With Halloween almost upon us, it’s time to revisit one of the most famous ghost towns in the country and in my opinion, the creepiest, Ong’s Hat, NJ. It’s the kind of town that you’ve seen portrayed in movies but you may not have ever experienced in real life. Actually, “town” is a misnomer, because it’s actually just a small area; a clearing on Magnolia road where routes 70 and 72 intersect in Pemberton.

The legends about this abandoned town are replete with supernatural details; everything from time travel to alien encounters to ghost sightings are aid to have happened here. As many stories as there are, there are just as many conflicting stories and the debates are prolific. One thing is agreed upon by all: theres something eerie and disturbing about it.

A turn-off will take you through what is largely forest and dirt trails, but visitors unanimously agree that it’s more than just innuendo that makes the place so scary. It’s an actual “feeling” that there’s something “out there”.

At some point in the long, storied history of Ong’s Hat, a member of the actual Ong family, a large legendary Pine Barrens family for whom the town is named wrote to the New York Times to give some actual facts. He claimed that the actual name of the town was “Ong’s Hut” after a hut his ancestors built to rest there during grain hauling trips through the area.

According to the descendant, the name was bastardized on early maps to read “Ong’s Hat” and that the stories depicting the haunted nature of the town are merely urban lore. The unsettling stories about Ong’s Hat are too numerous to mention here, but if you google it, you may change your mind about visiting. On the other hand, if you are a fan of all things “weird” about New Jersey, what you read may have you hankering for a Halloween road trip there.

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