Yours truly,John Di Genio Dear Editor:Soon, that time of year will be upon us when little ghosts and goblins take to the streets chanting their familiar greeting: “Trick or Treat.” To get us in the proper “spirit,” I would like to take the opportunity to present some brief — but interesting — Halloween stories. As you know, Jersey City is an old municipality with a rich and fascinating history. As such, there are some pretty good ghost yarns associated with some of the buildings in Jersey City. St. Joseph’s Church on Pavonia Avenue is the first stop on this supernatural tour. There is something rather unusual in the steeple.Since the early part of the 20th Century, people have reported seeing a pair of strange, oval “eyes” in the church’s bell tower. These “Eyes of St. Joseph” appear during the evening hours at irregular intervals. They usually have a florescent, yellowish glow to them. However, they have occasionally been observed with “red streaks.” No one is quite sure what these “eyes” really are. In the past, the priests have sprinkled flour in the belfry, hoping that the footprints of a prankster would be discovered. However, no footprints were ever found. Some claim that phosphorous gases cause the “eyes.” Others prefer a more paranormal explanation — Ghosts. According to one tale, a former sexton supposedly uttered the words “I’m going to the tower with the others” right before he died. Hepburn Hall, New Jersey City University (formerly Jersey City State College), is said to house the ghost of Margaret Williams. Allegedly, bizarre, unexplainable noises are heard in the Margaret Williams Auditorium and in one of the classrooms adjacent to the assembly hall. It has been suggested that the ghost of Margaret Williams can be seen on certain nights walking along the top of the tower. Of course, the campus security could have fabricated this story to keep curious students from ascending to the top of the tower. The first Jersey City “ghost story” that I have ever heard had to do with a “haunting” at St. Boniface Church on First Street during the late 1960s. Purportedly, a malevolent entity wreaked havoc inside the church by shredding the clerical vestments and angrily tossing sacramental items in the ready room. Naturally, when we heard the story, it caused quite a commotion in the neighborhood. Looking back on it, I firmly believe that the pastor told us this “ghost story” to keep us from going into the church at night. Needless to say, it worked! There are other buildings and private residences throughout Hudson County that supposedly entertain “spectral visitors.” Why not find out more about some of these local legends and folk tales surrounding Jersey City and Hudson County? Who knows what weird items of interest you may find. May you have a safe and enjoyable Halloween!
Louis van Gaal accepts Manchester United will have failed if they miss out on Champions League qualification, but remains confident he will be kept on as manager.Tuesday’s 3-2 loss at West Ham on Tuesday meant the Red Devils wasted the chance to wrest fourth spot from Manchester City.Van Gaal’s men now need to win against Bournemouth and hope City fall at Swansea – a tough ask underlined by bookmakers’ odds of 7-1 on United usurping Manuel Pellegrini’s men on Sunday.Failing to reach the Champions League cost David Moyes his job two years ago and speculation is rife that the Dutchman could follow suit, with Jose Mourinho’s desire to return to management only fuelling such talk.Furthermore, Van Gaal’s name was conspicuous by its absence as investors and executive vice-chairman Ed Woodward sidestepped the subject of the manager’s position following the announcement of United’s third-quarter results.Hours later, though, the manager remained steadfast in his belief that he would be kept, bristling at the suggestion it would be harder to keep the players’ concentration given they know he plans to retire at the end of next season.“Yeah, but you and your colleagues have sacked me for six months, so I have worked with these circumstances already for six months and we are still in the race,” he said. “You cannot say that we are not.“We can win the FA Cup. How many are still in the race? How many? It’s not so much so.“Of course, when we don’t qualify ourselves we don’t reach our aim. That is true because our aim was to qualify ourselves for the Champions League. That was our aim.“But we are in the final of the FA Cup and we are in the race in the last match – mathematically we can qualify ourselves still. How many clubs can say that?“Of course you can say Manchester United need to be champions – yes, I know, the expectations are like that, but I don’t think that is realistic.“And I have said I shall be here, that is my opinion, so the board has to decide if it is like that. That is a different way of looking to the situation.”Van Gaal foresees no issues with players’ attitude if given the chance to stay on and see out his final campaign of his three-year contract.After the 2016-17 season the Dutchman wants to “go spoiling my wife” during retirement and refused to be drawn on how he would react should United offer him an extension.“That is ‘if’ and I want to keep to the facts,” Van Gaal said. “Also when it is positive for me, it’s not good – you cannot talk about if, only talk about the facts.“The facts are that we are still fighting for Champions League qualification.“We depend on Man City, okay, but we are still fighting and then we are still fighting for the FA Cup. Okay, and then we shall see what the board is deciding.”Regardless of whether Van Gaal is in charge, missing out on the top-four would certainly look to make it harder to bring elite talent to Old Trafford over the summer.“Re-tooling” is how Woodward described the process of change at the club and Van Gaal believes Old Trafford remains an attractive proposition.“In your eyes it’s difficult to attract players of a certain level, but I can assure you that it is not like that always,” he said.“Sometimes it is happening like that but I cannot say the things how they are because then I interfere with the transfer policy of our club. But it is not like you think.“It is always three parties – us, the club, the player himself and then it is not always the player. The player wants to come, in general.“Of course there are players who would prefer Real Madrid, but there are players of Real Madrid who want to leave there or Barcelona or Paris St Germain. It depends on a lot of circumstances” Louis van Gaal watches on as Manchester United lose to West Ham 1