In August of 2012 we visited this fortress to investigate the claims made by others. But 1st a little back history on the property: In 2012, Forbes ranked Alpine as America’s most expensive ZIP code with an average home price of $4.25 million, many of hip hops elite call this zip code home, along with Jay-Z, Oprah Winfrey and Chris Rock.
The Devil’s Tower is located in Rio Vista and is an upscale neighborhood in the southern section of Alpine. The Tower is a stone clock tower that is claimed to be haunted, that was originally built by sugar baron Manuel Rionda (1854– 1943) in order to allow his wife to see New York from the New Jersey side of the Hudson River. His mansion was the biggest one on the Palisades, with a mansion on the cliffs where the present-day Alpine Lookout is located. The legend has it that when his wife saw him with another woman, she committed suicide by jumping off the tower. After becoming upset over his wife’s death, Rionda stopped all work on the tower. In reality Harriet Rionda died of natural causes in 1922 and was interred nearby for approximately 20 years; her coffin was moved to Brookside Cemetery, Englewood. The estate was later sub-divided into 197 housing sites consisting of miles of roadway, infrastructure, and related facilities in the mid-1980s but was mostly woodlands through the 1970s.
Many legends come from the tower, legends of Satanists, marital infidelity, suicide, and conjuring ghosts. It is said that attempts to tear it down led to the deaths of some of the work crew. Another legend says that if you drive your car around the tower in reverse, the ghost of a lady appears. Also if you walk or drive around it six times backwards the devil will appear. We did this several times but nothing happened. Eventually the tower was sealed up because of break-ins.
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