Built before the Revolutionary War,
in 1722, one can find this restored, historical home in Franklin Township,
New Jersey. It was built in a secluded area, which is hidden by the trees
and where a person can gain access to the house only after traveling a
narrow, curvy road.
Address: 1289 Easton Avenue in Somerset.
DESCRIPTION & HISTORY:
This beautifully restored 18th century
home was built as a wedding present for Evert and Cornelia Van Wickle,
in 1752. The young couple died on the same day, on March 3rd, 1757, way
before their time. They are buried on a hill, under some trees, although
there is a Revolutionary War era cemetery located on the house's estate,
which was established in a time after their death. The house has a main
downstairs, an upstairs and an attic. Sometime in its history, the second
floor was made into a residence by itself. The house was privately owned
up until 1976, when the Franklin Township officials bought the whole estate
as a historical site, to be restored to it's former greatness.
The Meadows Foundation, an organization
which excels in preserving and restoring historic sites, now owns the
property and opens the home for community activities and special events.
Restoration has included the addition of such important new facilities
as an outdoor stage, formal gardens, a canal bridge, wetland boardwalk,
program center, nature trail and youth camping site.
"The Meadows" has long been
known to be haunted. Several people have had recent experiences which
tell of the sometimes rascally, sometimes helpful, and sometimes tormented
entities, who occupy the house.
1) Kay & Ed had bought and lived
in the house, from 1975 to 1978, and rented out the second floor unit to
other people. They had moved in with visions of having peace and quiet,
but found that the house was crowded with unexpected company.
a) Kay found a pool of water on
a chair in the living room where she had been sitting only a moment
before. The puddle seemed to come out of nowhere, when she had gotten
up to get something.
b) While walking in the living room,
a doily, which had been on a chair, flew past her head, landing on the
floor, way across the room.
c) The couple's dog and cat would
sit together in the living room, looking up at the ceiling. The dog
would be wagging its tail, while the cat would be hissing.
d) Kay and Ed lived with daily annoyances,
such as unexplained, self- slamming doors, and a radio which would turn
itself on loudly and unpredictably during the night.
e) However, on several occasions,
the blasting sound of the radio woke up Ed when he had overslept, so
he could get to work on time.
f) Kay heard a woman's voice that
was calling Ed's name.
g) After shouting to the unseen
entities that he would burn down the house, if they didn't behave themselves,
Ed awoke one morning to find that there were 5 misty apparitions appearing
before him. Two were standing at the foot of the bed, while the other
3 were sitting on the bed. On cue, they all floated into the bathroom
together and disappeared.
2) Matt and Leslie moved into "The
Meadows" in 1978, to be the caretaker and the curator of this historical
home which was now owned by the Franklin Township. Annoyances and unusual
occurrences started right away.
a) After moving in, their sleep
would be interrupted by a noisy knocker on the front door, which would
knock all by itself.
b) Various items and objects in
the house would disappear and turn up somewhere else, or vanish altogether.
c) Some unseen entity knew the cost
of electricity, for lights would turn themselves off when the couple
would go to another place in the house, or outside.
d) Both heard unexplained sounds
in the attic.
e) While Matt was working on a conduit
under the house, an icy, unseen hand touched his shoulder gently, as
if to tell him to be careful.
f) On two different occasions, Leslie
awoke to find a middle-aged lady apparition, dressed in past-era clothing,
standing at the foot of the bed. The couple wasn't scared of her, for
she was a kindly spirit who was there to protect them, they felt.
3) In 1979, a new caretaker, Harry,
moved into the upstairs unit, that had been renovated by Matt.
a) One night, Harry was awakened
by a blood-curdling, tormented scream of a tortured soul, which came
from below the kitchen window. The next morning, Harry found that the
kitchen windowsill's potted plant had been broken in the middle of the
floor. In 1980, Harry heard the same horrendous scream again.
b) When his daughter, J., came to
visit, she complained to him one morning that someone was noisily doing
the dishes in the middle of the night, complete with pot banging and
It is assumed that at least 5 restless
ghosts reside here. Two are thought to be the spirits of Evert and Cornelia
Van Wickle. When their graves were temporarily dug up, only their ashes
were found. As cremation was banned during the time that they were living,
it's assumed that they perished in a fire. The other three seen apparitions
are perhaps former owners of the house. Sometimes, those unfortunates
who are killed before their time, may have trouble passing on to the other
side. They may not know that they have died. Or, they try to live out
their normal life time, perhaps trying to be helpful. In some cases, they
try to get revenge in some way on the living, through pranks, annoying
or scary behavior. Also, they sometimes reenact their horrible death over
and over to the living, who don't understand it.
Photos from TheMeadowsFoundation.org/Vanwicklepg.htm