Asbury Park is haunted. So says the staff at the Paranormal Museum, and its nighttime ghost tours robustly make the case. Madam Marie’s psychic booth is iconic Asbury, and everybody loves the fascinating crystals at Freedom Rocks and the aromatic alchemy at A Year and a Day Mystical Shoppe. The Asbury Girl made a day and a night of witchy fun in celebration of October, the month when the veil between our world and the mystical realm is shearest. Read on to learn about where we went for fortune and fun in Asbury Park.
Any Asbury occult outing must include a trip to Madam Marie’s Temple of Knowledge. There is a rich history behind Madam Marie’s small but famous psychic booth on the Asbury Park boardwalk. Sisters Dainzie and Sabrina are the granddaughters of Marie Castello, who set up her iconic palm reading stand in the same beachside spot where it now sits, in 1932. Marie was visited by countless famous fortune seekers, from Judy Garland to Danny Devito. Her granddaughters remind their customers of the line in Bruce Springsteen’s 1973 song 4th of July, Asbury Park (Sandy) recognizing the grand dame by name, “Did you hear the cops finally busted Madam Marie for tellin’ fortunes better than they do.” Dainzie and Sabrina are the third generation of psychics to grace the boardwalk and their daughters have inherited the gift as well so it’s likely to remain an Asbury Park staple.
No occult outing would be complete without the ultimate selfie: an aura photograph. Danielle Angel, the Brooklyn-born owner of Freedom Rocks, hosts mediums that offer specially scheduled programs of all kinds, including biomat reiki, sound therapy, tarot card reading, spell jar making, and automatic writing sessions. Danielle herself is a sound healer and books gong baths for her clients. And, of course, she offers visitors to her store her expertise in the intriguing properties of the crystals that fill her bright and airy store.
Danielle insists that Halloween is all year round at Freedom Rocks. However, the actual holiday is far from ignored. This year, Freedom Rocks is throwing a big party on October 26th with music, pop-up surprises, and complimentary drinks.
Our next stop was at A Year and a Day Mystical Shoppe, which calls itself a metaphysical store specializing in Pagan, Wicca, Witchcraft, Santeria, Buddhism, and other spiritual beliefs. We were instantly welcomed in by Maria and Anthony Martin, who run the Shoppe. Maria gave us impromptu lessons in psychic balance by arranging the stones she keeps within her own arm’s reach in our hands as we focused on the spiraling energy she located inside us.
Maria and Anthony run a very active community program in the Shoppe. The community events calendar is packed. Experts in the many mystical arts teach psychic development workshops, drumming circles, tarot reading instruction, and meditation classes, and lead a monthly full moon circle. The Shoppe is a destination location for students traveling from near and far just to study with these well-regarded practitioners of the uncanny.
The last stop on our trip was to the Paranormal Museum and Bookshop, where we met up with the guide who took us out into the streets of downtown Asbury Park for a nighttime ghost tour. Our guide purported to be a skeptic who had done her due diligence in investigating the tales she told of phantom cotton candy scent wafting through the rafters of a brand new building long after the Palace Amusements had become naught but a memory. Her reports of ghost cocktails were corroborated by staff at the corner Costero Bar.
Paranormal Museum and Bookshop owner Kathy Kelly is the lead investigator into the stories that make up the downtown and boardwalk ghost tours. Kathy also conducts seances and provides her services with identifying residual and intelligent hauntings. We finished up our night exploring the weird and wonderful of Asbury Park with the words of the mighty Zoltar: “Dream as if you’ll live forever, live as if you’ll die today.”