In the early 1980s, a pizza delivery guy, named Nick, was sent on his last delivery of the night. Joe, the pizzeria owner gave Nick the address, the bill and the pie to be delivered. It was an address Nick had never been to before: 35 Dill Drive. Nick looked up Dill Drive on his map of Essex County and found the address. He could always count on the Rand-McNally maps to get him where he needed to go.
Nick drove down the slick, rain stained road. The night air was cool as he hung his left arm out the drivers window. He could feel the damp night air and the light splash of left over water on his hand. As he arrived at stop sign at the intersection of Grove and Bradford he slowly rolled forward looking for oncoming cars. Nothing, not a headlight in sight. Directly in front was Keeney Street. He had to go up the hill on Keeney and take a left around the bend. As he proceeded forward, the night seemed to get darker, a chill ran down his spine and the hair on his neck stood on end. He stopped once more on the other side of the intersection as the chill washed over him. Nick was shaken, but not much. He rationalized the darkness was because the street lights were out and the chill was because a mist was rolling down the hill. Shivering, he rolled up the window. His right hand fumbled for the glove box. Once he found the lock and turned it and the box popped open with a thud.
"Damn it" Nick swore. He bent over toward the passenger side and reached for his flashlight that fell out of the glove box and landed on the floor. As Nick was leaning over, he swore he saw a shadow pass the drivers window. Sitting up in a rush, Nick flipped the switch on the flashlight and pointed it out the window.
"Damn it" Nick swore again. The reflection of the light simply bounced of the window back in his face and temporarily blinded him. Gathering his composure, he proceeded up the darkened, misty road.
Nick passed old buildings - very old and very dark buildings. There were no lights on in the decrepit dwellings.
"What is this place?" Nick wondered to himself.
Rolling down the window, Nick shined the flashlight at the buildings. There were several old brick buildings on each side of the road. Some had boards up over the windows. Some had the doors completely blocked up with cinderblock. Another chill ran down his spine. The unsettling feeling was more difficult to shake.
"If I didnt already pay Joe for the food I haul ass outta here!" Nick thought.
Money thats what drove Nick. He was paying for his own education and never spent a dime he didnt have to.
Nick continued up the misty road until he reached an intersection. He could barely make out the street sign, Dill Drive. The letters were dark against a black sign. Ahead he could make out a single dim light in one of the buildings. Cautiously moving forward, Nick lightly pressed his right foot on the pedal. Nick found the drive and pulled in to park.
Nick grabbed the pizza box from the back seat and opened his door. As he exited the car, a cold wind blew down the mountain. He thought he heard the faint sound of someone screaming in the wind, "Stop! Please!" and then almost sobbing was heard. Or was it just the wind moving through the trees? The long, untamed branches of the trees were brushing against the windows and slate roof of the building. It had to be the wind. There was no other person in sight. Nick looked up at the lonely lit window. The light coming from the solitary window was dim, and Nick could see the silhouettes of two people. One appeared to have a small hat on. It was difficult to make out any other identifiable shapes.
Nick walked up the crumbling steps and searched for a doorbell.
"Damn it" Nick swore again. He left his flashlight in the car. Finding no doorbell, he knocked on the large wooden door. He could hear the muffled echo from within the building. Nothing. No one answered the door. No one called out from inside. Nick put the pizza box down on the porch and went back to his car to get his flashlight.
"Damn it" Once again, Nick swore. The door was locked.
Nick felt his pockets, checked his coat pockets and patted his chest. Nothing again. The keys were on the passenger seat right next to his flashlight.
Just then the door to the building opened. A faint light could be seen in the hallway. He could make out no human form in the doorway, but the light was welcome and relaxed his nerves slightly.
Nick went back to the porch, picked up the pizza box and entered the building.
"Hello" Nick called. There was no response. He could see the room the light emitted from and moved down the hallway. The walls were decaying with age. Paint was peeling from the walls in random places creating a gap that exposed pockets of blank, dirty plaster walls. The old paint chips on the floor crunched under his feet.
Nick crept forward toward the light. His anxiety increased with every crunchy step. As he neared the room with the light, he could hear muffled voices. Nick thought he heard a voice, a mans voice, uttering pleas of mercy. "Pwease, stp" the voice was saying, it almost sounded as if he had a rag stuffed in his mouth. Nick contemplated dropping the box, turning around and leaving. He felt as if there was something that pushing him forward. Not urging him. It was not curiosity. It was not the need to help the suffering man. It was as if a bunch of hands were against his back, pushing him toward the illuminated doorway, against his will. His eyes were wide open. His body was tense with unknown danger.
Nick reached the doorway and peered in. The scene before him will remain burned in his mind. A woman, dressed in a long white dress, a thin red line was stitched on the edges of the collar and pleats in the front of her dress. A tight white ribbon wrapped around her thin waist. On her head was a small white and red cap. Her black hair was wrapped tight in a bun. Standing to her right, was a man, dressed in a dark tweed jacket. His pants were made of matching material. He had a dark brown mustache curling up his thin face. Directly in front of the figures was a man. He was a large, muscular man with red streaks down his face. He had a white rag stuffed in his mouth and a large metal band strapped across his head. His chest was bare and wet with sweat. Wires were taped over his chest muscles. There appeared to be wet rags stuffed on the sides of his temples where the metal band made contact with his face.
As Nick gasped at the sight displayed before him the male figure flipped a switch on a machine glowing with electricity. The man on the table screamed, and then his body jerked violently. The lights in the building suddenly flashed on and off creating a strobe light effect.
Nick dropped the pizza box, turned toward the door and ran. Nick left the pizza box, left his car and ran. He ran to the intersection of Bradford and Grove. When he got to the intersection the street lights gave him a sense of security. He walked the rest of the way home and fell into his bed. He slept with his clothes on.
In the morning Nick called his friend, Tony. As Tony and Nick drove to the building, Nick told Tony about what he had seen. Tony insisted it was Nicks imagination. The location Nick made his last delivery was part of the Overbrook Asylum. Tony was surprised Nick had never heard of the stories about the asylum.
Overbrook was an asylum for the insane. There had been many deaths on the property, some accidental, some intentional and some unexplained. There have been many horror stories about Overbrook.
When they arrived, Nick opened his car with his spare key. Tony then insisted they enter the building. Nick refused. He will never enter that place again. It was daylight now, and we can see everything Tony explained. Nick still refused. To this day Nick has never entered the grounds of the old insane asylum.
Stories continue to emerge, especially from the college students exploring the grounds out of curiosity, dares or simple stupidity. Some return to their dorms without incident. Others have heard strange noises and unexplained screams echoing in the halls. The doctor and nurse have been seen in other buildings within the grounds, but never has anyone else seen the shocking scene Nick described. Years later, a local student who entered the same building Nick did. He found an empty pizza box. Contained within the box was a 1901 Morgan silver dollar.
This is a large piece of land on the Verona Cedar Grove border. When I was growing up, I was told this place was a mental institution. I have searched the internet for history of the facility and this is all I could discover, and most I was unable to validate. The land originally belonged to the city of Newark. It was a mental institution, and a hospital. Tuberculosis patients were treated here. There was mention it was also used as an orphanage. The facility was rumored to have a fire, which destroyed some of the property. Ironically, I have seen a building that was a firehouse on Fairview in Verona. Another story details how several patients died in 1917 from hypothermia (they froze to death) when the boilers ceased to work. It is very creepy, even in the day light.
In addition, the facility and its grounds were featured on an episode of Ghost Hunters (Season 5, episode 8) that aired on April 29, 2009 and as a movie set for "Choke", written and directed by Clark Gregg.