Chuck's Paranormal Adventures
Investigation #1 - Marlboro State Psychiatric Hospital Cemetery, (Marlboro, NJ) - October 18, 2011
Acting on a good tip from a friend of mine, I decided to check out the Cemetery at Marlboro State Hospital Cemetery in Marlboro, NJ. The Hospital opened in 1931 and a basic background of the history can be found on Wikipedia. The Hospital closed in 1998.
The main Hospital area is fenced in and patrolled by security today, so gaining access to do a paranormal investigation (legally) is next to impossible. Of course rumors abound of the place being haunted and I know quite a few paranormal teams that would have loved into get into the place and see if the rumors are true or not. While not as exciting and mysterious as the Hospital grounds and buildings themselves, right across the road (Route 520) is the access to the Hospital cemetery, which is open to the public.
Having done some preliminary research and looking at online pictures of the cemetery, this indeed looked like a possible place to encounter some paranormal activity. I could not find any indications that any paranormal groups had visited the cemetery, so I thought this would be a great opportunity. Again, I want to visit and investigate the places that have gotten little or no attention from the paranormal community. This doesn't mean I am the first to go there, but I might be the first to publicly document an investigation into the property.
The first order was to travel there, roughly 20 minutes from where I live. I am very familiar with Route 520 and have driven on it many times, past the Hospital. But I never realized that there was a cemetery right there. Luckily, a person who visited the site in 2010 (non investigator) had posted pictures on their web page. (Thank you Ken for allowing me to link to your great site!)
The photos listed showed the exact road and what to look for! This of course was a big help as it is basically an older half paved, half dirt road that went up a hill towards the cemetery. The bad thing was of course, the very bad pot holes that were in the center of the road. This required very careful driving in some areas otherwise you could just as well be looking at a blown out tire. Plus no place to pull over until you get into the cemetery area. (Update: I drove past the cemetery recently to show a friend the area and the park service fixed the pot holes and filled them in, so the access road is much safer now!)
My first attempt to visit the site a week earlier was thwarted due to a grounds crew who was there to cut the grass and trim around the tombstones. I briefly talked to one of the groundskeepers who told me they would be there about another 1 1/2 to 2 hours to finish, so that cut out any chance of doing EVP or Ghost Box sessions. I asked how late the cemetery was open and he told me "park hours" as the State Park system was now basically in control of the area. He also told me that I wouldn't want to be there after dark anyhow. I replied that yeah, driving down that dirt road with the pot holes would be dangerous, the groundskeeper replied, "well yeah, that too I suppose!"
Now I did not mention that I was a paranormal investigator, but his reply surprised me. Why not be there after dark? The area was fairly open, surrounded by woods and open fields that led to a nearby YMCA camp. I could have pressed for the ghost answer, but decided against it. I then walked around, took some pictures to study the layout and then plan my action for my return trip.
So I returned on October 18th around 10:30AM. No groundskeepers, no visitors. Other than the kids at the campground in the distance and crows flying around, there was not a soul there to contend with. The weather was nice and sunny, good temp. This time, besides having to maneuver to avoid the pot holes in the access road, the dirt roadways that went around the cemetery were also potential landmines with rocky holes in the centers of them. At least though there was open ground to use to avoid the holes. I parked near the monument pavilion that was built in 1991 to remember the patients that were buried here.
The cemetery was established for the patients who died at Marlboro State and apparently had no family willing to come claim the body, so they were buried across the street in nothing more than an empty field as you can see above. These stone markers indicated where people were buried, but with no name on them, only a number.
The pavilion was built to give remembrance to those who died and let visitors know who was buried where the numbered markers were. The names, marker numbers and date of death were placed on some bronze plaques as shown below.
The #1 person to be buried there, Martino Zambetto, died on April 4, 1931. The #1 marker in the cemetery is missing, most likely stolen or destroyed at some point over the years. The last person to be buried there was #924 in April, 1960. There were a couple of "John Doe" patients listed as well as a couple that said the word "Baby" by their name. Indicating that perhaps some patients had babies that did not live?
One particular tombstone to note (that can be found on Ken's site linked at the top of the page) is this one in the picture below:
This one replaces marker # 304, which on the memorial plaque is listed as "Dorothy R. Hensan". My best guess for this is at some point, an actual relative of Dorothy Henson came along and replaced the generic marker with a small memorial headstone. For the spelling, most likely an error on the memorial. Also, note the markers in the back behind the stone markers. The later # markers were made using some type of low grade metal that rusted very easily. I guess the Hospital in order to save money went on the cheap to having these types of markers made for the deceased instead of the stone markers. Truly a sad final resting place when you have walked these grounds and the empty feeling you get inside.
I walked around the cemetery, while I filmed with my Sony Nightvision camcorder set up near my car to cover as much of the field as possible. I took dozens of pictures with my Vivitar IR camera and my regular digital camera, but there was nothing captured on film of importance. There was once picture that did come up with a false positive.
This picture caught my eye as I was scanning through the pictures looking for anything paranormal. However, as I checked out the 2nd picture I took seconds later of the same spot, this white streak showed up again. Here this is a case of "lens flare", where the angle of the sun in relation to the camera causing colors or streaks to show up in the picture. Another reason why I try to take at least 2 pictures back to back of the same area. Had this streak not been in the second picture, I could have had a paranormal photo on hand. But since it was the same in each picture, this was nothing more than a false positive.
As for EVP's, I did manage to capture 2 very faint voices as I walked around the field. You will need headphones to hear these.
Marlboro State EVP #1 - You hear the beep of me taking a picture with my IR camera. A second after you hear the beep, you hear a faint female voice saying something. I can't tell if it is saying, "we" or "me" or even leave. Audio enhancement could not help me determine exactly what was said.
Marlboro State EVP #2 - This one is very faint. As the clip goes it will get louder in the middle as I tried to enhance the audio to hear this better. There is a voice that sounds like it is saying "help" or "hello". The voice is there, just barely audible.
As I was walking around the field and paying my respects, I asked for any spirits there to call out the doctors and/or nurses that treated them badly. I also asked them to call out the doctors and nurses that were kind to them. Nothing else came up for regular EVP, so I went over to the pavilion to set up for a Ovilus and then a Ghost Box session.
Here you can see my set up, camcorder to video the Mel Meter, the K-2 and the DTD (Digital Text Display) for the Ovilus so I could view the words that the Ovilus would say. I also had my digital recorder out to record as well and had my IR and regular digital cameras to take photos with also. Also to note, because of the weathering on the pavilion, the matrixing effect causes some "faces" to pop out in places. I do not consider this to be paranormal and I do not think any spirits there have imprinted their faces onto the walls. Though if the concrete here was painted over and the same faces came out all over again? Well that would be something different then!
The Ovilus was talkative during the session, with over 50 words coming out. Again most of them had no rhyme or reason to them. Though the name Gregg was said and also the combination of Amanda Mason came out. Was Amanda Mason (or Gregg) a patient who died here? I checked the list of names on the pavilion, but there was nobody named Amanda or Gregg or Mason that I could see.
As the Ovilus was not working out in this location, I switched over to the Ghost Box. Again, the word Bishop was said with frequency, at least 9 times during the 15 minute session. Also to note, the name Bruce was said a lot as well, 4 times his name was said. The rest of the session produced little to go on for this place with the exception of one interesting exchange that happened 4 minutes after I started.
Marlboro State Ghost Box #1 - I am asking about "Amanda Gregg" or "Amanda Mason" being a nurse at Marlboro State. At 6 seconds after I say "Amanda Mason", you hear a voice say "Good!". I reply as I heard this response clearly. As I am asking if she was a good nurse, at 15 seconds you hear a female voice say "Leave me alone". I could not make this out so I repeated the question again. At 22 seconds just before the end you hear a reply, "Correct.".
Here is the same clip again as above, this time edited to take out the background noise so you can hear the words a little better.
Marlboro State Hospital Cemetery was a place that I thought for sure would have strong paranormal activity, but was pretty lackluster on my first visit. Though as they say, spirits just don't come out and perform on cue when you want them to. Just like my first trip to the Jamesburg cemetery. After repeated trips, they got used to me and I got more and better evidence when I went back. I will make my way back to this cemetery again in 2012, at least 2-3 more times before I can make a final determination on this place.
That is why as an investigator going to a new place for the first time, you can't really call a place haunted or not based on one trip. Investigating requires several trips, using different tactics and equipment to see what you can find. Hopefully on my next trip, I will have gained a little trust from this visit for any spirits there to try to make better contact with me.