The real story behind Shades of Death Road near Hackettstown, NJ

By on October 17, 2021 0

Every few years around Halloween, various publications decide to uncover the names of the spookiest streets in the country. For example, a long time ago a site called posted a list of America’s scariest street names.

Maybe people think it would be fun to cheat or deal on a street called “Bloody Path” or “Fright Lane”. And I challenge you to find one of those lists that doesn’t include what is possibly the scariest named street in the country. And it’s in rural Warren County, New Jersey.

It’s called Shades of Death Road.

Because of its name, there are a lot of traditions associated with it. People have told so many stories of different origins over the years. Plus, largely because of its name, it has been called one of the best haunted roads in the world.

This is a simple, scenic, two-lane 11 km road just off I-80, along a forest called the Jenny Jump State Forest.

The lake that runs alongside the road has been unofficially called Ghost Lake. Because it fits.

If Shades of Death Road wasn’t called that, it would probably sound charming and bucolic. But because of its name, people have attached so much importance to it and think it is scary and scary to walk through it at night.

According to, one of the legends surrounding its unusual name is that a teenage car lost control and crashed into a ditch on the way home from the prom. People will swear that on a dark night you can see the deceased girl haunting the place where the car crashed in her ball gown.

Then, more particularly and probably coincidentally, a few brutal murders happened on the road. Some say it is possible that the early settlers killed Native Americans in the area and dumped their bodies in the lake. Legends abound.

Of course, the most plausible explanation is that the disease-carrying insects caused an epidemic of malaria and death in the mid-1800s around the lake.

Who knows what the real story behind the name of this road is? But it’s definitely fun to think about, especially at this time of year when people are looking for ways to scare each other and each other.

Take a look at this exploration of the region:

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