This Abandoned Castle in New Jersey is Like Something From a Horror Movie

New Jersey harbors numerous historic and captivating locations, yet some of them carry a more somber history. Among these is Van Slyke Castle, a once-grand mansion now in ruins atop a hill in Ramapo Mountain State Forest. The castle’s tragic and mysterious past lends an eerie atmosphere, reminiscent of scenes from a horror film.

The Ascent and Descent of Van Slyke Castle

Constructed in the early 1900s by wealthy stockbroker William Porter, the mansion was originally named Foxcroft after the hill it adorned. Porter’s death in a 1911 car crash led to his widow, Ruth, marrying Warren Van Slyke, an attorney and naval intelligence officer, in 1913. The couple renamed the mansion Van Slyke Castle, utilizing it as a vacation residence. Adorned with opulent furnishings, artwork, and sculptures inspired by fairy tales like Hansel and Gretel, Humpty Dumpty, and Sleeping Beauty, the castle exuded grandeur.

Ruth resided in the castle until her demise in 1940, after which the property changed hands multiple times. In 1949, a couple acquired it, later selling it to Suzanne S. Christie, who abandoned it abruptly, prompting speculations linked to a bitter divorce. The castle remained uninhabited for years until vandals set it ablaze in 1959, reducing much of the wooden structure to ashes, leaving behind only the stone walls, towers, and chimneys.

The Enigma of Van Slyke Castle

Presently situated within Ramapo Mountain State Forest and accessible via hiking trails, the castle is fenced off due to safety concerns, with trespassing prohibited. Rumors of hauntings persist, with hikers and explorers reporting encounters with the ghosts of former owners and visitors. Alleged paranormal occurrences include:

  • Audible music, laughter, and voices emanating from the castle, particularly at night.
    The scent of smoke and burning wood, reminiscent of the past fire.
  • Sightings of shadowy figures, orbs, and mists within the castle and the nearby pool and water tower.
  • Sensations of being watched, followed, or touched by unseen entities.
    Unexplained events like equipment malfunctions, temperature fluctuations, and objects moving or disappearing.
  • Some believe the castle is cursed, predicting misfortune for those who enter, while others view it as a portal to a dimension where past and present converge. Regardless, the castle intrigues many with its eerie charm.

Prospects for Van Slyke Castle

Presently owned by a real estate developer with promises of restoration into a museum or hotel, the castle remains untouched, steadily deteriorating. Preservationists and history enthusiasts hold varying opinions, with some advocating for restoration to its former glory, while others prefer leaving it as a haunting relic of a bygone era. Share your thoughts on whether the castle should be restored or preserved, and if you would dare to visit or stay overnight in the comments below.


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