Laugh if you will at the tales of haunted places and half-buried secrets that form such a big part of our local cultural heritage. When the ghost stories have all been told, and attention spans wander back to the fast-paced, plugged-in Here and Now, that’s when the real fun begins — the walk outside in the dark; the uneasy trip back home, when sudden sounds encroach from all directions, and unidentifiable things skitter just off the edge of view.
The fun begins during daylight hours on Sunday, October 26, when Middletown Township Public Library welcomes the good people of the New Jersey Ghost Organization for a 2 pm reading that celebrates both the coming of Halloween and the Garden State’s “NJ350” birthday year. The Ghost Org guests will read from their latest book, Folklore of the New Jersey Shore, with signing copies available for perusal and purchase — and a set of “haunted artifacts” on display. Still, if the sworn-testimony tales of spectral apparitions and other unexplained phenomena fail to set your nerves on edge, stick around Middletown after dark — and take part in a nocturnal tour of one the greater Red Bank Green’s most history- and mystery-shrouded places.
Conducted by Jersey Shore Ghost Tours — the folks whose weekly ectoplasmic excursions in Red Bank uncover the restless spirits that lurk behind the hustle and bustle of a downtown Friday night — the Haunted History Walk of Poricy Park Conservancy leaves the lights and the crowds behind, and takes to the heavily wooded trails of this place where ancient creatures and the area’s original human inhabitants first roamed. It’s a guided tour of Monmouth County’s haunted history and greatest mysteries, presented in two sessions (6 to 7 pm; 7:15 to 8:15 pm) and appropriate for ages 9 and up. Enter the park at 345 Oak Hill Road, meet at the Nature Center — and call (732)842-5966 to register in advance ($12 adults & children over 12; $10 children ages 9-12), as space is limited.
Still ain’t afraid of no ghosts? Take it out to the lonesome northern tip of the Sandy Hook peninsula on Thursday evening, October 30, and join the people of the American Littoral Society for a truly hardcore, moonlit night-stalk of historic Fort Hancock — its twisting pathways, storm-battered bayside dwellings, and crumbling concrete battlements that once guarded the shore against unseen enemies on the darkened seas. Commencing at 7:30 pm from the Littoral Society’s building at 18 Hartshorne Drive, it’s a rare nocturnal look at a unique place “where ghosts have been known to linger” — and it’s offered for $5 per person, with cider and fall snacks provided. Call (732)291-0055 to reserve.