As discussed in several blog posts and, of course, our Jersey Devil series...a lot of weird things are happening in New Jersey. In addition to witches and time machines being built in the Pine Barrens, there is also the Clifton Gate. These gates are rumored to be the very gates of hell.
Calling the Clifton Gate a gate is a bit misleading, as it is really a series of drains. What makes this drain system different than any other in America or the world at large? Well, they are said to go on for an unfathomable amount of distance and are said to be layered seven times, mirroring the seven circles of hell. The deeper you go it is said you will find bones, decay, and other terrifying images.
This particular tunnel system was originally built as a drainage run-off for Weasel Brook, a stream. Likely one of the reasons it got its terrifying names is that during times of heavy rain the usual trickle of water throughout the tunnel becomes a raging torrent instantaneously.
It is said the intensely private and winding corridors of this system have led to it be a gathering place for alleged rituals, KKK meetings, and other untoward activities. In fact, so much evil and debauchery are said to have happened here that the devil himself has made himself a regular guest in the deepest, darkest, most difficult to find room in the system.
Even if you’re hell-bent on meeting the devil, you still might not get an audience with him. This room can only be found and accessed by the devil’s chosen ones. There are several trials you must go through before meeting, including lifting giant axes that block the door. Once you enter the antechamber, there would be a glowing human skull. Then, you would descend even further (which would seem impossible) until you met the room where the devil waited for you. Now, if you want to meet a devil it seems like it’d be much easier to make a deal with him at a crossroads...but hey, who doesn’t like feeling like a chosen one?
In addition to a meeting place with a devil, the Gates of Hell also includes its very own guard. Nicknamed Red Eyed Mike, it is unclear if this creature’s goal is to keep people out or to keep those who enter safe. It is said if you knock on the railroad ties located above the entrance three times, you will hear a horn sound from somewhere within the tunnel. Once you know his presence is there, you may feel safer upon entering. However, you should respect the space because Red Eyed Mike can soon turn mischievous and hurl rocks at you, create strange noises, mimic others in your group, and generally freak you out.
While this story is likely an interesting urban legend it is interesting that it has such staying power. Does your small town have a meeting place with the devil? How does it differ from this story?
The header image of this post is not related to the tunnel and is an image of ‘greenwich foot tunnel... cold, wet and creepy‘ by flickr user jo.sau and is liscensed under Attribution 2.0 Generic (CC BY 2.0).