With all the folklore and haunts, it’s a toss-up of the top 10 most haunted places in Atlantic City. From lighthouses, hotels, the Jersey Pine Barren to an incubator baby’s sideshow, Atlantic City is full of the country’s scariest and weirdest paranormal hauntings.
#10 Boardwalk Incubator Babies
One of the strangest hauntings of Atlantic City is the incubator babies of a boardwalk sideshow in the early 1900s.
Dr. Martin Couney was the person who invented incubators for babies born prematurely. To help parents avoid having to pay for the medical attention needed to care for their sick babies, Couney developed a sideshow for people to view premature babies for a cost.
You can imagine the scrutiny the good Doctor received. Labeled a “freak show,” the exhibit was closed in the 1940s. Despite all of the nay-sayers, hospitals accepted incubators, and 90% of premature babies in those days were saved.
Some babies didn’t make it out of the show. Sadly, it’s those tiny souls whose spirits are heard and felt around the boardwalk today.
#9 The Pitney House
Jonathan Pitney, a doctor, was known as the “Father of Atlantic City. He built his wife Caroline and himself the beautiful Pitney House in 1799. Pitney loved the house so much he told his wife never to move from the home. Pitney himself died in the place, and many of the paranormal activities are said to be him.
It seems Caroline took her husband’s request very seriously and never left the couple’s home, even after she died.
Hauntings are reported mainly in Caroline’s room, although no one has seen her ghost. Reports in the house are sounds of bells and whistles, slamming doors, and apparitions of two different men roaming through Caroline’s room. Some have seen lights rising from a bureau drawer and unearthly voices.
The house runs as a bed and breakfast now. It is a popular place for the ghosts within the walls and for many paranormal investigators who have walked away with great satisfaction from their encounters.
#8 Abescon Lighthouse
In 1854 a fierce storm annihilated the packet ship Powhatan killing 200-300 people aboard. Dead bodies washed up on the beaches as far as Atlantic City. They buried the dead in various places, and it’s no wonder that the spirits of those souls lost remain around the lighthouse, perhaps not realizing they are dead.
The Abescon Lighthouse hauntings include apparitions of civil-war soldiers and civilians, the smell of pipe or cigar smoke, disembodied laughter, footsteps, and the door to the tower opening on its own. But the most prominent paranormal visitor the lighthouse has had is none other than the Jersey Devil of the Jersey Pine Barrens, which is further down on this list!
#7 Surf City Hotel
Another popular paranormal hotspot is the Surf City Hotel. The bodies of victims lost in the Powhattan Shipwreck were stored in the hotel after the shipwreck, and guests report hearing their ghosts roaming the halls in the dead of night. A Union soldier missing one arm walks near the beach, and glowing orbs are reported all over the area around the hotel. Four women walking locked in arms appear around the hotel. While the hotel was abandoned, many reported lights flickering on and off and shadowy figures in the windows.
#6 Resorts Casino Hotels Ocean Tower
The Resorts Casino Hotel was built in 1978 but, the building is dated back to 1860 and was used as a hotel, rooming house, and a hospital for soldiers during wartime.
The hotel has two towers, the Ocean Tower and the Rendezvous Tower, and it’s the Ocean Tower that holds the ghosts.
In 1903 when renovations began in the original building, ghostly happenings started to occur. Howling noises in the tower’s upper floors have been heard over the years with no apparent explanation.
Cold spots, unexplained noises in the elevators, and a mysterious apparition of a man flipping his top hat are witnessed by many. Some believe this may be the ghost of Charlie Chaplin, although stories over the years have become a bit obscured.
WWII soldiers who died when the building was used as a hospital are seen throughout the halls. One scary incident a guest had was the door to their room shaking violently in the middle of the night by an unseen hand.
There’s a theory as to why the hotel is so haunted. The hotel has a thirteenth floor—something taboo to the hotel industry. And now we know why!
#5 Estell Manor
Located in the vast Jersey Pine Barren, Estell Manor has a plethora of ghost hauntings.
The Abbott house has the spirit of a little girl who plays and bounces a ball. It’s believed to be the ghost of the adopted daughter of the Abbotts who lost two sons in infancy before her adoption.
The Ocean City Bed and Breakfast have hauntings of items moving and relocating in the rooms, disembodied voices, and footsteps heard from the second floor when no one was up in those rooms. The original owners of the inn also owned a funeral parlor across the street. They may have brought home the spirits of the dead.
Original owners of the house haunt the Emlyn Physick Estate, causing phantom footsteps, ghostly voices, cold spots, unexplainable strange noises, doors opening by themselves, and incidents of being touched.
A prominent ghost of Estell Manor is Captain Emilio Carranza, whose plane crashed amid stormy weather. A memorial tomb was built at the site honoring him for his goodwill missions. Folklore says if you’re visiting the memorial at night and turn off your car lights, you’ll see his plane coming down into the woods. Other reports are the sound of a failing plane engine and a foggy mist surrounding the tomb.
#4 The Flanders Hotel
The hauntings at the Flanders Hotel are the most talked about and written about ghost stories in the Atlantic City area hotels. The only surviving high-rise building after the Ocean City fire, the hotel went on to improve its structure, and in turn, giving leeway to a paranormal playground from the underground up.
Emily, or the Lady in White, is a long-time, well-known ghost of the property. She wanders the halls with no apparent shyness, singing, laughing, and humming throughout the hotel. Her mischievous side rattles doorknobs, opens and closes doors, and even unscrews light bulbs.
The hotel catacombs are haunted by a little girl who drowned and died while being carried to the main floor through the tunnels. Also, once a favorite hangout for illicit mob activity, ghosts of those eliminated in the mob’s business dealings are tortured souls of the catacombs.
#3 Asbury Avenue
Asbury Avenue, including 8th and 9th Streets, is full of paranormal and just plain strange happenings.
The suicides of two people who leaped to their deaths from the top of a bank building are now ghosts who haunt the area. Another ghost is a man who was electrocuted while doing some maintenance work in a nearby alley. The alley was also where police shoot out with a robber took place. The robber died, but his spirit lingers. Gunshots and wailing cries are heard in the alley nick-named the “Alley of the Dead.”
Even City Hall has its ghost. A mayor leaving the building on his last day in office suffered a heart attack and died. His ghost is seen on the steps of the City Hall.
Asbury Street is truly a playground for the paranormal.
#2 The Jersey Pine Barren
The dense woods of the Jersey Pine Barren are home to paranormal activity stemming back to the 1700s. Within the woods are the creepy remains of abandoned villages, mills, and mining settlements. Ghost stories about outlaws Bloody John Bacon who once raided farms and killed their owners find his restless soul trapped in the woods of his wrongdoings. There are many stories between the first settlers, the superstitious Lenni Lenape Indians, and the bloody survival battles. But none of the stories compares to that of the Jersey Devil.
#1 The Jersey Devil
The creepiest story of the Atlantic City area is that of the Jersey Devil. Although the cryptid has been spotted from New Jersey to Maryland, it is folklore that began in the deep woods of the Pine Barren.
Mother Leeds gave birth to her 13th child on a stormy night in 1735, and the child, although born a human child, turned into a devil-like creature after Leeds damned the baby as the devil’s child.
The creature is blamed for killing livestock, raiding chicken coops and farms, and destroying crops. It leaves behind the annihilated carcasses as some sort of omen to the land dwellers.
Reported sightings of the creature are mainly in the woods of the Pine Barren. However, its believed to have been spotted on the Absecon Lighthouse in 1909.
Although many skeptics believe the Jersey Devil is simply a tale based on the creative manifestation in the imaginations of the early English settlers, sightings continue. Those who have seen it believe it.
The Jersey Pine Barren woods are definitely a place you wouldn’t want to wander off alone to explore. Especially at night which is when most sightings occur.
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