Dare to drive…
Chances are, if you live near Scotch Plains, NJ, you’ve heard of the legend of the 13 witches and you know about the 13 bumps in Johnston Drive. If you don’t then the story goes something like this…
In 1845 David Felt set out to build “Feltville” a small village made to provide homage to the local papermill workers. Some 175 residents called what is now known as the “Deserted Village” home.
The Deserted Village consists of cottages, a small store-church, a cemetery, and what’s left of a small mill. It is located in the Watchung Reservation in Berkeley Heights, and is now maintained by the Union County Parks Division.
By 1860 David Felt a.k.a. King David blew that taco stand and rode out to retire in New York. The villagers tried to keep their home in tact but were descended upon by 13 sisters, witches if you will, that preyed upon the village children kidnapping and murdering them in numbers.
Legend has it that the 13 sisters were tried, hanged and buried beneath their hometown street, Johnston Drive, their corpses leaving behind 13 large bumps in the road. Logical explanations have been speculated and of course no one really believed that there were child murdering witches buried beneath the earth, until they paved the road and the bumps reappeared. Every time they paved the road, the bumps would rise again, leaving this town to carry on its legend of the 13 witches of Union County.
It is said that if you drive over the bumps and count them and say “thirteen witches” then turn around, you will see the witches following you behind your car.
I was 14 years old and sitting in the back seat of my friend’s older brother’s car who we were all afraid of,” Sullivan said. “It was like getting to the top of a roller coaster; Johnston Drive is a long stretch of road giving first-timers a lot of time to build up anticipation. I didn’t see any witches that night, but the thirteen individual bumps were definitely there.” -James Sully Sullivan, a lifelong resident of Berkeley Heights via SummitPatch
Whether or not this legend is true is not for me to decide, but the Deserted Village sure seems like a curious place to me.
- A Monster a Day, the Witch of Wookey Hole, Somerset, UK (thefairytaletraveler.com)
- A Monster a Day, the Witch Caves of Framingham, Massachusetts (thefairytaletraveler.com)