The Spy House has been a popular subject in the paranormal section on this blog over the years. Located in Port Monmouth, New Jersey, it has been an alluring location for ghost hunters, psychics, and paranormal tourists for decades. While I have captured my own evidence at the house and I believe it is haunted, my overall research has shown that many of the famous and outlandish myths surrounding the place are false, such as pirates, Revolutionary War spies, an evil sea captain, and Indian chiefs. I was able to trace all of the tall tales (or outright lies if you want to be harsher) to the Spy House’s former eccentric caretaker, Gertrude Niedlinger. We can debate for hours on which stories may have some essence in truth, which have no basis in reality, or if Gertrude did the right thing by making stuff up in an effort to bring attention to the location and save it. This post is not about any of that, though I have links to previous blog posts on the subject at the end of this article.
The following pictures are scans of documents pertaining to the pop-culture and pseudo-history of the Spy House and some of its mythology. These were sent to me by friend and Ghosts on the Coast co-investigator Carly Vena, longtime resident of Port Monmouth. We met several years ago when she attended a lecture of mine on the Haunted History of New Jersey held in the Spy House. I was very happy to receive these scans because they help show the birth and evolution of the various falsehoods purported to have occurred there. They also show the one singular source who created it all.
The first four are some of Gertrude’s original pamphlets she would hand out to visitors, which Carly and her family obviously saved from years ago. The last four are from a 1988 Coast Magazine article on the Spy House. It is very important that these documents are now preserved digitally for your viewing pleasure and historical research purposes. I thank Carly for sending them to me.
Previous posts about the Spy House are listed below. You will notice how my views have changed over time, between my first visits in 2010 and my research article in 2014. Even though past posts reflect the different folklore which I have since debunked, I felt it was important to leave everything in its original context so you can see the learning and research process. There are more articles on this location on my blog, but these four are what I consider the most important.
More articles in this special “Halloween Twenty-Fifteen” column can be found here.