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The Most Haunted Roads in the Northeast

From New Jersey's backcountry trails to the icy highways of Maine, the Northeast has more than its fair share of haunted roads.

haunted roads

Houses and hayrides may garner most of the attention, but we’d argue there’s nothing more spine-chilling, heart-pounding and undeniably scary than driving down a haunted road. And if you don’t believe us, you can experience it for yourself: Many of these spooky streets can be found right in our backyard.

For reasons no one knows, the Northeast has a preponderance of roadways said to be haunted. Each has a different backstory. Each lays claim to a unique series of unexplainable events. All are downright eerie.

Clinton Road

West Milford, N.J.

If haunted roads aren’t your cup of tea, it may be best just to stay out of New Jersey, as the Garden State is home to quite a few. Topping the list is West Milford’s Clinton Road and the ghost boy rumored to haunt it. As the urban legend goes, the child died on a bridge along a winding section of the street known as Dead Man’s Curve. According to folklore, the ghost is known to throw back coins tossed into the water.

But this adolescent spirit may be the least of your worries when driving along Clinton Road. Dark and desolate, the 10-mile route is home to a number of eerie landmarks, including a mysterious stone furnace and the remains of a former castle. And then there are the animals. Clinton Road runs near the former site of Jungle Habitat, a safari-themed tourist attraction. The park, which closed its doors in the 1970s, is now abandoned but still there, tucked away in the New Jersey woods. And though all the animals were moved, Clinton Road’s haunted reputation has led many travelers to claim seeing strange animals lurking in the forest.

Route 2A

Haynesville, Maine

It’s a stretch of road up north in Maine

That’s never ever ever seen a smile

If they’d buried all them truckers lost in them woods

There’d be a tombstone every mile”

Not many haunted roads have their own anthem, but Maine’s Route 2A is no ordinary spooky street. It’s been said the road, which features a prominent hairpin turn, has claimed many truckers’ lives as they tried to navigate the dangerous curve during the cold, icy winter. So treacherous is Route 2A, it inspired singer Dick Curless’ 1965 song, “A Tombstone Every Mile.”

But truckers aren’t the only ones known to haunt this notorious stretch of pavement. Many drivers claim to have come across a woman screaming for travelers to help her rescue her husband trapped in a car. When motorists get closer, the woman disappears. Others have reported seeing the ghost of a young girl killed by a truck on Route 2A many years ago.

Annie’s Road

Totowa, N.J.

You won’t find Annie’s Road on a map – the Totowa street running alongside the Passaic River is officially known as Riverview Drive. Its moniker is the result of a local legend that dates back more than 50 years. As the story goes, in the 1960s, young Annie and her boyfriend were driving home after their high school prom. The couple got into an argument that led the man to kick Annie out of the car. Walking alone alongside dark Riverside Drive, Annie was hit by a truck and died.

The haunted road has been the site of some eerie encounters ever since, including large swaths of red paint appearing on the pavement each year around the anniversary of her death. More notably, many drivers report seeing an apparition of Annie along the road. Others claim to hear screams and see mysterious fog patterns, and still more have said their phones and cameras fail when driving on the street.

In case all this wasn’t spooky enough, Annie’s Road just so happens to run alongside Laurel Grove Cemetery.

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Route 44

Rehoboth, Mass.

Some have called the Massachusetts section of Route 44 the most haunted road in the country. Local lore says the highway is home to a 6-foot tall phantom hitchhiker who wears a red flannel shirt and work boots. The detailed description is important because it supposedly matches that of a victim who died on the same stretch of road some years ago.

Drivers on Route 44 have reported all sorts of interactions with the apparition. Some have picked him up off the side of the road, others have seen him appear in the rearview mirror sitting in the backseat of the car, while another saw him pressed against the car window as he drove. Almost all the stories, however, end the same way: The ghost suddenly disappears, while his loud, maniacal laughter is left lingering in the air.

Shades of Death Road

Warren County, N.J.

No, Shades of Death Road is not a nickname – it’s the official name of a road in Warren County. How it came to be bestowed with the ominous title is up for debate. Some say it originated from the area’s early inhabitants, a group of anti-establishment, murderous squatters. Another, likely more plausible, story cites a malaria outbreak in the 1850s as inspiration for the name. One final account claims “Shades of Death” came about after a spree of grisly murders occurred along the road in the 1920s. According to this telling, the street was originally called “The Shades” in a nod to the low-hanging trees covering the road. “Of Death” was added over time as more murders occurred.

Regardless of its origins, Shades of Death Road is a decidedly eerie drive. The haunted road runs alongside the woods of Jenny Jump State Forest as well as the forebodingly named Ghost Lake, which is known to surround the area in a cloud of fog.

haunted roads

Jeremy Swamp Road” by Edward Faulkner is licensed under CC BY-NC 2.0.

Jeremy Swamp Road

Southbury, Conn.

Just when you thought you’ve heard of every type of ghost, goblin and ghoul, we present to you the melon heads of southwestern Connecticut. What exactly is a melon head, you ask? The New England Historical Society describes them as “small humanoids with oversized heads, and they rarely come out from hiding. They survive by eating small animals, stray cats and human flesh, usually the flesh of teenagers.”

If you believe the urban legend, these melon heads live throughout the region’s forested, backcountry roads, including Southbury’s Jeremy Swamp Road. The street is said to have been the site of numerous unexplained disappearances. More specifically, people in broken-down automobiles have gone missing before help arrives.

Tower Hill Road

Cumberland, RI

Connecticut isn’t the only New England state with its own forest-dwelling, folkloric creature. The narrow, winding and heavily wooded Tower Hill Road in northern Rhode Island is purported to be the home of a Bigfoot-like being the locals refer to as “Man Monkey.” For several decades, residents have claimed seeing this creature amid the trees while making their way along the route.

Not a Bigfoot believer? Tower Hill Road has been the site of plenty of other bone-chilling reports, including paranormal activity, unexplained lights, child ghost appearances and even zombie sightings. Another belief is the road is haunted by Native Americans killed in 1600s. Travelers have claimed hearing their drums and seeing their ghosts charging over one of the hills along the haunted road.

Have you driven on any of these haunted roads? Do you know of any others? Tell us about it in the comments below!

Can’t get enough spooky stuff? Visit AAA.com/SpookySeason for more! 

Comments
  • Kevin F.

    When I was in high school in Massachusetts (which was some time ago!) we used to do road trips to a haunted road in the town of Sharon. It didn’t have a name because it was a fire access road than ran through a forest at the base of a hill. On the other side of that hill was Sharon cemetery. The story was that a murderer named Charlie Norton was buried on the forest side of the hill because townsfolk didn’t want to bury a murderer in consecrated ground. His grave was reportedly a half mile or so into the forest along the fire road and halfway up the hill. Acquaintances of mine claimed to have seen his gravestone there but by the time we started going it had supposedly been stolen. So, late at night, walking into the woods on a narrow dirt road, looking for Charlie Norton’s ghost….good times!

    Reply
  • William A.

    Though you can’t drive through it, there’s Dudley Town. An old abandoned English settlement located somewhere off Route 7, just before Kent, CT.
    Where are you hear of odd shaped growing trees, and foundations of homes and buildings, Long Abandoned.

    Reply
  • I drove the Hayesville Woods road twice a day many years ago. As a matter of fact I hauled pulpwood from the woods surrounding it. Never saw a thing, but did get stuck on the hill once.

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  • I have driven Rte. 44 in Rehoboth, MA and have seen a creature called a Puckwudgie. I had pulled over to the side of the road and was readjusting some sales racks in the cargo area that had been rattling, when I saw what at first I thought was a large porcupine looking at me from the edge of the woods. The creature then stood up on its back legs, something I had never seen a porcupine do before. It had a face like a wrinkled old man, with a big nose that was more like a dog’s snout. It then turned away from me and walked into the woods. I think it was about 2 1/2-3 feet tall. I have come to learn from a friend who is a Wampanoag Native American that these creatures are part of Wampanoag folklore and that I was lucky that it didn’t try to mess with me.

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    • I’ve read that Pukwudgies sometimes are encountered around Assonet Ledge or Assonet rock. I did an internet search on Pukwudgies a few years ago, and they supposedly lured people to their deaths off of the ledge. SE Ma is supposed to be a very haunted area. Search Hockomock Swamp and Bridgewater triangle if you’re interested.

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      • Kevin F.

        The Burrage Refuge is in that same area, when I was a kid it was called The Great Cedar Swamp. It borders E. Bridgewater, Halifax and Hanson, it’s very large. It’s supposedly part of the Bridgewater Triangle and haunted by the ghosts of Indians who would hide there during King Phillips War.

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  • Barbara P.

    What about sightings of the Jersey Devil in southern NJ, some even on the Garden State Parkway some years ago!?!

    Reply
  • I cycle on Clinton Rd every week.
    It’s actually quiet beautiful, though quiet.
    There are quite a few grave markers (flowers, crosses, etc.) along the road. A guy i met through a friend died on dead mans curve.
    He car hit the barrier, flipped into the water where he died. A group of kids going to see the “coin boy” found him; alive at the time but…

    Reply
    • Glenn M.

      I commute using Clinton Rd. 6 days a week for the last 25 years. Driving home one afternoon in the area of Dead Mans Curve, there was a grayish/white Coyote just sitting on the side of the road. I was shocked as these animals are usually elusive from human sight. I slowed down but didn’t stop. I was afraid if I stopped I would scare the animal. That was the only time seeing a sight like that. Otherwise very common to see bears, deer, fox, skunks, possum, snakes and toads just to name a few.
      Who knows if that was the ghost of the Coin Boy !

      Reply
  • There’s also Ong’s Hat in New Jersey! The lore around that strange place runs deep…

    Reply
  • Craig H.

    Part of Route 44 as it winds thru SE Massachusetts is in what is know as the Bridgewater Triangle. Some say that during the “Indian Wars” of the late 1600s, the Wampanoag Sachem know to the colonists as “King Phillip” placed a curse on the area as the colonists pursued and killed him. The area is prone to many so called paranormal activities. Motorists should watch out for King Phillips ghost, the mysterious Puckwuddgies, as well as the phantom hitchiker as they travel on Route 44 in Bristol and Plymouth Counties.

    Reply
  • william k.

    The so-called Annie’s Road in Totowa, NJ has actually caused great hardship to the community at the intersection of Riverview Drive and Norwood Terrace. Motorists (mostly teens) drive through this small community at all hours of the day and night hoping to catch of glimpse of Annie, even shining flashlights into the windows of homes. It became so bad that the town blocked off one entrance to the neighborhood to make it harder for the curious to pass through, but also inconveniencing residents as well. Your article only encourages more of this bad behavior. To anyone reading this, please don’t go looking for ghosts or any other supernatural phenomena on Riverview Drive in Totowa. I’ve lived there all my life and never seen a thing. The only thing you will see are some annoyed residents, some of whom may not react kindly to your intrusion.

    Reply
  • I can say that I’ve physically seen the “44hitch-hiker” walking eastbound on 44 while driving westbound, reason being is that I never read anything at the time but thought it weird with someone walking in late autumn at night with no coat on (red flannel, workboots, military utility pants with rathe longish brown hair..maybe beard or mustache), when I looked for him in rear view mirror after passing, there was nothing there. Assuming he pivoted into woods or brush alongside 44. Just think of my surprise when reading about him online, running to my wife saying “we saw this guy the other night on 44 on the opposite side of the road walking eastbound!
    Real or imagined. Who knows as it anyone’s guess

    Reply

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