Liberty Hall Museum opens its doors and shuts its lights for ghost tours
By Jennifer Padilla | Published Oct. 21, 2017
Both skeptics and believers gathered at Liberty Hall Museum for a ghostly encounter of Friday the 13th.
Liberty Hall, with over 200 years of history—including New Jersey’s fi rst elected governor, William Livingston, and the Kean Family— possesses generations worth of artifacts; including furniture, clothing, dishes, and a dollhouse built in the 1800s.
“The house has so much history, that we’ve had experiences like the unexpected smell of cigar,” said Rachel Goldberg, Liberty Hall Museum Tour Guide. “No one is even allowed to smoke in the house.”
The museum regularly operates from Tuesday through Saturday, 10 AM to 4 PM. However, during the month of October, ghost tours operate at 7 PM and 9 PM— allowing visitors to experience the spooky event in the dark.
Prior to the tour, guests were gathered for a brief historic presentation of the house and surrounding grounds. Thereafter, guests were prompted towards the garden trail leading to the mansion, which was only marked by candlelit lanterns that made it difficult to see.
A pet cemetery was pointed out where former families that resided the home buried their pets. The tour guide also added a more spooky element to the garden trail by sharing a legend of possible human remains buried on the property.
Once inside the house, paintings of former inhabitants occupied the walls, including Colonel Kean, who was a staff of New Jersey’s Governor Pennington.
Meanwhile, the dining room was adorned with Halloween decorations from the 1800s.
Two groups of nine were escorted by the tour guides. Goldberg warned guests to watch their steps, emphasizing that it was “very dark” inside the house.
As guests were prompted towards the second floor, they walked past a room containing a headless mannequin that left them startled at the sight and one screaming. A child’s playroom filled with antique dolls was also an exceptional exhibit for the guests.
“It was so dark,” said Sue Zishock, a nearby resident who was attracted to the event by her own experiences with the supernatural. “But the darkness added more of a creepy, authentic vibe.”
Goldberg informed that the month of October brings more paranormal “energy” to the mansion. Not only is it Halloween at Liberty Hall Museum, but also the month in which the most people died in the house.
Wakes, in fact, were held in the living room. The Ghost Tour made its last stop at the only brightened space— the mansion’s sun
room— where guests shared their thoughts of the experience over donuts and hot apple cider.
To book a candlelit ghost tour, go to kean.edu/libertyhall/events.