As a kid, I couldn’t wait to get my license so I could explore Shades of Death Road. In middle school I was tasked with a report of my choosing and while others chose something a bit friendlier, I chose to write about the ghosts at Ghost Lake and the creepy events at Shades of Death Road. It winds alongside Jenny Jump State Forest up to Allamuchy in Warren Country, NJ. This road less traveled has had its fair share of haunted encounters. Over the years, reality and legend have become intertwined, leaving room for even more questions about the mysteries that plague the land. No one is certain how it gained its grime name but there are many legends surrounding it. The most popular legend tells of a murderous past with the original inhabitants of the area. Men from a rowdy gang were said to have caused more than just trouble with women and random squabbles and gained a reputation for their killings. The area they inhabited was nicknamed, Shades of Death Road.
Upon traveling the scenic road, you would never suspect it had a sinister past. The lush wooded land and crisp country air is a great disguise. The road is notorious for mysterious unsolved murders in recent years, becoming a hotspot for local kids and thrill seekers. There is much to explore along the windy road including an old cabin near Ghost Lake and the surrounding miles of forest in the area. While collecting stories for my report, I stumbled upon a chilling tale by an unknown person on the internet. They were exploring deep within the woods near Shades of Death Road when they came across hundreds of unsettling polaroids scattered in the leaves. A few of the disturbing photos featured a TV changing channels and a morbid looking woman lying on some sort of metal table, conscious but not smiling. Local police swiftly began an investigation but came up with nothing.
Head down Lenape Lane toward the cabin and you will find Ghost Lake. The lake is known for its thick fog and eerie apparitions. Anytime I’ve visited I've seen the fog. Ancient Native Americans are said to still haunt the land and many nearby streets have inherited their tribal names. While exploring the nearby woods next to the lake, I began feeling a bit ill and uneasy. My friend and I looked at each other with the same unspoken thought. We quickly headed out of the woods and back to our car. The entire area smelled like blood. Although, we didn’t witness any ghostly figures, many who have visited the area claim to have seen the ghost of a 9-year old girl. No one knows what happened to her but some suspect that she was kidnapped from her parents and killed on the road. Legend has it, if you stop your car and she sees you, she will ask where her parents are. Those who have met the child spirit claim they could not simply ignore her and must try to help.
Despite all of its terrors, I will always be drawn to it.