Weird NJ debunked Case #1 : Demon’s Alley
“Demon’s Alley” refers to a handful of abandoned houses on a street through a wooded area off the Germantown Road exit on Route 23 in West Milford. I had heard stories of the occult, mass murders, and satan worship.
Demon’s alley has been featured in multiple issues of Weird NJ with stories to this effect, yet has no specific dates, news references or proof. Wouldn’t there be a story in the news or obituaries? And what about relatives of the victims? The houses would have been inherited and then either occupied or sold. They were too valuable to just be abondoned. The website also mentions a photographer going there to take pictures and his camera mysteriously not working. When I went there to take pictures, my camera worked fine, so maybe the demons liked me or they were just away for the weekend.
While I was taking pictures, I noticed signs posted on trees that said No Trespassing by order of the CDC, indicating some sort of health hazard. So I started asking around what anyone knew about Demon’s Alley. Someone interested in buying a house in West Milford told me that upon questioning, he found out that radon was leaking into the houses from the side of the cliff they were built on. There was no solution and the houses had to be abandoned for health reasons. That would also explain why the furniture was left. My research indicates that radon cannot be held by furniture, but that fact has been debated. Plus most people would rather be safe than sorry, and 20 years ago it was probably even more questionable than it is now. From another source, I heard that The Newark Watershed Commission that owns the property had a different response. They said the homes were for temporary workers and when the job was done, the workers were no longer needed. That could make sense if the radon story is also true, as I don’t buy that they wouldn’t sell the houses. There would just be too much money to be made.
Here is another interesting piece of information. On an old county map I have, it shows another road forking into the Demon’s Alley road. A road that doesn’t exists. Walking around the area, I found the beginning of the road where it just starts to go into the woods, like a road was started and never finished. That indicates that there was a larger project in mind but it was halted in mid progress and never completed. Again, the radon health issue makes sense as what could have stopped this project in its tracks.
I know this is not as exciting as the occult and massacres, but it makes sense based on the information I discovered. I am not trying to put down ghost stories, legends, or folklore. I respect it enough to care if it is based in truth or just baseless gossip.
In the end, all of the houses, including the one pictured have been torn down in the last few years, the result of teenagers breaking in, vandalizing them and getting hurt. So you can still go to the street, but all of the houses are gone now. To get there, you take Route 23 North to the Germantown Road exit, then make the first left you can. It leads you directly into the woods and eventually back down to 23. If you go too far you will see a left turn for a regular residential street.
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