Baylor’s Massacre Site, River Vale NJ
Imagine walking through the old Baylor’s Massacre site in
NJ, where in 1778 members of the local militia known as Baylor’s
were slaughtered by German Hessians. These men were just like any other
men with at least one exception. They left their homes and families to
fight for the independence of a fledgling nation and gave their lives
the spirit of liberty.
As they slept, the German mercenaries crept upon the
and butchered the patriots. This event went unnoticed until development
unearthed the graves. But there is more than a simple fence cordoning
the area that outlines the grounds consecrated by their ultimate
The event itself seems to replay from time to time.
Local stories abound concerning strange happenings in
massacre site while the author experienced it for himself on a warm
eve. The sighting was corroborated by two others present that night.
was witnessed were numerous apparitions moving through the woods as if
to stealthily creep upon some unseen prey. Although dark and shadowy,
attire could be ascertained as that of the era of the revolution,
that of the Hessians.
As these apparitions moved from tree to tree, some
as if to hide, no sound was made. As the three individuals stared
at these men, they began to make their way toward the woodline, only to
feel a marked drop in temperature and a sudden feeling of foreboding.
sensation of knowing if they continued, very bad things would happen.
saying a word, they stared at these men of another time only to watch
fade away as the temperature regained it’s summer comfort.
Although somewhat unnerving, I later came to the
of what I had truly witnessed. Yes, I feel we saw numerous ghosts, but
the revelation was more than that. We had witnessed a part of an event
that had taken place 217 years prior. Not only had I read the little
erected to commemorate the site, not only had I read about the militia
in my area from the war for independence; I had actually witnessed the
preface of the massacre.
Many people feel the best way to learn about history is
talk to those who lived it. My grandmother was a wealth of information
concerning stories from the ‘Old Country’ and stories about my
involvement in the first world war. Given our biological frailty, it
impossible to speak with those from an era long passed. Or is it?
Think about a ghostly apparition witnessed on a
of your choosing. What are you seeing? Perhaps you are discomforted in
seeing what shouldn’t be, but keep in mind that you are also seeing
father, brother, or son who lost their life upon such a field. Tears
shed for their loss, or perhaps their sweetheart went to her death
knowing what happened to her love.
Of course you can’t sit and have tea with these spirits
discussing firsthand accounts of their struggle, but with a little
thought, the sighting becomes more than just a great tale to spin
a campfire. You may have seen a ghost, but you also have briefly seen
something that you were only able to read about prior.