Ghost Stories From Northern New Jersey, Part 1 (Clinton Road)

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I’ve lived in Northern New Jersey my whole life, and living here, it’s impossible to avoid all the ghost stories floating around. This area has a lot of history embedded in it, and the sometimes tricky terrain doesn’t help matters at all. Ghost stories are meant to entertain, to surprise and scare, for both people who has lived in the area their whole lives, and for those who have never been. I thought I would share some of the best, scariest and creepiest of the ghost stories from my little corner of the world. In this little series, I will look at the top three haunted places in Northern NJ, and share the stories that I’ve either heard or read of. I’ve asked friends, family, and searched the internet to bring you these creepy, thrilling and terrifying tales. Whether or not these places are actually haunted- well, I’ll leave that up to you. I know I tend to give these places a wide berth, whenever I can. While these stories are simply meant to entertain one has to wonder if there may indeed be a grain of truth within these long lived legends.

Cross Castle before it was destoyed
Cross Castle before it was destoyed

Clinton Road, West Milford

This area, both the road, and the area around it, are fraught with stories. Going all the way back to 1906, this place was rumored to be haunted. Nowadays, not only is it rumored to be haunted, but there are stories of Satan worshippers, the KKK, escaped circus animals, and the ghost of a drowned young boy. Some years back, off this road, was an old castle, named the Cross Castle. The castle no longer stands, but while it did, it was rumored to be a gathering place for Satanists and the Ku Klux Klan. On certain nights a bonfire could be seen, coupled with mysterious chanting. People have been rumored to have gone into seizures when hearing the chanting from the road. When the castle still stood, it had strange graffiti on the walls, supposedly the work of the Satan worshippers. In fact, when the demolition crew came in to destroy the castle, they found graffiti in the basement- which had been sealed for years, with no way in or out.

Some of the Graffiti found
Some of the Graffiti found | Source

One story is that if you see a dead animal on the road near the castle, no matter what type of animal it is, never get out of your car. If you do, supposedly, then that’s when you are captured and killed. There are some people, that once they cross the boundary of the old castle, go into a kind of shock, and need to be led out of the area by whoever they are with- if they’re lucky enough to be with someone at the time. Then again, there is the tale that the castle rebuilds itself every year on October 30, and that people will go sacrifice a goat there. On this date, the castle has strange guardians, large floating “hellhounds” that guard the castle, and prevent any trespassers from coming too near. It’s best not to get out of your car around where the old castle used to sit- even in the day.

The Forest

The forest around Clinton Road is nearly as famous as the old castle, and just as
well known for its strangeness. In the forest, it always feels though you were being watched, an eerie feeling no matter where you are. Years ago, it’s
said that a circus train crashed in these woods, and all the animals escaped.
Monkeys, lions, tigers, all sorts of exotic animals have been rumored to walk
these woods, and apparently have no compunction against attacking people.
Others say that when the old Jungle Habitat closed, the animals escaped and
bred with the local population, creating fearsome offspring. I was told that by a woman, that one night, she drove down Clinton Road as a shortcut home from work. She pulled over because of the thick fog. She said that out of the fog, a strange animal rushed and
tried to attack the car. She drove away before she could really make out what
sort of animal it was, but said that it did not look like any sort of animal
that she had seen before, with yellow red eyes. Another story, that I found
online, is that there is a greyish white wolf with yellow eyes that lives along
the road. No word on if this wolf has ever attacked a person.

Not only are there the strange animals that inhabit the forest, but also the dead. A man once found a head in a bag off the road while biking, and notified the police, which supposedly led to a mob arrest. Apparently, an old mob hit-man used the road as a dumping ground. Dismembered bodies have- again supposedly- been found in the woods off of this road, and once a body bag, with bloodstains, was found in the middle of the road. By the time the police arrived, the bag, and all traces of it, were gone.

Also found on this road is a well-known reservoir, where many have gone fishing, and driven over the bridge that spans it. The turn just before it is known as Dead Man’s Curve. Supposedly a truck will chase cars down to this curve, causing many an accident. This bridge also has tales of its own to tell. Supposedly, a young boy, who was playing on the bridge, dropped a quarter down into the lake. When he went to retrieve his quarter from the water, he drowned. Another legend is that the boy was struck and killed by a car when he went out onto the bridge to fetch a quarter. These two tales have two things in common, the quarter and the young boy dying. Here’s the creepy part. According to legend, if you stop on this bridge, and toss a quarter off the bridge, the ghost of the young boy will throw the quarter back at you. Another legend says that if you stand on the edge of the bridge, you’ll see a quarter drop from thin air. Then the boy will push you into the lake to save you from being hit by the car that hit and killed him, long ago. Some say that if you toss a coin into the lake, it will be on the bridge the next morning, and others still, will say that when you drop the coin into the lake, you will see the boys reflection in the water as the ripples clear. The ghost boy is probably the best known legend of Clinton road, and many, many people that I talked to, said that they tried to summon the boy. It ran about 50/50, those who said that the coin was thrown back, and those that said they were disappointed by the lack of a response.

This road is so well known, that the Travel Channel Featured it on "Most Terrifying Places in America 2” Here is the video, provided on youtube by Mark Johnson. Big Shout out for posting the video!

So, those are the tales I have heard of the mysterious Clinton Road. The question now is, are all these stories real? The best answer is your own. Could it all be the by-product of bad weather, escaped animals, and hysteria? Or maybe a bias, that once you’ve heard these stories, your predisposed to having an “encounter” on Clinton Road? Or perhaps, just perhaps, it could all be real? Maybe one day, just one day, you’ll find yourself on a bridge over a lake, on a dark, windy road at night, with a coin in hand….

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Comments 7 comments

JamaGenee profile image

JamaGenee 2 years ago from Central Oklahoma

Well, it's a good thing I read this in broad daylight or I'd be turning on every light in the house right now! I've often heard that there are parts of New Jersey that rival upstate New York for hauntings, but had never actually read any accounts until now. I suspect some of the body parts can be chalked up to the Mob since northern NJ would seem like an ideal dumping ground. Following that line of reasoning, some of the rumors about places to avoid were likely started by the Mob precisely to keep people away from favorite dumping areas. As for the others, as you said, northern NJ is steeped in history, history that goes back way before the Rev War, so some of the stories are surely true.

Great hub! ;D


littlething profile image

littlething 2 years ago Author

Thanks for reading! Northern NJ is filled to the brim with ghost stories. Clinton Road is one of the better known ones, but if you want some chills, look up Greystone asylum. ( I'm hoping to write about this when I eventually get some time....) I definitely agree that some of these stories were most likely made up by the mob to stop people from going there, but as for the castle and animals in the woods.... well lets just say I stay very far away from this road. Thanks again for reading and commenting!


JamaGenee profile image

JamaGenee 2 years ago from Central Oklahoma

I've heard The Barrens was another Mob dumping ground, but even without that "stamp of approval", I'd steer clear of it. Is Clinton Road in or near The Barrens?? ;D


littlething profile image

littlething 2 years ago Author

JamaGenee, No, I'm afraid not. The Pine Barrens are in southern NJ. I've heard some wild stories about the Pine Barrens though! Supposedly, the New Jersey Devil lives somewhere around there. Clinton Road is well into Northern NJ, well away from the Barrens. It would be somewhat comforting if they were near each other, but nope! We have way to many haunted places for such a small state! ;D


peachpurple profile image

peachpurple 23 months ago from Home Sweet Home

wow, scary and errie story but do you think it is true? throwing coins?


littlething profile image

littlething 23 months ago Author

I really don't know. I know there is rumors that satanists used to go to the old castle. I've never tried stopping to throw the coin in the water. I try not to linger too much on this particular road! So many people have stories about this road though, it makes you wonder if there might be a grain of truth in there somewhere.... Thanks for reading and commenting by the way!


connorj profile image

connorj 17 months ago from Altamonte Springs

Clinton (road) sounds terrifying (in nature)... I hope everyone stays clear of Clinton...

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