotels in New Jersey

New Jersey is home to some of the most haunted hotels in the country. These hotels have attracted ghost hunters and paranormal enthusiasts from all over the world. In this section, we will explore two of the most haunted hotels in New Jersey: Hotel Macomber and Southern Mansion.

Hotel Macomber

In the picturesque seaside town of Cape May, New Jersey, the Hotel Macomber stands tall with its grand architecture and sweeping ocean views. Built in 1911, this historic hotel has welcomed countless guests over the years, offering them a blend of luxury and charm. But some believe that a few guests have checked in and never truly checked out, leaving behind echoes of their presence in the form of ghostly apparitions and unexplained phenomena.

Guests and staff alike have reported a myriad of mysterious happenings within the hotel’s walls. Whispers in empty rooms, lights flickering without reason, and the soft sound of footsteps in deserted hallways have all been recounted. The most talked-about spirit is that of a woman, believed to have been a guest in the early 1900s. She’s often seen wandering the hallways in a period dress, seemingly lost in her own world. Some say she’s searching for a lost love, while others believe she’s simply reliving moments from her stay.

Today, the Hotel Macomber remains a beloved destination for both vacationers and ghost hunters. While many come for its historic charm and seaside location, others are drawn by the allure of its paranormal tales. Whether you’re seeking a relaxing getaway or a brush with the unknown, the Hotel Macomber promises an experience that’s both memorable and, for some, a tad mysterious.

Southern Mansion

Nestled amidst the Victorian splendor of Cape May, New Jersey, the Southern Mansion stands out as a beacon of opulence and history. Built in 1863 by the wealthy industrialist George Allen, this grand estate has seen its fair share of lavish parties, family gatherings, and, as some claim, otherworldly visitors who’ve lingered long after their earthly departures.

The mansion’s most famous spectral resident is said to be Ester Mercur, a niece of George Allen. Ester lived and breathed the mansion, cherishing every corner of her opulent home. It’s believed that her deep attachment to the place didn’t end with her passing in the early 20th century. Guests and staff have reported seeing a woman resembling Ester, wandering the halls, tending to the gardens, or sometimes just gazing out of a window, lost in thought. Her soft humming, reminiscent of a bygone era, has been heard in the quiet corners of the mansion, adding to the air of mystery.

Today, the Southern Mansion serves as a bed and breakfast, offering guests a luxurious step back in time. Alongside its historical charm, the tales of Ester and other spirits add a layer of intrigue to one’s stay. Whether you’re a history buff, a lover of architecture, or someone seeking a brush with the paranormal, the Southern Mansion promises an experience that intertwines the elegance of the past with the whispers of those who’ve never truly left.

In conclusion, Hotel Macomber and Southern Mansion are two of the most haunted hotels in New Jersey. They have attracted many ghost hunters and paranormal enthusiasts over the years. If you are looking for a spooky experience, these hotels are definitely worth a visit.

Ghostly Encounters in New Jersey’s Cemeteries

New Jersey is home to many haunted cemeteries where visitors have reported ghostly encounters. Some of the most well-known haunted cemeteries in the state are Greenwood Cemetery and Riverview Cemetery.

Greenwood Cemetery

In the heart of New Jersey, the sprawling grounds of Greenwood Cemetery offer a serene final resting place for many souls. Established in the 19th century, this historic cemetery is a tapestry of ornate tombstones, ancient trees, and stories that span generations. While it’s a place of remembrance and respect, many believe that some of its residents are not entirely at rest, making their presence known in subtle and sometimes not-so-subtle ways.

Greenwood Cemetery - Credit scottnj
Greenwood Cemetery – Credit scottnj

Visitors to the cemetery have recounted numerous eerie encounters. Soft whispers in the wind, the fleeting touch of an unseen hand, and shadowy figures that vanish upon a second glance are just a few of the tales shared. One of the most talked-about spirits is that of a young girl, often seen near the older sections of the cemetery. She’s been spotted playing hide and seek behind tombstones or sometimes just sitting, her gaze fixed on the horizon, as if waiting for someone long gone.

Today, Greenwood Cemetery remains not only a place of history and reflection but also a hotspot for those intrigued by the paranormal. While many come to pay their respects or delve into genealogical research, others are drawn by the allure of its ghostly tales. As the sun sets and the shadows of the tombstones lengthen, the line between the past and the present blurs, reminding visitors that in places like Greenwood, history is alive, and sometimes, it even whispers.

Riverview Cemetery

Riverview Cemetery is located in Trenton and is known for its beautiful views of the Delaware River. However, it is also known to be haunted by several spirits.

One of the most famous ghost stories associated with Riverview Cemetery is that of a woman who was buried alive. According to the legend, the woman was mistakenly pronounced dead and was buried alive. Her ghost is said to haunt the cemetery, and visitors have reported hearing her screams and seeing her ghostly figure.

Riverview Cemetery
Riverview Cemetery

Other ghostly encounters reported at Riverview Cemetery include the sound of footsteps and the feeling of being watched. Some visitors have also reported seeing apparitions of soldiers and hearing the sound of gunfire.

Overall, New Jersey’s haunted cemeteries offer a unique and eerie experience for those who are brave enough to visit. Whether you believe in ghosts or not, these cemeteries are sure to send shivers down your spine.

Haunted Roads and Bridges

New Jersey is home to some of the most haunted roads and bridges in the United States. These eerie places have been the subject of countless ghost stories and legends for decades. Here are two of the most notorious haunted roads in New Jersey.

Clinton Road

Winding through the dense forests of New Jersey’s Passaic County, Clinton Road has earned a reputation that’s far from ordinary. Stretching for about 10 miles, this seemingly innocuous stretch of asphalt has become the stuff of legends, with tales of ghostly apparitions, mysterious creatures, and unexplained phenomena that have both intrigued and terrified locals and visitors alike for decades.

The road’s most infamous tale revolves around the ghostly presence of a young boy. Legend has it that near a certain bridge, if you toss a coin into the water below at midnight, the boy’s spirit will toss it back. Some say he’s the spirit of a child who tragically lost his life there, while others believe it’s just a tale spun from the depths of imagination. But the boy isn’t the only specter said to haunt the road. Phantom trucks that chase unsuspecting drivers, only to vanish into thin air, and eerie gatherings around the remnants of Druidic temples in the surrounding woods add layers to the road’s haunted lore.

Today, Clinton Road is a magnet for thrill-seekers, ghost hunters, and the simply curious. While many venture there for a taste of the supernatural, others are drawn by the road’s natural beauty, which stands in stark contrast to its dark legends. Whether you’re a skeptic or a believer, one thing is certain: a drive down Clinton Road is an experience that lingers, long after the journey ends.

Frequently Asked Questions

What are some of the most haunted places in New Jersey?

New Jersey is home to several haunted places, including Devil’s Tower in Alpine, The Spy House in Port Monmouth, and Shippen Manor in Oxford. Other notable haunted places include Burlington County Prison Museum, The Proprietary House in Perth Amboy, and The Pine Barrens.

Are there any ghost tours available in New Jersey?

Yes, there are several ghost tours available in New Jersey. Ghosts of New Jersey offers tours in several towns, including Princeton, Red Bank, and Cape May. The Ghost Tour of Ocean City takes visitors on a walking tour of the city’s most haunted locations.

What is the history behind the hauntings in New Jersey?

The hauntings in New Jersey are often associated with tragic events, such as murders, accidents, and suicides. Some of the hauntings are also linked to historical events, such as the Revolutionary War and the Civil War.

Have there been any reported sightings or experiences at these haunted places?

Yes, there have been several reported sightings and experiences at these haunted places. Visitors have reported seeing apparitions, hearing unexplained noises, and feeling cold spots. Some visitors have even reported being touched or pushed by unseen forces.

Are there any famous ghost stories associated with New Jersey?

Yes, there are several famous ghost stories associated with New Jersey. One of the most famous is the story of the Jersey Devil, a creature said to inhabit the Pine Barrens. Other famous ghost stories include the ghost of Aaron Burr at The Hermitage in Ho-Ho-Kus and the ghost of a Revolutionary War soldier at The Proprietary House in Perth Amboy.

What precautions should be taken when visiting haunted places in New Jersey?

When visiting haunted places in New Jersey, it is important to respect the property and the spirits that may be present. Visitors should never trespass or damage property. It is also important to be aware of the surroundings and to avoid going alone at night. Visitors should also be respectful of any paranormal activity and should not provoke or challenge any spirits that may be present.

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