S H A D E S   O F   D E A T H   R O A D

Whenever you come to a Y in the road always remember that you have a third choice of path: And that is right down the middle, where no one has gone before --Kyle McPherson

Shades of Death Road

Shades Of Death Road, Warren County, New Jersey

explored & photographed by: Shady

The first time I heard about "Shades of Death Road" in Warren County, NJ, my reaction was, "Yeeeeeah, ok. I'm sure that's it's real name" I just could not believe that... I mean- come on.  Not only do I collect pics of signs with my name on 'em (Shade), but here was one with a GREAT name and a very spooky reputation. So, I did a little research only to find out that indeed, there is such a road. And one fine day, the we decided to take a nice country drive down the bizarrely-monikered lane to see what we could see...

Shades of Death Road

Shades of Death Road

Shades of Death Road

Shades of Death Road

Shades of Death Road

Above, several views as the Shady Lady takes on Shades of Death and it's many mysterious twists & turns

History and legend tell of the Lenni-Lenape people who used to occupy this valley; many of them died of diseases such as malaria and tuberculosis, which were rampant in the area. At one point, they were attacked by a vicious Iroquois tribe along where Shades of Death Road is located. After a horrific battle the Lenni-Lenape were slaughtered, leading many to believe that their tormented spirits haunt the area to this very day, creeping through the misty fog that blankets the valley frequently.

Shades of Death Road

Shades of Death Road

Shades of Death Road

Shades of Death Road

Shades of Death Road

At some points the road runs alongside eerie Ghost Lake (above), which is blanketed by wispy fog and inhabited by lush foliage and an amazing array of wildlife

Later, due to the towering, twisted trees that cast a gloomy shadow over much of the roadway, it became known to the locals as "The Shades." Legend states that there were numerous deaths and unsolved killings along this road; many people were said to have been attacked and killed by wildcats in the region, and a series of murders plagued the area as well. The first alleged murder on Shades of Death was the unsolved slaying of a tinker along with his horse; their corpses were found discarded alongside the road. In the 1930's, an elderly gentleman in a Model T Ford was brutally bludgeoned to death with a jack handle from his own car, presumably for a few gold coins. His murderer was never caught.

It was around this time that the local population began to refer to The Shades as "Shades of Death Road."

In the 1940's, two men- Leon G. Hull and William Crouse Jr.- both constructed fantastic mansions in the dark depths of the woods close to each other, near Shades of Death. By building a dam across a stream which adjoined their properties, the men created a massive lake, which they named "Ghost Lake" due to the ghostly apparitions in the fog wisping over the water. Consequently, they decided to name their property "Haunted Hollow" and the adjacent mountain "Murderer's Mountain." O-kayyy.

Other reputed rumors of evil included the macabre finding of a male body that was discovered under a railroad car along the roadway, and the acts of a murderous housewife who slayed her husband, then disposed of his head and body by burying it near their home on Shades of Death Road. MTV's Fear even filmed an episode at a camp near Ghost Lake, located off of the road.

There are so many legends and tales about this place... who can sort truth from fiction anymore? Whatever- it doesn't matter. With a name like that, plus all the creepy tales and ghostly souls that are said to wander this long, lonely and shady road, there is more than enough to make it one Hell of a ride, day or night.

Our visitor Cheryl was kind enough to share this fascinating story with us, "HI, thought it is interesting to read about my old homestead- my parents bought Haunted Hollow-Ghost Lake on Shades of Death Road from Mr. Hull in the 1960's. We found it to be an intriguing place to live with all the rumors about our surroundings, we had a blast scaring the bee-gee-bees out of the kids that would park by the lake at night. We had the best Halloween parties on earth, my dad (prearranged of course) would have church groups come up from the city and pretend he was a wild man hijacking the bus and making the kids follow him all thru the mountain in the dark with a shot gun, and along the way there would be gruesome things for the kids to see, like the skinned cows head from Jane's Meat Market in Great Meadows. Could write a book on all the fun we had, the land is possessed by some spirit of what source we do not know... but a good one. We could tell when the phone was going to ring and when a car was 5 miles down the road, why, we just knew, something just told us. I think it is interesting to see the (after) pictures of the once beautiful property, the State acquired the property and as we know the state, no monies for up keep, so it was destroyed by the public. The building was torn down last summer. Memories remain of the wonderful time on Ghost Lake."

Do you have any background information or stories to tell about an interesting road?

 

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