We were saddened to learn about the passing of Haunted New Jersey paranormal researcher, Garrett (“Gary”) Husveth, in 2011. We enjoyed the times Gary invited us along on his paranormal investigations. He always displayed an objective, level-headed approach to his research and shared his techniques and findings with us generously and honestly. 

We interviewed Gary for a story in one of our early Halloween issues, and he was featured in several more articles over the years, including a paranormal investigation at the old Bernardsville Library, and another on the haunting at Gladstone Tavern, in 2006. The latter turned out to be a particularly eerie and personal experience.

At the time, stories of ghosts and haunted happenings at the tavern had been told and re-told for decades by guests and employees of the former restaurants that occupied the building, including the Brass Penny and Chatfield’s. One former manager reported seeing a “white blur” ascend the staircase late one night, when he was alone in the restaurant waiting for a ride home. A startled guest claimed to have been repeatedly poked in the back by an unseen hand while he tried to eat his meal. Incidents became so common place, that former staff initially nicknamed the entity “Fred” but renamed it “Freddy,” when spectral sightings of a little boy clad in blue pants and suspenders started being reported. While some claim to have actually seen Freddy, others reported hearing the sounds of footsteps and slamming doors when they were alone in the restaurant, or the thuds of a little boy playing in an upstairs room. One former employee reported hearing Freddy call out her name.

Our investigation took place shortly after current owner/chef, Tom Carlin, had completed renovations at the Gladstone Tavern. During the remodeling, Carlin uncovered clues and mysterious relics of the buildings past, including a trove of old postcards walled-in behind an original staircase and a hidden, windowless false room, without any doors or exits, that may have been a secret storeroom from the tavern’s prohibition days. They also discovered an exposed beam in the attic with the name “Rarrick” scrawled on it, along with the date 1847. It was this discovery that led us to a startling revelation.

During our research of the tavern’s history, we discovered that my wife’s 4th great aunt, Sarah Ann (Wortman), and her husband Andrew Rarrick, were the owners of the original farmhouse that is now the Gladstone Tavern, and lived there with a little boy, who was their adopted son. Sarah and Andrew Rarick had only one child of their own, but in 1867, already in their late forties, they agreed to take in and raise one of Sarah’s nephews, an infant named Edwin, whose mother had died during or shortly after childbirth. One afternoon, when he was just two years old, Edwin was visiting his aunt (another of Sarah’s sisters), who had a house on “the island” in Pottersville, which sits directly across the street from where we currently live. While playing outside, Edwin somehow fell into the Black River and drowned. He was later buried in a single grave with two of his siblings, Mary (1852-1854) and Edgbert (1862-1864), who, like the little brother they never met, died when they were only two years old. In 1879, Andrew and Sarah Rarrick moved from the big farmhouse in Gladstone, and bought Sarah’s sister’s house on the Island that looked out on the stretch of river where Edwin drowned 10 years earlier.

Is Freddy the ghost of little Edwin, who is reluctant to leave the only home he knew? If so, he may not be alone. Garrett’s research captured the voice of what is believed to be an adult male entity at the tavern, and fellow paranormal researcher, Gordon Thomas Ward, feels that there may be “a mix of residual and apparitional phenomena occurring in the building at the same time.” It was a strange feeling to have such a close connection to a story we were covering for the magazine, particularly one with a haunting family tragedy attached to it. 

Gladstone tavern is located at 273 Main St, Gladstone, NJ 07934. gladstonetavern.com

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