Having been born and raised in the quaint area of Fair Lawn, NJ, there are not too many aspects in the community that one can scratch their head at due to everyone knowing the insides and outs of this small Bergen County town. We have the typical few pizzerias and bagel stores, as well as the two bars on opposite ends of the town where each set of patrons deem as the “best bar in the town”. Now, being a frequent runner, I exercise on the Saddle River bike walk (which is only a stone’s throw away from my front steps) and I am in awe — as well as creeped out — by this tower that the locals call the Red Mill.
I always knew this place existed due to the proximity of it from my house, as well as always driving past it all hours of the day. But since I have been running and using the bike walk regularly, running on your own at early hours of the day past the “Red Mill” makes you pick up the pace for those 35 feet that it covers.
So, here are some historical facts about the Red Mill. It actually is not called the Red Mill, but it is historically called Easton Tower. It is constructed of stone and wood to frame, and was once an irrigation pump that was built in 1899. It was named after Edward D. Easton, who was the founder and president of the Columbia Phonograph Company. It is also mistakenly called the Red Mill because in the early 1800s, a mill nearby was painted red and many thought that it was the Easton Tower. Residents of the area say strange noises come from the building as well as some hefty paranormal experiences.
I always had a queasy feeling about the Red Mill, and one time that stands out was when my friends and I ended up riding our bikes past the structure. We were in a group of about six (four boys and two girls) so of course, the boys wanted to try to impress the girls, thus one of my friends said, “Let’s go into the red mill.”
My two other friends and I gave a sheepish look to the boy who made the proclamation and nodded our heads reluctantly. All four of us boys went in to show our manhood, but it was one of the creepiest things I have seen. Even though it was a nice, shiny summer day, our first steps into the building included a horrific smell, and felt a dampness as well as chill that shot through our spines.
Three of us stood at the entrance saying to ourselves, “This is far enough!” while the boy who brought up the idea went in a little further. The more he faded into the darkness, the more we all became a little more panicked. All of a sudden, he screamed and ran back towards us with a cut on his arm. We had no idea what happened, but followed his lead and ran out of the mill. The boy who was cut said he felt and saw something, and that is what cut him. From that day on, none of us even so much as stopped to look at the mill.
Looking back on the experience, my friend probably bumped into the stone wall when he was in the darkness, but you never know; anything is possible. From what I remember, what the inside looked like was a creepy, rundown place with graffiti on every wall. It had that abandoned aroma that empty houses have.
There are so many stories about Easton Tower that they are hard to count. People claim George Washington used it as a hideout during the revolution, prisoners who escaped years ago used it as a hideout, too, as well as one homeless man used it as his living quarters. Word on the street is that whoever goes in never comes out.
What fascinates me so much about this place, is that for an abandoned structure to be up in a town for that long, and not be demolished, proves that there is some significance to this place. With no plaque outside giving historical information, everything one knows about the Red Mill are folktales and stories that may or may not be true.
So, my question is, what is truly going on with Easton Tower ? I am sure each community has a “haunted” artifact just like the Red Mill, right? Leave a comment below about an experience that happened to you that is similar to mine. I would love to hear how spooked out you were just like me!
By Daniel Prigge, Executive Assistant, Anchors To Dusk Publishing
(originally published to Anchors To Dusk Publishing, LLC 11.22.17)