Today, people are drawn to more than the boardwalk attractions, as they come to spend money at casinos and visit the haunted places in Atlantic City. The city is filled with a surplus of casinos and hotels. It’s also filled with ghosts of sunken ships and city founders.
It’s believed that Atlantic City’s first settlement arrived some time in the late 1700s when Jeremiah Leeds moved into the area. In 1820, Jonathan Pitney, a doctor who used unique healing properties, settled in the area and became known as the Father of Atlantic City. From the railroad coming through in 1852 to the boardwalk being built in 1870, Atlantic City grew from a small settlement to a place that drew crowds of people looking for excitement.
Surf City Hotel
If you desire a spooky little road trip, hop in the car and head to Surf City Hotel. It’s a 50 min drive from Atlantic City, but well worth it for the ghost lover. As one of the oldest buildings found on Long Beach Island, erected pre-Prohibition, it should come as no surprise that the place has a few ghosts.
While not all of the hotel’s owners or visitors have experienced ghostly sightings, the stories of Surf City Hotel’s ghosts still make it around the city and state. Some believe that it’s the ghosts of some of those who died when the Powhatan ship sunk. The fifty-some dead who washed up on the Long Island Beach shores were robbed of their belongings before burial and possibly have stuck around looking for their stolen treasures.
A quick half-hour drive from Atlantic City will bring you to the haunted hotel, streets, and shores of Ocean City, where there are plenty more spooky sights to see. One of the haunted places worth visiting in Ocean City is Flanders Hotel, where many have witnessed the lady in white, also known as Emily.
Emily, a ghost believed to be in her twenties, is usually spotted walking through the hotel barefoot. While no one knows exactly who Emily is, she haunts the hotel alone. Some believe she was a young bride waiting for her soldier to return from war.
Ocean City’s Asbury Avenue
Another haunted spot in Ocean City revolves around Asbury Avenue between the 8th and 9th streets. Ghosts galore have been spotted in this stretch, jumping from windows or simply roaming the streets. Suicides and freak deaths have been recorded in this stretch of road on more than one occasion.
Some of the potential spirits you may spot in this area include a couple of men who jumped from a bank roof, another who fell from the roof of City Hall, and a man who was electrocuted while doing some maintenance work.
If you’re looking for a haunted town or a “ghost” town, if you will, Estell Manor has you covered. While ghost towns aren’t always the sight of paranormal activity, one would expect the ruins and cemeteries to have some sort of spiritual residue left behind.
Of course, when it comes to Estell Manor, you should expect ghosts. People have reported seeing ghostly orbs and shadow people around the abandoned buildings, ruins, and cemeteries in this Atlantic County Park. Expect to do some hiking, and remember the park isn’t open after dark, though that would seem the perfect time to spot any spirits roaming the wooded paths of this portion of the Pine Barrens of New Jersey. It’s worthwhile to visit the Estellville Glassworks – though in ruins, it’s a sight to see and a learning experience.
The Jersey Devil and Haunted Pine Barrens
Estell Manor is part of the Pine Barrens so richly found in New Jersey. These Pinelands, according to Denver Michaels’ “Detours Into the Paranormal: Atlantic City Road Trip,” take up 22% of the state and are home to the Jersey Devil and other cryptids, including sightings of a Big Foot. If you don’t know, cryptids are strange animals people claim to have seen but have not been proven to be real. Often they have a humanoid look to them, but not always.
Sightings of the Jersey Devil date back over a couple of hundred years. The stories are often pinpointed as beginning in the Estell Manor area where one Mrs. Leeds was rumored to have frighteningly given birth to a devil baby after expressing her anger over being pregnant a thirteenth time. Stories of Leeds’ devil baby live on today and the creature is believed to haunt the Pine Barrens around the state, frightening drivers and hikers alike.
Incubator Babies on the Boardwalk
While many people have heard something about the Incubator Baby “sideshow” at Coney Island, you may be surprised to find out that there was a second location at the Boardwalk in Atlantic City. While the incubators created by Dr. Martin A Couney saved the lives of many premature babies before hospitals had the means to help those born too early, not all of the little ones survived.
The incubator attractions were closed in the 1940s after hospitals began picking up Couney’s treatments and helping premature babies survive. But, the memory and ghosts of the past live on in both locations. It may only be in your head that you hear babies cry as you walk by either location, but sometimes ghosts are less paranormal and more empathically created.
First lighting the way of ships in 1857, the Absecon lighthouse stands 171 feet tall and attracts thousands of visitors a year. Some of those visitors are ghosts. In 2019, one employee of the lighthouse reported hearing British voices, along with lots of swearing, coming from no visible person.
Sandbars and storms made the waters around Absecon Lighthouse dangerous, which led to the nickname the “Graveyard Inlet.” It’s no wonder there are so many spirits visiting the lighthouse, with countless souls lost at sea. Even ships like the Powhatan, which went down in a storm near Long Beach Island, sent dead washing up on shore at Absecon – over 200 people perished in that one shipwreck.
Jonathan Pitney House
Jonathan Pitney is known as the “Father of Atlantic City.” His home stands as a beautiful relic of the 1800s, restored to its full glory in 2015. Visitors to the home can enjoy delicious meals, learn the history of Pitney and Atlantic City, and spend the night with the ghost of Pitney’s wife.
It’s said that Pitney told his wife, Caroline, that she had to live in their home forever. Some visitors have reported feeling a presence in her room and hearing bells around the house when no one was ringing any. It’s also possible Pitney himself stuck around, as he died in the home.
The Ocean Tower
The Resorts Casino Hotel seems to be a stomping ground for ghosts, most notably in the Ocean Tower. Most of the experiences come from people staying in the hotel through the night. From spooky feelings to bumps in the night, a stay over at the Resorts Casino is sure to bring a fright.
One couple who stayed in a room in the Ocean Tower described a feeling as though they weren’t in their hotel room alone at night. Then, the bumping sounds and shaking of their room door from in the hallway made things even scarier. It’s likely the ghosts of those who died in the former hospital that stood there are still hanging around the halls of the casino and hotel.
Hard Rock Hotel and Casino Atlantic City
Perhaps the overabundance of ghosts has something to do with the money gamblers lose, or maybe it’s all in the history of the land or the building, but casinos are some of the most haunted places around the US. One of those most haunted places is the building that was formerly the Trump Taj Mahal. While the Hard Rock Cafe has taken the place of that gaudy facade, the ghosts remain.
If you spot a man roaming the halls around midnight, it may be a man who threw himself from the building off the 10th floor. He may have taken his own life, but now he eternally roams the halls of the Hard Rock Hotel. There have also been reports of an angry ghost in a toupee. This ghost often appears with an orange hue around it. No one has yet determined who this testy ghost is, but the spirit adds to the mystery around one of the most haunted casinos.