"We went to the end of the road and met a midget named George. He gave us his phone number!"
"You can often see a flickering light moving around and about the graves."
"Beware midgets live there, I know because they shot at me."
"Alongside the road is a guard rail painted red where she died."
Annie's road is haunted by a young girl who died on her way to the prom. On the road there remains to this day a blood red stain marking the spot where she died. Familiar story, eh? Well you ain't heard nothing yet because Annie's Rd has so many stories intertwined with each other on this twisted road, that the hard facts and the rumors & gossip are almost inseparable. Have people died on this road? Yes. Are there dwarfs that live here? Not likely. Is the cemetery or the road haunted? That's for you to judge. Was someone murdered near here? Yes.
So what's fact and what is fanciful tale? We'll try to sort out the myths and gossip from reality in a moment, but first off: a primer for those who don't already know the tale...
This unassuming road winds along the Passaic river in the shadow of a sewage treatment plane to it's left, followed by Laurel Hill Cemetery. The road has several share turns and is not well lit. The turn right before midgetville is particularly harsh and caught me off guard not once but twice. There are numerous recorded accidents and deaths including one a few years back involving a car full of HS graduating students.
The road is allegedly haunted by Annie, a young woman who lived in the area in the 60's, not long before Route 80 was built thru the area. She was going to the prom and got into an argument with her boyfriend and left the car and began walking to her home on River View Dr. Along the way she was picked up by a bunch of sailors who raped and murdered her. The violent end to her life made her spirit uneasy, and so she began to haunt the local road, even possessing men who traveled along it. There were rumors of ghosts and apparitions long before then however, going back as far the colonial days. Is this story simply another urban legend of a haunted road?
Perhaps so, and if that's all there was to Annie's Rd, then the road would not have achieved the legendary status it now has. For starters, there have been numerous car accidents on this road. Realists would say that the road is dangerous. It has numerous twist and isn't well lit. Locals claim it's the curse of Annie. Perhaps they swerved to avoid her ghosts, or lost control after staring at her. Others think she may have possessed the driver and forced him off the road.
Located just off River view Dr is a small enclave of houses on Norwood Terrace. For years there have been rumors of quiet little cul-de-sacs where dwarfs live. John Ringling owned a home in Alpine, and just south of where the GWB is located was a small community where dwarfs allegedly lived. The same rumors followed him to his other home in Morris Plains. Other areas like Singac & Waldwick also have been rumored to be home to dwarfs. But none of those areas can hold a candle to the rumors, stories, and crazy things that have happened (or allegedly happened) on Norwood Terrace.
I visited Annie's Rd and spoke with one of the little people, er... local people I mean. She told me the story about Annie, and the problems they've had with kids coming by looking for dwarfs and how WNJ ruined their quiet little community, etc etc. I walked thru, and at first glance I can see where people might get the idea that dwarfs live here. The houses are (mostly) very short with very low roofs. Sometimes the roof I barely inches about the top of the door! At first glance you think," Normal sized people can't fit in there."
Except they can. The houses were once summer rentals and as such they weren't designed as traditional homes were. In fact all of the areas supposedly occupied by dwarfs share that same distinction: at one point they were primarily summer rentals which eventually were turned into year round occupancy. Trouble is, when you come by at 2AM and it's dark and you are going by quick, and with an active imagination (and having heard the rumors) sometimes people think "dwarfs".
Supposedly all the locals knew it as midgetville, but there were never any problems (so this local claims) until Weird NJ ran an article about Annie, dwarfs, and the Hail Mary murders (explained later). After that it became a regular thing: carloads of teenagers would come around all night long on weekends, looking for dwarfs. Ringing doorbells, drinking and shouting, defacing property, stealing things off the properties, the quiet little street was no longer quiet.
Eventually getting sick & tired of the nonsense, the residents began policing the area themselves, calling police on the rowdy teenagers, and sometimes surrounding cars to prevent the teenagers from fleeing. One local resident was run over by a teenage girl trying to get away. "My son was the one who stood in front of her and wouldn't let her leave after she hit the other gentleman. He suffered a broken leg and there was no way my son was going to let her get away with that."
I guess that explains this sign...
That said, I believe there is a midgetville out there, waiting to be found, I just don't think this the place. I wanted desperately to have pictures so I quietly walked thru, not even looking, just surreptitiously pointing my digital camera at the house and clicking, holding it at waist level, trying not to draw attention to myself, and hoping not to get asked any questions. I saw only normal sized people and normal sized cars standing in front of admittedly very short houses.
Laurel Hill Cemetery is 90 acres and is located right off River View Dr. It is allegedly haunted by Annie. While this may or may not be true, what is true is that there is a very cool headstone belonging to the world's greatest electrician. His daughter has a similarly exotic headstone erected in her memory. In addition, there was evidence of vandalism when I went by, as numerous headstones had been knocked over, and many cherubs and angels had their heads knocked off....
The Hail Mary Murders
It was 1992, and six high school boys spent their days fixated by Annie's tale. Believing she was run over by a car and that she now haunted the road, they spent their nights at Norwood Terrace, near the house she supposedly lived in, then they would drive up and down River View Dr, before ending up at the mausoleum where they thought she was buried.
Eventually though 5 of the boys felt that they no longer wanted to hang around with the 6th boy, and decided to make him leave. They made several botched attempts to burn his car, but they all failed. Eventually realizing that they couldn't make him go away, they decided he needed to eliminated. (and all this because they were bored with his company mind you)
They tried to stuff an aerosol can into his gas tank in the hopes of causing an explosion. It didn't fit. They tried to convince him to be handcuffed to the steering wheel, after which they would stick a flaming rag into the gas tank. He refused. After so many botched attempts to scare him and even eliminate him, some of the boys wondered if he wasn't protected by Annie herself...
They finally settled on a simpler method, and tragically it worked. One day they all drove out to the HS and parked in back. They all began to recite the Catholic "Hail Mary", and then one of the boys in back took out an electrical cord and strangled the victim from behind, garrote style. Putting his feet on the headrest, the victim didn't have a chance, and the other boys continued to recite the Hail Mary, until after nearly 10 minutes, he was dead.
They tried to cover up the crime by outing the body in the trunk and causing an explosion, but it didn't work. They ditched the car, and predictably, they were caught, arrested, and convicted. And all this because they wanted this 6th boy to leave their little clique.
I don't think anyone else even knows about this one. You can read the whole story on it's own dedicated page, but basically there is a Jewish cemetery up in the woods near the Waste Treatment Plant, that is owned and operated by a construction company that is located right next door. What do Jews & construction workers have to do with each other? Why did they build a private cemetery in the woods, and why off of Annie's Rd? It's just bizarre!