The Ghosts of Lakeview Mansion

Haunted Lakeview Mansion       It's a dark autumn evening in Jamesburg. Mary drives to Dunkin' Donuts for a cup of coffee to warm her body on this crisp evening. Pulling into the parking lot off Buckelew Avenue, Mary looks across the street at the majestic Lakeview Mansion, and sees the unimaginable - a man staring down directly at her from a third floor window! Quickly dimissing the idea, perhaps thinking that someone is in the house, Mary goes into Dunkin' Donuts. Coming out with coffee in hand, the figure in the window has disappeared. Knowing the house, Mary is unsure why someone would be in that window, especially since the room is cluttered with boxes. Did Mary witness a paranormal manifestation that evening at Lakeview or perhaps it was her immagination conjuring images after hearing many stories about the ghosts and strange happenings at haunted Lakeview Mansion?

      Many have passed Lakeview Mansion, the historic home of James Buckelew. Built between 1685 and 1870, it has its share of history - and unexplained events. Over the years many have touted the house "haunted," "errie," and sometimes "downright scary." Some psychics have refused to go in, while others say the mansion has an overpopulation of spirits and entities. Knowing this, a question is raised: "Is Lakeview Mansion really haunted?" Depending who you ask, some will say yes and others will say no. Although when you ask people who have experienced supernatural and paranormal events, it is hard not to believe the house is haunted by something or someone.

      On two separate occassions, South Jersey Ghost Research has conducted investigations of 203 Buckelew Avenue. Sitting in on these invesigations, it is hard not to believe that there are other beings around us at all times. South Jersey's first investigation was conducted Friday, May 13, 2005. Conducting an investigation similar to Ghost Hunters on the Sci-Fi Channel, a team of eleven investigators split up into two teams to make sure that every room of the house, including the basement, were covered. Using infrared thermal scanners, EMF detectors, TriField detectors, motion sensors, tape recorders for electronic voice phenomena (EVP) readings, and both digital and 35mm cameras, the team had a full arsenal for detecting the unknown. After a dry run through of the house at 9:00 p.m., the group split up, darkened the entire house, and began investigating for the next three hours. That evening I decided to focus a lot of my attention to the third floor, which is notorious for harboring spirits. According to Lakeview lore, at least three deaths occured on this floor of the mansion, which was only built in 1870. Preparing for an exciting evening, I quickly attached myself with one of the investigators, asking her to conduct a psychic analysis in one of our most haunted bedrooms. While in there, she was overcome with emotions and feelings, connecting to a spirit of a younger man, who was asking for help. Meanwhile on the second floor, images of a young woman crying on a trunk in the Kerwin Room were picked up. In the Buckelew bedroom, what the researchers believed to be a funeral, was taking place. Many people were standing around a bed dressed in all black and saw the investigator as an outcast. Interestingly enough, the bible in the room was open to Psalm 39, which is often read at funerals. Customarily, the bible is not open to that page (which is near the back), but rather the middle. Were the pages moved for the ocassion?

The main hallway of Lakeview.       On the first floor in the original kitchen and bedroom, psychic activity was abound. Investigators felt the presence of violence and possibly abuse. One spirit was sensed in the basement, supossedly rushing to get things ready for the winter, although summer had barely begun! In addition, spirits of dogs and children were present throughout the house. Even Mr. Ralph Marryott was even reported being felt on the second floor near his family photographs. The first investigation ended approximately 12:00 midnight.

      A month later, the Jamesburg Historical Association received the official report from South Jersey Ghost Research. The results of their preliminary investigation concluded that the house has an abnormal amount of psychic activity, however, due to its age, it is expected. A large portion of the energy was associated with the third floor, although almost every room of the twenty-three room mansion has elevated amounts of energy. The only physical evidence from the investigation were seven EVPs, thirty-two positive digital photographs, and three positive anonalous EMF readings. South Jersey also noted that there is a lot of residual energy residing in the house, in addition to belief that there are also spirits present. According to Dave Juliano, Director of South Jersey Ghost Research, "Residual energy is a playback of a past event. The apparitions involved are not spirits, they are 'recordings' of the event." The positive digital photos contained images of orbs, which are balls of energy that are found in the semi infrared spectrum of light. According to the report, "Orbs can be found anywhere but are found in much higher concentrations in areas where spirit activity has been reported. It is believed that cameras capture orbs because they are capturing an event in a split second, faster than the human eye can register." Lastly, a positive EMF reading is "an anomalous fluctuation in the electromagnetic field, which may indicate a spirit presence. It is scientifically impossible for low level and moving electromagnetic fields to occur naturally, yet we find these fields in areas where there is spirit activity reported." Knowing this, it prompted South Jersey Ghost Research to return on the evening of September 10, 2005.

Second floor stairs       During the second visit, the same hotspots were popular with some of the previous investigators, and even some of the new ones. From their impressions, Lakeview Mansion was just as active, the second time around - no mistake on the preliminary investigation. However, this is just a sampling of the psychic and physical evidence collected from the first two evenings. South Jersey has asked to conduct more investigations at the property in the future in order to determine what is really lurking behind the white clapboard walls and green shutters of a house with 320 years of history embedded in it.

Buckelew Bedroom

Photos © 2005 Craig Schiavone
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