Happy Halloween South Jersey!
Those who know southern New Jersey understand why its legions of loyal fans are so enthusiastic. South Jersey offers a rare convergence of the best of many worlds: outstanding cultural resources, recreation and entertainment – offered against a backdrop of beautiful natural resources. But we also know SJ can be quite quirky as well.
I am taking you on a “spooky” tour of South Jersey. Some places I have featured on the website before, but thought it would be a great way to celebrate Halloween 2013.
The Pinelands Preservation Alliance
17 Pemberton Rd, Southampton Township
It wouldn’t be fair to not showcase our oddities of South Jersey. It is what makes us unique and special. Probably our most famous tale is that of the Jersey Devil.
The Jersey Devil is a fabled creature or cryptid said to inhabit the Pine Barrens of southern New Jersey. He’s as legendary as the Yeti in the Himalayas, the Loch Ness Monster in Scotland, and Sasquatch here in America. The Jersey devil is often described as a flying biped with hooves. Nonetheless, he’s our most famous “resident.”
This “scary” statue is located in a dark conference room on the PPA property. Ooooooh spooky.
Emilio Carranza Memorial
Wharton State Forest
Tabernacle, New Jersey
There have been many fables in regards to the Jersey Devil. Most notably the story of the Charles Lindbergh of Mexico, Emilio Carranza.
Captain Emilio at one point held the record in the world for the longest non-stop flight. Traveling from San Diego to Mexico City.
He was only 22 years old when he beat Charles Lindbergh’s record.
While on one of his adventurous journeys, he was stuck in New York City due to severe weather. He received a telegram from his father to immediately return home to Mexico.The stubborn Carranza took off in a destructive lightning storm. He never made it to his destination. His plane crashed in Tabernacle, New Jersey. Located in Wharton State forest.
The myth is, that around his crash site, hoof prints of the Jersey Devil were found. Some have even stated that it looked as if a body was dragged from the site. This is the urban legend of the Jersey Devil involved in Carranza’s death.
The next day, when the news of Carranza’s death reached the county seat of Mount Holly, the local American Legion Post 11 set into action. They quickly mobilized their resources and set out on a 25-mile trek to locate the crash site.
A path had to be cut through the dense underbrush to retrieve Carranza’s body, which was then taken to a garage next to Buzby’s General store in Chatsworth, and later transferred to the county morgue.
At the county morgue, members of Post 11 – along with officers from the 16th Infantry, 77th Division – stood guard until the Mexican Consulate and military arrived. When Carranza’s casket left South Jersey for its journey home to Mexico City by train, it was draped with a United States flag from the Mount Holly Post that today hangs in Mexico’s School of Aviation.
The Mount Holly Post 11 has held an annual parade since 1929 to keep Carranza’s memory alive.
Located near the crash site is an Aztec-like statue that is surrounded by pine trees and rustic serenity. The children of Mexico saved their pennies to build this memorial here in New Jersey. It’s a strange site to see in the heart of the Pine Barrens.
The Resurrected Palace of Depression
Vineland, New Jersey
The Palace of Depression was once owned and created by a very enigmatic man named, George Daynor. Once, according to sources he was a rich man, but lost all his fortune. He had a vision of an angel and this angel said for him to build this splendid palace and that his legacy would be assured.
The angel showed Daynor a vision of a mystic castle that he shall build.The castle would contain many spires on the roof tops, for the angels to rest on, as they traveled around the earth and people would flock from far and wide to visit this magical palace.
Daynor found land on an abandoned landfill in Vineland. He spent only seven bucks for seven acres of property. The palace was made out of old junk. It was completed on Christmas Day 1932.
Daynor died in 1964. A fire then destroyed the palace in 1969. The only thing that had survived was the ticket booth.
Most recently, it has been resurrected by two men named Kevin Kirchner and Jeff “the living Jersey Devil” Tirante. Kevin is a Vineland building inspector and Jeff is an artist who possesses fervid talent. Tirante has been proclaimed the “living Jersey Devil”. As he lives in what has been proclaimed, “The Devil’s Den.”
Above, a fireplace in the devil’s den located in the basement of the Palace of Depression where the modern-day Jersey devil lives in this “lair” year-round.
Exploring the castle grounds are a real treat. Whimsy beckons at every corner. This is a MUST to see in South Jersey.
Frankenstein’s Grave in Pennsauken, New Jersey
Located at Crescent Memorial Park
Now visiting the Frankenstein gravesite isn’t going to produce an unorthodox experiment, however, it is still an anomalous thing to ferret out. Just don’t touch the grave or you may get galvanized. It seems that many visitors have paid their homage to this tombstone as the stones on top show Frankenstein gets quite the visitors.
The Atco Ghost on Burnt Mill Road
One of our most fabled South Jersey legends is that of the Atco ghost. According to legend, a boy out playing basketball on Burnt Mill Road was hit and killed by a passerby. Reportedly, this boy still haunts the street in which he grew up on. When it is dark at night, you are suppose to flash your vehicle’s lights 3 times at the end of Burnt Mill Road, keep your lights off and the boy’s ghost will appear right in front of your car. Personally, I have never seen the ghost and have tried this method many times, but I use to get a thrill out of it with friends in my younger years.
The Mt. Holly Prison on High Street
The Burlington County Prison Museum in Mount Holly, New Jersey, is reportedly one of the most haunted places in the United States. The stories and legends of ghostly happenings have been talked about for generations. Even popular ghost hunters have featured this prison on television. The Burlington County Prison opened in 1811 and was home to South Jersey’s most hardened criminals and murderers.
The Prison had its own gallows in the prison yard (and still showcased today) where public executions took place. One of those executed was by a man named, Joel Clough. Clough is rumored to be the ghostly spirit that haunts the prison. Clough had reportedly killed a woman who left him for another man. The prisoner tried to escape once, but after he was captured the warden imprisoned him in the Death Cell, a maximum security cell on the top floor. Per accounts, Clough was often times chained to the floor completely naked, and left to wallow there as punishment for his violent crimes.
South Jersey’s Futuro Homes
Meet these two alienesque knockouts. Both homes were massed produced during the 1960s through the early 1970s. Invented by a Finnish architect, Matt Suuronen, they were prefabricated homes made of fiberglass reinforced plastic. The Futuro house was meant to be a “move-in” home and able to be put anywhere like a trailer. The home runs entirely on electric and since it is well insulated it can go from -20 to 60 degrees in just 30 minutes.
The Futuro home on the top is located in Greenwich’s Harbor was refurbished and used as a ride in Wildwood in the 1970s. A video can be seen here of it at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8PV2RN_iCcM. It was later brought to Greenwich from Wildwood and is a funny scene to see especially in a town rich with its old historic structures.
The Futuro home on the bottom is located in a park in Willingboro. It just sits there minding its own business untouched and fenced in. This home is in better condition than above.
Less than 100 of these UFO beauties remain today.
Yes, South Jersey is weird, but this is what makes us special. I always thought we were a bit like aliens anyway…this explains a lot. Muahahahaha.
Happy Halloween, everyone!
Until our next frightening adventure, my friends! -The Yummygal