When Jay Roach told me that the Spoiler-verse was doing a series of articles on haunted places in their neck of the woods, I immediately felt the pressure. I was a paranormal investigator with a local team for about 3 ½ years, before I left to pursue other things. I started as an Investigator, moving up to Lead Investigator, and eventually held the title of Director of Investigations. I held conference calls with clients for consults, mapped out equipment, labored through hours of audio and video evidence (and I do mean labored…keeping your eyes peeled for 4 hours on an empty room is no simple feat). We used to call it the greatest unpaid job in the world! We investigated mostly residential cases, of which there are a lot more than you would think. People from all walks of life reach out when there is something not quite right going on in their home.
I’ve also seen and felt some interesting things – doors opening on their own, Kii meters going off for no apparent reason, pictures falling off of walls. We had an interesting interaction with a shadow creature in a local Freemason lodge. I’m not sure what to make of one incident, where I was overwhelmed by the desire to hug someone, followed by an undeniable urge to cry and then vomit. (We were in a home where there was believed to be a young boy who had lost his way, so, who’s to say.) I’ve also heard some interesting EVPs, and met some very interesting people. It’s a labor of love, no doubt; if you’re heart isn’t in it, sitting in the dark staring at walls can wear on you pretty quickly.
But, as I’m assuming that some of my old clients wouldn’t appreciate you fine folks just dropping by for a look-see, I’ll tell you about some of the more public haunts of New Jersey – some that I’ve visited and some that I have not.
- White Hill Mansion: Fieldsboro, NJ – White Hill Mansion is a 250-year-old crumbling structure, built by Robert Field in the 1700s. In 1775, Robert drowned in the Delaware River under mysterious circumstances, leaving the home to his wife, Mary, and their 3 children. Throughout the years, senators, rum runners, and prostitutes have all called White Hill home. This house is a huge attraction for ghost hunting teams and enthusiasts. There are reports of visitors seeing a shadow man near the basement, as well as hearing disembodied voices and children playing. I have not personally visited this location. However, I have had ghost hunting friends investigate the grounds, and I’m certain there is some activity there. One woman, who I know to be a bad ass investigator and to not be easily spooked, told me that she couldn’t handle the energy in White Hill. She had to walk out. This place is definitely on my list.
- Shades of Death Road: Warren County, NJ – A rather short but windy road, Shades of Death is clouded in mystery. No one is really sure why this place holds the legendary status that it does. There are some tales of squatters who used to live in the area, who would get in fights to the death over women. There are also some legends about local Native American tribes forcing their enemies to plunge to their death in the river, giving name to the nearby Jenny Jump State Forest. Whatever the reason, I can tell you from experience that this place is creepy. I coaxed my daughter and her friend one night to drive down the road with me and to see what we could find. I brought my recorder and a camera, just in case. The road begins at one end rather peaceful, with quaint houses and sprawling fields. However, it quickly deteriorates into rough forest and jagged trees that loom menacingly over the road way. The lanes are narrow, and the outside eerily quiet. Many people enjoy visiting this area, and their evidence is left on the road signs and small bridge over pass in threatening graffiti. I don’t know what’s there, but it’s definitely something.
- Burlington County Prison Museum: Burlington, NJ – I also had the opportunity to visit this location; it was actually the first place that I investigated as a Lead Investigator. A couple celebrating their wedding anniversary had hired us to help them search the site for hauntings, complete with a midnight champagne toast out by the gallows. The prison, now turned into a museum, possesses the original door from the 1800s and a case of very interesting artifacts from when the prison was in operation. It’s no secret why this is an NJ haunt…it’s an old rusty prison! I’m sorry to say that I didn’t experience anything while I was here, but I have had friends who have. Maybe if you’re nearby and you check it out, you can let me know what you find.
- Pine Barrens: Pinelands, NJ – The Pine Barrens, home to the one and only Jersey Devil! That’s right, the Jersey Devil actually has a home. I’ve never been to the Pine Barrens, but I would love to hike it sometime. The forest is a 1,100,00-acre expanse of dense forest that covers approximately 22% of New Jersey. I think a strange creature could totally live here. Aside from the Devil himself, there have been many reports over the years of alien and UFO activity in the night sky.
- Green Cemetery: Deptford Township, NJ – I had the opportunity to investigate Green Cemetery as a part of a fund-raising event for the care takers, to gain funds for restoring some of the cemetery’s older veteran headstones and markers. I have to say that this place is most certainly haunted. If I recall correctly, the site was founded by the wealthiest man in Deptford Township, Lewis Green, in the 1800s. His headstone is a large solid rock, surrounded by smaller markers of his family surrounding him in a semi-circle. While we were doing an EVP session in the area, there were sounds of footsteps all around us, coming out from the trees as if they were approaching us. There was no one else around. We also had an interesting experience during an extreme summer thunderstorm that night. One of the care takers, in the process of texting his wife, had his phone begin to type by itself. We couldn’t get it to move or type anything else until it finally shut off and he was able to reboot it. It was the first and last time that I had seen anything like that. We investigated that night with another team who was filming the event for her YouTube web series, Twilight Passages. I’m devastated to see that she’s taken it down! I wish I could share the experience with you.
I have a couple of other places in mind, but current status update…as I’m sitting here typing this article in my quiet apartment, my cat has taken to randomly growling at the bare wall just behind me. I’m not even kidding. Be careful what you talk about, kids! You never know who’s listening…
Author: Sara Varner
Sara was born and raised in Central Pennsylvania, where she spent most of her days pursuing community theater ambitions and attending the local Arts Magnet School for Theater Arts. Following graduation, she moved to Orlando, FL and then to Memphis, TN before finally settling in Central New Jersey. (Yes, it’s a real place.) It was here that she raised her daughter, a true Jersey girl, on horror movies and stalker shows. In her early 30s, Sara decided to follow her passions for the paranormal and join a local investigation team, quickly moving through the ranks and becoming Director of Investigations. After 3 years, she decided to put this love on hold to complete her degree in Forensic Psychology (to be continued...).
A practicing Pagan, Sara enjoys all things horror related and anything strange or macabre. Her hobbies are studying the paranormal, binging true crime shows, watching Markiplier play horror games on YouTube, and wood burning.