I’ve been going to Cape May, New Jersey, since I was a toddler. I grew up vacationing in this quiet seaside town, and it always pulls me back.
It’s also one of the most haunted places in America, according to local lore.
Each summer when I was a kid, I’d reread “The Ghosts of Cape May” written by psychic/medium Craig McManus. In his books, McManus profiles Cape May’s historic Victorian homes. I used to rent a bike and ride around town looking at each of them, looking for signs of the paranormal.
McManus offers channeling sessions as well as ghost investigations. He’s booked through 2016, but I was lucky enough to spend some time with him recently. I also worked with Ben Miller, the historical editor of Exit Zero, a locally published magazine, and the author of several history books on Cape May, including “The First Resort.”
According to Miller, Cape May was first charted by Henry Hudson in 1609. The original inhabitants were Kechemeche Native Americans.
“In the late 18th century, Cape May became America’s first resort town when one enterprising local farmer built a hotel and advertised it in the newspapers of Colonial Philadelphia,” said Miller.
Cape May is one of the country’s oldest seaside resorts. It was settled by whalers in the colonial times, became a popular vacation spot in the mid-1800s, weathered a devastating fire in 1878, and had ties as a U.S. Naval base. Cape May’s rich history is one of happiness, but also, immense sorrow.
Not all Victorian homes are haunted in Cape May. Here are a few (not necessarily haunted) sights in the city.