Facts about "Legend of Shades of Death Road"

* Shades of Death Road is a REAL road between Hope and Hackettstown New Jersey. No one knows how the road got to be the way it is, though the most popular theory is that early settlers killed Indians native to the area and tossed their bodies in the lake. The rest of the tribe cursed the area. It's been haunted ever since.

* The diary entry in the beginning of this story is a real entry from my diary, back when I kept one. That really did happen; when I first moved to this area, I freaked quite a few people out.

* The first ghost that Yugi and Yami Yugi run into (not the gas station attendant; that I made up), is the latest of the many ghost said to haunt the road. Rumor has it the Prom Ghost had been stood up by her boyfriend at the Hackettstown Senior Prom (I don't know which year). Much like Yugi and Yami Yugi, she got lost, and decided to cut across to Route Eighty by taking Shades of Death Road. She was found dead the next morning, her car practically wrapped around some trees. The popular theory was that a deer had jumped out in front of her, and when she swerved to avoid it, she lost control of the car. Now, whoever encounters her ghost and refuses to give her a ride is almost guaranteed to get in an accident. Since her reported appearance, there have been seventeen crashes on that road, seven of which were fatal. I don't know about you, but I'd give the girl a ride!

* Yes, that is my friend and co-worker, Kristen. Yes, that is my boss, Eric. Yes that is me. I thought adding real-life people to the story would add an extra sense of realism to it. And, yeah, I really do talk to my boss like that.

* The shack Yugi and Yami Yugi stayed in was a real shack that had existed next to Ghost Lake. It was called Organ House for the fairly large organ built into the wall on the ground floor. If you played the organ, a ghost would appear in a chair near the instrument and listen to you play. There are no confirmed reports on what the ghost looked like, and no way we'll ever know for sure either. The house had been torn down a few years ago to discourage occultists and trespassers from hanging out there.

* There's a reason why the lake is called Ghost Lake, as is so eloquently stated in the story. Several ghosts and other phenomena can be seen (or smelled) on the shore or the lake itself. The two most popular are the lights dancing on the water, said to be the lost souls of the Indians mentioned above, and the ghost of Jennifer, the girl who accidentally committed suicide in what is now Jenny Jump State Forest. Jennifer and her father were new to the area, and they were out walking around when they were chased by a group of robbers to what is now Jenny Jump Creek. Her father told her to jump, but she miscalculated the jump and died. Her body was pulled along the river until it settled in the middle of Ghost Lake, over which her ghost can sometimes be seen dancing. All I can say is, people around here have a SICK sense of humor.

* The light that chases Yugi and Yami Yugi is one of those obscure rumors that could possibly be true, but no one knows for sure as there are not many people left alive who have seen it. According to the rumor, if you retrace your steps down the road, a ball of light'll follow you. If at any time the light turns red, then you're not getting off of the road alive. With all the other stuff that happens on this road, I wouldn't be surprised if it was true, but there are not many people who can vouch for it.

* I really do have a friend named Chester who is an emphatic like myself. Emphatics are best described as low level telepaths; they get a sense of what another person is thinking through their emotions. It doesn't always work, and when it does, it's usually with a person that the emphatic is close to, like a family member or a good friend. It's rumored that the ghosts on Shades of Death Road are friendly towards - or don't bother with - emphatics and telepaths. I don't know for sure, I've never been there, and with all the things that go on... well, you get the idea.

* For more information on Shades of Death Road, you can visit the WeirdNJ website at http://www.weirdnj.com.