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Top 7 Most Interesting New Jersey Ghosts

Ricky Rodson has been looking for ghosts his entire life. Over the years he has researched and acquired knowledge on many different spirits.

New Jersey is home to some fascinating haunted places.

New Jersey is home to some fascinating haunted places.

Over the years, New Jersey has unfortunately been the home of many horrific events. Because of this, there are also all sorts of haunted locations in New Jersey for ghost hunters to explore. And while some of these terrible situations have become known worldwide, others are still only known to the local populations. As time progresses, more and more of these riveting stories are being lost to time. Take some time out of your day to learn about some of the most interesting New Jersey ghosts before they are lost to history forever.

7 Most Interesting New Jersey Ghosts

  1. Ghosts of The Burlington County Prison
  2. Maid of Centenary College
  3. Ghost of Emilio Carranza
  4. The Atco Ghost
  5. Shades of Death Road Spirits
  6. The White Pilgrim
  7. Haunting of Hangar No. 1
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1. Ghosts of the Burlington County Prison

The Burlington County Prison is one of the most visited haunted locations in New Jersey. This is because the prison is still open today as a museum year-round and haunted attraction around Halloween. The building operated as a prison constantly from 1811 to 1966, and within that time saw the deaths of as many as 30-40 prisoners. Unfortunately for them, due to inexperienced executioners, the hangings were extremely horrific affairs with most of the convicts dying from prolonged strangulation rather than having their necks broken properly. Many of these executed prisoners' ghosts are believed to haunt the grounds today, but none is seen more than the ghost of Joel Clough.

Joel Clough was a man convicted of murder in 1930 and the first person to be executed in the prison. Before being hanged, Clough was confined for many weeks in a small, inhumane room on the upper floor of the prison called the "Death Cell." It is in this room that most people claim to hear the muffled moans of the dying man. Several different types of ghost detecting equipment, such as electromagnetic indicators, have also detected anomalies in this room.

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2. Maid of Centenary College

Centenary College is a well-known women's college that was founded in 1867 by the Methodist Episcopal Church. The school has a long and complicated history, but woefully for it, the most well-known story involves the murder of an innocent 18-year-old kitchen maid by the name of Tillie Smith. In 1886, the body of Mrs. Smith was found strangled to death in a large field behind the school. The story says that on the night of her murder, Tillie stayed out late to attend a performance at a local theater. But when she returned to the school, she was accosted by James Titus, the school janitor, as he attempted to rape her. Sadly, as the young virgin fought intensely to preserve her innocence she was strangled to death.

Smith quickly became a symbol of virginity due to her fight to preserve it and a monument was erected in her honor. Since the time of her death, people have claimed to see the girl's spirit roaming around the grounds of the prestige college. Most sightings have taken place outside the school, closer to the field in which her body was found, but others have seen the New Jersey ghost inside of the theater.

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3. Ghost of Emilio Carranza

The ghost of Emilio Carranza is a generally friendly spirit believed to inhabit the area of the New Jersey Pine Barrens in which the famous pilot fatally crashed his plane in 1928. The fatal crash took place while Captain Carranza was returning home from a goodwill flight he made in response to Lindbergh’s flight to Mexico City. Even at his young age, Carranza was considered by many to be one of Mexico's greatest aviation heroes of all time. The location of the crash is marked by a large monument financed by donations from grieving Mexican children and made from stone quarried from his hometown of Coauila.

According to the local legends, if you park your car facing the monument and flash your lights three times while yelling "Emilio" out the windows his plane will fly overhead. Once this happens you only have two options, you can leave some pennies on the Memorial as an offering or risk facing his wrath. I am lucky enough to have lived within 30 minutes of the monument and would visit it all the time in my youth. I can personally confirm that when visiting at night, you definitely get the feeling that you are not the only thing out there.

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4. The Atco Ghost

The Atco Ghost is a sad ghost story that originates in the small southern New Jersey town of Atco. According to the story, a young boy lived toward the end of a dead-end street called Burnt Mill Road. And one year on Christmas Eve the child stuck out of his home to play with his new basketball on the newly paved road. The boy was then struck by a drunk driver as he sped down the road. Due to the road being incomplete, the driver was forced to turn around and view the boy's dead body as he passed.

To this day, it is believed that if you pass down this road in the middle of the night and follow a set of instructions you can coax the child ghost to show itself. It is said that once you reach the end of the road you are to turn your car around, just as the drunk driver did, and proceed back down the road until you see a crack in the assault. Once here, you are supposed to turn off your car and wait. After a few seconds, the child is supposed to approach your car out of the darkness and inspect it. Most people believe the ghost is still looking for the car that caused his death. Due to its close location to the Carranza Monument, I have visited this location on several occasions as well. I cannot say that I have seen the child but I did notice several things moving in the woods before I decided to hightail it. Of all the New Jersey ghosts out there, this one has one of the saddest origins.

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5. Shades of Death Road Spirits

As the name suggests, Shades of Death Road is an extremely creepy street found in Warren County, New Jersey. There are many different stories as to where the name came from but all of them have one thing in common, Death. The road runs alongside a haunted lake which is believed to contain the bodies of hundreds of Native Americans that were slaughtered by early settlers and tossed into the waters. At random times throughout the year, the lake is engulfed by an unexplained phenomenon called "The Great Meadows Fog" where the surface of the water becomes covered with a thick fog. The local population has come to believe that because the eerie mist arises from the haunted waters, it can allow the spirits of the murdered Native Americans to materialize again on the earthly plane. Anyone unfortunate enough to be traveling down Shades of Death Road when the phenomenon is present is said to be about to see the figures of the deceased within the fog.

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6. The White Pilgrim

The White Pilgrim is a harmless New Jersey ghost that is believed to appear along the border of Sussex and Warren counties. The religious apparition is believed to be the spirit of a traveling preacher named Joseph Thomas. Thomas quickly became a national figure due to his attention-grabbing white outfit and powerful preaching methods. But unfortunately for him, in 1835, while visiting New Jersey to proclaim the word of God, Thomas was overcome with smallpox and quickly lost his battle with the sickness. Due to the risk of contagion, Joseph's body was not given a proper religious burial. Local residents have always believed this to be the reason the White Pilgrim still appears.

In 1846, a group of prominent religious leaders collected money from the local population to fund the transfer of his body to a proper gravesite within a Christian cemetery in an attempt to appease the ghost and allow him to rest. It has been said that while that has lessened his rage, the dead preacher still appears from time to time to terrorize the community in an attempt to show his contempt for the indignity.

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7. Haunting of Hangar No. 1

On May 6, 1937, the passenger airship LZ 129 Hindenburg was engulfed in flames and destroyed while attempting to dock in Lakehurst, New Jersey. Unfortunately for the passengers and crew on board, over 30 people were killed as the German zeppelin crashed into the mooring mast and exploded. While the crash was being investigated, the bodies of the deceased were moved to and stored within Hanger No. 1 of the Lakehurst Naval Air Station. And even though it has been nearly a century since the crash, people still believe the location is haunted due to unexplainable noises being heard within the hanger and mysterious shapes being seen in the skies above it. Most people that have witnessed these paranormal events believe them to be the sorrowful ghosts of the Hindenburg disaster, unable to cross over to the other side until they complete their passage.

This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and is not meant to substitute for formal and individualized advice from a qualified professional.

© 2022 Ricky Rodson