A New Jersey Ghost Story
Ringwood Manor you say? A lovely old house. But no place, my child, to go on a dark night with no moon. Built in the 1700’s, the original house was a collection of smaller buildings patched together to create a Manor. The current Manor House was built by Martin Ryerson in 1807.
Ringwood Manor was the home of General Erskine, who ran the Iron Works. General Erskine was a Geographer and Surveyor-General for General George Washington during the Revolutionary War. What does that mean? It means, dear, that he made maps. General Erskine died of pneumonia during the war and was buried at the Manor.
Ringwood Manor overlooks a small pond. It is surrounded by truly lovely grounds, which are perfect for a ramble – in the daytime.
But at night…
Well, love, it is at night that the ghost’s walk.
Where? My, you are a curious child! Well, there are three different places that are said to be haunted. If you wander the halls of the Manor House at night, you might meet the ghost of a housemaid who haunts a small bedroom on the second floor. They say she was beaten to death in this room. Whether there is any truth to it, I don’t know. But my friends tell me they have heard noises coming from the empty room – footsteps, sounds of heavy objects dropping, soft crying. And they keep finding the bedroom door ajar and the bed rumpled.
The other ghosts? Well, back behind the Manor pond is the grave where General Erskine is buried. The local people are afraid to come to this place because at dusk General Erskine can be seen sitting on his grave gazing across the pond.
And it is said there is an unmarked grave filled with the remains of French soldiers who fought with Rochambeau during the Revolutionary War. During the day, all you can see is a depression in the grass near the General’s grave. But after dark, the dead come to the Manor pond to walk along the shore. Sometimes, you can hear soft, sad voices speaking in French.
So go ahead and visit Ringwood Manor. Ramble its lovely grounds and explore all you want. Just be sure to be home before dark.
*You can read more about General Erskine and Ringwood Manor at ringwoodmanor.com
A longer version of this story appears in Spooky New Jersey by S.E. Schlosser.