Last week L’Aura Hladik shared with us her story about the White Lady of Branch Brook Park in Newark, NJ. This week enjoy her tale about the second White Lady roaming the Garden State: Annie of Riverview Drive in Totowa.
The Laurel Grove Cemetery at Totowa’s Dead Man’s Curve
The road runs between the Passaic River and Laurel Grove Cemetery and features a sharp bend in the road, affectionately called “Dead Man’s Curve,” where people say Annie was hit by a truck while walking home from the prom and dragged for fifty feet near the guardrail.
I first went to Laurel Grove Cemetery in 2000 as part of a New Jersey Ghost Hunters Society cemetery hunt. I had permission for our group to be in the cemetery. I can’t stress that enough to readers who want to jump in their cars and head out to a cemetery at midnight to get permission first. Even better, explore the area during the day, and then get permission from the caretaker or, if it’s a Catholic cemetery, monsignor. It’s also a good idea to check in with the local police department beforehand to apprise them of what you’ll be doing. If there are houses around the cemetery that you’re investigating, homeowners may call the police to report flashing lights and seeing vehicles and people in the cemetery after hours.
Our Totowa group was small and manageable. I reviewed the protocols for paranormal investigating while everyone signed the waiver sheet. We synchronized our watches and agreed to search for Annie’s grave and meet back at the front gate in one hour. A couple people came with me, and the others went off on their own. We covered a lot of ground within that hour. I remember taking one orb picture at a mausoleum. Other people captured some orb shots at various locations in the cemetery, but nothing stellar. EMF and temperature readings were normal. No one reported collecting any EVPs, and Annie’s grave eluded us.
After an hour we convened with the other part of the group, and I took attendance to make sure everyone was accounted for. One gentleman suggested we drive the length of Riverview Drive to see if Annie would appear. I agreed since our cars were all facing in that direction anyway. I knew the street would bend down to the right to follow the Passaic River, make a sharp turn and continue back out to the main road. I stressed to the team that we were only going to make the trip once. It was a residential area, and I didn’t want our caravan to be a nuisance. We got in our cars and made our funeral-procession-paced drive down Riverview. As we were passing the cemetery on our right and the Passaic River on our left, I put my passenger window down and hung out a little to take pictures. I call this method “drive-by shooting.” I didn’t capture anything of a paranormal nature, but I have to say that it is a creepy road to drive along.
Once we were back on the main drag, we made the traditional stop at the first diner we saw. With digital cameras we were able to review and compare our cemetery hunt pictures over coffee and fries with melted mozzarella cheese and gravy. There were some interesting orb shots, but no full-body apparitions and certainly no Annie appearance. I asked whether anyone saw the blood-red paint on the guardrail that supposedly marks where Annie was hit and killed the night of her prom. Everyone admitted it was too dark to see any paint, if it was there. The eerie red paint is part of the legend that Annie’s father returns here on the eve of the anniversary of her death to repaint the guardrail.
A few months later, on a Sunday afternoon, my then-husband and I were in Totowa with our hearse, Baby, to attend a Cadillac car show at the Brogan Cadillac dealership. There were many classic Cadillacs, but ours was the only hearse. After the show, we headed for Riverview Drive and noticed some splattered red paint on the road, but did not see any on the guardrail. I figured this was the act of a teenager wanting to spook his girlfriend on their midnight ride home. Of course, I think we spooked the oncoming car even more as our twenty-two-foot-long hearse came around the corner of “Dead Man’s Curve.” In May 2008 I went up to Laurel Grove Cemetery to take a daytime picture of the entrance sign. Afterward, my sons and I hopped back in my car to make the drive down Riverview and look for the red paint on the guardrail. Sadly, the road was closed for construction. The site looked like an additional bridge was being built across the Passaic River. Oddly enough, this new bridge appears to start where Annie ended. Who knows? This may be the beginning of another legendary ghost-girl-on-the-bridge story.
About the author: L’Aura Hladik, is the author of Ghosthunting: New Jersey and Ghosthunting: New York City. L’Aura has been officially ghost hunting since 1993 and founded the NJ Ghost Hunters Society in 1998, which to date is the largest paranormal investigating organization in New Jersey.
As a paranormal investigator, L’Aura has stayed at the famously haunted Myrtles Plantation in St. Francisville, LA. Other ghost hunting explorations have taken her to Chicago, Savannah, and New Orleans. Internationally, she’s investigated several Irish haunted castles, most notably Leap Castle (County Offaly, Ireland).