Dear NJHM:

There is a road in Middletown, New Jersey called Whipporwill Valley road, and there are a lot of stories about it. It is a very dark and unpaved road, and it might just be the simple fact that it looks scary, but I have heard of lynchings, witch burnings, murders, Ku Klux Klan meetings, etc., associated with it. Can you help?


Dear Gina:

We can tell you some of the legends connected with Whipporwill Valley Road in Middletown. I knew the stories you mentioned sounded familiar, so I started doing some research amongst our holdings. I finally found a reference to it in "Weird NJ" magazine from last year. The road is indeed the stuff of legend and lore. Supposedly it was the site where 15 women were burned as witches in the 1800's. They were buried in the road and when you drive on it you will feel 15 bumps where the graves are. Also many people were murdered on the road and buried in the cemetery nearby. Plus, there are Ku Klux Klan members on horseback (or truck) that try to stop all vehicles that drive on the road. One more; there is supposed to be a tree on the right side of the road that appears to have a human shape trying to escape from it.

I also contacted the New Jersey Ghost Hunters Society, and one of their members related the following:

"I live right down the street from Whipporwill Valley Road. It's an old dirt road with no streetlights on it. I haven't seen or heard about any graves or lynchings on it though. But its pretty scary at night, you know w/o streetlights and the rumbling of the dirt road from the tires of your car. It's where we used to bring our dates in high school to scare them. There is one large farmhouse with horses and a white horse that the farmer let out at night. We used to tell tales about it being a ghost horse. Back in the early 1980's there was some KKK activity and some time later an occultist named Haskel owned some property, and they had there rituals in the woods. There is also supposedly a local legend of "Hellraiser"; a mysterious black monster truck which would run you off the road. It never happened to me and I partied on that road several times. There is also a burned down mansion up in the woods. The only thing left is its base and a huge marble-like ruined pool. Another legend is about a brick wall in the middle of the woods called the "Wall of Faces," which if you take a picture at night, supposedly when developed you would see faces all over it. Again, I never found it, but I did try hard. Well, that's all I can think of, and hopefully it helps you out a bit. Oh, Whipporwill Valley Road also has a sister road named Cooper Road, which is just as creepy at night, but not as famous. Cooper Road has a legend called "The Baby Bridge" which says on a waning moon (Is that an old full moon?) at 12 midnight, if you pass over the bridge, stop your car with all 4 tires are on it and shut the engine off, you can hear a baby cry. If you do hear it, the baby's mother is supposed to then come after you! Again, we tried on all phases of the moon, and nothing. Oh well, we also have Green Light Cemetery, but that's another story."

I cannot vouch for any of this information, and, in fact, know some of it has to be false. Far be it for me to destroy a perfectly good legend, but there has never been a witch burned in New Jersey that anyone knows of (or hung for that matter), and the world pretty much stopped burning them in the 1700's. Believe me, if there were 15 women burned as witches there in the 1800's we would know about it. There were newspapers and such even back then and they would have covered the largest (and I think only) witch burning in American history. The rest of the story could be pretty much explained by property owners chasing out trespassers by horse and truck, and the imagination of teenagers in the dark. There may have been KKK activity there in the past (the Klan was active in Central Jersey during the 1930's), but I doubt there still is. Hope this helps, and let us know if you require any additional information.