|The month of October, with its crispness in the
air and colorful palette of autumn leaves, signals the arrival of Fall,
and the anticipation of Halloween. As children (and perhaps the child
in all of us) anxiously await the arrival of All Hallows Eve, it seems
the ghost stories come out of the woodwork, so to speak. Almost every
person you speak to has one. There are timeless tales, like Ichabod
Crane's Headless Horseman, urban myths, local mystery and those stories
we'd like to dismiss as impossible... but after hearing them, can't
seem to let them go.
Hackettstown and the surrounding areas, with their
ancestral cemeteries, Revolutionary and Civil War heroes, historic
buildings, and Victorian homes are rich in stories of the unexplained.
Charlie Brown's Restaurant, housed in the Hackettstown's landmark
building located at 109 Grand Avenue, is well known not only for great
food, but the great stories from its more than 100 year history. The
story of Tillie Smith, the young domestic murdered on the grounds of
Centenary College in 1896 lives on today, as does her spirit some say.
Ironically, the original CCI Building burned to the ground in a fire
late on October 31, 1899.
History has often "come to life" in nearby
Waterloo Village, and not just as costumed interpretors retelling the
fascinating history of the Morris Canal. The five mile long Shades of
Death Road was once inhabited by Native Americans who claimed to see
their ancestors in the wispy pillars of mist. The road served as a
stagecoach route and was a prime location for thieves and murderers.
Even today, it challenges the imagination when the Great Meadows fog
rises up over the water, appears to take on human form and travels with
you down the road.
So remember the history and mystery of our area
this October 31st, especially if the costumed neighbor you see on the
darkened road suddenly disappears.............