The town of Feltville, Berkeley Heights, otherwise known as The Deserted Village, has often been the subject of legend and lore. The Deserted Village is a well-known historic site and is filled with a rich and intriguing history. Peter Wilcox first settled there in the 1730s and built a sawmill, which was later destroyed. David Feltville then bought the town in the mid-1800s and built a mill and houses for his workers. Eventually, the town was gradually abandoned by its citizens, and thus became the site it is today. The Village is well known and often hosts weddings, birthdays, and general tours.
However, there is an eerie mystery surrounding Feltville. If you’ve ever been there at night or dusk, you may have felt uneasy. Even walking around in the daytime can feel strange. It seems that the people who abandoned the village so long ago are still present, and it feels as though you step into another world, one where factory workers watch you from their old homes and wonder why you are invading their property.
Of course, ghost stories have sprung up about the town. There have many stories about paganistic sacrifices, specifically including crazy teenagers and witches. Some individuals even claim to have seen a fire with a pentagram marked on the ground it was burning on. There is another tale of three young girls who went camping in the woods around the town in 1912, and the only thing ever seen of them again were their bonnets. It is rumored that the house at the edge of the enclave now hosts the ghosts of those three young girls.
Aside from those legends, there are other tales of strange happenings in The Deserted Village. Strange rock formations, odd sightings, stories from those who live there. The old and once abandoned homes have been renovated and new families occupy them. GL student John Bernier and his family live in the Deserted Village. Bernier said that in the village, “It’s spooky, I’m alone.” Bernier does not have any neighbors, and the only house occupied is his. Bernier was fully aware of the legends his home is known for. “There’s lots of history where I live.” He said, “Once our coffee started brewing at three in the morning.”
The myths continue to grow and have turned the town into a legendary figure. Whether or not the town actually has any supernatural elements, today it is certainly an interesting and exciting site for both a history lesson and a scare!
Editor's Note: The Highlander section features articles written for The Highlander, Gov. Livingston High School's student newspaper.
(Adler, S. (2012, December 18). Feltville Historic District in Watchung Reservation. http://sueadler.com/feltville-historic-district-in-watchung-reservation/)
(Moran, M. (2017, August 14). The Deserted Village and Enchanted Forest of the Watchung Reservation. https://weirdnj.com/stories/abandoned/deserted-feltville-watchung/)