Couple undaunted by houses ghostly history
Front Page November 9, 2005
Couple undaunted by houses ghostly history
Ayers Allen House on Durham Ave. predates the
BY KATHY CHENG
People knock on their door, peer through their
windows, and even ask if they are devil worshippers.
But that doesnt bother Steven and Tyreen Reuter.
We try to be nice and tell them, No, we are not
Satanists or worshippers of the devil, said Tyreen.
The Reuters and their baby son live in the Ayers Allen
House on Durham Avenue in Metuchen, which dates back
to the 1700s. Some say the building is haunted.
We havent seen a ghost, said Steven. But strange
things have happened.
Strange enough for them to believe that several ghosts
are present in the house, including one they call
Jonathan, who watches over the house.
We believe the ghost is very protective of the
house, said Tyreen.
The previous owner, Louise King, lived in the house
for almost 50 years. She and her husband, Samuel,
bought the house in 1948. Samuel King died 20 years
Louise King said she saw the ghosts and was very fond
of them, according to the information Tyreen wrote for
the Metuchen Edison Historical Society.
King, a former schoolteacher, had many experiences
with ghosts and would tell her stories to her
In 1960, she allowed Hans Holzer, a famous
ghost-hunter, to conduct a seance in the house with
Ethel Meyers, a medium. But she made Holzer promise
not to scare away any of her ghosts, said Tyreen.
Tyreen and Louise King have more in common that just
the Ayers-Allen House.
I am originally from northwestern Connecticut, and
she had been the previous owner of the house I grew up
in, said Tyreen.
The Reuters were house hunting in 1998 and wanted an
older home, a fixer-upper said Tyreen.
This house was the last house the Realtor showed us,
The house had not been lived in for two years and was
unkempt, she said.
The Reuters looked at the home one day with several
other people and the agent.
One of the girls was complaining that the house was
dirty and they should change a lot of things, and the
real estate agent was agreeing with her, said Tyreen.
We were downstairs in the basement and they were on
the second floor, when we heard her [the real estate
agent] fall down the stairs.
It could have been the ghost or just something that
could be explained, said Steven.
But we thought that was weird, said Tyreen.
When the couple first moved in, Tyreen had trouble
trying to open a rear window on a landing leading to
the second floor.
It was stuck, so I started to complain and question
if we made the right decision on buying the house,
The window was in the same spot where the real estate
agent fell down the stairs.
All of a sudden, the window went straight up and came
right down on both of my hands, said Tyreen.
Again, it might have been a ghost or something that
could have been explained, said Steven.
So, now we are very careful in what we say and when
we have work done on the house, we tell the workers to
be aware, said Tyreen.
Jonathan Ayers built the house in 1740, according to
His uncle, Thomas, was a carpenter and probably helped
or taught him how to build the house, according to
Zachariah Allen (Jonathans grandson) and his wife,
Catherine, lived here during the Revolutionary War.
They used part of the house as a tavern, where
soldiers and other local people could come to eat
ginger cakes and drink ale, she said.
Since the house is so old, there are lots of stories
about it, said Tyreen.
Many believe that the ghost of a Revolutionary War
soldier haunts the house. Others say it is a Hessian
soldier who hung himself here in one of the upstairs
rooms, she said.
Some people have seen a woman wandering around looking
for her young son who was murdered by the British.
Others have seen the spirits of two Native Americans
from the tribe of Chief Matochshoning, who were hung
unjustly in a tree in the yard, Tyreen said.
The Reuters dont mind living in a old house that may
be haunted. But some of their family members and
friends are not comfortable in the house, especially
She tells me different stories where she thinks the
ghost is sitting on her, said Tyreen. One of our
friends didnt even want to step into the house.
My mom said she heard the door latch rattle upstairs,
and she thought it was me, said Steven. But I was
sitting downstairs at the time, so you dont know what
From an observers standpoint, the house is deceiving
from the outside because it looks like it only has one
floor. But once in the house, it is bigger than
expected, with two floors and three bedrooms.
Inside, the Dutch doors have latches, not doorknobs.
The original ovens are still in the kitchen wall. The
stairs creak with every step.
Nothing seems out of the ordinary, except for one of
the original upstairs rooms, now used as a bedroom.
The room seems colder than the rest of the house. Most
visitors who have been in the room leave with a
strange feeling, the Reuters said.
We are the fifth family who has lived in the house,
which is pretty cool, said Tyreen.
The house has three working fireplaces, and there used
to be even more, because that was how people heated
the house and cooked their food, said Tyreen.
One of the fireplaces is a beehive oven that was used
for baking bread and pies. It was hard to heat the
house only using fireplaces, so the ceilings were
built low to hold the heat, she said.
My friend, a contractor, who comes and does work on
the house, is tall and always hits his head, said
When he first came to the house, he would be like Oh
you need to put Sheetrock on these walls, you need to
do this, you need to do that, said Tyreen. But now
he has learned to deal with the house.
The house is not even, the walls have angles to it,
The living room, music room and two of the upstairs
rooms are the original rooms of the house, said
The Reuters still find items that belonged to previous
The Wales family lived in the house in the 1920s,
according to historical records.
Presumably, a boy from the Wales family liked to roll
marbles on the uneven floors, and we still keep on
finding them, said Steven.
One of our dogs found a silver spoon, which is a
hundred years old, said Tyreen.
Other items found include pegs, broken pottery, oyster
shells and dominos, the Reuters said.
Near the end of her life, Ethel King started to tell
people that the ghosts had gone away, Tyreen said.
We think because she didnt want to be bothered,
said Tyreen. She was afraid that they would tear down
the house like they did the house next door to it. We
hope that people stay interested in the house, so it
will be less likely that they will tear down the
But the couple has no plans to move anytime soon.
We have enough space and we look to stay here, said
Tyreen. Unless I have quadruplets, then we might have
to consider something else.
For more information on the Ayers Allen House, contact
the Metuchen-Edison Historical Society online at
www.jhalpin.com/metuchen/met-ed.htm, or write to P.O.
Box 61 Metuchen, NJ 08840-0061.
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