The Real Story Behind Shades of Death Road near Hackettstown, New Jersey
Every few years around Halloween, various publications decide to find out the names of the most creepily named streets in the country. For instance, way back when, a site called Homes.com posted a list of the creepiest street names in America.
Maybe people think it would be fun to trick-or-treat down a street named “Bloody Path” or “Fright Lane.” And I defy you to find one of these lists that does not include what is probably the creepiest 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 is a lot of lore associated with it. People have given so many different origin stories throughout the years. Plus, largely because of its name, it has been called one of the top haunted roads in the world.
It’s a simple, picturesque two-lane, 7-mile road just off I-80 along a forest called Jenny Jump State Forest.
The lake that runs along the road has been unofficially called Ghost Lake. Because it fits.
If Shades of Death Road were not named what it is, it would probably seem kind of charming and bucolic. But because of its name, people have attached so much significance to it and think that it is scary and spooky to traverse at night.
According to DangerousRoads.org, one of the legends around its unusual name is that a car of teenagers lost control and crashed into a ditch on the way home from the prom. People will swear that on dark in cloudy nights you can see the girl who died haunting the spot where the car crashed in her prom dress.
Then, most notably and probably coincidentally, a few brutal murders occurred on the road. Some say that it is possible that early settlers killed Native Americans in the area and threw their bodies into the lake. The legends abound.
Of course, the most plausible explanation is that disease-carrying insects caused an epidemic of malaria and death in the mid-1800s around the lake.
Who knows what the actual story is behind the naming of this road? But it sure is fun to ponder especially around this time of the year when people look for ways to scare the **** out of themselves—and each other.
Take a look at this exploration of the area: