Haunted: Harper’s Pub Clementon, NJ

It began as a beautiful dream, and one I knew right away was not mine.  I was the mother of this amazing little creature, this son I never knew would complete me is so many ways.  I was rocking him in my arms, staring in utter amazement at the perfection of his features, breathing in the smell of him, a smell that I knew would change me forever, inside and out. 

I began humming him a lullaby, holding him close, breathing him in one more time before placing him in his crib.  Right now, I may be starved but his little belly was full, and he had no idea that everything wasn’t right in his small, compressed little world.  And I intend to keep it that way. 

I gently lay him down, my arms and my heart aching to keep him close and tight to me, for the warmth, comfort and the love.  My heart swells with this love, swells beyond what my chest can hold, I swear I will burst open with this love.  And with despair.  A despair so deep, my body is wracked with it, I am trembling with it.  All-encompassing love and despair.  How can a person feel such contrasting things so deeply at the same time?  The love is forefront in my mind, but the despair runs deep. 

I continue my lullaby, making sure this tiny being that means everything to me is peaceful, loved and deep asleep.  

I continue to hum as I pick up the little pillow, the one that was given to me by a stranger on the street as she looked at me with pity and a little contempt in her eyes.  The despair begins to take over.  I know this is the only option and that I will save him… I pray to my God for love, redemption and forgiveness and still I hum as I move the pillow over him praying that it will not be long until I am with him again… 

This is when I startle awake, a scream dying in my throat, the despair wracking through me.  The lullaby still on my lips.  My husband is looking at me with concern, asking why I was humming loudly in my sleep. 

It started as a beautiful dream… And I immediately understood this was a memory being shared by Spirit.  I had no idea, however, what was in store for me later in the day……

Clementon, NJ is a small borough in Camden County, NJ with roots that go back over 200 years.  In the beginning, the town sprung up around a large and successful glass factory built by Jonathan Haines around 1800.  It is also home to Clementon Park, an old amusement and water park in existence since 1907 and is touted as one of only a few trolley parks remaining in the US.

Sitting in the center of this town, directly adjacent to the rail road tracks and near the rail station, sits a historic, iconic little place known as Harper’s Pub.

My husband Lou and I were headed down to South Jersey on one of the first cold Saturday’s of this year, to meet with a client and discuss their case.  Lou has a knack for searching out and finding little known, historic, usually haunted places to grab a bite and some beer as we are traversing around the tri-state area.  He decided to search this morning for a historic place we could visit during our short jaunt today and came across Harper’s Pub.  Although Clementon isn’t necessarily too far from us, I knew very little about the town and while I may have heard mention of Clementon Park on the news occasionally, I really didn’t know what it was.  There are well over 500 municipalities in this small state, each unique, diversified and varied.  Clementon is no different.

Pulling up to Harper’s Pub, it looked like any small-town Pub in countless towns across America.  There was nothing of note that would draw you in and in fact, it didn’t appear to be historic or old at first glance.  I was a bit skeptical but since he said they were known to have some decent draft beers on tap, I gave it a chance.

As I stepped out of the car, my attention was immediately drawn to an upstairs window.  I saw the curtain shift and a woman peeking out at me from behind the window.  Now while I freely admit, this could easily have a been a curious person, there was a strange feeling of recognition I got from the exchange.  Putting it aside, because I was hungry, thirsty, and at this point not really all that curious, we went into the Pub.

The inside matched the outside, although it was bigger than I thought.  To my surprise there was a very friendly woman tending bar who made us feel comfortable immediately and was very helpful, and they had quite a few local brews on tap.  We ordered some food (wings and burgers in case you wanted to know, both of which were pretty good) and settled in to watch the hockey game.  (Go FLYERS!)

Almost immediately, I encountered a woman Spirit inside the bar and she was not the girl peeking out at me from upstairs.  She moved around this place so fast, at times she looked like a blur.  She was obviously used to taking care of the bar and felt ownership or at the very least in charge.  I could “see” her moving things, adjusting them, changing things.  I expect most of the workers likely experience having things they set down moved on them.  She didn’t seem to be very interested in me (which I am very ok with) and appeared to be quite happy where she is, continuing what she likely did in life.  She may invade personal space on occasion, especially if she doesn’t think you are being friendly enough, but it is all in a day’s work.

As Lou and I enjoyed our beer.. oh and the food.. I began smelling smoke, obviously residual, and I saw fire.  A large amount of fire, as if the place was burning down.  I felt that the building had indeed had a significant fire at some point, likely the early 1900s, and had basically burnt down almost completely.  This actually made some sense since the historic pub didn’t appear to be all that old based on its construction.  (Later, Lou looked it up and confirmed that the building did indeed have a significant fire).

I also began to get images of gambling, specifically card games, and whiskey or alcohol.  I was being drawn down to a basement or downstairs.  I felt that these games and this whiskey were hidden, or a secret and this was residual in nature.  I would expect this place was involved in prohibition in some way, but this also seemed to go beyond that.  Add in the gambling, the card games, and the scantily clad woman I was witnessing, and it had me a little more intrigued!

As I am sharing this with Lou, and he is looking at me like I am a little out of it if I am honest, I decided it was a great time to have another locally brewed beer.  Best decision all day…

Because as I looked up, I saw this MASSIVE male spirit fill the doorway of the bar.  He was wider than he was tall, but OMG did he present as huge.  He was shadowy looking, even to me, and dark.  I expect that people would see a large, hovering dark shadow (that let’s face it probably scares them half to death especially at night when closing the bar).   Although he looked scary and intimidating and caused me to pause in the drinking of this very good beer (not much can do this anymore folks), the fact is that he is harmless and just acting as a protector of the place.  He was likely involved with the gambling and whiskey I was seeing a few minutes earlier, something of a large, wide bouncer.  He now just hovers around, looking scary to those that can see him, possibly making loud footsteps at times.  Why you ask?  Well, to be honest, I think he had a relationship (a secret relationship that is) with the female spirit that loves to still take care of the place.

And he isn’t leaving without her.

So, if you are ever in the area, check out Harper’s Pub.  Say hello to the woman Spirit hovering around, enjoy a local brewed beer and chat with the friendly bartender.  Have a wing or burger and take in some history.  You won’t be disappointed….

Oh wait, I am forgetting something aren’t I?  I am sure you are all wondering what that heart wrenching dream I started with has to do with all of this aren’t you?

Well, when Lou left me to use the restroom (he hates leaving me alone in haunted places as I tend to get myself wrapped up in things), I had the woman Spirit I saw from outside come downstairs to me.  I now recognized her immediately from my very vivid, very emotional dream.  This woman had indeed resided in what look like apartments of some type upstairs and she participated in illegal activities that are best left unspoken.  As a result of an extremely rough encounter one night, one in which she was not a willing participant, she became pregnant.  She was actually able to hide it most of the pregnancy but after giving birth, she was scorned and “tossed out” as she put it.  The love she feels for this baby was a very real emotion and it was like a physical presence around me as I sat in this Pub trying not to get noticed by the other patrons.  So was her pain and desperation.  The need for forgiveness and to see her son again was driving her to come out of hiding and face the “wrath” of the other Spirits as she put it.

My dream made sense.  I had this dream even though WE had no idea we would include Harper’s Pub in our travels today.  We were meant to cross paths with this Spirit so I could help reunite her with the son that has been patiently waiting to be in her arms again.

Spirit is an amazing thing and I never stop being surprised by the guidance that is given and the paths we are placed on without even realizing it.  Spirit knew where I would be even before we did.  Spirit guided Lou to find this place and us to stop here, even though it is an unlikely jaunt for us to be honest.

In the end, Spirit was right.  I was able to reunite this wretched Soul with the son that was patiently waiting for her, with love and light.  To see the release of this pain and devastation after so long and to feel the love and light, witness the reunion, and have the honor of being a small part of it all, reminds me of my purpose during this journey I call life.

Harper’s Pub – Clementon, NJ – decent selection of local brews, some great bourbon available, friendly and inviting service, and Spirits that won’t hesitate to engage if a worker steps out of line.  Stop in for a visit sometime!


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