Shades of Death Road in Warren County, New Jersey is said to be haunted. It is is located near Jenny Jump State Forest and Ghost Lake. In the 1990s, two people wrote to Weird NJ magazine, claiming they had found strange and mysterious polaroids scattered along the road.
Nobody knows for sure how Shades of Death Road got its eerie name. Some say that, years ago, the trees grew over the road, forming a natural canopy that didn’t let in any light. During the middle of the day, the road would be almost as dark as night.
Robbers and bandits would hide in the shadows of the trees on either side of the road, laying in wait for victims. When a traveller came along, the thieves would spring out of the darkness and cut their throats. Then they would rob them and make off with their valuables.
The local people would sometimes take revenge against these robbers by lynching them and leaving their dead bodies hanging from the trees as a warning to others. Today, they say that the vines growing on the trees look like nooses hanging from the branches.
According to legend, in the 1920s and 1930s there were a number of brutal murders that took place along this road. One man was a tinker (a pot and pan salesman) who had a horse. He and his horse were murdered and their bodies were discarded by the side of the road. They say that at night, you can still hear his pots and pans rattling in the wind.
Another man was found dead in his car. He had been hit over the head with tire jack and his money was stolen. There was also a woman who beheaded her husband and then buried the head and body on different sides of the road. A local resident, named Bill Cummins, was shot and his corpse was buried in a mud pile. His murder was never solved.
Shades of Death Road is full of dangerous twists and turns. Many people say that the road is a black spot for fatal car accidents. It is believed that the reflective guard rails along the road indicate all of the spots where people have been killed in car crashes.
Another legend is about a ghost who is a 9-year old girl walking up and down the side of the road at night. Rumor has it if you should stop your car and she sees you, she will come up to your car and ask you one question, which is where her parents are. If you do not answer her or if you drive away, they say you will die in 40 days. You must give her an answer even if you do not know – just point off in some direction and she will be on her way. No one knows what happened to her, but it is suspected that she was kidnapped from her parents and killed right there on Shades of Death Road.
Another murder that supposedly occurred here was the murder of a 15-year old girl. Apparently, she was dating a boy who had a lot of mental problems. One night, he invited the girl and her friend to go hiking in the woods. When they were deep in the forest, he attacked the girl. Her friend managed to get away and tried to bring help. By the time she came back with the police, it was too late. The boy had already assaulted the girl and stabbed her to death. He is still serving a life sentence.
In the 1990s, two people who visited Shades of Death Road found hundreds of Polaroid photographs scattered along the road and in the nearby woods. They gathered up the photos and contacted Weird NJ magazine. There were literally Hundreds of them. The polaroids were old and just completely creepy. They became known as the Shades of Death Polaroids and the place where they were found was called “The Polaroid Trail”.
Most of the disturbing images showed women, blurred and somewhat difficult to identify, lying on some sort of metal object. None of them were smiling and some of them did not appear to be alive. There were rumors that a serial killer in the area took pictures of women just before he murdered them. Local police began an investigation, but the photos disappeared shortly afterwards.
There are also rumors that devil worshippers live along Shades of Death Road. According to the legend, they drive up and down in a black truck and attack anyone who stops on the road.
Not long ago, two students were driving along the road when their car suddenly stopped working. They saw a large black truck coming towards them ata rapid pace, so they hid behind trees. A big man wearing combat boots and carrying a baseball bat got out of the truck. As they watched, he walked up to their car and said aloud, “Who’s on my road?” The students were frightened and started to run through the woods.
They managed to hide behind an old abandoned cabin in the woods. Cowering in the darkness, they waited for hours until they thought the man had left. Eventually, they were about to come out of their hiding places when they heard heavy footsteps and a voice said, “That’s what happens when you’re on my road.” The terrified students waited until morning before they went back to their car. They found the vehicle had a huge dent on the side and there was a note stuck to the windshield that read, “I seen you.”
Note: You should not visit Shades of Death Road because some parts of it are private property and you could be arrested for trespassing.