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Haunted Places and Centers of Paranormal Active:
New Jersey

 

Absecon Lighthouse, Atlantic City

Asbecon Light House Atlantic City

A Brief History: Located at 31 South Rhode Island Avenue in Atlantic City, the Absecon Lighthouse stands as the tallest lighthouse in New Jersey at 171 feet. In April of 1854, the Powhatan crashed just off the coast, with over 300 lives lost. For this and many other wreckages, the inlet was nick named “Graveyard Inlet”. Construction on the lighthouse began in 1855 after Jonathan Pitney petitioned for it to be built to help promote his new home, Absecon Island, and prevent any other wreckages. Pitney originally petitioned the government for the lighthouse in 1837, and was approved for $5,000.00. The lighthouse was then deemed unnecessary, thus construction never began. In 1854, after several attempts of attracting more people to the Absecon area, Pitney’s proposal for the lighthouse was finally approved for $35,000. For this, and many other contributions, Pitney is considered to be the father of Atlantic City. Used as a guide for ships in the Absecon inlet, the lighthouse was lit for the first time on January 15th 1857. The Absecon Lighthouse still stands today as the third tallest masonry lighthouse in the entire United States.

Haunted History: It is said that reports of paranormal activity in the lighthouse date back to 1905, when a keeper made the claim of seeing the Jersey Devil atop the tower. For those who do not know, the Jersey Devil is a legendary creature said to inhabit the Pine Barrens in Southern New Jersey. The creature is said to be a two legged flying creature, sometimes depicted with the head of a goat. It is also believed that several deaths took place here, perhaps provoking such paranormal activity as footsteps, apparitions, even doors opening and closing. Today, the lighthouse has been known to host Ghost Investigations with real paranormal equipment open to the public at a cost around $45.00 per person.


Congress Hall, Cape May

Congress Hall

A Brief History: Located at 200 Congress Place Cape May New Jersey. In 1816 a simple boarding house opened in Cape May New Jersey. It was called the “The Big House” and was owned by Thomas H. Hughes. The Cape May residents never thought that the house would be a success and they nicknamed it “Tommy’s Folly.” The house was a simple set up albeit large. There were times when supplies were sparse. This did not stop the visitors from coming and packing out the house. In 1828 Hughes was elected to Congress, this is when the name changed to “Congress Hall.”

By the middle of the 19th Century Congress Hall doubled in size, but in 1878 the building was destroyed by a fire that devastated 38 acres of Cape May’s Seafront. By 1879 the hotel was rebuilt this time with brick. Cape May and the hotel were so popular that several presidents vacationed there including; Ulysses S. Grant, Franklin Pierce and James Buchanan. President Benjamin Harrison made Congress Hall his summer White House. Famous composer John Philip Sousa played at the hotel regularly. He liked the hotel so much that he composed a march called “Congress Hall March.”

The hotel took a dive from 1905 to the 1920’s. The owner at the time Annie Knight convinced the city council to repave the roads around the hotel and it opened once more in the early 1920’s. Congress Hall went on to open the first post-Prohibition cocktail bar in 1934. The present owners purchased the building in 1995 with hopes to return Congress Hall to its former glory.

Haunted History: During the renovation there was a bit of paranormal activity. Most of the things experienced were residual hauntings. There was an EVP recorded that said “Don't hurt Schmiddy.” The boilers in the hotel are Schmid brand. Some say that the EVP may have been a maintenance worker.


Fairthorne Cottage, Cape May

Fairthorne Cottage

A Brief History: Located at 115 Ocean Street Cape May New Jersey, the Fairthorne Cottage is a Classic Victorian home built in 1892 by a whaling captain and was once used as a bed and breakfast. In 2014, the owners retired and sold the cottage where instead of an inn, it is now used as a full house rental. It is a three-story building equipped with luxury features, and has nine guest rooms. The price to rent out the house for a week’s stay can average up to $7,000.

Haunted History: Cape May is known as America’s oldest seaside resort, and with these old architectures comes ghosts. Visitors of this cottage have experienced cold spots, feelings of being watched, and seeing shadow people.


Greystone Park Psychiatric Hospital, Morris Plains

Greystone Psychiatric Hospital

A Brief History: To this day the land of which, Greystone Psychiatric Hospital once remained, is located on 59 Koch Avenue, in Morris Plains New Jersey. In the summer of 1876, on August 17th, the hospital’s construction was completed following the architectural plans of Samuel Sloan. He wanted the hospital to be built structurally according to the “Kirkbride Plan” which was a specific hospital design that originated from Thomas Story Kirkbride. Greystone had both male and female wards in the main building, as well as, a place of residence for the hospital employees. Greystone psychiatric practiced treatments of hydrotherapy, electrotherapy, insulin therapy, and lobotomies. The doors officially opened for service in 1877.

The capacity was meant to hold 500 patients, but in 1895, it was recorded that there were 325 patients more than the allowed limit. Over the next few years, the hospital contained over 1500 patients in 1903, 4,886 patients in 1935, and 7,674 patients had peaked the population of Greystone in 1953. The overcrowding caused typhoid fever, and the water supply was said to be the main source for the spread of the disease. Multiple fires also occurred at Greystone, one took place in 1907, in which the cottages had a major fire, and in 1929 to 1930, the main building had suffered from over three fires.

Greystone Psychiatric Hospital began closing buildings in the year of 1975. The first to go was the Clinic building, followed by the Curry building in 1976, and the employee dormitories in 1992. Patients were moved out of the main building in 1988 and were placed into the transitional cottages.

On May 29th, of 1956 a legendary folksinger, songwriter, and political activist named Woody Guthrie was committed as a patient to Greystone. Prior to his admission, he was arrested for “wandering aimlessly on the highways”. He was diagnosed with Huntington’s disease, a degenerative nervous disorder, in which he unfortunately inherited from his mother. Guthrie referred to Greystone as “gravestone”. He remained as a patient in ward 40, or to him as “wardy forty”, suffering, in pain and agony, until he moved to a hospital in New York where his imminent death took place in 1967.

The Senate task force began conducting patient care investigations in 1996. There were reports of sexual abuse by the employee's, violence that was present amongst the patients and towards the employees, and sadly multiple patient suicides took place. From 1997 to 2008 almost all of the buildings in Greystone had been demolished. The Governor of New Jersey deemed in 2000, that Greystone be completely shut down within the next 3 years. The following year the land of which Greystone resided on was purchased for $1 by Morris County, and was then lawfully allowed to be used as a park, open space, or as a historic preservation. In 2008, Greystone had officially closed, and was replaced with a nearby hospital.

Opposition began to arise, against the county, as plans for the demolition of the main Kirkbride building was made. However, efforts of the public and media had failed, as the demolition began on April 24th, of 2014, which lasted till October of 2015. Although Morris County still plans to make use of the property, it remains as a testament to time, of the history that once took place at Greystone Psychiatric hospital.

Haunted History: The abandoned Greystone Psychiatric Hospital that once remained was a prime location for many urban explorers. Many of whom that have trespassed to revisit the place that once stood, have said it to be a highly creepy place. The torture, maltreatment, abuse and horrible deaths may have most definitely left some residual energy behind. An author of paranormal romance novels, Denise K. Rago, visited the old hospital and wrote about her feelings of the energy that were present. People who have toured the remains have also experienced feelings of being watched, or when in a building, “not being able to get out of there quickly”. Since the grounds are patrolled by the local police, one must enter with caution and wit.

An author, Phillip Buehler who publishes in the magazine “ Weird, New Jersey” wrote a book about Greystone Psychiatric. He based it on his investigations at Greystone, and of Woody Guthrie's life during the time he spent at the psychiatric hospital. He claims that the underground tunnels, which connected to the other buildings, that were used to transport patients and other things, were indeed a strange and scary place to be and that the grounds itself seemed to have an “oppressive energy” present.

One individual whom explored the abandoned hospital stated that he saw a young girl, dressed in a pink dress, was looking out of a window. With there being no electricity present, a group of explorers stated that a “greenish light” was seen through a window.

A film, by Sean stone titled “Greystone Park” was made in 2012. The movie was based on the experiences at the abandoned hospital. He stated that there were temperature drops taking place in 90 degree weather, as well as the air being heavy, and fog that left flashlights incapable of providing a greater length in vision.

Although not much of the buildings are left, the site and land itself still remains. Most people are aware of the happenings and history that took place at Greystone, and won’t dare to step foot on the location due to the feelings they gather from its past. Those who do, have had numerous varying experiences of all things paranormal. Photographs that were taken exhibit the remains of the abandoned building and provide a vision to what once stood. It can be certain to most, that Greystone Psychiatric Hospital is for sure a reputedly haunted location.


John F. Craig House, Cape May

John F Craig House

A Brief History: The John F. Craig House is located at 609 Columbia Avenue Cape May New Jersey. It was built sometime prior to 1850 and was later moved from an unknown location and extended in 1866. At one time this beautiful Victorian home belonged to a sailor who was lost at sea. The next owner was a banker who lost all of his earnings during a financial crash and passed away shortly after. The third was John Fullerton Craig a well to do sugar baron who passed away in 1926. Although there have been many previous residents the home now is known as the John F. Craig House. It is now a Bed and Breakfast and is one of Cape May’s top attractions. It is a seaside Victorian home that has been well kept by its latest owners Chip and Barbara Masemore.

Haunted History: The owners of the beachside cottage have reported that several spirits still linger in the home, and even have communicated with them. Footsteps have been reported. Men’s voices have been heard carrying on conversations. It is believed the sounds reported in the back of the home are a result of a residual haunting, or a playback of a past event. Psychics have explored the home and picked up on John F. Craig’s second wife Emma. She was a nanny and when Mr. Craig’s wife passed they married, leaving her to rule the home in a stern manner. On the third floor visitors have reported feeling their face lightly touched, and feel the spirit of a cat that once lived there, still roams the halls. The psychic felt the houses energy was very positive.


Macomber Hotel, Cape May

Macomber Hotel Cape May

A Brief History: Located at 727 Beach Avenue in Cape May, New Jersey, the Macomber Hotel sits just a stone’s throw from the beach. This beautiful grand-shingle style mansion was erected circa 1919, and was the last building constructed during the Cape May’s heyday to be distinguished as a historical landmark. Built to reflect the quietness of a middle-class hotel in the 1920’s, at the time of its construction it was the largest wood framed structure east of the Mississippi. The Macomber Hotel has since been renovated and updated to include all modern amenities for the family vacation, and finds itself on the National Historical Landmark Registry.

Haunted History: Most of the paranormal activity occurring at the Macomber Hotel centers around room #10, where since the 1930s an elderly widow would vacation and recollect on the fun times she shared with her late husband. The activity seems to be most prevalent during the months of June or November, presumably when the widow would make her trips to the Cape May area. Some of the claims of paranormal activity include, phantom sounds of footsteps in the halls or knocking on doors, in addition to accounts of people capturing EVPs and seeing full body apparitions.


Old Barracks Museum, Trenton

Old Barracks Museum

A Brief History: Located at 101 Barrack Street in Trenton New Jersey, the Old Barracks Museum is the last standing British military barracks in America. Built in 1758 during the French and Indian War, the barracks were used to house British soldiers up until 1766 when the war ended. In 1777, the barracks became a military hospital primarily used for smallpox inoculations until the Treaty of Paris was formed in 1783. For over a century after, the barracks served as various private residences as well as institutions. In 1902 a small group of local women purchased the barracks and opened them as a museum in the fall of 1903. These women were known as the Old Barracks Association. The state of New Jersey then purchased the museum in 1914, while still acquiring help from the Old Barracks Association as well as public and private funding. Since then, the barracks have undergone 2 restorations, the most recent being from 1995-1998.

Nowadays, the barracks still serve as a museum since its conversion in 1903, allowing thousands of visitors each year to come and learn about colonial America, especially that of New Jersey. In fact, the Old Barracks Museum is one of the most visited sites in New Jersey. It is completely understandable why the museum would have such a turnout each year, especially considering the amazing battle the father of this country won here in 1776.

In 1776, George Washington sailed across the Delaware to escape British Forces. On Christmas night of the same year he then crossed the Delaware again with American troops. He then won a battle that was a major turning point in the American Revolution.

Haunted History: Due to its obvious association with the military and wartime, occurrences tend to be more that of soldier sightings, and sounds of battle. However its history as a military hospital in 1777 - 1783 may help provide some insight. Not much is known as per exact locations of paranormal activity, yet an investigation here would undoubtedly provide more evidence as back up.


Southern Mansion, Cape May

Southern Mansion

A Brief History: In 1863 industrialist George Allen of Philadelphia decided to build a country estate in Cape May New Jersey. He hired well-known architect Samuel Sloan to build him a palace by the sea. The Allen family used the property for the next 83 years until the passing of Esther Mercur. Then in 1946 the property was then sold and turned into a boarding house. The use of the once grand mansion in this fashion took a toll on the property. The rundown former country estate turned boarding house was eventually shuttered.

The abandoned property was purchased in 1994 with aims to restore the property to its former glory. The years had not been kind to the estate and it took 3 years of work to take it from a rotting husk and make it something to look at again.

Haunted History: Some people who visit Southern Mansion report encountering what they feel is the spirit of Esther Mercur. It seems that after all this time she enjoys the summer estate where she hosted many rowdy parties in the mansion’s glory days. Also reported in the mansion are soldiers in Civil War era uniforms walking through the ballroom and inside room 14.



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