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From Cottages on Lake Erie to Cape Cod Waterfront Rentals, Visit These 7 Spots in the Off Season
Tourist hotspots hold a special place in our heart. There’s something great about taking part in the collective experience of trekking to Japan to take in the cherry blossoms alongside strangers from all around the world, or being one many tourists from across the globe sitting in front of the Eiffel Tower with a baguette. But sometimes you want a vacation away from crowds and bustle. Sometimes, instead of filling your itinerary with “must-see” sights, you want to discover those only-seen-by-you sights. Fortunately, there are several places you can enjoy a little peace and quiet this winter without worrying about the crowds. From stunning coastlines to breathtaking forests to rolling hills, these are seven incredible spots to visit in their respective off seasons.
Editor’s Note: For information on the latest pandemic-related travel requirements and advisories, be sure to check the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and World Health Organization (WHO) websites, as well as airline and destination requirements regarding mask wearing, quarantine, and COVID-19 testing.
The Stunning Shores of Massachusetts’ Cape Cod
With over 550 miles of beaches, Massachusetts’ Cape Cod is a marvel. While the seaside towns on the Cape make for popular New England getaways during the height of summer, the area is still worth visiting year round. From whale watching to kayaking, there are plenty of waterside activities to enjoy — so long as the Cape’s frigid waters don’t deter you too much.
If you rather stay on land, hiking and biking are great late autumn activities. Not to mention, the many quaint villages and towns that dot the Cape are home to lovely shops, delectable restaurants, and eclectic galleries and museums. If you’re not a fan of crowded beaches during the heat of summer, visiting Cape Cod’s many hotspots, from Provincetown to Hyannis, might just make for a magical fall or winter escape.
The Peaceful Coastline of Florence, Oregon
The small town of Florence, Oregon is like a dreamy nature retreat. The area is known for its rolling coastline and stunning sand dunes, a popular and must-see attraction — made even better if you rent a dune buggy. And if you want to see more than just beachfront vistas, Florence is also home to some truly breathtaking forested hills.
In town, you can expect to find yummy local seafood and a smattering of charming antique stores. Whether you want to stay at a campground or in a property along the coast, Florence is at its calmest in the low-occupancy off season, offering you plenty of space to explore.
Quiet Cottages Along Lake Erie
Lake Erie’s serene shores and brisk weather make this destination a pleasant place to steal away to in the autumn months. The fourth-biggest of the five Great Lakes, Lake Erie borders Michigan, Pennsylvania, Ohio, and New York, making it an accessible getaway spot if you live in the northeast. To get the most out of your stay, rent a cottage along the lake and enjoy all those sunsets, sunrises, and open water.
During the day, you’re welcome to kayak, fish, and swim in the lake’s warmer waters. During the off season, you can also enjoy the bright colors of fall in the surrounding woods. Without a doubt, the gentle atmosphere of Lake Erie makes for the perfect place to disconnect from the world for a few days.
Breathtaking Views at Arches National Park in Utah
Arches National Park is one of the most famous natural wonders in the U.S. — and for good reason. Named for its incredible rock formations, this fiery landscape in Utah is the ideal road-trip destination for lovers of the outdoors. With over 2,000 arches, there isn’t a bad view no matter where you hike.
There’s also plenty of space for distanced activities — like hiking and camping — thanks to the many acres of trails. The cooler weather of fall allows for less strenuous hiking, but it also makes biking and windows-down drives more pleasant, too. At some point during your stay, be sure to check out the world’s largest natural rock formation, the Landscape Arch, which is located near Devil’s Garden. And, if you stick around until sunset, you’ll see the whole landscape turn an unreal shade of orange during golden hour.
An Artsy Atmosphere in Eureka Springs, Arkansas
Fall in Eureka Springs , Arkansas is unrivaled, except maybe by New England states like Vermont. Still, the leaves here transform the landscape, providing stunning shades of orange, red, and yellow. And it’s less of a leaf-peeping hotspot than locations on the East Coast, which may make it particularly enticing if you’re looking for a quieter autumnal getaway. In addition to being the site of lush forests, this mountain town in the Ozarks is also home to over 60 natural springs.
Head downtown and you’ll find Victorian-inspired architecture. Perhaps unsurprisingly, this scenic spot is also a hub for artists and creatives, so be sure to stop by some of the town’s many galleries. All of this said, the off season is the perfect time to explore all Eureka Springs has to offer.
The Glimmering Red Canyons of Arizona’s Spiritual Sedona
Known for its spectacular red-rock hills, Sedona, Arizona is a superb vacation spot in both the fall and winter. Although Sedona is often a summer destination, visiting in the off season allows you to enjoy the breathtaking injury without the risk of heat exhaustion. While in Sedona, either hike the many trails or rent a Jeep and meander through the canyons in style.
What you may not know is that Sedona is known for its vortexes, which are said to hold strong currents of healing spiritual energy. If you embrace the energy of Sedona, it may just leave you refreshed. And, outside of all that natural splendor, downtown Sedona is overflowing with delicious restaurants, eclectic art shops and galleries, and stores filled with regional goods. Plus, the off season might just afford you the opportunity to spot some snow on the higher points of this singular landscape.
Glamping in the Texas Hill Country
The Texas Hill Country is home to dozens of charming glamping spots , including the zip-lining hub of Wimberly and the slow-moving riverside area of San Marcos. In fact, one magical resort in Spicewood, Texas (near Austin), Cypress Valley , will even transport you back to childhood: this glamping spot in the Texas Hill Country suspends you hundreds of feet above the ground in a spectacular treehouse hotel.
Rope bridges and suspended platforms connect you to the other sections of the resort. (Adventurous guests can even zip-line past their rooms!) But beyond the whimsical concept of Cypress Valley, the natural setting of Spicewood is incredibly peaceful, replete with streams, wildflowers, ponds and greenery. From swimming to wine tasting, there are plenty of less adventurous activities, too — and, if heights worry you, Hill Country also offers plenty of lovely ground-level camping spots to choose from.
Other U.S.-based Getaways Worth Checking Out:
- Assateague Island State Park Camping Sites Offer an Unforgettable Trip This Summer
- Ask Getaway: Enjoy Los Angeles Like a Real Angeleno
- Pine Island: A Florida Getaway From Florida Getaways
- Ask Getaway: 10 Best Things to Do in Nashville Once It’s Safe to Travel Again
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Home » Most Haunted Places in Cape May
Most Haunted Places in Cape May
When most think of Cape May, relaxing beach days come to mind. But below the sunny seaside escape’s exterior is a mysterious world full of ghosts living alongside unsuspecting vacationers. Discover more of the ghostly history of our community when you visit these spooky haunted places in Cape May.
The Cherry House
The huge home stands on Hughes Street. It was built in 1849 by Lemuel Leaming, but he only lived there for five years. Lucky for him, he didn’t get to see it turn into a ghostly hangout. It was under the second owner James McCrey that the mysterious happenings started. Over his four decades of time in the home, he buried 3 of his wives. Though their bodies were long gone, their spirits never left.
After the current owners purchased the house and began to renovate, spooky reports came in. Doors that were deadbolted would be flung wide open. Rooms got so cold in the house that you could see your breath. One electrician recounted hearing water running in the bathroom. After shouting “Who’s in the bathroom?” the spirit of an old lady walked right through the wall. Needless to say, he cut his job short and left with a scream. He told the owners that they would have to find a new electrician.
The Cape May Lighthouse
Whether you enjoy sightings from “the other side” or not, the Cape May Lighthouse is a must-see during your stay in Cape May. Those who have climbed the lighthouse’s stairs to take advantage of the breathtaking views have seen a ghostly woman in white floating in the lighthouse. She is wearing a flowy dress, holding a lantern in one hand and a child in the other. Be sure to climb the lighthouse at night as part of the Ghost of Cape May Trolley Tour.
Emlen Physicks Estate
Built in 1879, the Emlen Physick Estate was once the home of the renowned Dr. Emlen Physick Jr. but stands today as a museum run by the Mid-Atlantic Center for the Arts & Humanities. Many of the staff have reported figures walking into rooms, only to find no one there. One of the managers described seeing the family photo album with the page standing straight up as she entered the parlor. Upon entering, the page dropped. It was as if the ghost had been caught in the act of looking through the album. There are claims that the second-floor hallway is the most haunted spot in the house. Visitors report seeing the image of a woman as she was looking into the mirror near the stairs.
Built in 1916, The Hotel Macomber on Beach Avenue was a bustling vacation spot for Cape May visitors. The hotel has since been home to its fair share of tragedy. Ghosts of previous owners and visitors now frequent the building spooking guests. One particular ghostly guest is affectionately known as Miss “Trunk Lady.” She was a regular vacationer, always staying in Room 10 during the summers and always accompanied by her steam trunk. Today guests of Room 10 report hearing banging on doors and even ghostly whispers letting you know she’s still here.
First built in 1816, Congress Hall stands today after being re-built since being destroyed by the 1878 great fire. Its walls are lined with photographs, letters, and documents of its past within Cape May’s history. The third-floor hallway is said to be haunted. There are several different ghostly encounters that send chills up people’s spines. Reporting’s from the cleaning staff said they would hear the radio or television on and hear people talking, but no one would answer when they knocked on the door. There have also been reports of children playing about when no children were present. This report seems to be backed by the 10-year-old boy who drowned in front of the hotel in 1876.
Stay at Stockton Inns
Complete your experience in Cape May with a stay at the Stockton Inns . Though it’s not considered one of the haunted places in Cape May there’s plenty of history here nonetheless. The Stockton Manor is a restored 1876 Victorian guesthouse and now is home to elegant guest suites perfect for weddings, couples, and more. As Cape May’s only oceanfront Victorian Inn with a pool, families enjoy the kid-friendly Stockton Inns .
Cape May Haunted Mansions
As the nations “oldest Seashore resort,” Cape May has been attracting tourists since the mid-18th century. With that much history, there is bound to be a few stories here and there that bring chills to your spine. With more than 250 years’ worth of visitors that have come and gone, there are a few that have lingered. A hotbed of paranormal activity, almost any Cape May business owner, homeowner, or bed and breakfast owner, like the Southern Mansion, will tell you about their ghost stories and experiences.
Enter…only if you dare, into Cape May’s haunted past this Halloween season by visiting these Cape May haunted mansions, including our own Southern Mansion. We have the best list of haunted houses in Cape May that will send a chill down your spine!
The Southern Mansion was once used as a seaside summer escape by a wealthy businessman, George Allen, and his family, plus descendants, for 83 years. The mansion was built with the finest details, an expansive Italian garden, and Southern charm which completed the masterpiece. After the Allen family sold the mansion, the next owners turned the home into a boarding house. For the next 50 years, the Southern beauty became run down and dilapidated. The current owners bought the home in 1994 and restored it into today’s treasure. The beautiful and colorful Southern mansion is now one of Cape May’s crown jewels and hosts visitors from all over the world. The happy ghost of Ester Allen (George Allen’s niece) still lingers in the house, enjoying its new and elegant renovations, reminiscent of the house she once enjoyed many years ago.
Read more on Southern Mansion’s history here .
Our Southern Mansion is the perfect way to enjoy Cape May’s charm and hospitality. Our mansion offers restored charm and sophistication, Southern style, with period-appropriate furnishings and historic details that bring the past to life! Browse our accommodations and see what is waiting for you during your next Cape May vacation.
Fist built in 1816, Congress Hall stands today after being re-built since being destroyed by the 1878 great fire. Its walls are lined with photographs, letters, and documents of its past within Cape May’s history. The third-floor hallway is said to be haunted. There are several different ghostly encounters that send chills up people’s spines. Reporting’s from the cleaning staff said they would hear the radio or television on and hear people talking, but when they knocked on the door, no one would answer. There have also been reports of children playing about when no children were present. This report seems to be backed by the 10-year-old boy who drowned in front of the hotel in 1876.
The Cape May Lighthouse
Whether you enjoy sightings from “the other side” or not, the Cape May Lighthouse is a must-see during your stay in Cape May. Those who have climbed the lighthouse’s stairs to take advantage of the breathtaking views have seen a woman in white floating in the lighthouse. She is wearing a flowy dress holding a lantern in one hand and a child in the other. Be sure to climb the lighthouse at night as part of the Ghost of Cape May Trolley Tour .
Spend your time strolling through Jackson Street with the many Victorian mansions, turned hotels, that haunt all who visit here. As one of the oldest streets in Cape May, Jackson Street brings with it a varied past and many hauntings that linger into the night.
Employees at this popular beach bar have claimed to hear rustling noises and doors opening and closing all on their own! The ghost is believed to be of an Irish woman who was outcast from society due to her child she had out of wedlock. Always anxiously awaiting the return of her lover, the woman would stand from the third floor, gazing out to sea. One day, a boat sighting sent her child out into the street only to be killed by a trolley in the excitement of her father possibly coming home. The mother in utter despair hung herself from the third-floor room, where her ghost still lingers.
Emlen Physick Estate
Built in 1879, the Emlen Physick Estate was once the home of Emlen Physick Jr. but stands today as a musuem run by the Mid-Atlantic Center for the Arts & Humanities. Many of the staff have reported figurest walking into rooms, only to report there was actually no where there. There are claims that the second floor hallway is the most haunted spot in the house, evident by the image of a woman captured as she was looking into the mirror near the stairs.
Stay at Southern Mansion
Enjoy a stay at one of Cape May’s haunted houses and book a room at Southern Mansion. Our award-winning lodging in Cape May offers luxurious amenities, beautiful furnishings, and a convenient location to Cape May’s restaurant, beaches, and shops.
Be sure to view our monthly specials for savings on your Cape May lodging.
Get the latest from Southern Mansion
October 1 – 31, 2023
Boo and we’re not kidding.
Explore the spirits of historic Cape May during specially-themed tours and events that tell the many ghost tales of this seaside town, including Ghost Walk with Craig McManus, Historic Haunts Tours, Séance at the Physick Estate, Voices from Beyond Tours, Ghosts of the Lighthouse Trolley Tours, Graveyard, Ghosts & Mansion Combo Tour, and more. Stroll the beautiful grounds of the Physick Estate and visit Scarecrow Alley, with funny and spooky scarecrows along the walkways, and vote for your favorite!
MURDER MYSTERY DINNERS
The Plot Thickens
Enjoy a three-course dinner and watch as the mystery and drama unfold around you during “The Plot Thickens,” an original mystery by Jacky Fazio. Tensions rise when a celebration for an esteemed murder mystery author turns into a crime scene right out of one of her own books. Once the guest of honor is pronounced dead, how will her dedicated staff and adoring fans cope?
PHANTOMS OF THE PHYSICK ESTATE
“the dearly departed”.
You have received an invitation to a dinner party from a dear friend, but there’s one problem. The address on the invitation is a house that is known to be vacant. And haunted. Will you take the chance and attend, or will you always be curious about what might have happened?
VOICES FROM BEYOND HOUSE TOUR
Experience an unusual tour in Cape May MAC’s 1879 Emlen Physick House. In the Voices from Beyond Tour, you will hear actual spirit voices captured by Cape May MAC staff over the past 10 years. View historical photos of the Physick family and their staff alongside photos of apparitions seen inside the house. Learn about the equipment and tools used throughout history in paranormal research. Who could these voices belong to and what is keeping them connected to the Physick House Museum? Draw your own conclusions on this new and exciting paranormal tour.
GHOSTS OF CAPE MAY TROLLEY TOUR
What was that shadow? Was it the undead of Cape May’s past wandering their beloved haunts? You might scoff, you might shudder, but rest assured: on board a trolley with an experienced guide you will begin to wonder what’s beyond when you hear the tales of hauntings unearthed in Cape May by renowned psychic medium and author Craig McManus. Begins and ends at the Ocean Street trolley stop.
GHOST WALK WITH CRAIG MCMANUS
Skeptics turn into believers as you follow psychic medium and author Craig McManus on a one-hour walking tour, and listen as he talks about the paranormal activity he has experienced at a variety of properties along the way.
GRAVEYARD, GHOSTS & MANSION COMBO TOUR
Hear the stories and experiences of ghost activity in the 1879 Physick House Museum from the Cape May MAC tour guides who know them intimately. It starts with a trolley ride to the historic Cold Spring Presbyterian Cemetery to see the graves of Dr. Emlen Physick and his family. At the graveyard you’ll hear EVPs (electronic voice phenomena) recorded by tour guides and staff at the estate. On your return trip to the Physick Estate hear about some unusual Victorian funereal customs. Then, inside the Physick House you will visit several rooms and hear several more EVPs while learning more about the activity observed there. Take the opportunity to talk to staff about their experiences, and a moment to wonder at what it all means. Tour begins and ends at the Physick Estate.
SPIRITS & ODDITIES TROLLEY TOUR
Cats in ghostly form purr from the beyond. Beloved family members in photographs without their heads. Graves equipped with a torpedo to put off intruders. Victorians of the late 19th century had wild notions about the passage from life to death. Belief in ghosts and spirits was common and superstition abounded. Hear several Cape May ghost stories and more strange stories from Victorian Cape May history that are macabre, mysterious or just plain weird! Begins and ends at the Ocean Street trolley stop.
SPIRITS, ODDITIES & OBSESSIONS COMBO TOUR
Victorians of the late 19th century had wild notions about the passage from life to death, and were fascinated by mystery and illusion. Hear Cape May ghost stories as you travel Cape May by trolley, along with strange stories from Victorian Cape May that are just plain weird. Then visit select rooms in the 1879 Physick House Museum and learn about famous Victorian illusionists and magicians. Begins & ends at the Washington Street Mall Trolley Stop. Must be purchased together.
HISTORIC HAUNTS HOUSE TOUR
Tour select rooms with your guide and learn about Victorian Spiritualism in Cape May’s only Victorian house museum, the Physick House Museum, widely reputed to be haunted. Guides will explore the concepts of spiritualism and the occult, both of which were wildly popular topics in the Victorian Era.
HISTORIC HAUNTS COMBO TOUR
Take an evening trolley ride through the Historic District and hear stories of haunted Cape May. Step off the trolley at the Physick House Museum with your guide and see Cape May’s only Victorian house museum, reputed to be haunted, as you learn about Victorian Spiritualism. This tour combines a Ghosts of Cape May trolley tour with a visit to the Physick House. In the museum, guides will compare the methods of spirit contact used by the Victorians with those of today’s paranormal investigators. Selected rooms on both floors are included in the tour. Begins and ends at the Ocean Street trolley stop.
SEANCE AT THE PHYSICK ESTATE
Psychic medium Craig McManus leads 25 lucky people through Cape May’s original haunted house, the 1879 Physick House Museum, and shares his many supernatural encounters and experiences there. He might even channel a spirit or two.
Enjoy a three-course prix fixe dinner at the Inn of Cape May followed by a two-hour channeling session with Medium Craig McManus. McManus will read the energies in the room and channel messages from the spirits of departed family and friends. While he does not read everyone present and cannot control where messages come through, he will bring through as many messages from spirits as possible during the two-hour channeling. Inn of Cape May, 7 Ocean St.
This event is not recommended for people under the age of 16. No refunds within 14 days of the event.
STRANGE VICTORIAN OBSESSIONS
Victorians were fascinated with mystery and illusion and this tour through first floor rooms in the 1879 Physick House Museum shares that fascination. Learn about the famous Harry Houdini who captivated Victorian audiences with his intricate escapes, the Goddess of Mystery, Ionia, a Belgian beauty who Victorians worshipped for her spectacles of magic, The Great Lafayette, who became known as the world’s greatest magician, and Pepper’s Ghost, an illusion still used today, with Sherlock Holmes, Jack the Ripper and more.
ANNUAL SCARECROW ALLEY
Daily October 1 – 31. 2023
The grounds of Cape May’s original haunted house, the Emlen Physick Estate, 1048 Washington St., have been transformed for the spooky season. Scarecrow Alley is a highlight of the Estate’s Halloween decorations. Walk the grounds and vote for your favorite ghoulishly gruesome or foolishly funny scarecrow.
TRICK OR TREAT
Tuesday, Oct. 31: 5pm-7pm Emlen Physick Estate
Bring the little ghosts and goblins to the Physick Estate, home of Cape May’s original haunted house, for some treats…and maybe a few tricks, too. Spooky music, Scarecrow Alley, and maybe a few strange spirits hanging around the grounds!
DEPARTMENT 56 HALLOWEEN EXHIBIT
Daily through October 31: 10am – 4pm Emlen Physick Estate
If you love our Dept. 56 Dickens Village at Christmas, come and see what we have for Halloween! It’s a witch’s brew of spooky houses, bizarre characters and bats, cats and pumpkins galore, all done in the exquisite miniature fashion which has made Dept. 56 so popular with collectors. Nearly 100 pieces and accessories will be on exhibit on the Physick House’s enclosed entrance porch.
Lighthouse full moon climb.
Saturday, October 28, 2023: 7-9PM
Follow the light of the full moon on this rare nighttime climb up the 199 cast iron spiral staircase steps to the top of the Cape May Lighthouse. Enjoy a nighttime view nearly 156 feet above the Delaware Bay and Atlantic Ocean. Interpretive panels along the climb tell stories of Lighthouse Keepers, the surrounding area, and how the lighthouse functioned historically, and are located at landings along the way. The 1859 Cape May Lighthouse is a state historic site and the third beacon on this site. Still an active aid to navigation, it was restored and is maintained by Cape May MAC (Museums+Arts+Culture). Since it opened to the public in 1988, more than 2.5 million visitors have climbed to the top, but far fewer have climbed at nighttime.
Purchase tickets from the Lighthouse Keeper the evening of the event.
Halloween craft & collectibles show.
Saturday, October 28, 2022: 10am – 3pm Emlen Physick Estate
Visit the Emlen Physick Estate for this open-air show featuring wares of local vendors and crafters. Explore our 12th annual Scarecrow Alley which decorates the grounds. Feel free to come in costume to celebrate this festive holiday!
The living -- and the dead -- love Cape May. Here are 6 haunted stories to prove it.
- Published: Oct. 18, 2018, 4:34 p.m.
Tim Hawk | NJ Advance Media for NJ.com
The Christopher Gallagher House in Cape May.
Lori M. Nichols | NJ Advance Media for NJ.com
By Tim Hawk | NJ Advance Media for NJ.com
Cape May calls itself "The Nation's Oldest Seashore Resort."
This quaint little city has been attracting tourists since the mid 18th century and continues to be a favorite vacation destination for families from all over the country.
That’s more than 250 years’ worth of visitors that have come and gone.
But it seems not all of them have left.
"Cape May is certainly one of the paranormal hotspots on the East Coast," said psychic medium Craig McManus , who, as a child, first stepped foot on the beaches of Cape May in the early '70s with his family.
Ask any business, bed and breakfast, or hotel owner and they more than likely will have a personal ghost story to tell or talk about one that they have heard.
An orb was photographed in the formal parlor at the Emlen Physick Estate in Cape May.
Photo courtesy of MAC
Why is Cape May haunted?
"I think that Cape May just radiates a great energy," said McManus, while sitting on the porch of the Bedford Inn, a cozy bed and breakfast on Stockton Avenue.
People are drawn to places they like, he explains, and a response he often gets when talking to visitors is that there is something about Cape May that pulls them in.
"I think Cape May just has a very positive vibe that pulls in the living and the dead."
McManus believes the old houses, the Victorian architecture and the old customs are what attract tourists, as well as people that have intuitive or psychic ability.
"It really feels like it's a special energy that draws people in, in a positive way." He equates that energy as possibly the reason why Cape May is so haunted.
McManus, who has penned five books about the hauntings of Cape May, says that a lot of the ghost stories that are told in town are about people who worked or lived in Cape May.
"You have your positive and your negative spirit stories," he said. "You have people that stay because they were tragically killed, you have others that stayed because they lived here and died here, and they don't want to let go. They have a material or emotional connection to the house they lived in."
“Maybe they don't want to crossover, maybe this is heaven to them.”
Below are a few of the many hauntings that make Cape May a paranormal paradise.
A photo of Emlen Physick hangs on a wall in the 18-room Physick Estate in Cape May.
The Emlen Physick Estate
Built in 1879, the 18-room Physick Estate was home to Emlen Physick Jr., a graduate of the University of Pennsylvania Medical School, his mother Frances Ralston, and his aunt, Emilie Parmentier. Over the course of his lifetime 14 dogs also roamed the estate.
Today the house is a museum run by the Mid-Atlantic Center for the Arts & Humanities (MAC), which restored the Victorian building to its 19th-century appearance.
The office of Rosemary Rombado, manager of tour operations for MAC, is in the back of the home where once was the porch, so she has a front row seat to all the paranormal activity.
Her first visual came one night as they were closing up the house for the evening. When Rombado and a few staff members entered the formal parlor they saw something that immediately stopped them from entering.
A page in this book in the formal parlor of the 18-room Physick Estate was standing straight up according to Rosemary Rombado, manager of tour operations for the Mid-Atlantic Center for the Arts & Humanities.
"The photo album was there and the page was standing straight up," said Rombado. "As soon as I said 'what' it shut down real quick, like we walked in and caught them looking through the photo album."
Many of the staff have seen figures walking into rooms only to find that nobody was there, and a maintenance man claims to have seen a dog in the house.
Another time, Rombado was in her office with the house completely alarmed and locked and heard someone walking with hard soled shoes on the wooden floors in the kitchen.
Rombado claims that the second floor hallway is the most active spot in the house. An image of a woman was captured looking in the mirror just at the top of the stairs.
The 18-room Physick Estate in Cape May.
View this post on Instagram #hotelmacomber room 10 haunted Cape May #capemay A post shared by Bob (@ccr36x) on Aug 7, 2018 at 4:56am PDT
The Hotel Macomber
The Hotel Macomber , on Beach Avenue, was built in 1916 and according to MAC, it was the last hotel to be built in Cape May for more than half a century.
One winter evening during a seance in the hotel, McManus said he sensed five ghosts.
He said one was a woman, Irene Wright, a widow from Reading, Pennsylvania, affectionately known as the "trunk lady" who always stayed in room 10 with her steamer trunk. This room was active mostly during the months of June and November.
McManus said that one night while staying in room 10, he was awoken twice by loud banging on the door. He jumped up, opened the door, only to find that no one was there. He was later told that he was the only visitor staying in the hotel that night.
Eventually he digitally recorded a woman’s voice saying "I'm still here."
Craig McManus, a psychic medium, stands outside of room 10 in the Hotel Macomber. Guests have experienced strange happenings while staying in this room.
According to guests, room 10 has recently quieted down while other rooms have increased in activity. McManus' theory is that when you are a ghost peacefully trying to coexist, you will move once people start stalking you.
McManus also sensed Wright in other locations in Cape May. He found that she did stay in other places while visiting and surmises she is following old habits.
"Ghosts follow old routines," he said.
There are also reports from staff about a man's voice in the basement that groans or growls. He is known as the "Growler."
Another presence that has been sensed is that of Sarah Davis, the original owner of the hotel, who died tragically in 1934. She shot herself in her hotel room and died a four days later while in the hospital.
Davis loved the hotel, said McManus.
"She's still here today."
Congress Hall in Cape May.
Congress Hall was first built in 1816 and was named after its first owner, Thomas Hughes, who was elected to Congress.
The "Great Fire of 1878" destroyed the hotel, but it was rebuilt and reopened a year later.
While walking in the third-floor hallway — which closely resembles the hallway in the movie "The Shining" — McManus said that sometimes housekeeping would go to change a room over and would hear the radio or the television on, and hear people talking. They would knock on the door but nobody would answer.
They would soon be told that the guests checked out, only to go back to the room and find nothing on.
McManus has sensed seven different personalities in the hotel, two of which he said are children. He did discover that in 1876 a 10-year-old boy drowned in front of Congress Hall.
A few guests that McManus has interviewed said they would hear somebody walking around their bed at night and one person even heard the toilet flush.
"I didn't think ghosts have to use the bathroom, but maybe it’s out of habit," he said.
The Cherry House in Cape May.
The Cherry House
Beth Acker doesn't believe in ghosts, even though she may share a house with several.
For 18 years, Beth and her husband Frank have lived in the Cherry House , which was built in 1849 by Lemuel Leaming on Hughes Street. Five years later it was purchased by James McCrey, who lived there for more than 40 years. During his time there, he buried three wives. The Ackers then purchased the house in 2000 from the estate of a woman who lived there approximately 31 years.
"The day of settlement all of our neighbors came over to greet us, welcome us to the neighborhood, and tell us how haunted our house is," said Beth with a laugh.
It didn't take long for the ghosts to welcome them as well.
Beth and Frank Acker, owners of The Cherry House, stand in the bedroom of former owner Mrs. Kulp.
During renovations, Beth said they noticed that the doors kept opening and closing, but didn't think much of it at the time.
One day a friend checked on the progress of the house and told them that the back doors were not locked. Beth said she called the builder and mentioned this to him. A couple weeks later their friend went back and noticed this time the doors were wide open. Beth confronted the builder again and he assured her that they were locking the doors.
"Well we have issues with doors," she told the builder. "They open."
A few weeks later the builder called Beth and said, "I don’t know what you've got going on in that house but you've got something major going on." The builder told her that the workers would deadbolt the doors while working in the kitchen and that when they returned after leaving they found the doors would be wide open.
Another experience involved an electrician who received the shock of his life.
When the electrician went into a the former owner's bedroom to use the phone, the room became really cold to the point where you could see your breath, said Beth. Then he heard the water start running in the bathroom. The electrician yelled out "Who's in the bathroom?"
Right then an apparition of a little old lady walked out through the wall, Acker recalled him telling her.
He ran out of the room, still holding the phone, tossed it in the kitchen and said to the guys, "I'm outta here and I'm not coming back."
"It always makes me laugh because they said he was a really big dude, but you could hear him scream throughout Cape May," said Beth.
He refused to finish the job.
A picture of James McCrey, middle right, one of the former owners of The Cherry House, hangs with photos of the family of current owners Beth and Frank Acker.
According to McManus, who has visited the house many times to contact the dead, there are three active spirits in the Cherry House — an old man, an old lady, and a little boy.
McManus said the man was very unhappy because his picture wasn't with the family photos. The Ackers have a wall upstairs with all of their family pictures on it. Soon after, McCrey’s descendants brought over a picture, which now hangs with their family photos.
"Not that I believe in all this stuff, but I hung his picture right away," said Beth. "Just in case."
The last time McManus visited the house he sensed the spirits of three women, said Beth Acker. All were former wives of McCrey’s.
McManus told the Ackers "He had a ghost harem."
The Chalfonte Hotel in Cape May.
The Chalfonte Hotel
The Chalfonte Hotel was established in 1876 and is the oldest original hotel in Cape May. It sits just two blocks from the beach at 301 Howard St.
According to McManus a frequent sighting was of a younger woman — sometimes holding a baby — sitting in the cupola, a small room on top of the roof, looking towards the ocean.
He believes that she stayed at the hotel and is waiting for her husband, who was possibly lost at sea, to come home.
Because this woman is a continued sighting, McManus thinks she might be a residual haunting, meaning that she was so upset about losing her husband that an energy imprint lingers there.
"A living person at some point in time has deposited a traumatic event or deposited their emotions, and they just sort of linger."
Craig McManus, a psychic medium, stands in the cupola at The Chalfonte Hotel in Cape May.
Another sighting is from Dillon Mullock, whose family owns the Chalfonte. One winter night, Mullock was walking toward the hotel from the back alley when he looked up and noticed a figure walking in the hallway — he was the only one at the hotel at the time. He went back in to search, and found that the hotel was empty.
One night during an investigation, McManus said he was told off by a ghost — an electronic voice phenomena (EVP) picked up a man’s voice yelling "McManus, F*ck you!"
"A grumpy living person will turn into a grumpy ghost," he said.
The Cape May Fish Market on Washington Street.
Cape May Fish Market
In the mid-1800s, the American House Hotel occupied one side of Washington Street from Decatur to Jackson. The first floor of the hotel consisted of stores while the second and third floors were hotel rooms.
Today there are many establishments that stand where once the American House Hotel stood. Some of these include Delaney's Irish Pub and Grill, the Ugly Mug, and the Cape May Fish Market.
The Cape May Fish Market opened in 2008.
Trista Watson has been a server there for three years. That’s three years' worth of ghost stories or encounters that she can talk about.
Approximately two weeks ago Watson said she was standing by the computers with a co-worker when she heard something directly in her ear, as if somebody was standing between the two of them.
"Somebody whispered 'Trista,' in a very deep male voice," said Watson.
"Like as if somebody just poked their head between the two of our heads, because we were standing next to each other, and just said my name."
What appears to be a figure, on the right, was captured by a surveillance camera in the dining room of the Cape May Fish Market.
Photo courtesy of Paula Geserick
Watson said that her co-worker quickly turned her head and said "Did somebody just say your name?"
She has heard knocking on the back door, witnessed a coffee pot fall off of a coffee machine and shatter, and a plastic glass "fly" off of the prep table. "Like somebody smacked it," said Watson.
"I know that we are not alone here," she said. "And they do little things to let us know that we are not alone here."
McManus believes that a young man is the one who moves things.
"The guy in the basement is a younger guy, a younger energy," said McManus.
"He’s a prankster."
General Manager Paula Geserick has video evidence of bread randomly falling off a shelf in the basement, brooms moving, and a hovering figure in the dining room.
Above the restaurant are apartments that were just used for storage. The upstairs is now being renovated into eight apartments that will open this year.
Geserick says that prior to the renovations one of the women that was helping her clean upstairs watched the sleeve of Geserick's sweater lift up and fall back down. Geserick was not wearing the sweater — it was draped over a railing.
McManus senses two energies upstairs, one a woman and the other a man. He believes that the man, who is cognizant and watches over things, may have lived or stayed upstairs.
"It's a good energy."
They are not going to kill you
"People have a perception that if you have a haunted inn or your hotel has a ghost or your house has a ghost, it’s going to be some demonic entity that will be dragging you down through the ducts into hell," said McManus.
In most of McManus' investigations, especially in Cape May, the hauntings have been on the benevolent side, he said.
A ghost's personality can be cranky or grumpy or mad about something, "But they're not out to kill you, they're not out to hurt you," he said. Most of the time they simply want to coexist with the living.
McManus believes it's the living who annoy them.
"It's like any relationship. It's about respect and boundaries," said Geserick.
She says they respect and acknowledge their existence and when their ghosts test the boundaries it’s usually because they are being mischievous, never harmful.
"The people that are really intrigued by the paranormal — Cape May is a paradise because you can stay in all these great places. They are wonderful locations, historic lodging. It's like stepping back in time with some of the original occupants."
A trolly goes by Winterwood, the former New Jersey Trust and Safe Deposit Company, during the Ghosts of Cape May Trolley Tour.
If you are interested in learning more about the ghosts of Cape May and the historic homes, there are plenty of tours to pick from.
The MAC sponsored tours include the Ghosts of Cape May Trolley Tour , Ghosts of the Lighthouse Trolly Tour , a Cherry House Haunting Tales & Investigation Tour , and tours of the Physic Estate House Museum .
To see the list of tours visit www.capemaymac.org .
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Is Cape May haunted? Decide for yourself with one of Cape May’s ghost tours, combining history and tales of local hauntings. (You might also be interested in the paranormal section on our blog.)
Revive the past on a lantern-lit walk through the oldest—and most haunted—seaside resort!
Ghosts & Mysteries Tours from Cape May MAC
Take a giant step back in Cape May’s past and see if a ghostly encounter is in the cards for you!
Cape May is a destination for the entire family.
There's no reason to leave your best friend at home when you visit Cape May.
There's more to Cape May than the beach. Even on a rainy day, you won't be bored.
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400 Years of the Ghost of Cape May: Chronicling Four Centuries of Hauntings in America's Oldest Seaside Resort Paperback – January 1, 2009
- Paperback $43.65 4 Used from $43.65
- Print length 199 pages
- Language English
- Publisher Channel Craig
- Publication date January 1, 2009
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- ISBN-10 0978544439
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- Publisher : Channel Craig (January 1, 2009)
- Language : English
- Paperback : 199 pages
- ISBN-10 : 0978544439
- ISBN-13 : 978-0978544430
- Item Weight : 1.6 pounds
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Seasonal & Holidays
Cape may victorian among most haunted houses in america, country living named the emlen physick estate as one of the most haunted places in america, making it the only new jersey entry on its list..
Kimberlee Bongard , Patch Staff
CAPE MAY, NJ — The historic district in Cape May is home to many haunted attractions and homes. At the Emlen Physick Estate, rumors of paranormal visitors in the Victorian home-turned-museum date back decades.
This year Country Living named the house as one of the "27 Most Haunted Places In America," making it the only New Jersey entry on its list.
Built in 1879, the Emlen Physick house and its nine outbuildings comprise a rare surviving example of a late-nineteenth century country estate.
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As the only Victorian museum in Cape May, the estate hosts tours throughout the year, including ones in October that focus on paranormal activity within the home.
The legend is that after Dr. Physick, his mother and sister died, no other families stayed very long in the house, according to New Jersey Haunted Houses .
Some visitors have claimed being touched and seeing a woman in vintage clothing wandering through the home. The museum's management also captured the disembodied voice of a child in an audio recording at the home.
In the 1970s, the house was saved from demolition by the Mid-Atlantic Center for the Arts and now attracts more than 56,000 visitors every year.
More information about ghost tours at the Emlen Physick Estate can be found on their website . The estate is located at 1048 Washington St. in Cape May. You can also find them on Facebook .
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