I question why I often post photos that invoke the macabre.
There's no earthly reason for this. My life couldn't be more ordinary.
Wait. I think I just answered my own question.
Last Sunday, I wrote about three haunted places I visited in New Jersey in 2018 -- but, upon further review, I've found more evidence that perhaps I seek a life less ordinary.
First, on a tip from a co-worker, I took the photo at the top of this page. As posted on Instagram on Friday, this is the old (and former) library in Bernardsville. It used to be the Vealtown Tavern, built in the 1700s.
Phyllis Parker, the tavern owner’s daughter, has been rumored to haunt this building ever since. Librarians claimed to have seen her or heard her crying so many times, they issued her a library card.
The historic marker, which looks like a tombstone, states "By this route, Washington with his army retired to Morristown after his victory at Princeton, January 1777 - erected by the DAR."
Above is a photo I took in September of the Hermitage Museum in Ho-Ho-Kus. Built in the 1840s in Gothic Revival style, the site is Bergen County’s first National Historic Landmark. Guests of the original estate included a who’s who of Revolutionary War heroes, and Aaron Burr was married there.
The gardens are maintained by The Friends of the Hermitage, who also sponsor various events, such as ghost tours in October.
A related story in The Record provides more detail:
Tour guide Craig McManus said the Hermitage Museum is haunted: Voices have been recorded. Lights and motion detectors have gone on unprovoked, and a woman has been seen in the upstairs window. “We think there are about four or five spirits in the house,” he said. “The house itself is kind of a paranormal hot spot.”
The Hermitage has been known as a ghost house since at least as far back as 1917, when Bess Rosencrantz and her niece opened a popular tea room there.. The tea room operated for about 15 years. Its haunted tales made headlines as far as North Dakota...
According to McManus, Mary Elizabeth Rosencrantz probably knows about the home’s more recent history, because her spirit never really left. She can sometimes be found in her room. “She’s very aware of who we are and what year it is,” McManus said.
Finally, here’s a photo I took last February: Jesus in a Garfield cemetery, with the only splash of color from a storefront on Passaic Street.
It startled me to notice how many of my other posts in 2018 featured a cemetery or a graveyard (which, distinct from a cemetery, is a burial ground within a churchyard). For example, these two:
The image on the left is from October in Totowa, where I grew up. I noted at the time that there were 96,000 people buried there, in a borough with a population of only 11,000 living souls. The image on the right is from March in North Arlington -- a borough with several cemeteries and nearly 20 times more deceased (300,000) than living residents.
In the posts I tagged last year with #NJchurcheverySunday, at least four included graveyards:
I don’t know what this all means, but I declare -- emphatically -- that I don’t believe in portents.
To prove it, I’ve just eaten the plums that were in our refrigerator.
Forgive me. They were delicious. So sweet and so cold.