The Jersey Shore is more than surf, sand, and suntans. It also has a haunted past that few know about that’s well worth exploring. If you’re looking for a getaway that’s a little bit out of the ordinary, and are interested in things not of this world, then you will definitely want to explore our top three haunted places of the Jersey Shore.
If you’re really into the phantasmal, be sure and check out our new series on Haunted New Jersey, with profiles of Clinton Road, the Seabrook-Wilson House and Overbrook Asylum. You can also find out more about what it is like to make a living scaring people in our feature on Scaring People Silly.
The Peter Shields Inn
Built in 1905 by real estate developer Peter Shields, this grand old mansion is now a boutique hotel and restaurant. If you are brave enough to spend the night, you may just have a ghostly encounter with a tragic figure. The place is well known for being haunted.
Visitors and employees alike have all said they frequently feel the presence of unseen people in the rooms with them. Peter Shields’s teenage son Earl is among them. He roams the inn’s basement with regularity, and is the most active of the ghosts at the inn.
Earl Shields was 15 years old when he asked his father for permission to go on a hunting trip with his friends. His father, Peter, forbid it, and left on a business trip shortly after. Peter assumed his son would follow his rules. But Earl had other plans. He snuck out with his friends and took a boat down a nearby river to hunt down their prey.
The Story Continues
When Peter and his friends returned from the hunt, Earl was getting out of the boat and propped his rifle up as a support to step onto the shore. As he leaned on the rifle, it went off, the bullet shot through his face, breaking his jaw, blowing out his eyes, and lodging in his brain. A local surgeon worked on him for hours and tried valiantly to save his life. Later, when it was obvious the young man wasn’t going to make it, his parents were summoned, and both arrived at his bedside just in time to see him pass on.
Recently, when a channeling medium spoke to the ghost of Earl, he said that Earl stays at the inn out of guilt due to the sadness he caused his mother and for causing his own death by defying his father’s wishes. Those who have encountered Earl’s ghost report a sad ghost, not a scary one. He is not angry. He seems to be wandering around as if waiting for something or somebody.
Many mediums who have tried to contact him (only one is known to have actually spoken to him) have theorized he is waiting for his father to come to him and tell him that all is forgiven, so he can move on with him. People do see and hear Earl regularly, but he has not been malicious toward anyone. Seeing a ghost can be unsettling for a lot of people, though, whether he is angry or friendly or just indifferent.
He’s Not Alone
Of course, Earl is not the only spirit at the Peter Shields Inn. A house this old with so many people coming and going from it for over a century is bound to have some other spirits. Others have been seen, and their presence felt, though no spirit has been definitively identified other than Earl Shields. The Travel Channel did a segment on the hauntings here back in 2010, and the results were impressive. Spirits are everywhere at the Peter Shields Inn. Pay it a visit if you dare, and experience a true haunted house for yourself.
The Beach at Sandy Hook
This Monmouth County beach is notorious for its ghosts. They’ve been around for a long time, too. The most famous ghost to be seen walking the shores is Captain Joshua Huddy, a commander of a New Jersey Patriot militia in the Revolutionary War. When he was captured by British troops and sentenced to hang, he was appalled to discover the person overseeing his execution was a former friend and neighbor, who had defected to the British side. Joshua Huddy left this world behind with a sense of intense betrayal.
This may be the reason Captain Huddy’s ghost still wanders the beach at Sandy Hook. The beach is within viewing distance of the place where he was hanged. Visitors to the beach frequently report seeing a man in an American Revolutionary War uniform walking along the beach, looking out for British warships. The ghost will usually turn and approach anyone who sees him, only to turn away and vanish just as he reaches them. It is said he is waiting to hear people speak, so he can determine if they are English or American; his deep seeded need for vengeance against the English is apparent.
Sometimes, Huddy’s ghost is seen talking to the ghost of John Asgill; a British officer who the Americans captured and were going to hang in retaliation for what happened to Huddy. When King George personally asked that Asgill be spared, he was, since the Americans knew they’d win the war regardless. Despite being British, Huddy seems to get along well with Asgill; probably because Asgill once faced the hangman’s noose as well.
If you walk along Sandy Hook’s beach at night, don’t go alone. While Huddy has yet to take his revenge, you don’t want to have to explain your loyalty to the American cause to an angry ghost without backup!
Monmouth University Library
If you want to meet a ghost that’s always on time, visit the Monmouth University Library at midnight. You’re almost sure to have a ghostly encounter.
The library used to be a part of the mansion of the wealthy Guggenheim family. Every night at midnight, a ghostly woman in a white gown walks down the staircase. It happens with such predictability that the University officially closes the library at 11:30 pm. However, employees regularly get to see the ghost; and if you know someone who works there, you can often get them to let you in to see her.
Even people who are at the library at other times of the day report feeling like they are being watched. They also say they get the feeling that whoever is watching them does not want them to be there. It seems the ghost of this library is not friendly toward visitors and tries to make them leave. Whether she’s a Guggenheim or someone else with ties to the building when it was a house, we can’t say.
When you seek out the Ghosts of the Jersey Shore, bring your camera; also, bring some friends to back you up on what you see. The ghosts are waiting for you.