Halloween season is accompanied by scary stories and horror movies, and a feeling of suspense that doesn’t quite go away until the holiday has passed. The most horrifying possibility during this scary season is learning that something chilling happened right in your hometown. All around the state, people have reported creepy encounters they either experienced firsthand or learned about. Many of those legends exist in the heart of New Jersey, right in our area. These are a few:

The Watchung Water Tower in Mountainside, otherwise known as the ‘Suicide Tower,’ is a place of many speculations. In 1975, four teenagers found a body at the base of the 150-foot tower. The police identified the body as a teenage boy with the last name of Sanders, and it was determined that the child had cut his wrists and fallen from the top. The police went to inform Sanders’ parents of his passing, but they found both adults dead. Mr. and Mrs. Sanders had been hit multiple times in the back of the head with an ax. Another tale is that four teenagers took the spiral stairs to the top of the tower and made a pact to jump together. They jumped, giving the tower its gruesome name. The stairs were later removed to prevent more jumping attempts.

Johnston Drive, otherwise known as “Thirteen Bumps Road”, runs from Watchung to Scotch Plains. It is said to be haunted by witches. As indicated by the name, there are thirteen consecutive and distinct bumps on Johnston Drive. Many believe these bumps are the bodies of thirteen sisters from centuries ago. During the mid-1850s mutilated bodies of young children were found on the outskirts of the Deserted Village (then known as Feltville). Thirteen sisters were found guilty of the murders and killed for their crimes. While this may sound far-fetched, there have been numerous attempts to remove the bumps but none have been successful. The bumps continue to arise after paving, causing many to believe the sisters are still haunting the street to this day.

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The “Watcher House” in Westfield is an unsolved mystery that has captivated many. A colonial style home in Westfield was remodeled and quickly purchased. However, the new owners never moved in because they received hauntingly detailed letters. These letters were sent from their “watcher” and included family information such as the names of the couples young children. Other letters were gruesome, including a creepy one stating that the watcher wanted to “fill the house with young blood.” The culprit was never found, and it is safe to say it is going to be hard to get the house off the market.

As long as these myths are spread, suspicions will rise and citizens will rightfully want to know the truth. So as you lie awake at night and reflect upon these stories, you might wonder if something just as chilling occurred in your town, down the street, or in your own home. 

Editor's Note: The Highlander section features articles written for The Highlander, Gov. Livingston High School's student newspaper.

Force, H. (March 23). Watchung Water Tower, Mountainside NJ. https://raeventures.me/adventures/2018/1/18/watchung-water-tower

Presinzano, J. (2017, October 12). New Jersey’s creepy ‘Watcher’ house is on the market again. https://www.usatoday.com/story/money/nation-now/2017/10/12/new-jerseys-creepy-watcher-house-market-again/756888001/

(2017, October 3) ‘the watcher’ House in New Jersey on thrillist’s list of creepiest urban legends. https://www.nbcnewyork.com/news/local/The-Watcher-House-Thrillist-Creepiest-Urban-Legends-New-Jersey-Westfield-449177243.html

Hayden, T. (2017, March 29). ‘The watcher’ strikes again: 4th, more ‘sinister’ letter received, lawyer says. https://www.nj.com/union/index.ssf/2017/03/watch_strikes_again_4th_letter_sent_feds_prosecuto.html

Everson, E. (2011, October 31). The ghosts of union county: 13 bumps for 13 witches. https://patch.com/new-jersey/summit theghostsofunioncounty-13bumpsfor13witches