Rutgers Rarities Hot Spots
by Ray Brennan

Rank Image Location Description
1 University Inn and Conference Center The University Inn and Conference Center on Douglass Campus tops the list of favorite locations for Rutgers Rarities. The first trip to the Inn was a random one just to find out the history of an interesting looking building. Thanks to our gracious host, Val, who acquainted us with some amazing stories about the spirits on the third floor, we explored the vacant location and were introduced to some authentic paranormal experiences. The most memorable was the force that pulled my camcorder toward my body as I physically pushed back to fight it. It was the first time Jessica's tape recorder acted as a guage of paranormal activity, shutting off in the location of the female spirit's sighting. There were also the strange noises and lights coming from room 335. A second trip to the Inn confirmed the abilities of Jessica's tape recorder, as it once again shut down in the same area. During a third trip, moans from a ghostly presence were heard in the stairwell. The infamous unidentified bones were discovered on the nature trail. The University Inn earned the name "Old Faithful" by the Rutgers Rarities team.
2 Graduate School of Education (GSE) The GSE is a frequent site for strange animals and unexplained phenomena. As Rutgers Rarities was born unto this earth, it brought with it stories of foaming bats, albino rats, stomping and children laughing on the top floor, and stick-throwing lunatics. On the first day of investigations, the GSE lived up to the hype, as a bat attacked the inexperienced Rutgers Rarities team. Leading a double life as an unassuming classroom building by day and a Rutgers Rarities hot spot at night, the GSE slides into the number two spot on the countdown.
3 Livingston Woods The Livingston Woods are THE most frequently visited spot by the Rutgers Rarities team. It has been visited as a favorite site before, after, and during investigations. The first story of the coyote I saw staring me down on Avenue E sparked the phenomena known as Rutgers Rarities. Since then, there have been several sightings by the Rutgers Rarities team. The second was a drive-by down Avenue E in which I witnessed a coyote patiently waiting along the side of the road. Jessica's first sighting came during an investigation of the Office of Television and Radio, as one followed its normal route from one spot in the woods to another. The latest was the money shot as Jessica first spotted an entire pack of 8-10 coyotes along the jogger's path on Avenue E. We both watched them from across the street and I captured some footage and photos before they disappeared back into the woods. Coyotes have even been lured to the edge of the woods using raw pork chops. In addition to the coyotes, wild turkeys have been spotted as well as the daily sightings of deer. Another notable Livingston Woods spot was across from the Livingston student center, where the RR team treked through the dirt paths to walk with the coyotes. This was the same location where the unidentified creature was heard and recorded. This site will continue to be explored, and most likely will never be surpassed as the most frequented Rutgers Rarities location.
4 Waksman Institute Clock Tower The Waksman Institute Tower was built up by a member of the RU maintenance staff as the scariest place at Rutgers. While the RR investigation didn't live up to the legend of world's scariest, it was still an excellent place to explore. After failing to choose the correct path several times, the series of rooms, passageways, ladders, and spiral staircases leading up to the tower was located. After navigating through the broken ping pong table room and through the mechanical rooms, the balcony around the tower was reached. The 360-degree view of Busch Campus and beyond was well worth the trip. After climbing the ladder to the room behind the clock itself, I scaled a final rickety ladder to reach the apex of the campus equivalent of Everest. Before leaving the area, the "bell", which was really a series of loudspeakers, went off at a deafening decibel level. Our guests members of the media braced themselves in addition to the RR investigators before leaving the area. The ascension to the tower and excitement of the exploration puts this location in the upper echelon of RR spots.
5 St. Andrew's Ukranian Cemetery St. Andrew's Cemetery was another impromptu investigation, as I noticed a daunting tower while passing through Bound Brook. The site turned out to be an enormous Ukranian graveyard that seemed to extend for miles, and the tower was the centerpiece - a fairy tale Cinderella castle. As night fell and the RR investigators reached the second mile toward the back of the cemetery where it meets route 287, Jessica first noticed a flashlight shining behind us and I turned around and saw it as well. We thought we were in for another bout of standard questioning from an authority figure, but no one ever showed their face and confronted us. At that point, a nervous feeling came over us, since the presence could have been anywhere around us, ready to pounce. After observing the pictures from the investigations, the RR team got their first dose of orbs, which were prevelant in many of the images. The St. Andrew's cemetery was another unplanned and unforgettable RR experience.
6 Union Carbide Plant The former site of Union Carbide was a daytime investigation, but creepy nonetheless. The vacant building and its surrounding area was void of any animal life - not a squirrel nor a bird in sight. The abandoned building showed signs of satanic worship and gang inhabitance, with eerie messages all over the walls on both the outside and the inside of the builiding as well as the ground. Warning messages promised death to those who entered and reminded trespassers that they were being watched. As I climbed up to the roof to get a better view, the emptiness of the vast landscape became even more apparent. After leaving the site, a history of accidents, fires, death, and destruction was uncovered as part of the Union Carbide history. The location was a chilling reminder of how a seemingly tame workplace can turn into t he devil's playground.
7 Livingston Barracks The Livingston Barracks are surrounded by tales of prisoners of war, soldier hauntings, and images of spirits appearing in windows. The barracks are being torn down one by one, and their history will die as the buildings turn to rubble. The Rutgers Rarities team was fortunate to catch a glimpse of one of the barracks before it was laid to rest, and each room was a scene from a horror movie. Connotations of torture devices, masked murderers, and creative suicide tactics were fresh on the minds of the RR investigators as they peeked around each corner. The most bizarre room held sketches and paintings on the floor and walls of naked emaciated human figures and symbols. This was one of the few locations that brought out a true sense of danger and the expectation that bad things could happen at any given moment.
8 Colonial Park Colonial Park was a recent investigation spot that worked its way into the countdown because of its eerie presence. While the creaking branches and low-flying aircraft put the RR investigators into a mindset of talking trees and UFOs, the deal maker was the interaction between my digital camera and the Colonial Park buildings. While there was no green light coming from anywhere, the pictures were marked by strange green vapors and ectoplasm that showed up in almost every picture. Its place in RR history was sealed after-the-fact as the pictures told an even creepier story than when we were physically there. The image of a face appeared in a shot of the cottage, and the images showed its transformation into the Incredible Cottage, as it seemed to take on its own personality, turning green and angry because of our intrusion. It was a rare instance of a location becoming scarier after as opposed to during the investigation.
9 Little Theater The legend of Little Theater was discovered on another website, in which someone wrote in about the hauntings of the former director. She was a strict woman who would flicker the lights on and off during rehearsals to call everyone to attention. She fell in love with the diminutive Douglass theater, making it her permanent residence, and, as rumor has it - working, living, and dying there. During performances and rehearsals, the lights still flicker on and off, and equipment is often falling down. A tour of the building gave put it into perspective, as the remnants of the woman's belongings remained - furniture, junk, and other possessions. It was in the basement where these items were stored that Jessica had her second experience with her tape recorder shutting off - a sign that we weren't the only ones down there. Other frequent visitors of the Little Theater had not only heard the same stories that have been passed around - but told new ones from the own experiences of a second younger spirit, shadows moving about the attic, and a faucet that turned on by its own accord. The Little Theater will continue to be an intriguing site for the RR team, as there is much more to be discovered.
10 Merriwood Castle The elusive Merriwood Castle is one of the most intriguing sites in the area. The main problem is accessing the building which the RR investigators know is a gem. The stories of the secret passages, the Johnson brother (who was the original owner) importing stones from England to build it, the lifelike statue of the old woman in the courtyard, and the murder of the estranged wife in the bedroom are only the tip of the iceburg. The one chance that the RR team did get to walk up the spiral staircase past the stained glass windows and into the reception area made there mouths water, but getting shot down by the disinterested receptionist who handed us flyers and shooed us away was less than ideal. The fact that this fortress appears to be off-limits to the public makes the desire to gain access even stronger. The secrets of Merriwood Castle beg to be revealed, and for now it remains - our white whale.

Honorable Mentions: Alexander Library, Dismal Swamp, Vorhees Chapel, Willow Grove Cemetery

©Rutgers Rarities and Unexplained Phenomena, 2005