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Inside Beat

Spooky on-campus lore makes for perfect Halloween spots to visit

Despite the beautiful scenery, Douglass is perhaps the creepiest campus at Rutgers, with spooky ancient lore that's bound to give you the creeps.  – Photo by Rutgers.edu

As baffling as it is, Halloween is here. It’s the one annual holiday that honors ghosts, goblins, haunted folklore and all delicacies of candy. Rutgers, whose history dates back to America’s existence, has its own share of legends and haunted sites on campus grounds and in nearby locations. Perhaps this list will inspire a fun, socially distanced excursion or places to avoid for your sanity and livelihood.

Raritan Public Library

The first on our list is the historic Raritan Public Library in Somerset. This library is said to be haunted by a former librarian. There have been reports of lights turning on and off, books being shifted and sightings of an old woman in the window and garden. She also doesn’t like giggling or loud banter, so keep the talking to a minimum if you plan on paying a visit.

Halls-Mills home

Next is the Halls-Mills home on Douglass campus that now belongs to the Douglass Residential College’s dean. This property formerly belonged to Episcopal priest Edward Hall and is now hailed as the site of a scandalous murder.

Hall had an affair with a choir member named Eleanor Mills, and a fellow churchgoer subsequently found out. While Hall and Mills were out in the nearby orchard, they were brutally murdered with gunshots to the head and ripped up love letters between the bodies.

The murder garnered massive media coverage but was never solved. Police were suspecting Hall’s wife may have arranged the murder with her brothers, but there wasn’t sufficient evidence. This case is known as one of the country’s most notorious crimes.

Woodbury Bunting-Cobb Hall

Moving deeper into Douglass campus, we have Woodbury Bunting-Cobb Hall, one of the oldest residence halls on campus. It was named after Mary Putnam Woodbury, who married James Neilson, the grandson of the man who created Wood Lawn — now Eagleton Institute of Politics.

While living there, Woodbury tended to a large rose garden on the south side of the hall, which now occupies the A-wing. When Neilson passed, the house was given to Rutgers, which removed the rose garden. This upset Woodbury and the roses that were left in the A-wing of Bunting-Cobb died the next morning. Woodbury sought revenge by killing any roses left in the A-wing, while roses in other parts of the building consistently blossomed, according to a legend.

Van Wickle House

Van Wickle House, which lies on Easton Avenue near the base of the Raritan River, is also said to hold spirits. In 1757, the house was given to young Evert and Cornelia Van Wickle as a wedding gift and on that same day, they both died. The couple died due to a fire, according to Rutgers Rarities Investigations.

The following residents reported seeing apparitions, flying doilies and peculiar behavior from their family pets. Since the couple’s death, the property remained private until it was bought and restored by The Meadows Foundation as a historic site.

The pool in the basement of Jameson Hall

The last spooky location is one many students may be familiar with: the pool in the basement of Jameson Hall, a popular residence hall on Douglass campus. A flight of stairs leads to a locked door that has access to the pool. Students who have found their way in discovered an empty, abandoned pool, flickering lights and an eerie presence. 

The moral of the story is, the entirety of Douglass campus is haunted. There are also other questionable locations on campus such as the bowling alley in Loree Classroom Building and Demarest Hall on the College Avenue campus, known for its graffiti.

The benefits of going to an old school entail hearing such tales of ancient establishments. If you’re a student who will eventually fill the empty spaces of these halls in a quasi-normal setting, try not to get the creeps!


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