New Jersey is a spectacular state with endless beauty to enjoy. From our stunning parks to breathtaking beaches, there is no shortage of wonderful places to explore in the Garden State. Still, we have a spookier side. Murder, mayhem, madness – they can all be found in the following terrifying places.
We’re aware that these uncertain times are limiting many aspects of life as we all practice social and physical distancing. While we’re continuing to feature destinations that make our state wonderful, we don’t expect or encourage you to go check them out immediately. We believe that supporting local attractions is important now more than ever and we hope our articles inspire your future adventures! And on that note, please nominate your favorite local business that could use some love right now:
1. Stephen Crane House, Asbury Park
The former home of writer Stephen Crane, this historic property has been featured on Ghost Hunters. Legend has it that Scotch can't be kept here - the contents of every bottle mysteriously vanish... even while remaining sealed. The home is listed on the National Register of Historic Places and is currently undergoing restoration efforts.
2. Shades of Death Road, Warren County
The name alone is enough to give you nightmares. Pleasant enough during the day, the seclusion in the evening hours is quite eerie. Stories of murder along this road date back centuries, from the hanging of Native Americans to stagecoach robberies gone wrong.
3. Trenton Psychiatric Hospital, Trenton
Though many old asylums in New Jersey have been demolished, Trenton Psych still stands, and parts of the building are in use to this day. The institution has a dark past filled with tales of torture and terror. The hospital's director, Dr. Henry Cotton, believed that removing organs could cure mental illness. He would often perform treatments with anesthesia. Dozens of patients (or more) died while under his care.
4. Lambertville High School, Lambertville
Though the building was demolished in 2012, several spirits may still linger on. The legend goes like this - A Thanksgiving day tradition led to tragedy in 1935. A young boy's neck was broken after a rough tackle and he died instantly. When the school was abandoned several decades later, local gangs of greasers took to the property as a hangout spot.
Drunk and rowdy, several teens began joking about the dead boy, and decided to challenge him. Two of the teens were dead before the night was over. While the story may or may not be true, many who visited the property reported chills, cold spots and a general feeling of unease.
5. Devil's Tree, Bernards Township
Some say this tree was used for lynchings, others say that a man hanged himself here after killing his family. Believed to be cursed, legend has it that those who disrespect or deface the tree will face impending disaster. It is also said that the tree is warm to the touch year-round, and snow melts instantly around it.
6. Old Tennent Cemetery, Manalapan
The grounds and surrounding area were the site of the Battle of Monmouth. Hundreds died and many remain, should you believe the stories. Legend has it that you can still find blood stained pews in the church, which was used as a makeshift hospital. Others say you can hear faint screams at night and the smell of gunpowder lingers in the breeze.
7. Gates Of Hell, Clifton
Gates of Hell or not, this place will give you nightmares. Generally creepy, it is a dangerous spot that floods rapidly and is often accompanied by a foul odor. Legends surrounding the spot include sightings of animal bones from sacrifices, strange whispers in the darkness, secret rooms and, of course, an actual portal to hell.
8. The Pine Barrens, Southern New Jersey
The massive stretch of wilderness covers seven counties in South Jersey and is certainly one of the most beautiful places in the state. Still, it has a dark side. Besides the real threat of a forest fire (recent reports show that a fire in the Pine Barrens could lead to one of the biggest fire-related disasters in history), the secluded area can be quite chilling at night and is said to be the stomping grounds of the Jersey Devil.
9. Clinton Road, Passaic County
Many have called this the most haunted road in America, and it's not hard to understand why. Supernatural stories surrounding the stretch of road include devil worshipers, witches, ghosts and unearthly beasts. Most chilling is the tale of a real body found on the side of the road - a victim of mob hitman Richard "Iceman" Kuklinski.
10. Burlington County Prison, Mount Holly
With years of executions and a murder within its walls, this haunted museum even has a body buried on the property. The basement and "death cell" (where prisoners spent their last days) are said to be the most chilling spots. Construction workers at the site reported missing tools, disembodied screams and a feeling of being watched.
11. Devil's Tower, Alpine
This magnificent tower is hidden away in one of the wealthiest New Jersey neighborhoods. Built by Manuel Rionda, a plantation owner who moved north after making his fortune, the purpose of the tower was purportedly to give his wife a panoramic view of New York City. Legend says that she was looking out from a tower window when she saw her husband with another woman. Distraught, she jumped to her death. When construction workers attempted to demolish the tower, there were several fall-related fatalities and so the tower still remains. Some report strange noises and screams coming from the tower and a ghostly apparition should you circle the tower 6 times.
12. Proprietary House, Perth Amboy
Now a museum, the Proprietary House was the former home of William Franklin, New Jersey's last Royal Governor. He was also the illegitimate son of Benjamin Franklin. Completed in 1764, some say Revolutionary War soldiers haunt the grounds, along with a little ghost boy. Invested by paranormal researchers, strange readings have been found numerous times, along with reports of feeling a ghostly presence grab at guests necks.
This is just a selection of New Jersey’s haunted places, we have so many more. Have you visited any of these locations? What other truly terrifying New Jersey haunts would you add to this list?