The Vailsburg Phantom

by Evelyn Guarino


I had a very scary experience as young high school girl coming home late…9 pm from the Cricklewood Candy shoppe in the Spring of 1954. I couldn't get a ride home and missed the 94 bus that went over Sanford Avenue to Central Ave. I turned the corner where St. Mary's Orphanage used to be on South Orange Avenue and decided I would walk home.

I saw a man who looked in his 40's standing on the opposite corner, dressed in an overcoat and hat turning the corner also and felt relieved that I had someone "safe" behind me. Not so, as I was walking fast, but he was walking faster, I crossed to the other side of the street and he followed. The street was empty of other people. I crossed again and really began to be frightened. The man crossed again and I was almost running at this point and came to Tremont Avenue. Up ahead the street curved and was very dark….I was scared out of my wits…luckily I saw a men's club on the opposite side of the street and knocked hard on their door. The opened the door and I said a man was following me and all the guys ran outside….my follower ran away into the night and the men hung outside to make sure he didn't follow me.

I was very happy to get home that night and I believe that I had my encounter with the Vailsburg Phantom…maybe not, but maybe so.


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