Abandoned slaughterhouse holds legend of old farmerThe piggery was once owned by a farmer named “Mr. Allen.” The state of New Jersey seized the man’s property through the process of eminent domain and began using it to supply foodstuffs for Marlboro State Psychiatric Hospital in Marlboro, NJ. Farmer Allen went mad because he lost everything he owned. He’d try getting back in his house and just hang around his former property. But Allen, bitter at the government, often showed up at the farm, scornfully eyeing workers before he eventually went insane.
Allen was committed to the hospital, and like several patients at the time, farmed the property he once owned. But he soon disappeared, and an unsolved and unexplained chain of crimes followed. Pigs were killed, their blood used to scrawl cryptic messages on the wall. There were reports of animals squealing from the slaughterhouse, but no one was ever caught trespassing. One night, messages in animal blood were written on the wall, saying “I see you” and “Tonight all will die.” Shortly after that, when they failed to receive any report from the night guard, the sanitarium officials sent people to check out the slaughterhouse. The night watchman was murdered, his body was found in the meat freezer, hung on a meat hook with a pig’s head replacing his own. Others believe a worker was mysteriously mauled to death by pigs after falling in a pen.
These events have been blamed on the vengeful farmer Allen, who was never located. Legend has it that Allen often visited the building at night, and his ghost still stares out from a hole in the wall over the fields he feels were taken from him unjustly.
Of course, officials assure, there is no farmer Allen. A reporter’s check of the succession of deeds that comprised the hospital properties, some dating back to 1816, revealed no record of any owner with the first or last name of Allen. Local historians also said they know of no farmer named Allen ever owning a farm in the hospital area.
“It’s been totally manufactured,” Gann said. “I’ve lived here for 48 years and nothing ever has happened out of the ordinary here.”
What is perhaps not a coincidence is the slaughterhouse’s location on what was once Allen Road. Today, only a nub of Allen Road is controlled by the township and leads to a fence at the property border. In the past, Allen Road stretched on through the hospital’s expansive farm operations, now Big Brook Park, all the way to Boundary Road.
Today, the slaughterhouse and nearby pig pens, chicken coops and other farm buildings are so overgrown with vines and trees that they are almost invisible from a short distance. The insides of the unlocked building, especially the ceilings, have rotted away since it closed more than 20 years ago. Only the stainless steel doors and fans of a walk-in freezer remain in any condition indicative that the facility was actually once usable.