In the House – Metlar-Bodine House

The Metlar-Bodine House in Piscataway, which was built in 1728 by Peter Bodine, is the oldest of two remaining buildings from the colonial port of Raritan Landing. In the 1890’s, it was purchased by entepreneur George Metlar, who made the house his residence. Currently, historical artifacts, documents and exhibits are preserved in the house, which also doubles as a museum. The centerpiece of the collection is a wall preserved from Ross Hall, where George Washington celebrated Independence Day in 1778. From July 1st to the 7th of that year, General Washington and 11,000 Continental soldiers camped on the banks of the Raritan. Though Ross Hall no longer stands, the remnants of that time period are preserved at the Metlar House.

Of great interest to Rutgers Rarities was the fact that Jane Doherty, a renowned psychic, was brought into the Metlar House to investigate some paranormal behavior associated with the house. Ms. Doherty felt the presence of a great number of spirits in the house, including those tied to the Hall-Mills murder trial. On display in the Metlar House was an exhibit that contained the robe of the judge who tried the case. Ms. Doherty detected a presence in close proximity to this particular exhibit as well as other parts of the house.

Unfortunately, there was a fire in the Metlar House in 2003 that destroyed many historical artifacts. Firemen were able to save the house structure, and content from many of the rooms, but there was still a great deal of internal damage. The Rutgers Rarities investigation could not be extended to the interior of the house for this reason. Evaluation of the exterior showed signs that the house held up very well, with only a few examples of where smoke rose up through the doorways. From what could be seen through the windows, the walls and doors, however, were charred. This is a definite site for repeat investigations, as it will be interesting to note whether or not any more spirits remain since the fire. It is noted as one of the most prolific paranormal sites in the Rutgers area.

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