Haunted Places: Charlie Brown's Steakhouse, Hackettstown, NJ

Charlie Brown's Steakhouse
Charlie Brown's Steakhouse

In 2006, my mother and I attended the New Jersey Ghost Hunters Society annual ghost conference in Hackettstown, NJ. In addition to visiting the Washington Theater (abandoned for thirty years but recently restored to it's former glory) we were also granted access to a historic building that had been turned into a Charlie Brown's Steakhouse. The restaurant, which is over 250 years old, once served as a hotel and, prior to that, a brothel. The entire property is a hotbed of paranormal activity, due in part to the array of people and personalities that passed through it's door over the years. A man is said to have committed suicide on the land by hanging himself from a tree that used to stand out in the front yard. Only two of the three floors are open to the public (the first floor is the restaurant, the second floor is a banquet area) and we were expressly forbidden by the NJGHS group leader to enter the third floor. Did we go up anyway? You bet we did! A few of us made friends with the hostess, who in turn got permission from the manager, and we headed up. Locals make the absolute best tour guides. As we headed up the stairs, she told us the story of a woman who used to frequent the building when it was a brothel. She regularly rented out the red room at the end of the hall, the only one that had an adjoining bathroom. Legend has it that she used to bring her toddler son with her and lock him in the bathroom while she entertained her johns. He would wail endlessly, frightened, begging his mother to let him out. One day, the woman had just finished bathing when her client arrived early. She had no time to drain the water, and her son ended up drowning in the bathtub. The story gets sketchy at this point, but either the woman was so bereft that she drowned herself, too, or she abandoned his body in the brothel and left immediately, never to return. The ghost of the little boy is said to inhabit the building, still crying out for his mother, and still searching for her after all these years. So you can imagine our shock and surprise when we reviewed our audio recording and discovered we had picked up the voice of a child saying, "Mommy". (Click here and scroll down to the bottom of the page to listen to it!)

The entire third floor, with it's twisty architecture and haphazard layout, is incredibly spooky. The closets and doorways are tiny, the wallpaper is peeling, and there are several doors that open to a wall and stairwells that lead nowhere. But the red room is a virtual death sentence. Intense stomach pains grip anyone who passes through there, myself and my mother included. In the hallway there have been reports of a man wearing a tall hat being seen near the exit sign, and the figure of a small child has been spotted running from room to room. Nearly all the employees we talked to have experienced the sounds of distinct, heavy footsteps coming from the third floor when they knew for a fact no one was up there. Voices both joyous and sorrowful have been heard emanating from the end of the hall. With such a long and sordid history, it's no wonder that the steakhouse is one of New Jersey's most haunted places.

THE HAUNTED RED ROOM

The red room, where a prostitute and her toddler son both met their death
The red room, where a prostitute and her toddler son both met their death
Paranormal activity (right of photo) at the doorway to the infamous red room's haunted bathroom
Paranormal activity (right of photo) at the doorway to the infamous red room's haunted bathroom

OLD HOTEL ROOMS

One of the ancient hotel/brothel rooms on the third floor (notice the large orb near the window)
One of the ancient hotel/brothel rooms on the third floor (notice the large orb near the window)
The rooms were all in various states of disrepair
The rooms were all in various states of disrepair

GHOSTLY EVIDENCE

Orb on the wall
Orb on the wall
More orbs
More orbs
Our tour guide hostess -- what is that orange haze, and where did the rest of her arm go?! Did she unknowingly stick her hand into another dimension?
Our tour guide hostess -- what is that orange haze, and where did the rest of her arm go?! Did she unknowingly stick her hand into another dimension?

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Comments 19 comments

Donna 9 years ago

I live a few blocks down from Charlie Brown's, the former Clarendon House Hotel, in an old Victorian house which I also believe has a "guest", albeit a friendly one. I would be interested in learning more about your experience and with your permission, would love to speak to you for an article on our website. If you've had any other experiences in Hackettstown, I'd love to hear about those as well.


linda 9 years ago

it bad when mom is putting her child in danger not lefting water out i'm mother 5 beauty kids that i never leave water in my tub or lock my kids in the bathroom


David Rountree 7 years ago

You should do a real historical research of the building. It was originally a private home belonging to Judge John Hackett, but was moved to its current location and expanded. It opened as a hotel and was a hotel/resturaunt ever since its reopening. While there is a record of it being a pool hall (on the second floor) there is no historical record linking it to a brothel. The Hackettstown Historical Society has all of the historyu of this building on file at their museum, which is a wonderful historical asset to Hackettstown haunts. There is histrical confirmation of a woman dieing on the second floor in a room, but the room is not identified. The death was rulled a suicide according to the local newspaper. it took place in the 1920's I believe. the child's death is legend, with so far no historical documentation found to back this up.

Having said all this, the red room is active, as is room 110.


SE 7 years ago

All of those "orbs" are just dust. They are no where near proof of paranormal activity. Dust just photographs weird like that. The orange haze happens for many reasons especially if you were using a film camera. Nice try but you have nothing.


kayla 7 years ago

i had went there when i was about 5 yrs old with all of my family

my brother and i decided to go upstairs to use the restrooms when both of us noticed a picture of a women and her eyes were following us

we ran downstairs then my dad had to go use the restroom

on his way back down he ntoice a white glare that looked like a man and fottsteps behin him

my dad started to talk to the man

the man didn't answer

then my da =d asked the man if he would move out of his way

he pushed him with his hand but my dads hand went right through

it was the most freakyess dinner ive ever had!!!!!!


K.S> 6 years ago

I would really like to know more about this haunt if anyone has anymore information on it.Please contact me.


zach 6 years ago

can you still eat there today or you can just go in and check it out do you have to pay


Hackettstown 6 years ago

Looks like Charlie Brown's in Hackettstown is closed down. This could mean more ghost hunting in the future.


jasmine 5 years ago

that seems so scary


Katie 5 years ago

I worked here as a hostess when i was 17. While standing for hours nightly at the host-stand (which had an intercom/speaker right next to it for annoucing to parties that their table is ready) i always very often hear a baby cooing or crying. I knew about the prostitute that had lived there (ghost stories always were circulating around the restaurant between severs and hosts, etc) but i never heard of her son. When i read about him, i instantly remembered what i had heard and instantly got chills! Spooky


paamela 5 years ago

hey i lived in a house 62 a main st. we lived there for about 2 years and we had just leave one night cause the citiacion got relly bad. this house is hunted by 2 boys one is little and the other one is about 21.. i would love to know if any body else has lived there.. i know people that has lived there and has been hounted as well

also if there is anybody that knows the story about the house please share.. my email is gafititica@hotmail.com

i know that the house was rebuild beause it was burned a long time ago but i dont know the story very well


paamela 5 years ago

hey i lived in a house 62 a main st. we lived there for about 2 years and we had just leave one night cause the citiacion got relly bad. this house is hunted by 2 boys one is little and the other one is about 21.. i would love to know if any body else has lived there.. i know people that has lived there and has been hounted as well

also if there is anybody that knows the story about the house please share.. my email is gafititica@hotmail.com

i know that the house was rebuild beause it was burned a long time ago but i don't know the story very well


Emma 5 years ago

Those "orbits" are just dust spots on the photo. Obviously, you printed them out, and cleaned of all the dust except for a couple little spots. The guides arm did not dissapere into a parallel universe, that happens with a bunch of cameras. Katie your just hearing a baby on the other end of the intercom. Kayla, you and your brother were just seeing things. That happens with so many pictures. You were also at that age where you always think about things like that. By the way I'm glad Charlie Brown's went out of business. I went there twice. The first time I went there there was a bone in my food. Not a human one! Don't get back into the haunted stuff again. The other time I saw my friend there and my meal STUNCK!!!!! And she said hers did too ( This was on a Sunday). On Monday she wasn't at school and on Tuesday, I asked her why, she said she got food poisoning and so did her parents and her sisters! I HATE CHARLIE BROWNS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!


Emma (again) 5 years ago

i'm only 10 and i know all this stuff you're how old? and still believe in this stuff?


Lenny Codella 5 years ago

Ok you all . In the 1970s my family purchased the Clarendon Hotel from the Putz brothers. I was about 14 years old at the time and was in every room nook and cranny it that place. I sleep over there quit often on the 3rd floor ( top floor ) and I never every saw or heard any ghost visions or anything else .

Regarding the originial house it was moved to it present location and had many additions put on it . The owner Judge Hacket was called the hanging judge. It was never a brothel . The little house if it is still there next to it was originally a carrage house for horses and livery stable . So really no ghosts there


Dave 4 years ago

I worked at the Clarendon back in the late 80's. I can assure you (well, at least myself) that that place is haunted. we all had different experiences there, but none were negative....mostly playful, now i think back on it. scary then, payful now :)


carrie 3 years ago

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Ron 3 years ago

I've heard that the house next door where the consignment shop 'kids junction' is is also haunted....I've been in the basement...very spooky...didn't see anything though..


mark 19 months ago

been to the third floor, the red room and all the others up there. Didn't hear or see anything, but one never knows.... until they do.

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