The Van Wickle House was built in 1722 as a wedding present for Evert and Cornelai Van Wickle. The couple died young on the same day in 1757 from what was believed to be a fire. After the death of the couple, the residence was privately owned until 1976, when it was purchased as a historical site. The house is tucked away in an area that now borders Rutgers Preparatory School, and it sits at the base of the Delaware and Raritan Canal near the Raritan River. One common concern expressed by all of the previous owners is the belief that spirits occupy the Van Wickle household. According to Haunted Houses, owners Kay and Ed from 1975-1978 reported puddles of water appearing out of nowhere, flying doililes, voices calling Ed’s name, and vanishing apparitions. Matt and Leslie, owners in 1978, reported disappearing items, sounds in the attic, and protective female entities. In 1979, the new caretaker Harry reported screams of tortured souls, pots banging, and dishes rattling throughout the night. A psychic brought in to investigate identified five spirits – two believed to be the Van Wickles’ and the others possibly former residents.
The Rutgers Rarities investigation took place during daylight and the first observation was the warped and sunken roof of the house. Many parts of the house and landscape were noticeably restored and renovated, and did not appear as old or historic as we expected. Unable to enter the house, we were limited to viewing the interior through the windows. While there was no direct evidence of spirits aroudn the house during the daylight, the creepiest part of the area was in back of the house by the canal. The stagnant water created a swampy and marshy atmosphere that added a certain mystique to the property. This is another location that should be investigated at night, as the reports of its haunted nature are many.