There are some roads just that shouldn't be traveled, and funny enough, it seems that New Jersey has most of them. The scariest of them all might just be the legendary, and appropriately-named, Shades of Death Road, where murder was mundane and the ghosts of the dead still roam.
Located smack in the middle of Warren County, NJ, the winding two-lane road of terror stretches for seven miles alongside the spooky Jenny Jump State ForestIn the late 1920s and early 1930s, Shades of Death was the site of at least three brutal murders. In one, a man had his head caved in with a tire iron over a few gold coins, and in another, a woman beheaded her husband and buried both parts of his body on opposite sides of the road. Lastly, a local resident, Bill Cummins, was brutally shot to death and buried in a roadside mud pile. His murder was never solved.
Skeptics will tell you that the road received it’s spooky name thanks to a local malaria outbreak that occurred long ago, but locals know better. The tragic tales from Shades of Death don’t end with the three most well-documented cases of murder, but stretch into the local legends that have haunted the road for decades. It’s said that the low-hanging branches of the Jenny Jump Forest were often used for late night lynchings, and a few strange, barren portions of the nearby land have long been rumored to have hosted human sacrifice and black magic ceremonies by mysterious hooded figures.
A few years ago, Ozzy Osbourne's son investigated Shades of Death as part of a reality series by the name of Haunted Highway. The results were more than a little strange.
Using a collection of multiple cameras rigged up to the outside of his car, Jack drives the lonely stretch with his cohost Dana, and it doesn't take long for the equipment to totally wig out. Shortly thereafter, they get a flat tire. Coincidence? Well, almost as soon as the tire is changed and they're back on the road, they see a lone, ghostly figure standing near the trees. In addition, Jack captures a "mist" coming out of Ghost Lake that looks an awful lot like two human figures rising from the water.
While the incredible tales make for some pretty spooky campfire stories, there is a downside to them. According to Weird NJ, all the rumors of abandoned cabins and ghostly figures in the lake have drawn more visitors to the area, and as such, the infamous Shades of Death Road sign has become something of a prize, much to the annoyance of residents, who "have in the past gone so far as to smear the pole holding the street sign at the road’s southern end with grease or oil to prevent theft".
Do you think you could handle a night on Shades of Death Road? Have you ever visited it yourself before? Share your experiences with me in the comments below! Want to check out some more spooky roads? Go investigate Wisconsin's Beast of Bray Road, visit the creepy Archer Avenue that runs by the even creepier Resurrection Cemetery, or Clinton Road, where drivers regularly report everything from little ghost children to Satanic rituals in the forest.