Fairy Tale Nightmare - Inexplicable Lights in St. Andrew's Cemetery at Night

By Jessica Teal

While cruising down Easton Avenue one night in pursuit of the strange and inexplicable, co-Investigator Ray and I turned onto Route 527 in South Bound Brook and chanced upon an amazing, medieval-looking Ukrainian church that had a very interesting and surprisingly huge cemetery lot behind it. While we were initially drawn to the site by the “Cinderella Castle” appeal of the church, Ray and I soon realized that the real treasure in this Disney-like setting was the seemingly endless rows of graves that stretched out for what looked like miles behind the church. As this was a Ukrainian cemetery, not only were the gravestones very ornate, but in keeping with Ukranian custom, many of the graves had a steadily blazing “night-light” or electric illuminated candle that turned on as the dusk settled in this very peaceful appearing bone yard.

After examining the castle-church and statues of St. Andrews’, Ray and I set off for a brisk walk down what looked like the main avenue of the cemetery. We became so caught up in examining the some of the older tombstones that we scarcely noticed how dark it was becoming and we were very startled when we looked back in the direction of the church where we parked our car and noticed that we must have walked at least a mile into the never-ending cemetery.

This gave us some food for thought and we ultimately decided that we would just keep trekking until we came to the end of the cemetery, however long that would take. Twenty minutes later Ray and I were further amazed and somewhat relieved when we literally came to the end of the road. The amazingly endless graveyard ended almost on top of Route 287. There were some dense shrubs muffling a lot of the highway noise, but had we walked about 10 yards further we would have been standing under the sign for Exit 9. Go figure.

We were next examining a new structure being built in the last plot of land left in the yard when I suddenly noticed what seemed to be the glow of a person’s flashlight flickering back the way we came, maybe about 20 yards away from us. Ray and I were very aware that graveyards often have people like caretakers that keep the grounds at night and probably are responsible for calling the police on after hours visitors like ourselves. Ray and I figured that the flashlight flickering around belonged to a nice friendly Ukranian groundskeeper who was probably looking to chide us meddlesome kids for being in his bone yard after dark. Eager to inform the imagined elderly night watchman that we were just leaving and hoping to possibly ask him about the Church and cemetery’s origins, Ray and I were abruptly startled when the light went out and we didn’t see anyone near the spot where the light had been. As we walked closer we tried to talk loudly in case we had startled the person with the flashlight, hoping that the person or source of the light would soon reveal itself openly. There was nobody. At least we could not find anybody else in that part of the graveyard and Ray then voiced the very good suggestion that we “get the h*ll out of this place as we really don’t want to meet the person who turned off their flashlight at our approach and refused to show themself”. I heartily concurred with Ray’s suggestion and even began taking the extra precaution of walking backwards as we passed the spot and continued up the road to the now not-so-Disney-like church up ahead.

Who or what was flashing lights in the St. Andrews Cemetery that night? I honestly don’t want to know the answer to that question. No matter what the source was, Ray and I both agree that the inexplicable light was a sure sign that it was time to pack things up and to think twice before being lured by a fairy tale castle nestled among the bones of the dead.


Front and back of fairy tale castle/mortuary at St. Andrew's cemetery.

Interesting Ukranian grave markers and illuminated tombstones.


Supplement by Ray Brennan

Upon examining the photographs that were taken at St. Andrew's, the RR team discovered some interesting artifacts. Many paranormal sites, including our friends at Tri-State Paranormal Research, post images of pictures that contain what they refer to as "orbs". An orb is said to be a representation of the soul of a departed person, and many of these phenomena are captured at graveyards or haunted locations. According to the Ghost Web Orb Theory, it is important not to confuse spirit orbs with naturally- occurring orbs such as dust particles. The site further explains that "a spirit is represented in an orb configuration pattern. When the spirit is moving about, its shape is an orb, but when it comes to rest, meaning that it is no longer in motion, the spirit energy that is compressed within the orb is released and this spirit energy expands into what we call Ecto-Vapor or Ectoplasm. Often an orb will contain more than one soul and when its spirit energy is released, multiple orbs flow forth from the single orb. The orb may be observed as a small white sphere shooting through a room and through a wall".

Some of the pictures that were taken at St. Andrew's contained what appeared to be orbs. They are only apparent in the photos of the grave markers, and one in particular shows evidence of another interesting anomaly that cannot be explained. While there is no guarantee that these are spirit orbs, it certainly becomes another topic of investigation. When cross-referencing these photos against other photographs taken with the same camera after dark, it was found that orbs of this nature were only found at one other site - the Reverend Hall House at 23 Nichol Avenue on Douglass Campus, which has also been said to be haunted. If you have any more information about the artifacts in these images, please contact us at rutgersrarities@rutgersrarities.com.


Possible orb photgraphed at grave marker showing standard image (left) and inverted image (right).

Possible orb (over grave marker on far right) and strange anomaly (rising from horizontal grave marker on far right) at Ukranian family plot showing standard image (left) and image with enhanced brightness/contrast (right).

Possible orb and strange anomaly at Ukranian family plot showing equalized image (left) and inverted image (right).

©Rutgers Rarities and Unexplained Phenomena, 2005