When I was seventeen, my friends and I got drunk on Rheingold and started talking about ghosts and weird stuff. My friend Bill asked me if I wanted to see The Chapel of the Dead Nun. With half a bag on we drove to Morristown to see it. I was told she was encased in glass with a blue light shining on her. It was dark, and it was a creepy one-lane road. Bill pulled over in front of this little chapel on the side of the road and told me, “There she is!” We got out of the car to look, and being drunk, we got all freaked out and started screaming. We tore-ass out of there as quick as we could. I can’t even remember whether she was in there or not. –Rusty Dooley
Take the Nun and Run
I am familiar with the Dead Nun on display on Western Avenue at the old icehouse on the estate of what is now the Fillipini Nunnery. She was, I believe, the founder of the order. I haven’t peeked in lately but I think they moved her inside because of possible vandalism. –Merrill H.
Goin’ to the Chapel and We’re Gonna Get Weird
I grew up in the Livingston area and now live in Whippany and am in my mid-50s. When I was in my late teens and still dating, there was some kind of a religious estate in Morristown. I think that it was a convent for nuns. There was a two-lane country road going past the convent and a roadside chapel that was built into the side of a hill. The front of the chapel faced the road and, since a hill sloped up and away from the road, the one-story building actually went into the hillside. This resulted in it always being cold and damp inside of the chapel.
When I first started dating in this particular crowd, a girl suggested that they take me to see the Dead Nun. Not knowing exactly what it was, I agreed. From the road you really couldn't see any other buildings of the convent except the roadside chapel. We walked up to the door and they seemed to be wrought iron with stained glass. We pushed them open and went in. It was really dimly lit by religious candles. As we approached the front of the chapel, I could see what appeared to be a small altar and, going closer, saw that there was a glass partition or something, evidently to keep on-lookers away from what was going on at this altar.
As I looked through the glass, I could see a body lying in some kind of a coffin, which was open. Inside the coffin there was a human figure that seemed to be covered in a thin whitish substance, maybe wax or something–no one really knew.
Anyway, the story that I was told was that this was a nun that had founded the convent and, apparently, had done some type of special work. I'm sure that she wasn't a saint of even in the process of being beatified, but there was something special about her and, certainly, a special reason for her being displayed like this.
As I stood there, I guess that the coldness and dampness got the best of me, because I was suddenly really aware of how spooky and weird this whole thing was and I decided to wait outside by the car. Several years after this, I heard that the body of the Dead Nun was missing, either stolen or removed. –Al Evans