Demon’s Alley is another example of a well known (in Weird NJ circles) place which is over-rated. And yet it’s worth a trip anyway. Confused? Let me explain. First off, what exactly is Demon’s Alley anyway? It is a small section of road where there are a half dozen abandoned homes, which by itself is rather unusual. One or two abandoned homes? Blame the economy. A half dozen all on the same block? Well there’s got to be a story there somewhere, and there is, it’s just a tad boring…
The road is on Newark Watershed Land, in West Milford, near several reservoirs. The first stories about the places had the usual bullshit-hype behind it. Satanic cults, ritual murders, etc. The truth? Well in a letter to Weird NJ which was printed in the following issue, the Newark Watershed Commission stated that the properties were used to house employees. Known simply as the New City Complex, the letter simply states that the properties aren’t being utilized for housing. No duh. A separate letter states that homes were abandoned because of radon, which is, from what I understand the real truth. That would explain why they left behind personal items and furniture. When a home is contaminated with radon it gets into everything and little can be taken with you.
I recently was in the area and I had to visit and was actually quite surprised by what I found. First off, from letters I had read I the impression that the entire area, road and property and all were cordoned off, presumably by a fence. No such deal. I pulled off Route 23 and I saw the side street in question was right there with the houses in plain sight. Turned off and pulled to the side and began snapping pictures. The houses themselves are beginning to fall apart, especially the roofs. The doors and windows are all solidly covered with plywood, with one exception. Some folks may have no problem B&E, but I do. In their letter to Weird NJ, the Watershed Commission made it clear that anyone trespassing will be arrested.
Somehow I don’t doubt their sincerity. The condition of the plywood clearly indicates that whenever someone breaks in, the entrance is quickly covered up. This is the second really odd thing: for whatever reason, they paint the plywood to look like window shades. Now this is so obvious it can’t be meant to really fool you, yet why go to the trouble? Perhaps to cover the copious amounts of graffiti that cover the buildings?
The only building with any entrance appeared to be some sort of garage or shed. It has a large opening which appears to have had no attempt to be covered. After about 10 minutes of observing (without trespassing) I finally left. I can say that this place would give me the heebie-jeebies at night, even with my knowledge of the real reason why this place was abandoned. I must say if I had skittish friends, I could play quite a bit of mind games with them if I were to bring them here at midnight….