Thomas Mannion was warned that his father would return to haunt his place if his heirs had trouble over dividing up his estate. The 73 year old man passed away in Netcong, New Jersey back in May 1903. The Irishman occupied the home for several years.
Strange antics of moving furniture, mysterious noises, and weird appearances in the house, near the Mustconetcong Iron Works convinced the residents that old Thomas Mannion kept his threat to haunt his old home in the event of a contest of his will. The will was contested bitterly, and none of the town’s folk, especially William Mannion, doubted that it is haunted.
The house was owned for years by Thomas Mannion, an eccentric character who made a fortune by running a “speak easy” in his basement. Immediately after the burial, Mannion’s relatives gathered in the old home for the reading of the will. Among other bequests, Mannion left the upper story to one of his nieces, the lower floor to another, and the basement to his son, William. Another son, Michael, was cut off with $5. The will was bitterly contested, but a compromise was finally made. William became the sole owner of the house.
From the day William took possession of the house he declared that strange lights appeared in the windows, loud knocks were heard on the doors, weird music played in the closets, tables danced around, while mirrors, locks and furniture were smashed into pieces. The impression among many of the residents was that Mannion’s ghost paid nightly visits to his old home.
As the result of these strange happenings, William Mannion was a nervous wreck. He still occupied the old homestead, but feared to be alone. No one cared to stay with him.
“After the reading of my father’s will,” Mannion stated, “the mourners went away and I retired early. At midnight I was awaken by the touch of a cold hand on my forehead, and I heard strange noises. They sounded like a tapping on the wall.”
“I thought at first it was a mouse, but when they continued, I got up and struck a light. I suddenly saw a black cloud ascending from under the table. It circled three times about the room and finally assumed the form of a dog. I called to it, but it paid no heed.”
“I was fairly beside myself. The tapping continued. The table danced and the clock stopped. I noticed it was about half past twelve. I called for help, but no one answered. After awhile, everything became quiet.”
“The next night some friends stayed with me. The same occurrence happened. I saw the cloud again and I heard strange voices. My companions heard the voices, but they did not see the cloud. They were very frightened and left the house. I was alone the rest of the night. The next morning, my nerves were completely unstrung. I decided to move away from the old homestead. In the afternoon, I went to live with my cousins in New York.”
“While I experienced great relief from the change of scene, I longed to be back in Netcong. I decided to return. For several nights everything was quiet. Soon, it was as bad as ever. One Monday, at midnight, I was awakened by a sound of a pistol shot. It was the breaking of my stove. This was followed by a crash of glass and a vision of a black shadow, which came up from the floor and disappeared through the window. My father often said that he would haunt the place if his will was in any way contested.”
Breathless, and without either hat or coat, Mannion rushed into the rectory of St. Michael’s Church and told Father McCormick that while he was at supper, his cup broke and his bread vanished from the table. He asked the priest to visit the house. Father McCormick did so and remained for several hours. Nothing happened during his stay, but immediately after his departure, the lamps went out, the tables danced, the windows rattled, and the cupboard few open.
A strange fate seems to rest on the entire Mannion family. Five years ago, old Mr. Mannion became blind and his wife a cripple for life. Later on two of their children drowned, another was burned to death, yet another–a daughter—and her sweetheart, were ground to pieces by a train.
Incorporated as a borough in 1894, Netcong is located about 40 miles west of Newark. There are several airlines with flights from Phoenix, AZ to Newark, NJ. Check airlines for flights and schedules that fit your needs.
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Debe Branning [email protected]