A Haunting in Barnegat?

A South Jersey paranormal group recently investigated the Elizabeth V. Edwards School on Route 9, which is rumored to be haunted. Get the results tonight, when the group does a "reveal" at Barnegat High School

The Elizabeth V. Edwards School in Barnegat, Courtesy of William Cox
The Elizabeth V. Edwards School in Barnegat, Courtesy of William Cox

It was around 2 a.m. the night Bill Cox went to check out an alarm at the Barnegat Board of Education office. It turned out to be fairly routine for Cox, who was the school district's head of security at the time.

But it was what he saw as he left the board office and glanced up at the second floor of the Elizabeth V. Edwards School on Route 9 that gave him pause. Lights were blazing on the left side of the school, which had been closed for several years.

Cox - a former New York City police detective - doesn't scare easily.

"It was two in the morning," he recalled. "I had to go to work in a few hours."

He decided to wait and notify the buildings and grounds supervisor the next day.

"He showed me they had been doing work on that part of the building," Cox said. "There's no way lights could have been on."

That got Cox to thinking about all the times he heard the school - the original Barnegat High School - was haunted.

"It seemed like everyone I ran into would say 'Oh, the Edwards school is haunted, don't go in there'" Cox said.

The school - built in 1930 - was closed in 2004 because it was not up to code, said Cox, who is now the district's transportation coordinator. It was used as an elementary school in later years.

"It was never able to be brought up to code," Cox said. "It would have cost millions. So they shuttered it."

Cox was not the only district employee who had a strange experience in the school. A custodian told him about a phone that kept ringing while he was doing some work in the deserted school.

The custodian knew that most of the phones in the school had been ripped out. He followed the ringing to the former principal's office and picked up the only phone he saw. The phone had been disconnected.

"It had no dial tone," Cox said.

The same custodian was also spooked one day when he he found a ladder he had left in one hallway had been been moved to another while he took a break.

As far as Cox knows, the only death that occurred in the school was back in the 1970s, when another custodian was found dead in the basement of an apparent heart attack.

Cox decided it would be interesting to have the building investigated by a paranormal group, especially since the district might sell the school sometime in the future. A clean bill of no-haunting health might help, he reasoned.

"Some people might get freaked out if they think the joint is haunted," Cox joked.

He called the Deptford-based South Jersey Paranormal Research Group after getting the okay from Superintendent Karen Wood.

The group agreed to investigate the school free of charge. They spent four hours between 8 p.m. and 12 a.m. one night several weeks ago, said Cox, who accompanied them.

He's not owning up to what was found. The results of the investigation will be revealed on Oct. 12, when the Barnegat Education Foundation presents two "Dead Time" shows - one at 7 p.m., another at 10 p.m., at Barnegat High School.

"They'll go over what they found," Cox said. "We'll discuss what happened."
Tickets for the 7 p.m. event are $5 per person, prepaid and $6 at the door. Tickets for the 10 p.m. show are $7 at the door. All proceeds will go to the Barnegat Education Foundation.

"We'll have a fog machine and maybe a couple of zombies walking around," Cox said.

Restore the Gore

The Edwards school "reveal" is not the only Halloween-related activity on tap in October. The Barnegat school district has also planned "haunted bus rides," one for younger children and another for the not-so-faint of heart.

The bus rides are planned for Oct. 19 and Oct. 26. The ride for the younger children will run from 5 p.m. to 7 p.m. The ride for the thrill-seekers will run from 7 p.m. to 10 p.m. and could involve a broken-down bus and more zombies, said Cox, who came up with the idea.

Iamrww October 01, 2013 at 07:00 AM
If u think it u will see it. 👀👻👻👻 hope everyone has fun with it. The kids will enjoy it but the adults know better. 💩💩💩
Martha G Douglas October 01, 2013 at 07:14 AM
I was born in my Grandparents house on Birdsall Street, right behind the school. Went to that school. My Mom went to high school there. I was very sad when they shut it down. Would love to be able to walk thru it again.
Martha G Douglas October 01, 2013 at 08:10 AM
How do I get advance tickets?
Bob October 03, 2013 at 12:12 PM
Have a seance there
PAUL MCMILLAN October 11, 2013 at 08:24 AM
Will there be preyers before or the pledge


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