Halloween weekend is approaching and many people are ready to get in the spirit with some adventure and classic ghost stories. A number of scary locations are investigated and reported on by Weird N.J., a travel magazine which chronicles the strange and the unexplained.
For those looking for spooks that are simply a drive away, here are a few thrilling places with grisly legends to make your blood run cold. Be forewarned that these locations are often patrolled by law enforcement and are located in remote areas, typically on private property. If you wish to explore these areas, contact local authorities for permission.
Passaic County, N.J.
Located deep in the woods on a narrow and quiet road, this abandoned neighborhood has been vacant since the early 1990s. Initially constructed in the ’80s as a housing development for Newark Watershed employees, the complex was mysteriously deserted in 1992. What makes this abandonment so unusual is that all of the personal belongings of the inhabitants were left behind, as if the residents were suddenly forced to leave.
Local legend says that a man moved into the complex and shortly thereafter strange occurrences began to happen in the neighborhood. Unknown to the small community, the man was a leader of a large cult, and managed to lure residents for a town meeting where they were brutally massacred in his basement by cult members who were hiding in the shadows.
Public records give no reason for the area’s sudden desertion and local officials have denied any sort of health hazards or danger as a reason for the abandonment. What would cause an entire community to just disappear, leaving behind family valuables and other personal items?
Thanks to extensive vandalism and arson, as of 2005, no buildings remain standing, though Newark Watershed still owns the land. Despite the demolition, its local legacy lives on.
Passaic County, N.J.
Like many abandoned areas, Clinton Road is full of speculation of grisly murders, satanic rituals and paranormal occurrences. Rumors run rampant that killers have used the nearby woods to dispose bodies of victims. Daring visitors have noted unidentifiable wildlife, strange figures that stare and do not speak, phantom vehicles and an overwhelming feeling of dread and uneasiness.
Two of the most popular legends involve a ghost boy at the bridge and a ghost vehicle, based on a young child who supposedly drowned in the reservoir below and a girl who was in a car accident in 1988. According to myth, if a person throws a quarter over the side of the bridge, the young boy will throw the quarter back. While driving, if anyone mentions the girl who died, there will be an apparition of a girl driving a Camaro down the road.
Shades of Death Road
Warren County, N.J.
This seven-mile-long rural road has been home to numerous urban legends and rumors of paranormal activity, which perfectly match its creepy sounding name. According to Weird N.J., the road supposedly received its name from several different legends.
One such story speculates that highwaymen and bandits would often hide out in trees and plants alongside the road, murdering unsuspecting travelers before stealing their valuables, making it a dangerous road to travel on at night. Another states that local residents would lynch said highwaymen and hang them by the trees as a warning to future criminals.
Numerous hauntings, murders and strange activities have been known to occur on Shades of Death Road. Those who traveled there have said that the sky above the nearby Ghost Lake is always bright, no matter how late at night. Visitors have also claimed to see apparitions and strange fogs around the area and often describe feelings of uneasiness and cold sensations while passing through.
One popular legend is that midnight drivers to the nearby Lenape Lane will encounter a white orb that emerges from the abandoned stable at the end of the road. The orb will chase them back to Shades of Death Road, and if the orb turns red, the driver will not survive.
In the mid ’90s, hundreds of random blurred Polaroid pictures were found scattered down the road. The pictures contained images of unidentified women, television screens in the transition between changing channels and other photos containing disturbing content. Police began an investigation to analyze the pictures, but the photos disappeared shortly after the case was opened.