OK, maybe spirits don't roam in Bergen County, but try telling that to ghost hunters and lovers of local lore. Every region of the country boasts legends of visitors from the great beyond and Bergen is no exception.
The Alpine Historical Society will tell you the wealthy Manuel Rionda commissioned the stone clock tower's construction in the early 1900s as the centerpiece of his Rio Vista estate and as a tribute to his wife. But legend will tell you that one night, when the wife climbed to the top of the unfinished tower, she looked out onto the grounds and saw her husband with another woman. And so she jumped. Her ghost reportedly still haunts the tower, and supposedly you can summon her – or the devil himself – by circling the tower (some say three times, or six, or eight) at night.
Easton Tower, located between Red Mill Road and Route 4 in Paramus, stands silent vigil over the area that once accommodated the Red Mill, which used to be haunted. "The neighbors say that strange noises are to be heard in the building after night fall," the author of an 1874 article in the Bergen Democrat says. "On one occasion, an apparition in white stood at the window. It would not be unreasonable to suppose the spirits of the departed return to earth."
Von Steuben House
Legend has it that in 1951, the ghost of Gen. F.W.A. Von Steuben returned to visit his 18th-century home. He sat in a chair and conversed with a woman in the house. Von Steuben asked about the state of the Revolutionary War, Gen. George Washington and affairs in the fledgling nation. Shocked to learn that nearly 200 years had passed since he had passed, the specter vanished.
Elizabeth Cady Stanton House
This national historic landmark has seen repeated paranormal activities over the years: lights turning on and off, doors slamming, strange visions and noises emanating from seemingly nowhere. Stories attribute those unexplained occurrences to two separate incidents: when a female journalist killed herself in a third-floor bedroom and when a husband stabbed his wife to death elsewhere in the home.
Built in 1864 and owned by the Crayhay family from 1906 to 1934, this is said to be one of the most haunted homes in New Jersey. The ghosts who roam its halls are thought to include Max Crayhay, who committed suicide in the home's barn; a neighbor, Rose, who fell to her death from an upstairs window; an elderly woman who was shot and killed during a robbery attempt; and a young boy who supposedly died in an accident. Even a yellow-and-white cat haunts the third floor.
Every Cemetery Ever
Bergen's more than 150 cemeteries teem with spectral legend. Highlights include Edgewater's Vreeland Cemetery, which purportedly holds the 15th-century grave of a Lenape princess and attracts the spirits of Lenape Indians, and Harrington Park's Blauvelt Cemetery, where some say mysterious shadows and visions have appeared in photographs and the ticking of a clock can be heard if you listen closely enough.