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The Ten Most Haunted Places in New Jersey

by Craig A Wexler
fact checked by Darci Heikkinen

The Garden State is known for many things: the beach, Atlantic City, The Meadowlands, and The Devils. However, many may not know that this densely populated state is home to countless paranormal and unexplained phenomena, such as the New Jersey Devil. From the mountainous northwest along the eastern coast to the southernmost tip, New Jersey is a hotbed for ghosts, witches, and other creatures thought only to exist in myth.

Authors, ghost hunters, and even journalists have investigated unexplained events in New Jersey dating back to the 16th century. Ghost sightings have taken place in every corner of the state; in fact, Pinebarons Forest is said to be one of the most haunted places in the northeast. So let’s explore this list of the ten most haunted places in New Jersey.

Related: Top 10 Haunted Asylums

10 Shippen Manor in Oxford, NJ

Dr. William Sippen Sr. and his brother Joseph Shippen II owned the Oxford furnace from its beginnings in 1741 until passing it down to their progeny. They built this home in 1755 on what was then a 4,000-acre (1,618 hectares) estate. The manor is now on the State and National Registers of Historic Places. With its age, it’s no surprise that there are ghosts here that have been sighted by multiple witnesses who have never met each other—so no working to come up with the same story.

A young boy is often spotted in period garb wandering in the front yard or on the porch. A woman’s torso is said to fly about the place in a rush, like a chicken with its head cut off. A Revolutionary Era soldier is said to roam the grounds, as well. There are also the telltale doors opening and closing of doors of their own volition, bodiless whispers, and sporadic other unexplained phenomena at the Shippen Manor, so much so that the property was featured on a 2018 episode of Ghost Hunters.[1]

9 Burlington County Prison in Mount Holly, NJ

Burlington County Prison | Ghost Grabs Tour Guide

This haunted building was a prison from 1811 to 1965—a total of 154 years! It was the oldest prison in the country when it finally closed. It was a progressive prison design, with individual cells, fireproof construction, and good ventilation. With all that in mind, this prison has seen horrific executions and gruesome murders and is now home to many of the spirits of those who died within its walls.

Not only was the prison yard used for executions during the 19th and early 20th centuries, but many inmates died trying to escape. There is a local legend that some inmates are buried below the basement. The basement and the cell known as the “death cell” are the most active with paranormal activity. In these parts of the prison especially, reports of disembodied screams, bodiless footsteps, and objects moving of their own accord happen far too often.

The building was transformed into a museum shortly after the prison closed. In 1986, it was designated a National Historic Landmark. This prison museum holds a dungeon full of ghosts, all with a tale of how they met their end.[2]

8 Absecon Lighthouse in Atlantic City, NJ

DEVIL IN JERSEY CITY (Atlantic City Version)

The oldest lighthouse in New Jersey, construction on the Abescon started in 1854 and was completed in 1857. Not only is it the oldest lighthouse in the state, but it is also the most haunted. Although the lighthouse was deactivated in 1933, the light shines bright every night.

Unfortunately, many lives were lost along the jagged coast before the lighthouse was erected, and not all the souls have passed onto the other side, according to locals. Specifically, the packet ship Powhatan was slammed into the Barnegat shoals repeatedly; more than 200 people died in the wreck. This incident was the catalyst needed for approval to build the Absecon lighthouse.

This area has likely been haunted since before the lighthouse, littered with bodies of those who came before the Powhatan; this shore has seen death for centuries. The first official report of the supernatural came in 1905 when the lighthouse keeper claimed to have seen the Jersey Devil sitting atop the tower. He told police that night that he grabbed his shotgun and shot at the beast before it ran off.

Since then, reports of ghosts of every variety and disembodied laughter and footsteps have been a constant at the Absecon. Most oddly, dimes have been said to appear in random spots around the lighthouse with no apparent origin.[3]

7 Devil’s Tower in Alpine, NJ

Devil’s Tower: Unearthing the Mysteries of Alpine, New Jersey

This ominous, six-story, gothic stone clock tower was built in 1910 and designed by Charles Rollinson Lamb for sugar baron Manuel Rionda. Specifically, he wanted to allow his wife to see New York from the New Jersey side of the Hudson River. The legend is that when his wife saw him with another woman, she committed suicide by jumping off the tower. The tower had not yet been completed, and since it was for his wife, who was now dead, Rionda halted construction.

It is said that if you drive around the tower six times backward, the ghost of Mrs. Rionda will take control of your car and may veer it into a tree. Supposedly, this has happened to a group of teenagers, one of whom was fatally injured. Continuing this theme, if one is to walk around the tower six times, the Devil himself will appear. Those who have managed their way over the gate or onto the grounds by other means report being pushed by an unseen and unheard assailant.[4]

6 The Historic Village at Allaire in Farmingdale, NJ

Allaire Historic Village | Allaire Ghost Town in NJ. It’s still alive!

Initially, this area was a Native American ceremonial burial ground until 1650. It was later established as a bog iron-based production facility. James Allaire purchased the facility in 1822. Eventually, he created a small village. Allaire Village was home to over 400 people (facility workers and their families). It was an autonomous community, and 13 of the original buildings still exist and are available for tour at Allaire State Park.

Today, it is known to house several spirits. Allaire’s first wife, Frances, died of cholera in 1836. Later, his son Hal and second wife Calicia passed away in their family home inside the village. Local legend states they all remain trapped inside their family home as ghosts. Allaire’s ghost sobs in funeral garb atop the staircase, and Hal’s spirit is said to interact with tourists who bring him candy.[5]

5 The Cranbury Inn in Cranbury, NJ

Uncovering Middlesex – Cranbury Inn

The taverns that make up the Cranbury Inn were built in the 1750s. Although the inn didn’t officially establish itself until 1780, people have eaten and drunk at The Cranbury for roughly 270 years. During those many years, these walls have seen history unfold. The inn was once a stop along the Underground Railroad, and the attic was used to hide those on their way to freedom in Canada.

Staff and guests have reported countless unexplained events and sightings over the years, including doors opening and shutting themselves; once, a pregnant employee was headed to a locked storage closet, hands full, and the door just opened for her just as she was an arm’s length away. Other staff members insist they have received telepathic messages warning them to turn off electrical fixtures.[6]

4 The Spy House (Seabrook-Wilson House) in Port Monmouth, NJ

Ghosts of the Revolutionary War Haunt NJ’s Infamous Spy House | Haunted, Abandoned and Hella Creepy

One of the oldest surviving houses in the Bayshore area, this home was built in 1663 by Thomas Whitlock. Roughly one century later, it earned the name “Spy House” when it was an inn run by Thomas Seabrook. Legend has it that Seabrook was a patriot in the New Jersey militia. He could successfully spy on British troops who came into his inn. Seabrook’s ghost is just one of several at the Spy House.

Locals claim that a ghostly woman roams from room to room looking for her supposedly crying baby. The ghostly presence of a small boy is frequently spotted looking out the windows, and a bearded sea captain patrols the grounds. Most impressively, the notorious pirate, Captain Morgan, is said to have conducted torture in the basement of this house, and bodiless screams are sometimes heard coming from behind the basement door.[7]

3 The Devil’s Tree in Basking Ridge, NJ

Devil’s Tree, New Jersey – Why So Evil?

The Devil’s Tree is a solitary oak tree with dead limbs, growing in an undeveloped field on Mountain Road in the Martinsville section of Bernards Township. According to local legend, the tree is cursed. It has been well established in Bernard that sometime in the early 20th century, a farmer murdered his wife and children and then hung himself from the tree, which initiated the curse.

Multiple murders and suicides have occurred at The Devil’s Tree. Why has it not been cut down? According to the legend, anyone who cuts the tree down will be cut down in some way shortly after that. The spirits of those that have perished at the tree give it a supernatural warmth, even in the winter when the snow falls ( no snow falls directly around or on the tree because of this) (Link 8). [8]

2 The Emlen Physick Estate in Cape May, NJ

Ghost dogs and mansions: Learn about the hauntings at the Emlen Physick Estate

This 18-room mansion was built in 1879 for Dr. Emlen Physick Jr. After Physick, his mother, and his sister passed away, no other property owner lasted very long here, supposedly because the original inhabitants’ ghosts were haunting the building and would scare them off. During ghost tours, visitors have reported being touched; some have seen a woman in vintage clothing wandering through the historic home.

Museum management claims to have a recording of a disembodied child’s voice made in one of the rooms. The most disturbing unexplained occurrence at this mansion is the sighting of ghost dogs. Ghost dogs are among the rare paranormal sightings, and according to locals, an entire pack of them patrol the grounds at Physick Estate.[9]

1 Shades of Death Road in Warren County, NJ

Shades of Death Road – NJ’s Most Haunted

Shades of Death Road is a two-lane rural road of about 6.7 miles (10.8 kilometers) in length. Running north to south, it starts in Allamuchy Township and ends in Liberty Township. It winds along Jenny Jump Forest and Ghost Lake. This stretch of road has become the subject of many local legends. One legend states that the ghostly victims of highwaymen robberies or the criminals themselves were hanged from the trees that line the road.

According to one legend, the route gets its name from the area’s original inhabitants, an unruly gang of squatters. The men would often fight over the women, frequently resulting in a fatality. Eventually, the site developed a reputation for violence and death, aptly called Shades of Death. When civilization muscled its way into the area and disbanded the squatters, the last remnant of their control over the meadows was a single road that kept the name. [10]

fact checked by Darci Heikkinen