The Evert Van Wickle House was built before the Revolutionary War in 1752 in Franklin Township, New Jersey. In a secluded area surrounded by trees its only access a narrow, curving road.
This 18th-century house was built as a wedding present for a young couple Evert and Cornelia Van Wickle, who tragic as it may seem both died on the same day in a fire way before their time on March 3, 1757. They are buried on a hill under some trees on the estate.
The house has a main downstairs the second floor was made into a separate residence and an attic. It was privately owned until 1976 when the Franklin Township officials bought the estate as a historical site.
The property is now owned by the Meadows Foundation an organization which restores and preserves historical homes. They open up the house for community activities and special events. During the restoration, an outdoor stage, formal gardens, a canal bridge, wetland boardwalk, program center, nature trail, and youth camping site were added.
“The Meadows” has long been known to be haunted. When Ed and Kay lived there from 1975 to 1978 they rented out the second floor to other people. They had moved in expecting peace and quiet but instead found out that the house was rather crowded.
Kay was sitting in the living room and got up to get something. She discovered that on the chair where she had been sitting there was a large puddle of water which seemed to come from nowhere. Walking into the room she saw a doily which had been placed on a chair go whizzing past her head and landed on the floor way across the room. The couple’s dog and cat would sit together in the living room and they seemed to be looking at the ceiling. The dog would wag its tail but the cat would hiss. There were other disturbances like slamming doors and a radio which would turn itself on loudly during the night.
Kay also heard a woman’s voice calling Ed by name. Ed himself got so upset that he shouted at whatever there was that he would burn down the house if they didn’t cease and desist. The result of this was that one morning Ed woke up to see five misty apparitions. Two were standing at the foot of the bed and three were sitting on the bed. Then they all floated together into the bathroom and disappeared.
In 1978 when the “Meadows” belonged to the Franklin Township Matt and Leslie moved in as the caretaker and the curator of this historical home. After they moved in the knocker on the front door would knock by itself at night. Various objects in the house would disappear and turn up elsewhere or disappear completely. Lights would turn themselves off when people left a room or went outside. They heard unexplainable sounds in the attic and one day when Matt was under the house fixing a conduit a cold, unseen hand touched his shoulder as it to tell him to be careful. Twice Leslie awoke at night to find a middle-aged lady in past era clothing standing at the foot to the bed. She seemed to be a friendly spirit.
Then a new caretaker Harry moved in upstairs in1979. One night he was awakened by a blood-curdling scream from a tortured soul coming from under the kitchen window. The next morning he found the potted plant from the kitchen windowsill broken on the floor. In 1980 he heard this horrible scream again. When his daughter came to visit him she complained that someone had been doing the dishes during the night. Banging pots and rattling dishes could be heard.
In all, there are five restless ghosts who reside here. Two are thought to be Evert and Cornelia Van Wickle. Sometimes when someone dies suddenly and unexpectedly they don’t realize they have gone and try to live out their normal lives. The other three spirits are thought to be other former owners and sometimes when people die tragically they live out their death over and over again which is not understandable for the living.