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Tales of the unknown leave the Olde Stone House Village a Halloween destination

Put your suspicions to the test at the Olde Stone House Village After Hours Tour on Oct. 28

Many haunting tales have been told of the old Bunker Hill Presbyterian Church in the Olde Stone House Village on Egg Harbor Road. According to author Kelly Lin Gallagher-Roncace and Historic Commission Chairman Nicholas Appice, an old couple resides in the right-hand pew of the church. (Photo courtesy of Kelly Lin Gallagher-Roncace)

A thump in the night, hair standing on the back of your neck, a chill throughout the room, flickering lights; how do you explain the unexplainable? Tales of the unknown are frequently told of Washington Township’s historical Olde Stone House Village, and Washington Township Chairman of the Historical Preservation Commission Nicholas Appice and “Haunted Gloucester, Salem and Cumberland Counties” author Kelly Lin Gallagher-Roncace have the stories, and investigations, to prove it.

The Egg Harbor property is comprised of historical landmarks of Washington Township’s heritage, dating back to as early as the 1700s. According to Appice, the most common reports of ghostly interactions occur within the Olde Stone House, the Quay Farm House and the old Bunker Hill Presbyterian Church.

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Often, Appice said, visitors and volunteers will hear the giggling of a young girl throughout the premises, sometimes catching a glimpse of her in a knee-length white dress out of the corner of their eye.

“She’s throughout the property, and I’ve heard her numerous times,” Appice said.

According to Appice, he and investigators were able to hold a 45-minute “yes-no” conversation with the girl, where they found out she was approximately 12 years old with long dark hair. From the interactions, he said, it was revealed she’s not from any of the houses, but she “comes to visit.”

“We started playing Clue with her — asking her hair color, dress color — and once we asked if it was the dress she was buried in, the meter went berserk and shut down for 20 minutes,” Appice said. “She probably either didn’t want to acknowledge she was dead, or something happened where it wasn’t just a quick, easy death; she might have been really sick or it was an accident.”

Appice said there have been reports of a young boy in the Quay Farm House, which may be whom the unknown little girl comes to visit, possibly explaining why she is seen and heard throughout the entire historic site.

Within the Olde Stone House, Appice said, interactions have been described within the stairwell, where there are rumors of a Revolutionary War soldier who fell to his death.

“We’ll come into the building and we’ll get a hot reading in the kitchen, and it’ll go away as quick as we came in,” Appice said of the electromagnetic field device, used to detect changes in a room’s energy. “As soon as we get to the stairwell to go to the second floor, the reading will spike again on the stairs, and when we go up to the second floor, it will be on the second floor. It kind of moves around.”

Appice said during another investigation, former commissioners participating were able to make contact with the unknown through a Ghost Box, a device used to contact spirits through the use of radio frequency.

“It knew how many people were in the room, and when one of my commissioners introduced himself, his name kept coming back out,” Appice said. “It was really creepy.”

During Gallagher-Roncace’s time as a reporter for the South Jersey Times, she created a weekly column called “Paranormal Corner,” where she would divulge into anything “weird” — UFOs, Bigfoot, Jersey Devils and hauntings. Through her exploration with her paranormal investigation group Jersey Unique Minds Paranormal Society — also known as JUMPS — she experienced “the feels” for the first time in the old Bunker Hill Presbyterian Church.

“We had heard at the church there was an angry old couple seen in the back right-hand pew,” Gallagher-Roncace said. “So, of course whenever we get the stories of what has happened before we get there, I automatically go there first to see what we can get.”

Gallagher-Roncace said as soon as she sat down in the pew her head began to hurt, “like a vice was squeezing” it. The longer she sat there, the feeling began to move down her head to her neck, into her stomach and she began to feel nauseous.

“The longer I sat there, the worse I felt,” Gallagher-Roncace said. “I got up and went up to the front of the church with a couple of other investigators who were there, and within two minutes I felt fine.”

According to Appice, Gallagher-Roncace’s experience isn’t the village’s first.

“Every group, I’m not just saying one or two, every group we have come in gets some kind of energy force in the back right corner,” Appice said. “There is some kind of energy; they always typically report an older male and woman, and they are just not always pleased we are there.”

For the most part, Appice said, the spirits that roam the village are “calm” and seem excited to be getting attention. There was only one disturbance Appice could recall in the Quay Farm House.

“There was a lot of noise and whoever was being interacted with seemed a little perturbed we were there,” Appice said. “We had a lot of knocking sounds, and once we reviewed all the tapes, the answers we were getting on the [Electronic Voice Phenomenon] didn’t have a nice tone to it.”

On Oct. 28, from 7 p.m. to 10:30 p.m., join the Historic Preservation Commission and New Jersey Researchers of Paranormal Evidence at the Olde Stone House Village to put your own suspicions to the test. After Hours Tour tickets are limited and must be purchased in advance for $25. For more information, or to reserve your spot for the investigation, email townshiphistory1836@gmail.com. The annual Halloween Adventures family-friendly event slated for Oct. 28 has been cancelled.

Appice reminds the community the village property is regularly closed after dark, and is patrolled by police and surveillance cameras.

To read more about the hauntings within South Jersey, Gallagher-Roncace’s book “Haunted Gloucester, Salem and Cumberland Counties” is for sale at local bookstores across the region. For more information, visit www.acadiapublishing.com, or follow Haunted South Jersey on Facebook.


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