Ghost Hoax in Colonial Morristown

The Historical Society of Florham Park held its first in-person lecture since 2019 at the Florham Park Library on Tuesday, October 18. Local historian and author Peter S. Zablocki gave a presentation based on excerpts from his book, “The 1788 Morristown Ghost Hoax: The Search for Lost Revolutionary War Treasure.”

According to Zablocki, the story of the Morristown ghost has been passed down through generations in Morris County. Local legend claims British Loyalists buried stolen patriot treasure on Schooley’s Mountain in Morris County as they fled General Washington’s forces during the American Revolution.

Later in 1788, Ransford Rogers, a former school teacher from Connecticut, orchestrated a hoax attributed to the Morristown ghost. He managed to convince prominent citizens of Morristown that a ghost was protecting the true location of the treasure and only he could exercise it. Rogers ended up extorting large sums of money from local elite.

The tale of the Morristown ghost has been recounted in many pamphlets and various publications since the eighteenth century.

Zablocki has written many books including, “Bullets That Changed America: Thirteen Historic Assassinations, duels, Misfires and Murders” and “Terror Over Elizabeth, New Jersey: Three Plane Crashes in 58 Days and the Fight for Newark Airport (Disaster).”

The Historical Society of Florham Park will continue to offer in-person lectures. The next presentation will be on November 16, from 7 pm to 8 pm, titled “The Whippany Railroad Museum: Preserving New Jersey’s Railroad History Since 1965.”

For additional information, click here.