The sparsely populated towns and countryside of the Pine Barrens of Southern New Jersey have often been the ideal setting of various ghost stories, including the infamous tale of the Jersey Devil, that are told in the more heavily populated Northern New Jersey and Philadelphia metropolitan regions. One of those “Piney” towns is home to a lesser-known, but equally interesting, tale of a street that is haunted by the ghost of a young boy. The story is set in the town of Atco, within Waterford Township, and is located approximately half-way between Philadelphia and Atlantic City, right in the heart of the Wharton State Forest section of the Pine Barrens National Reserve.
The story was told to me by one of my high-school classmates, who is a resident of the town of Atco. The nineteen year old young man is currently a sophomore at Clemson University and describes himself as being a Roman Catholic of half Italian-American and half Irish-American decent. The young man also noted that he is normally very socially conservative and a staunch Republican. His father is employed as a general contractor and his mother runs her own catering company. He describes himself as a “self proclaimed expert of all things related to the Atco Ghost.” He cannot remember the specific date when he first heard the story, but stated that he can remember knowing most of the details to the story for most of his life. He also claims to have attempted to see the ghost on only one occasion and after what he saw, he refuses to ever go back to that area of town at night. The following is an almost word for word account, which he checked to ensure its accuracy, of the lengthy story as he retold it to me ...
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...ker: American Urban Legends & Their Meanings. New York: W. W. Norton, 1981.
Case Studies – Atco Ghost, Atco, NJ / Pleasant Mills Cemetery, Bastso, NJ. Accessed at http://www.sjpr.org/atcocem.html--A website from the South Jersey Paranormal Research group providing a detailed account of their experience in visiting the location of the Atco Ghost.
Sceurman, Mark and Maron, Mark. Weird N.J.: Your Travel Guide to New Jersey’s Local Legends and Best Kept Secrets. New York: Barnes & Noble, 2003. Accessed at www.weirdnj.com--A magazine, with selected archives available online, that provides accounts of the various folklore and legends that comprise the New Jersey culture.
www.theatcoghost.com--A site detailing directions on how to see the ghost with an accompanying message board in which individuals recount their own experiences of attempting to witness the ghost.
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