Beginning at Route 23, close to Newfoundland, and running ten miles to its northern terminus in the Upper Greenwood Lake area; Clinton Road might seem like an otherwise plain stretch of asphalt cutting through West Milford, New Jersey in Passaic County. However, for paranormal enthusiasts, it is one of the most notorious roads in America; well known as a hotbed of paranormal activity, unusual gatherings and unexplained phenomena.
The Mystery of Cross Castle
One of the most interesting Clinton Road stories revolves around the site where a castle once stood. According to town records, Richard Cross built a castle in 1905 and lived there with his wife and children. The intriguing building was partially destroyed by a fire in the late 20th century and was removed, save for its foundation, in 1988.
For years prior to its removal, the location was a popular destination for the curious and there have been multiple reports of unexpected and strange events occurring in and near the castle. Some of these reports include people leaving the area with unexplainable bruises on their bodies, visitors going into sudden seizures without any previous seizure related medical issues and individuals being struck by disturbing visions. While it’s unknown if the site is haunted by the Cross family or something much more malevolent, there’s more to the mystery. Satanic writings were discovered on the interior walls of the castle in areas believed to have been completely inaccessible. Although you can no longer visit the castle itself, there are hiking trails leading to the area where part of the foundation is still in place.
The Unusual Murder Case
Finding a body on the side of the road is mysterious and awful enough but when the autopsy reveals something so puzzling it manages to stump pathologists, things go from bad to worst. A bicyclist, as usually seems to be the case, discovered the corpse just off the side of the road in May 1983 after spotting a vulture dining on what looked to be a man’s body. During the autopsy, ice crystals were discovered near the heart, in the blood vessels, indicating the body had been frozen after death. It became obvious the man was a victim of foul play and the death was ruled a homicide.
The unusual nature of this case captured a lot of attention which worked in favor of law enforcement and mafia member Richard Kuklinski was identified as a suspect and arrested for the murder in 1986. Kuklinski eventually admitted to being a long-time hit man and disclosed information about more than 200 additional, similar murders. As a result, Kuklinski earned the nickname “The Iceman.” With all of the paranormal activity reported on Clinton Road, it wouldn’t be surprising to find out many of Kuklinski’s victims are now haunting the area where their bodies were dumped.
Is There a Druidic Temple in the Area?
According to local folklore, a conical stone structure located near a reservoir off Clinton Road was once a site where Druids performed regular rituals. According to the legend, any intruder visiting the site at the wrong time will end up facing horrible consequences. Officially, the fenced off area is listed as an iron smelter utilized during the War of 1812 and the American Revolutionary War, but this doesn’t mean the location, although probably not the structure, wasn’t also used by Druids in the past.
Dead Man’s Curve and the Ghost Boy
Known affectionately as Dead Man’s Curve, a bridge crossing over Clinton Brook is reportedly the home of the ghost of a young boy believed to have drowned after falling from the bridge into the water. In order to find the ghost who frequently haunts the bridge, you need to leave an offering of a quarter placed on the yellow line, in the middle road, at (you’ve guessed it) midnight. If done correctly, the apparition will appear but be warned, he has pushed more than one unsuspecting person off the bridge.
One of the most commonly reported ‘unusual occurrences’ on Clinton Road is the sudden appearance of a ghost truck or other large vehicle. Witnesses claiming to have seen the ghost truck described a large black pickup truck but, more often than not, the car is not seen at all. Instead, the phantom vehicle appears as lone, oncoming headlights floating through the darkness, unattached to the chassis. On many occasions, they’ve forced motorists to pull over alongside the road for fear of hitting the oncoming driver.
In an instant, after chasing motorists off the road, the lights completely disappear. One wonders if those poor souls who previously perished on Clinton Road are trying to warn others away from traveling through the area. While the phantom cars may be nothing more than tall tales, it’s not surprising there have been accidents in an area with the longest wait time at a traffic light in the entire country. After all, most people are not willing to wait five minutes before passing through an intersection, and this impatience has most assuredly led to many completely avoidable injuries and deaths.
Are Black Eyed Children Wandering Down Clinton Road?
An increasingly common report from travelers and local residents describes people dressed very oddly who usually do not speak, even when spoken to, and simply stare back. Even stranger, there have also been reports of these potentially supernatural beings disappearing suddenly or only being visible to certain people. All of these characteristics point at something supernatural in nature but what could it be? At least a few of the eyewitness accounts describe the unusual behavior known to be associated by black eyed children. Regardless of whether people are seeing ghosts or a vampire/werewolf hybrid, it is definitely notable that some type of presence is making itself known by taking on a physical form.
Cryptid Hybrids Roaming the Woods and Unexplainable Feelings of Dread
A long list of unidentified cryptids and other strange animals, such as hellhounds, are reported to have been spotted on Clinton Road, almost always during the night. There is some debate over whether these creatures are truly supernatural or simply the result of a former animal attraction closed down forty years ago. In any event, these hybrids, if real, are not naturally occurring animals and travelers would be wise to keep their guard when driving on Clinton Road.
While some folks have all the luck and catch a glimpse of something creepy, most visitors reporting an encounter on Clinton Road focus primarily on unusual feelings that arise within them as they drive through the 10 mile stretch. In many cases, the unexplainable feeling of dread and uneasiness has caused folks to turn around and find an alternate route. Similar to the cryptid sightings, these sensations do happen more frequently at night. However, there have also been several reported incidents which have taken place during the middle of the day.
Cannibals and the Horrors of Mankind
According to the founders of Weird NJ, there’s a lot more to fear on Clinton Road than the occasional appearance of a ghostly child, phantom pickup truck, Satanists or cryptid hybrids. There are rumors cannibals also roam the area looking for new victims to feed upon. According to legend, anyone stopping to move a couch off of the road will be picked up by a hungry group of cannibals.
It is hard to believe a location only ninety minutes from bustling New York City could actually be desolate enough to enable all of this ghastly activity to happen but such is the reality of life in West Milford.
Is Clinton Road Truly the Scariest Road in America?
Labels such as “the scariest road in America” are extremely subjective because each person who visits Clinton Road will have a different experience and most of them likely pleasant. However, considering the sheer number of paranormal reports and other oddities, it seems fair to give Clinton Road its due respect since you never know what you may find if you should ever pass though that stretch of road.
While this doesn’t necessarily guarantee each ghost chaser heading to New Jersey will come back with a good story, there are probably good reasons why the many legends surrounding Clinton Road persist. In fact, there have been far too many eyewitness accounts for anyone other than a pure skeptic to claim there’s absolutely nothing supernatural about the road.
As you might have guessed, Clinton Road has been explored by many paranormal investigators and featured on a variety of TV shows. While locals debate some of the details spread by the media, the sensationalism doesn’t detract from the long history of encounters in the area. With that in mind, we again recommend anyone making the trip to Clinton Road proceed with caution as they drive down the 10 miles and explore the surrounding woods and reservoir.