The Ghosts of Estell Manor

Posted by in US Ghost Adventures
The Ghosts of Estell Manor - Photo

Stories, tales, and folklore abound when it comes to the ghosts of Estell Manor in the Pine Barrens of New Jersey. The lives lived, and the lives lost give us a historical look at how things were back in a time that no one alive today remembers. It provides us with a look, perhaps, at life after death, as well as the power of the supernatural, most likely is.

These are some of the histories of some of the people who lived in the vast New Jersey Pine Barrens when life as we know it was very different.

The New Jersey Pine Barrens is a 1700 square mile of deep, dense, and frighteningly intriguing woods in the southern half of New Jersey. A plethora of stories as far back as the Native American settlers can be found. Accounts of hauntings, ghost sightings, cryptids like the Jersey Devil and Big Foot from all areas of the vast woods are told and retold as the years go by.

Who are the Ghosts of Estell Manor?

Estell Manor has stories of them, all from haunted trails to swamps, houses to bridges, cemeteries, roads, buildings, and more.

A ghost doesn’t always haunt where they died. More often, spirits haunt where they once lived. They will also go back to places they loved, felt comforted, or remember. Some lives and stories are tragic, and some are just spirits who stick around or returned to what was once theirs but lost when they departed this earthly realm.

The Abbott House Ghosts

In the 1860s, prominent Attorney Joseph E.P. Abbott and his wife, Adeline, built a house in the older section of Mays Landing. It’s known now as the Abbott House. The house sits diagonal to a church and cemetery and two doors down from a funeral home. A tight cluster of past lives in that small corner of this town.

There is some sad history that surrounds The Abbott house. John and Adeline had two sons who died in infancy. However, they later adopted a little girl. They lived in the house until their deaths, John died in 1914, and Adeline died in 1919. The house was sold in 1920 and has been a Bed and Breakfast for over 100 years.

The most commonly reported haunting is that of a young girl bouncing a ball on the top floor. Some people have seen her, and some just hear the ball. Could this be the Abbott couple’s young daughter? She may have died as a young girl or come back to do her favorite play, bouncing a ball.

The paranormal investigators South Jersey Ghost Research (SJGR) team investigated the old Victorian and reported seeing a little girl and hearing what sounded like a ball bouncing. They also picked up voice recordings, video clips, and still shots from the equipment they used during the investigation. The group believes many spirits roam the halls of the big old Victorian home.

The Ghosts of Ocean City Mansion

The original structure of The Ocean City Mansion B&B was built in 1896, the first owners being Albert Gilbert and Sally Lake. They opened a funeral home on Asbury Street. Asbury Street is flooded with the paranormal. It will be no surprise if some of the ghosts from the funeral home are attached to the couple and are part of the hauntings of the mansion.

In 1997 nearly a hundred years later, the mansion was bought by Scott and Nancy Aiken, who began to restore and renovate the house that had sat empty for 20 years in neglect. When the renovations began, the Aikens started noticing strange occurrences. Items moving and relocating in the rooms, disembodied voices, and footsteps were heard from the second floor when no one was up in those rooms. The most activity is in the Honeymoon Suite, which may have been the original master bedroom.

South Jersey Ghost Research (SJGR) investigated this house and the Abbott House and reported high paranormal activity on the property.

Family of Ghosts and the Emlen Physick Estate

The Physick Estate, known as “Cap May’s original haunted house,” was built in 1879 for Dr. Emlen Physick Jr., his widowed mother, Mrs. Ralston, and his two maiden aunts Emilie and Isabella. Isabella was an epileptic and spent her days in a wheelchair on the upper floors.

Mrs. Ralston passed away in 1915, followed by her son Emlen in 1916. Aunt Isabella passed away in 1883, a young woman only in her thirties. Having a sick family member was an embarrassment for the family. Sadly, Isabella was kept secluded from friends and any guests who visited the family. Aunt Emilie, known as a party girl, was the last to pass away in 1935.

Emilie left the house and its contents to a neighbor that cared for her over the years, Frances Brooks. The house passed through a couple more hands and eventually became neglected and run down until 1970, when it was purchased by the Mid-Atlantic Center for the Arts and Humanities (MAC).

On several occasions, one psychic who has visited the house believes that Dr. Emlen, Aunt Emilie, and Aunt Isabelle remain in the old home. They haunt its hallways and unnerve the staff of the place that is now a museum. Due to the staunch demeanor of Mrs. Ralston, who ruled the roost, it is felt that she actually passed over in the afterlife, leaving the hauntings to her son and two sisters.

Phantom footsteps and ghostly voices that come from the upper floors, cold spots, strange noises, doors opening by themselves are a few of the disturbances experienced by many. Some staff members of the museum report incidents of being touched and even seeing a vintage-clad woman in a mirror that vanishes when they turn to look.

The ghosts are harmless, just a little mischievous. Still, indeed, they must be happy now that their beloved house has been restored and renovated and is taken care of.

The Fallen Pilot Ghost of Estell Manor

Captain Emilio Carranza was a Mexican aviator and national hero known during his short life as the “Mexican Lindbergh.”

On July 12th, 1928, 22-year-old Carranza flew a goodwill mission from Mexico City to the United States following previous Lindbergh’s goodwill flights into Mexico.

The story goes, while in New York, Carranza received a telegram from General Joquin Amaro. He told him to return to Mexico, no if, and, or buts about it, or the quality of his manhood would “be in doubt.” Carranza obeyed the orders and took off in his plane during a severe electrical storm. Airport officials and the weather bureau strongly urged Carranza not to fly out in the dangerous weather. However, the telegram he received pushed him to go against their better judgment.

Taking off a little after 7 p.m., it is indicated that Carranza was having engine troubles and was seeking a place to land in the Pine Barrens during the storm. Residents reported hearing a low flying plane that sounded like its engine was faltering, and then it went quiet.

On the morning of July 13th, a family out in the fields harvesting blueberries came upon the wreckage of the fallen plane and Emilio’s body. The surmise is that Carranza was using a flashlight for guidance during the storm as he was trying to land. His plane went down, and when the residents found his body the next day, he was still grasping the flashlight.

Many believe that Carranza’s ghost haunts the area of the woods where his plane plummeted to his death. A stone memorial was put at the crash site. As the local lore goes, if you park your car in front of the gate by the monument and turn your headlights off, you will see Emilio’s plane.

Many accounts report that people did, in fact, see lights that were too high to be another vehicle and too low to be a plane. Accounts of strange happenings by others tell stories of peculiar fog in pictures taken and one spectator climbing to the top and nearly falling off. As he was falling, a ghostly pair of hands led him to the ground.

Whether you are a believer or speculator of the paranormal, the ghosts of Estell Manor in the Pine Barrens of New Jersey will leave you wondering about the afterlife.


Read more about the 10 top haunted places in Atlantic city here!