Arts & Entertainment

The Ghosts of Elizabeth-Try a Historical Haunt This Halloween

ELIZABETH, NJ—Is the Union County Courthouse haunted? Ghost hunters say that spirits from the Revolutionary War era roam the grounds, halls, and rooms of the historic courthouse.

Corinthian columns and wide marble staircases adorn this Neo-Classical building, and of course the cemetery right next door at the First Presbyterian Church is filled with markers from the Revolutionary War. What a perfect place for a ghost story.

According to paranormal experts, a female ghost has been encountered in the rotunda.

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The spirit of Hannah Caldwell is said to dwell on the fifth floor in a courtroom where a portrait of her husband Reverend James Caldwell hangs. Caldwell was the first woman killed in the war.

Hannah Caldwell was buried in the church cemetery next to her husband, who was a revolutionary called the Fighting Parson. Caldwell’s death over two centuries ago remains a mystery. According to some historians, she was killed in retaliation for her husband misdeeds, other say she was killed by a British sniper.

Still, others say it may have been a stray shot from either side. Her death was a rallying cry for the locals and to this day her spirit is seen in the courthouse. Perhaps she wants visitors to know the history and the mystery surrounding the ghosts of Elizabeth.

The Courthouse is listed on the State and National Registers of Historic Places. Visitors are welcome at the Courthouse, and tours can be scheduled through the Union County Clerk’s Office. is Elizabeth’s free daily news source. Sign up for our daily eNews and follow us on Facebook at and Twitter @TAPElizabeth. 


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