The haunted tours at the Strauss Mansion Museum this year were different. No script, no actors, no jump-scares or cheap thrills. Instead, we wanted to let our real ghosts do the talking. Myself along with other members of Ghosts on the Coast led five tours per night the last two weekends, approximately 45 minutes each. We started on the third floor in the Tower Room before working our way into the basement. Along the way, we told ghost stories and experiences which occurred in the museum over the years, reviewed evidence, and conducted SB-7 Spirit Box sessions to attempt to communicate with the ghosts. To say these were a success would be an understatement. We sold out every tour days in advance, and everyone appeared to leave happy. During the introduction at the beginning of the tour, I would mention how there are no guarantees of paranormal activity—that nothing was staged and sometimes we do not get anything no matter how hard we look. I also mentioned how I would rather we do these tours and find nothing than have someone hiding in a closet banging on the wall trying to scare people. I think they “got it” after that message. This was as close to a real paranormal investigation as we could make it, given the size of the groups and time constraints. But there were some experiences.
Just like last year, Reel to Real will feature a special series for the fall season. Titled “Halloween 2K16”, this will be where I blog about horror movies, share fall recipes, and also let you know what’s going on in my paranormal investigating adventures. October is going to be a busy month. My team, Ghosts on the Coast, is honored to be partnering up with our usual haunt (no pun intended) the Strauss Mansion Museum and Atlantic Highlands Historical Society. We have a full schedule of events on tap, including three movie screenings, a party, a paranormal investigation, and then two weekends of new-look ghost tours.
Unlike even some of the oldest cemeteries I have been to in New Jersey on my ghostly travels, none came close to what I saw in Hartford, Connecticut this past week when it comes to tombstone descriptions. Readers of this blog and viewers of my web-series can recall episodes filmed at Rose Hill Cemetery in NJ or the Solebury Baptist Church Graveyard in Pennsylvania, and photo shoots at other old graveyards which are falling apart, some almost forgotten. Located smack-dab in the middle of Hartford, the Ancient Burying Ground (as it is named, though I would not exactly consider it to be “ancient”) is, in my eyes, the model by which old cemeteries should be preserved for the public. It was evident after just a few minutes how strong of a restoration effort has been undergone on the grounds. The oldest stone dates back to 1648, and the cemetery was active for burials until the 1800’s. In just one spot, you can see how burial and death traditions changed throughout history. The “death’s head”, or a winged skull, is prominently located at the top of many stones from the 1600’s and early 1700’s. The skull design can vary regionally. At the Dorsett Old Town Historic Cemetery in Holmdel, New Jersey, the skull itself was a literal skull, an even sort of creepy at that. In Connecticut, though, the skull was a bit more curvy and easier on the eyes. Almost angelic. However, the one fundamental difference in tombstone traditions comes with the labeling.
I will spare you all the backstory, because it is enough for another book. I have a second manuscript already finished detailing the paranormal occurrences which happened at Strauss Mansion in Atlantic Highlands last October. Maybe one day when I have the time, I will sit down and edit them for publication on this blog. Or, better yet, maybe come into some money to make a second book release possible. Nevertheless, the best evidence I ever shot was on last Halloween, 2014. We had just wrapped up one of our most intense paranormal investigations and seances. We stuck around after one of our lantern tour events since it was the perfect night for it. The energy was through the roof, stronger than it had ever been. We shut off all the lights and locked up for the night only to go outside and see one of the upstairs hallway lights was on. I asked Lou Fligor if we should go in and shut it off. Wanting to get out of there after a rough night, he said, “No!”, but continued to stare at the window. Damn it, I know he wants to go back in there. So, the two of us headed back inside. I turned my phone’s camera on and off we went. Nothing remarkable happened inside, but when we got back out, everyone was standing, staring up at a second floor window dumbstruck. Something was moving.
As written about last week, the Ghosts on the Coast team checked out historic and haunted Rose Hill Cemetery in Matawan, New Jersey. Again, we did not experience anything incredible, although this past investigation did lead us to discovering the identity of who is buried in the “Zombie” grave. We conducted several SB-7 sessions and got a decent amount of responses throughout. Below are five raw footage videos we shot, including one where the audio was interrupted, something which has never happened before. Also included are any time-stamped responses we captured.
It must be a slow news day on NJ.Com who is reporting that the Jersey Devil has just been sighted in Galloway, New Jersey. Last Tuesday, a man named Dave Black spotted what he thought was the elusive creature and took several pictures of it with his cell phone. Apparently, only one came out, and this is the one currently going viral:
Be prepared, folks. Be prepared. Rose Hill Cemetery in Matawan, New Jersey is the site of much history and a location beloved by locals and paranormal enthusiasts. It is rumored to be haunted, and severely so. While I have been there at least five times, and conducted thorough investigations twice, I have not uncovered anything spectacular. However, there is no doubt how weird the place is. Though located in the middle of a residential area, the feeling while walking around day or night is one of isolation. Yesterday, along with two Ghosts on the Coast team-members, Brett Bodner and Hunter Dillon, we conducted several Spirit Box sessions. Those videos and audio still have to be analyzed and will be posted later this week. There is something interesting we did find, and that is a grave marked “Zombie”. It seems to be a fun spot in the cemetery. People like to take their pictures near such a source of intrigue. But there is little to no information regarding who—or what—might be buried in the plot. The family name is Hulsart, and there are six graves at that location. They range from the late 1800’s until more recently in the latter half of the 1900’s. The names are rather normal, such as Clinton, Miriam, and Beatrice, to name a few. Then comes Zombie.