Spooky New Jersey and Folklore Stories


Olivia Sullivan, Staff Writer

New Jersey has a dark history of ghosts, demons, and other spooky stories. Folklore spreads around like wildfire and influences us. Even our hockey team, the New Jersey Devils, is named after a terrifying creature that lurks in the Pine Barrens. Some of these locations have been even featured on shows such as Ghost Hunters. For this spooky autumn season, let us venture through the many stories that leave us horror-struck.

The Jersey Devil:

The fable of the Jersey Devil is possibly the most famous story of our state. In the lush Pine Barrens back in 1735, Mrs. Leeds, a local woman, gave birth to her 13th child. Disgusted with her newest child and pregnancy, she announced with intense passion, “Let it be the devil!” It is said that once the child was born, it was the devil and that it grew wings and let out a terrifying screech, where it then flew out the window. From here, the Jersey Devil has terrorized the Pine Barrens, and for the past 250 years, thousands of people have claimed to see this creature. According to NJ.com, Forest Ranger John Irwin was driving beside the Mullica River in 1993, where he then claimed to see a creature blocking the roadway. He stopped his car and looked at the supposed Devil, a six-foot-tall, horned devil with matted fur. The creature and Irwin stared at one another for a moment, before the Devil ran back into the forest. This claim is just one of the thousands of sightings of the Jersey Devil, the most famous folklore of New Jersey.

Overlook Asylum in Cedar Grove, NJ:

For mystery-seeking individuals, Overlook Asylum in Cedar Grove was an extremely popular location to visit. Built-in 1898, the Overlook Hospital catered to over 3,000 patients at one time in the 1930s/1940s according to historian Robert Williams. The hospital had over 300 acres of land, farmland, and even a power plant. Sadly, over 10,000 people died at this hospital, and it is said that their ghosts remain there. 

In 2018, the asylum was demolished, and locals were devastated to hear this news. The asylum used to be a place where kids would explore and venture. Kids used to claim to see or hear things, and one headless CPR dummy was believed to be haunted. These sightings are not the most terrifying events that have occurred at the asylum. In 1917, there was a time of extreme cold, the asylum’s boilers failed, causing two dozen patients to freeze to death in their rooms.

Clinton Road:

In West Milford lies perhaps the most haunted road in all of America, Clinton Road. Here, thousands of people have claimed to see things from a ghost boy to satanic rituals. People have also seen wolf-like figures, bodybags, and even UFOS. Another story of a young boy who picked up a coin on the bridge of Clinton Road, where he was then sadly struck by an oncoming car. To this day, people throw coins into the lake below to summon the boy, and one story suggests that if you get out of your vehicle and find a coin on the bridge if you pick it up, the boy will push you into the lake to save you from the incoming car. There have been no exact claims of this story, and it is most likely another instance of New Jersey folklore. 

These three stories are just some of the many examples of frightening sightings in our home state, New Jersey. Have you ever seen anything peculiar in your town? Happy Halloween!