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71 The Ghosts in the Old Parsonage

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In this blog, we share the story of the ghost of Gracie Talmage, who along with other apparitions, is said to have roamed the halls of the old Blawenburg parsonage since 1847. Gracie’s husband, Rev. James Romeyn Talmage, was the second pastor of Blawenburg Reformed Church, serving from 1836 to 1849. They were the second family to live in the parsonage across Georgetown-Franklin Turnpike (County Route 518) from the church. Rev. Talmage had been a local monthly lecturer and Bible recitation leader in Blawenburg, Cherry Valley, Mount Rose, Rocky Hill, and Stoutsburg before receiving the call to serve Blawenburg Reformed Church.


We will also share an unexplained image from Blawenburg Church and let you be the judge.


This old postcard shows the church and parsonage circa 1906. Also note the sheds for horses and carriages beside and behind the church. If you look closely near the front corner of the parsonage at ground level, you can see the side of Blawenburg Tavern.


Ghostly Encounters

When you have a house that is almost as old as the village, there are bound to be tales of unexplained events. Dick Van Zandt remembers tales about the apparitions in the old parsonage from when he grew up on the Van Zandt farm in Blawenburg.


Sandy and Ann Rose bought the old parsonage back in the 1970s and were told by a local realtor that there were "historical incidents” of apparitions in the place. They didn't think much of it and were not believers in the paranormal. However, one night after they went upstairs to bed, both heard sounds at the piano. Sandy walked down to their living room, but saw or heard nothing more.


Some nights later, the same thing happened, and the results were the same—nothing to observe. But the following morning, as Sandy was getting dressed for work, he felt an extremely cold sensation as he stood at the foot of their bed. Ann came into the room and felt it, too. Shortly, there was a wavering, translucent image of a woman in early American garb in front of them. The apparition stayed there for a few moments before disappearing, and then the room instantly warmed again. Sandy told me they subsequently did some research and found that the wife of an early Blawenburg Church pastor had died in child birth.


Apparitions, A Firsthand Account

Leslie Rose grew up in the old parsonage and provided this firsthand account of her many experiences with Gracie and other apparitions.


When I was four, we moved to the old parsonage in Blawenburg, NJ. My room on the top right as you look at the front of the house was very active. I had a light show in there almost every night. Little orbs of light chased each other through the room, and flashes of light would wake me up.