Montville’s glowing grave is a well-known phenomenon, but two people who went looking for it one night experienced something quite different. ˆ
It was about 10:30 PM and there was a full moon as we pulled up even with the church and the eighth fence post. We looked over at the cemetery across the street and sure enough, there was something glowing out there. It was not the grave, though. It was at the end of the property, along the backside. Our flashlight would not shine that far, but I said it looked like the reflection of a window on a house.
My friend said, “No way, there are no houses there.”
After going back and forth about what we were seeing, I said, “Just take the flashlight and walk up to it, and then you’ll see what it is for sure.”
My friend, being very creeped out by cemeteries, suggested we forget about it and call it a night, then suggested that I go, and finally suggested that we go together. But I convinced him to go alone while I stayed with the truck.
With a look on his face as though this were the last time we were going to see each other, onward he went with flashlight in hand, out the truck door, over the wooden fence, down the hill, across the street and up the hill into the cemetery.
I saw the flashlight moving about as if he was checking the place out. Then he disappeared into the darkness. A few minutes later he emerged, running as if for his life. He barely got into the truck before throwing it in drive and taking off. He was panic-stricken and would not speak a word. I pleaded with him to talk to me and finally, as we got closer to home and a sense of security surrounded him, he began to speak.
While climbing the hill up to the cemetery, the sound of the truck’s engine faded into the distance until he couldn’t hear or see anything outside of the hallowed grounds. The air was still, the night calm.
He walked deeper into the cemetery, and as he did, the earth changed beneath his feet. What started out as solid ground became marshy, even though we hadn’t had rain for about two weeks. He carefully moved onward, thinking the ground would become wetter as he proceeded, but it became firm again.
Off to his right he heard what sounded like a child’s voice, but he brushed it off and continued on. After getting close enough to confirm that the reflection was neither the glowing grave nor a house—it was the reflection off a white wooden fence—he headed back.
He headed into the marshy area again, this time hearing not a voice but a “squishing” sound. He stopped, listened, and heard it again: the sound of mud squishing though someone’s hands and fingers, almost like he or she was trying to dig out of a grave!
For a moment he thought, “Is someone buried alive here and trying to dig out? Nah, I watch too many horror flicks.”
Feeling uneasy and unwanted in this place, he walked faster and found himself on firmer ground again. That’s when he heard the child’s voice again—the same he heard on the way in. He very clearly heard it say: “Help me. Help me. Help me.”
Screw it, he thought, and started to run like he’d never run before. As he did, however, he felt a hand reach out and grab at the back of his neck and the collar of his shirt. The grasp was quickly released, however, and slid down his back, as if whatever was doing the grabbing could not hang on. My friend didn’t turn to look, but knew what he had heard and felt. And though he was midway into the cemetery and still quite far from the truck, he said it was as though he only took five steps before he was diving into the truck.
The following day we discussed what we thought it might have been. I suggested that he go back and look at the tombstones in the area where he heard the voice to see if there were any children’s graves there, since it was a child’s voice he had heard.
That’s what he did day later, going back in the early afternoon. Sure enough, in the entire middle section through which he had traveled through two nights before were all children’s graves. Yikes! The rest of the cemetery was adults—this was the only section that had children in it—and he knew he’d heard a child’s voice cry out for help. What kind of help did the child want? We have no idea, and we’re not going back to find out.
— Tracey and Steve
Weird Things Happen In New Jersey
Various news items from the Weird NJ newsroom
HAUPTMAN HAUNTS HUNTERDON? The lights are on late at night in the Hunterdon County Courthouse. Is Bruno home? The Newark Star-Ledger reported that county freeholders and staff have been shutting off a lot of lights, more than once, lately. Some suspected that it might be the ghost of Bruno Hauptman, who in 1935 was tried and convicted there for the murder of Charles Lindbergh’s baby. The Flemington courthouse had recently been renovated and now looks as it did during the trial. Renovations are a classic start to many hauntings, and considering the notoriety of the trial, it seems as though Hauptman might be making his presence known. The county architect pins the light problem on sensitive “green” lighting technology that simply needed to be adjusted—not ghosts. -Thanks to Barbara Busch and Russell Martone
HANGING WITH THE SUB: A substitute teacher in Newark was sentenced to a year of probation after tying a “mock noose” around a student’s neck as punishment for not doing his homework during an after-school program. According to an Associated Press report published on WFTV.com, prosecutors said the sub “asked the boy if he knew what strangulation was, made him stand on a chair… put the looped end of a decorative string that was hanging from a light fixture around the boy’s neck and kicked the chair.” The sub said he was just playing and the string never made it around the student’s neck, but his conviction means he can never work as a teacher again. The boy’s parents are suing him, the school district and “others.”
WALDWICK NORMAN BATES? A Weird NJ reader sent us an article from northjersey.com about a mother and son whose decomposed bodies were found in their Waldwick home. Neighbors had noticed that the mailbox was full, a light in the living room stayed on constantly, and nobody seemed to be about, so they alerted the police. Authorities determined that the son, in his early fifties, had been dead for a week, but the mother, in her late eighties, had been dead for a month. Both had been in poor health and had died from heart disease: nothing nefarious. Nobody knows why the son didn’t contact anyone about his mother’s death; police had ruled out his collecting her Social Security money as motive.
The reader who contacted Weird NJ grew up locally and had some additional information. The son was a corrections officer who returned home about five years earlier to care for his mom, “and then spent the last month of his life sharing the house with her corpse. Friends of [the son] contacted neighbors and told them that he said he had a wake for her. So while he was telling friends about his mother’s wake, she was decomposing in the bedroom.” -Thanks to Anonymous
SHADES BEATS “PYSCHO PATH” ANY DAY: The readers of Weird NJ have known for years that Shades of Death Road is a unique and eerie road name. So it was no surprise when it came in eighth in a Mitsubishi Motors poll that named the oddest street names in the United States. But as an article published in an unidentified newspaper pointed out, unlike the cutesy names that placed higher in the poll but were likely invented by developers and town planners, Shades of Death is an old name connected to legends of deadly malarial fevers and murderous roadside events. Take that, Divorce Court! -Thanks to Jim Cicaca
KARLSTADT KLAN KAPSULE? Someone in the local Ku Klux Klan must have been feeling mighty bold back in 1933. Among the more everyday contents of a time capsule that had been placed in the cornerstone of the former Lindbergh School was some Klan literature: brochures and a letter attributed to the “Albert Pike Klan No. 2” from Rutherford, New Jersey. According to The Leader, contractors who were tearing the building down found the capsule. The Carlstadt Historical Society said that they knew that the Klan held meetings on Washington Street, but not much more was known about Klan activity in the area. Why the KKK would be placing materials in a time capsule meant for the opening of an elementary school is a mystery. -Thanks to Nathan Blaney