Former Jersey Shore Village Museum House Has Haunted History
Mary Hill was curious about the home of her great-grandparents.
She visited their Manasquan home when she was younger and now works there as a board member of the Squan Village Historical Society. Today the house is known as the Bailey-Reed House Museum and has been a part of his life since birth.
Hill remembers that when going home to visit her great-grandmother, they would always use the side door and her mother would shout “yoo-hoo” to announce their presence because her great-grandmother was hard of hearing.
Now, every time she walks in the door, she always wants to scream “yoo-hoo”.
“I feel like she’s going to be here but I know she isn’t.”
Hill began to wonder who or who was still roaming the two-story, 10-room house along South Street after meeting members of the paranormal group NJROPE during a pre-COVID event.
âWe weren’t the only people living here,â Hill said of his family before a public presentation of the 2019 investigation findings by Frank Lazzaro, director of NJROPE, and eight other members.
The group spent a September afternoon at the museum asking questions of those who are not seen, hoping to uncover a bit of history from the people who lived through it.
Due to the pandemic, results announcement was delayed and on a cold October afternoon, two years later curious members of historic society and community gathered in an open barn behind the museum to find out if any spirits still lingered.
Hill was seated in the front row and the evidence presented piqued her interest.
According to Rich Bonelli, president of the historical society, the house was originally just one room and dates back to the late 1790s. The first owner, John Bailey, lived there with his wife and two sons.
Over the years the house has passed through different families until it returned to the Bailey family in 1872. It was finally sold to Aaron Reed in 1921 where he lived with his wife Linda and son Ernest.
In 1970 Aaron, who suffered from congestive heart failure, died in his bedroom at the age of 78.
Hill still remembers her great-grandfather every time she walks into his bedroom, which is always made like a bedroom, and thinks of him hooked up to an oxygen machine.
âI just remember the sound of the oxygen machine,â she said. Hill was eight when he died.
Linda continued to live in the house until her death at the age of 91 in 1983.
The historic company bought the house from the Reed family in 1997, after the train station where the company was originally located was destroyed by fire. Hill said his grandfather, Ernest, would be very happy if the house was in the care of the historical society.
âMy grandfather always said ‘if no one in the family bought it, I really think it should be historic society,’â Hill said.
Bonelli said the house was rather run down when they bought it and with the help of the community it was repaired and opened as the Bailey-Reed House Museum, which contains artifacts and documents history of the district of Manasquan.
Bonelli and Hill both said they had never experienced anything strange or unexplained in the house, but were interested, along with around 40 other people sitting in the barn, in what NJROPE found out. .
Lazzaro first introduced the equipment used, then explained what they had found.
One of the first EVP or electronic voice phenomena he played was supposed to be a woman’s voice in the barn saying “I can’t move”. Lazzaro said another female voice answered “no” from the kitchen when the question was asked “Did any of the artifacts in this house belong to you when you were alive?”
Of particular interest to Hill was the âIâ response to a question about anyone of Native American ancestry.
âI wasn’t expecting it,â she said, noting that it is perceived there that her great-great-great-grandmother was Native American.
Another incident that Hill found interesting was when the side door, the one she used all the time when visiting her great-grandmother, opened on its own during the investigation.
After this happened, Lazzaro said the group tried to debunk what they saw by looking at other ways the door would have opened. Subsequently, while checking the tapes, they discovered an EVP in a female voice saying “haunted”, just as the door opened.
âI guess it was the woman who let us know I was doing it,â he said.
In total, Lazzaro said he gathered around 20 responses capturing male and female voices and possibly a child’s voice and determined that the house has a “non-malicious smart lair.”
There are a multitude of reasons spirits still roam the museum, he explained. This could be due to the history of the house, a visitor who has passed by, or this energy before the house was built.
âThere are countless ways for them to get to a place,â he said. And now that the house is a historical museum filled with donations from everywhere, a spirit could have attached itself to one of the objects, he said.
Even with all the evidence uncovered, Lazzaro said they were unable to identify precisely why they were here or where they came from.
Hill said she’s not a paranormal unbeliever and doesn’t have an opinion one way or another.
âI went out with an open mind to see what was going to happen. “
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