Piscatawaytown Burial Ground and the witch of Edison

New Jersey is steeped in urban legends and stories of the supernatural. There everybody has heard of the Jersey Devil, a creature with the head of a goat, the body of a deer, giant horns and wings. It is said that he was the 13th child of Mother Leeds back in 1735 and was born a demon through a curse. There have been a number of sightings of the Devil since then, one of them even being reported by the brother of Napoleon, Joseph Bonaparte. But there is a legend…

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Robbins Reef Lighthouse – Staten Island, New Jersey

The Kill van Kull is a tidal strait between Staten Island, New York and Bayonne, New Jersey, that connects Upper New York Bay with Newark Bay. Marking the eastern end of the Kill is the Robbins Reef Lighthouse. Dutch colonists acquired the island of Manhattan in 1626, and it was formally incorporated as the city of New Amsterdam on February 2, 1653, encouraging many Dutch settlers to put down their roots in the area.As the Dutch settled the area, explorers referred to many of the locations based on shape, geography,…

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New Jersey Devil’s Tree: an allegedly cursed tree that represents a town’s reckoning with a racist past.

Drivers near the corner of Mountain Road and Emerald Valley Lane in Bernards Township, New Jersey, come upon a tree that rises from the brush that, at sunset, becomes a dark silhouette against the field that stretches just behind it. Known simply as the Devil’s Tree, the oak is believed to have disturbing powers, cursing anyone who harms or simply touches it. By all accounts, it is at least two hundred years old and, according to the locals, everyone in the vicinity of Bernards Township seems to have a story…

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#March 25, 1887: The Rahway murder of the “Unknown Woman”.

March 25th, 1887 was a day that changed the town of Rahway, New Jersey, forever. In the cold hours of the early morning, a group of four brothers were walking to work at the local felt mill by Bloodgood’s Pond in Clark. As they passed the Rahway River, they found a woman lying on the ground a few hundred meters from the Central Avenue Bridge. She was well dressed and had been carrying a basket of eggs. The woman appeared to be in her early 20s, and was described as…

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Trenton Psychiatric Hospital: the “madhouse of horrors” in New Jersey

Founded on May 15, 1848, It was called New Jersey State Lunatic Asylum, then it was renamed Trenton State Hospital and, after a few years, it took on the simplest name of Trenton Psychiatric Hospital. It is located in Trenton and Ewing, New Jersey, and this last name leaves no room for doubts about the intended use: it was a madhouse, but with lot of peculiarities surely not nice. Not an asylum like many others in the world, it was the first structure built in the USA according to the…

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