Saturday, July 7, 2012

Mauricetown, New Jersey - A Haunting

A true story from a personal friend:

1992 Mauricetown, NJ.

It's a small historic village that includes 9 streets, some less than 150 yards long.  The village sits on the Maurice River.  It was built by sea captians in the early 1800's.

A major company owned a large 3-story Victorian mini estate here and they sold it to a private individual.  This guy decided he wanted to completely renovate the house/yards and then resell it.  He advertised the home/estate for rent for $500 a month, with the instructions that the renters had to renovate the property. 

My husband worked in the construction field and we had been relocated to NJ for 3 years.  We saw the ad and jumped on it!  I mean the house was 3 stories, 7500 sq ft of living space,  (not counting the huge basement) 2 car garage, 2 kitchens, 6 Bedrooms, 3 bathrooms, Library, Green House, Formal LR and Dining Room, Maid's Quarters, Two staircases, Two tennis courts, and an olympic sized inground swimming pool, pool house and shower rooms,  all on 1 acre of land right on the Maurice River!  For $500 a month! 

The renovations were hard work, replacing/repairing PLASTER walls, painting, fencing, painting the entire outside of the house.  But the house was unimaginable to live in!  It was definitely an experience!

The day we went to look at the house and meet the new owner, I couldn't help but ask him if the house was haunted!  I can't believe I actually asked him that, it kinda just popped out of my mouth!  He didn't answer me, though, and I really didn't pay attention to the fact that he hadn't answered me because I was slightly embarrassed for asking in the first place! 

We ended up renting the house.  And moved right in.

The first thing we noticed was that our two cats wouldn't come out from under the couch.  And they would NOT go up to the third floor at all.  They always appeared to be staring at something above our heads too. Honestly, we didn't really pay it much notice at the time.

But then we started noticing other things.  Like the chandelier above the entry way and at the base of the grand staircase always moved.  Not alot, but it was always swaying lightly.  Wind? hmmmmmmm............

That was the start of things.  It would take forever for me to type a monologue of what happened there, so what I'll do instead is just list the things in order of occurence and explain briefly after I list them.

1.  Cats acting strange.

2.  Chandelier is always swaying.  ALWAYS.

3.  Back door is always unlocked in the morning, even after we double, triple check it at night.  Nothings missing.  Just the door would "unlock" itself.

4.  Coffee pot would come on.  Each morning the coffee pot would be on and the glass pot would be so hot it was nearly broken several times.  We didn't make coffee and leave it on, it would just BE on without coffee in it.

5.  Keys misplaced, shoes misplaced.  Mail misplaced.

6.  Company came over for dinner one night.  We tried to give them the tour of the house.  We went up to the third floor and the woman started crying.  She literally ran down the stairs and out the front door.  Her husband chased after her.  He told my husband the next day at work that she said she couldn't stay in that house.  She felt something and it scared her. We had NOT mentioned ANYTHING to them about the funny/strange occurances that had happened so far.  They refused to come back.

7.  LOUD BANGING on the third floor at night.  usually around 2-3 a.m. in the morning.  We slept on the 2nd floor.  NOTHING was on the third floor.  It was completely empty.  But I swear it would sound like a tree branch coming through the window!  Terrible breaking glass sounds, banging sounds.  Then footsetps would start.  Right over our heads.
When we would get up to go up and look to see what happened, THEN the noises would start coming from the 2nd floor or the 1st floor. We could never find the cause of the noises.

8.  Baskets that were on the kitchen wall flew off by themselves and spun around on the floor.  This was broad daylight.  I was sitting on the couch and I could see the kitchen and I heard a "swish swish" sound.  I looked into the kitchen and the 20 or so wicker baskets I had hanging on the wall were coming off one by one and spinning in the air, before dropping to the floor and spinning awhile there!  I actually laughed!  I can't believe it didn't scare me!  Seriously.  I don't know why I laughed, it just seemed so strange!

9.  The library had a backwards switch on the outlet.  You had to flip the lightswitch DOWN to turn on the power to the outlet.  I was vacuming in there one day and the switch flipped UP which turned off my vacume.  I thought my husband had done it and I hollard at him to knock it off.  I flipped the switch down, started vacuming again and it happened again.  I hollared again at my husband.  This time he hollard back and he was in the basement!  I told her to come here fast!  So he ran up the stairs and came in the library and I started vacuming and guess what?  it didn't happen!  So then I got annoyed and started talking to "whoever it was" and told them that's not funny!  SHOW HIM TOO! lol  I started vacuming again and OMG the switch slowly flipped up turning off the power!!!  We both saw it!

10.  There was something about the mirror over the fireplace.  It faced the grand staircase.  None of us ever dared look into that mirror while we were on the stairs.  We never mentioned it to each other when we lived there (Our daughter was 12 at the time) but later, after we moved out, the mirror got brought up.  I was surprised to find that my husband and daughter had felt there was something off about that mirror too.

11.  Noises increased.  Clanging noises.  Breaking noises.  Thumps, Bumps.  Bangs.  Tinkling noises.  These were sudden and fierce.  Not soft and mellow.  The footsteps seemed to always be on the stairs coming down the third floor staircase.  Sometimes even coming in our bedrooms!  I swear there were times when it felt like someone was standing at the foot of our bed.  My husband felt it too.

So now I've mentioned a few things, I want to add that for some strange reason, we were NOT scared by all of this.  We had spoken to some of our neighbors and they had told us a little history of the house.  The elderly couple next door told us that in the 50's the residents suffered a tragedy in the home. 

On the third floor, their newborn baby had died of crib death. (eerily enough the baby curtains were still hanging in tatters on the windows of the nursery when we lived there!)  After the death of the baby, the nanny couldn't stand living there and the homeowner flew her home in his private plane to be with her family.  The plane crashed and SHE died.  He lived.  After that, his family moved out of the home.

The house was ALWAYS COLD.  Bone chilling cold.  We couldn't afford to run the oil heat alot, so that does explain some of the cold.  But you could actually see your breath at times in some of the rooms.  Especiallly the first floor staircase and the third floor bedrooms/nursery area.

The basement was FILLED with antiques!  I mean LOTS of antiques!  Apparently when the previous family left, they had the furniture, dishes, music boxes, everything stored down in the basement and they never took it out.  The new owner told my husband and I we could have everything down there as partial payment for the work we were doing.  He was also paying us cash each month for each room we completed, but I was thrilled to get those antiques! 

Funny thing is that I couldn't bring myself to remove them from the house! Seriously!  We're talking alot of cash for those antiques and I just couldn't take them and sell them.  We rented/renovated the house for a year  and when we left, we left all the antiques in the basement.  We didn't take a thing. (The house sold for $300K after we finished the renovations).

Now here comes the scary stuff. 

After about 9 months of living there, we all three figured the house was a tad bit haunted.  But strangely enough, we weren't spooked.  Even my 12 year old daughter wasn't spooked.  Admittedly, it was a little uncomfortable at night with the noises.  A little creepy and I couldn't wait for the sun to come up.  But I didn't have a problem being in the house alone during the day when my husband was at work and my daughter was at school.  Until one day.

I was standing in the Formal living room getting ready to walk down to the post-office house and check my mail.  The post office was actually another Victorian house down the street that the owner lived upstairs and ran the post-office down stairs.  I bent to get my keys off the coffee table and when I raised up I caught a glimpse of myself in the "MIRROR" that was above the fireplace and faced the staircase.  Only it wasn't myself that I saw. 

It took me a second to realize this.  I didn't have my hair in a bun. I wasn't barefoot.  I wasn't on the staircase.  And I wasn't wearing a long pale blue nightgown!  I DID NOT turn around and look directly at the staircase.  I couldn't.  I was petrified!  I looked full on in the mirror and realized there was a lady on the staircase.  She was stepping down the stairs, but she wasn't moving and she didn't look at me.  She had blonde hair in a loose bun.  She was wearing a pale blue long nightgown and she was barefoot.  Her left hand was on the bannister.

I ran out of the house screaming.  Literally screaming!  I got down to the post office and told the lady there what had happened.  She wasn't surprised.  She told me that ever house there was haunted.  Even the post office house.  She said they had to keep the portrait of the ship captain that built that house in the back stairwell on the wall or if it wasn't there, then a stinky blue smoke filled the staircase!

I had to go back to my house because my daughter was due home from school. So when I walked in, I talked to "her".  I told her that wasn't funny.  That she scared me.  And that I knew it was her house but I was just taking care of it.  Refurbishing it to it's natural beauty.  I asked her to please never show herself to me again and to please not scare my daughter.  I did feel silly doing that, speaking  out loud to an empty house?  But it worked.

The noises mostly stopped, although the breaking glass sounds did continue.  My cats still were freaked and seemed to watch something over our heads.  They still would not venture up to the third floor.

But all the other little crazy things seemed to stop after that day.

Then the house sold.  The new owners were from Hungary.  They didn't know the US laws on rental property and they wanted us OUT now even though we had 2 months left on our lease.  The man threatened me.  He tried to break in one day (he was going to physically hurt me...........he was screaming that outside and all my neighbors heard him threaten me)  he tried to break the windows (200 year old glass) with firewood logs.  And guess what? 

They bounced off and didn't break the glass!  He tried to get in the front door and guess what?  His key wouldn't work, the lock stuck and he couldn't get in!  He tried to use the back door (neighbors were calling police at this time) and the back door jammed and wouldn't open! I was inside alone and scared to death this big guy was going to kill me!  Cops came and he took off.  They eventually caught up to him and explained he was doing something illegal even if he did own the house!  We left early.  Even though we had two months left on our lease.  We moved into a small 600 sq. ft apartment.  We were getting ready to move out of state anyways.  My husband had been transferred again.

About a month later, our elderly neighbor's son came to visit us at the apartment.  He told us that in one week after the new owners moved in:
(a) their two dogs drowned in the pool. 
(b) the wife fell down the stairs and had a miscarriage. 
(c) the tree out front fell over and crashed/ruined/smashed the green house!

So that's my story.  I swear all of it is true.  I always wondered what the history of that little NJ village was.  The local said lots of the houses were haunted.  I'm still amazed I wasn't totally freaked.  But I know what I saw that day on the staircase.  I can still see the lady on the stairs as clear as anything.  I will always remember what she looked like.  And I know that if she would have turned and looked at me, I would surely have fainted!