Princeton Ghosts & Hauntings

Ghost WashingtonDo you believe in ghosts? Princeton is one of those places where skeptics cross the threshold and start saying yes. Mysterious lights, strange presences, and ghostly figures have made Princeton a ghost hunter’s paradise.

Nestled between New York and Philadelphia, the small town of Princeton is steeped in history. From the Lenape Native Americans, to the British settlement, to the Revolutionary War, to our world famous university, the paranormal footprint left behind here by the people and events of centuries past isn’t too difficult to find.

“You may think you know Princeton well, but there’s a lot more than meets the eye,” said Mimi Omiecinski, owner of Princeton Ghost Tours. “Many people just find Princeton way too beautiful to leave, even after death.”

Ghostly sightings and experiences have been noted in just about every part of town, including here at the Nassau Inn and the Yankee Doodle Tap Room, where dozens of apparitions have been accounted for throughout the course of two and half centuries.

Nick Ballas, Director of Rooms at the Nassau Inn, reported on several occasions of having heard strange noises, seen bizarre figures, and, while staying overnight, witnessed a translucent woman in a white dress floating up the stairs from the 2nd to 3rd floor. “It was both spooky and mesmerizing at the same time,” Ballas recounted.

“The fifth floor is where some of the eeriest stories come from,” remarked a front desk attendant at the Nassau Inn. “There were several instances where guests called down with concerns of hearing constant chatter from disembodied voices. A few guests also described feelings of being hugged by an invisible stranger.”

As a regular stop along the Princeton Ghost Tour route, Mimi Omiecinski knows first-hand that the Nassau Inn is a hotbed of oddities and anomalies. “It’s not just a bunch of kooky ghost stories,” she explained. “We have evidence that they are here.”

You don’t have to take Omiecinski’s word for it, though. She proves the presence of ethereal beings by providing her tour groups with dowsing rods, EMF detectors, and therma-meters.

“Ghosts don’t always announce their presences with scents, sounds or slime,” said Omiecinski. “Ghosts, by their ethereal nature, tend to be a tad elusive. But, with this equipment we can locate, and often communicate with the other side.”

And, Princeton purportedly has quite the cast of famous specters in the area to communicate with. George Washington, John Witherspoon, and Albert Einstein are among the many celebrity spirits associated with Princeton that are believed to frequent the surrounding shops, residences, hotels, and university.

“Princeton has all the right features conducive of paranormal activity,” said Omiecinski. “The historic buildings are conduits of energy that spirits draw from.  You can bet that ghosts like George Washington and Albert Einstein are dropping by Nassau Hall, the McCarter Theater, and the Yankee Doodle Tap Room all the time.”

No matter what you believe about ghosts and the afterlife, one thing is certain – the historic town of Princeton has a lot more odd, unexplained activity than most other places in the world. And, while we don’t guarantee a ghost sighting when you book a room with us, taking a Princeton Ghost Tour should be on your to-do list while you’re here. “Not only is it great time for adults and children alike,” said Omiecinski. “But, what you’ll hear is true and what you’ll see is real.”

The Architecture of Princeton University

If you’ve ever explored the open campus of Princeton University, you may have found yourself in awe of the gloriously designed landscape that’s older than the United States itself. The architectural history is so vast and filled with such variety that it was once described as being “a beautiful sculpture garden for famous architects’ buildings”. Easily within walking distance from our front door, it seems only right to share some of what we know about these beautiful structures and the architects behind them.

Nassau Hall (1754-56)

Everywhere - nassau hall

          Fun Facts About the Building

  • Built 1754-56 by architect Robert Smith
  • Georgia Colonial style
  • Named after: King William III of the House of Nassau.
  • At the time, it was the largest stone structure in North America
  • It is the oldest building at Princeton University.
  • It was possessed by both American & British troops during the Revolutionary War.
  • It suffered from fires in 1802 and 1855.

    Fun Facts About the Architect
    Nassau Hall was the 3rd building he designed in the colonies.
  • Other important works include St. Peter’s Church, Benjamin Franklin’s House, Carpenter’s Hall, and Walnut Street Prison (all in Philadelphia).
  • During the revolutionary war, he produced designs for military architecture to protect Philadelphia from British attack.

President’s House/Maclean’s House
Everywhere - Palmer House

Fun Facts About the Building

  • Built 1754-56 by architect Robert Smith
  • Philadelphia Georgian Style
  • Named after John Maclean, Jr. – founder of the Alumni Association and the last president to occupy the house throughout his administration.
  • 10 University Presidents & 7 Deans lived here.

Prospect House
Prospect-House

Fun Facts About the Building

  • It was an 18th century home rebuilt 1850-52 by architect John Notman
  • Italianate style
  • Woodrow Wilson lived here before he became governor of NJ & President of the United States.
  • It was donated to the college in 1878.
  • Dignitaries such as Theodore Roosevelt, Eisenhower, and Truman have been entertained at the house.
  • It is one of the best preserved early Italianate villas in the country.

          Fun Facts About the Architect

  • Also known for NJ State Lunatic Asylum, Laurel Hill Cemetery Gatehouse, Athenaeum of Philadelphia, and the Church of the Holy Trinity.
  • Credited with introducing Italianate style to America.
  • He was a founding member of the American Institute of Architects.


Edwards Hall

Edwards Hall
Built: 1879-80
Architect: Edward D. Lindsey
Style: Romanesque

 

 

 

      Fun Facts About the Building       Fun Facts About the Architect
  • Named after Jonathon Edwards, the third president of the college.
  • Originally designed to provide cheap rooms for struggling students.
  • It is now among the most desirable addresses on campus since its renovation in 1985.
  • He was a professor of architecture and the Curator of Buildings and Grounds for the College.
  • Also known for the French Theater and Girard Building in New York.
  • One of his early interests was construction of fire-proof buildings.

FitzRandolph GateFitzRandolph Gate
Built: 1905
Architects: McKim, Meade, & White
Made from: Authentic wrought iron from England

 

 

 

 

       Fun Facts About the Structure      Fun Facts About the Architects
  • Named after Nathaniel FitzRandolph, who was instrumental in raising the money and land required to build the College.
  • It’s the official entrance to the College.
  • It was originally kept closed and locked, except at graduation, the P-Rade, or when a notable guest was visiting.
  • The Class of 1970 ensured the gate would always remain open as a symbol of the University’s openness to the local and worldwide community.
  • Also known for Pennsylvania Station, Brooklyn Museum, the main campus of Columbia University, and mansions in Newport, RI.
  • Their work has been said to define the Gilded Age of America.
  • They were invited to renovate the White House in 1903.
  • With a staff of over 100, the firm became the model for the modern architectural practice.

Firestone LibraryFirestone Library
Built: 1946-1948
Architect: O’Connor & Kilham
Style: Collegiate Gothic Revival

 

 

 

      Fun Facts About the Building       Fun Facts About the Architect
  • Named after tire magnate Harvey Firestone.
  • The library has 70 miles of bookshelves, more than 7 million books, 6 million microfilms, and 48,000 linear feet of manuscripts.
  • Most books are stored in partially underground levels.
  • It was the last building on campus to be built in the gothic style.
  • Also known for work on the Metropolitan Museum, Trinity College, and Smith College.
  • Their firm specialized in storage depots and barracks.
  • Robert O’Connor was a Princeton trained architect.
  • Walter Kilham spent over 3 years visiting libraries all around the world in preparation for the Firestone Library.