Skip to main content

A Mysterious Haunting in Atlantic City

Marlborough-Blenheim Hotel


I recently visited Atlantic City for the first time in my life, expecting the city to resemble the portrait of Atlantic City that had lived in my mind thanks to old books and movies; the playground of Frank Sinatra and Cosa Nostra mobsters, the home of opulent resorts like the famed Marlborough-Blenheim Hotel, the birthplace of salt water taffy. But, much to my disappointment, it became quite clear that the Atlantic City of my imagination was but a fantasy. Today, it is a place of vacant properties, high unemployment rates and shattered dreams-- in recent years, the unemployment rate has hovered somewhere around 25%, and crime is rampant.

It is, quite frankly, a city that seems haunted.

Naturally, this visit inspired me to investigate Atlantic City's storied past, and I stumbled upon a pair of strange stories.

A remarkable series of hauntings took place in Atlantic City in 1899, when, for a period of several nights, an apparition was reported to have been seen emerging from the ocean near a bell buoy. The ghostly figure of a woman would emerge from the water every night around midnight, walk quickly across the surface of the water, and then disappear.

In July 13, 1899, the Philadelphia Times reported on the haunting, stating:

The "weird lady of the sea" is reported to have been seen by quite a number of visitors who happened to be on the boardwalk between midnight and 1 o'clock this morning. One of the night policemen also declares that he saw it, and the whole town is excited. 

The article also states that one of the witnesses-- a Baltimore socialite named Miss Russell-- voluntarily signed an affidavit confirming the phantom's existence. The newspaper story endeavored to uncover the ghost's identity, theorizing that it may be that of a New Yorker named Miss Wilson, who drowned near the buoy a few years earlier. Miss Wilson and her fiance went bathing in the ocean and she waded beyond her depth and was carried to her death by a strong undertow. The woman's body was never recovered.

The boardwalk as it appeared in 1905

 
The Veiled Lady of the Boardwalk

What makes this story truly astounding, however, was another article that also appeared in the Philadelphia Times on the same day. 

Shortly before nine o'clock on the morning of July 12, a tall, handsomely shaped woman emerged from beneath the boardwalk below New York Avenue. In spite of the sweltering summer heat, this mysterious and unidentified woman was dressed in black from head to toe, and her face was covered by a black veil. Inexplicably, the woman waded into the breakers to a distance of fifty feet, then knelt down in the water. After a moment she disappeared from view and was never seen again. Mrs. James Mervine, who owned a row of bath houses along the beachfront, later found the woman's wet black veil in vacant bath house.

Stated the Philadelphia Times:

Those who watched the veiled bather from the boardwalk advanced all sorts of theories. Some declares that she was erratic and wanted to create a sensation. Others insisted that there was a method in her disguise. At all events this strange bather stirred up no end of gossip. Among the persons who saw her were W.B. Moran of Altoona, Pa.; Mrs. J. Wheeler Wilcox of New York City; George Hayes of Baltimore; D.P. Light of Chicago; Charles H. Smith of Philadelphia, and many others, all of whom have been trying to ascertain the identity of the mysterious bather. But nobody knows who she is, and thus the mystery deepens.

Whether these two strange events are related remains a mystery, and today they are just two out of dozens of strange tales involving the fabled resort city of Atlantic City.

Popular posts from this blog

The Incest Capital of the World?

At the far eastern edge of Kentucky, nestled in Appalachia, resides Letcher County. In spite of its isolation and poverty (approximately 30% of the county's population lives below the poverty line), Letcher County has managed to grow at an impressive rate, from a population of just 9,172 in 1900 to a present-day population of nearly 25,000. However, even if Letcher County tripled or quadrupled its present population, there's still a pretty good chance that virtually all of the county's inhabitants would be related to each other-- thanks to one particularly fertile family whose astounding rate of reproduction can put even the friskiest rabbit to shame.

Around the year 1900, Letcher County was the home of a man by the name of Jason L. Webb, who made national headlines for having the one of the largest families in the world. According to newspaper reports of the era, Jason had 19 children, 175 grandchildren, and 100 great-grandchildren. Perhaps even more impressive was his b…

Remembering the ill-fated voyage of the Aerowagon

From 1917 to 1922, the Bolshevik-led Red Army battled the anti-Communist White Army during the Russian Civil War.  By the end of 1919 the Bolsheviks had taken the cities of Omsk and Kiev, and had successfully repelled the White Russian siege of Petrograd.  However, the Bolshevik's momentum would be short-lived as the White Army, after retreating across the Baikal, regrouped and joined forces with Gigory Semyonov's Transbaikal Cossacks.  As the Red Army's losses began to mount, especially in Poland, the Bolsheviks attempted to gain a competitive advantage by embracing new technologies, sometimes with disastrous results.  Such is the sad tale of young inventor Valerian Abakovsky and his Aerowagon.

Abakovsky was a Latvian-born inventor who earned his living as a chauffeur for Cheka, the state security organization created by Lenin.  His position granted him access to many high-ranking Soviets and, although details are scarce, Abakovsky most likely used his influence within t…

Black Eyed Children Finally Explained!

Last month, we received an email from a reader in Michigan, in response to our article debunking the "black eyed children" phenomenon, which links these so-called "paranormal" entities to recreational drug use.  The reader, whom we will call Onizuka in order to protect his identity, claims that not only is he familiar with BEKs- but that he was one.  "Onizuka" agreed to speak with JOTB via Yahoo instant messenger.  Ironically, this conversation took place on 4/20, a date which is embraced by those who are part of the drug culture.


JOTB:Thanks for taking the time to speak with us.  In one of your previous emails, you stated that you were a "black eyed kid".  What did you mean by that?

Onizuka:  Last November I was driving late at night at turned on the radio and came across an episode of Coast to Coast AM and the topic of the show was black eyed children.  It convinced me to do some research on the topic, and that's how I found your article.  A…