Angry inmates, anguish and death: these may all have caused the Prison Museum to be
haunted. The first reports of spirits roaming the prison’s halls was in 1833, following the
execution of Joel Clough, who was buried on the grounds. Guards and prisoners heard
moaning and rattling chains, and smelled cigarette smoke coming from the “dungeon”.
During renovations in the 1990s, workers heard sounds and saw apparitions throughout
the building. Most disturbing to them was when their tools went missing and were later
found in locked cells! This prompted the Board of Freeholders to ask a paranormal
team to investigate. As a result of the investigation, the prison joined the ranks of the
most haunted buildings in New Jersey.
Ghost research groups from as far away as Ohio and Long Island have been to the Jail
to investigate. These groups typically record the happenings in the prison from 8 p.m.
through midnight on a given night. They use their own equipment, such as digital voice
recorders, camers, infrared video camera and electromagnetic field detectors, which
pick up breaks in the energy field. They review their evidence over the following weeks
and then send a report to the museum. Thus far, each group has found evidence of the
prison being haunted. They have recorded voices, caught orbs (energy) on film and
detected spikes in the electromagnetic field. All of these things combined give the
prison museum the title “HAUNTED”.