• New Jersey Edition •



Devil's Tower - Real Alpine Haunted Place

  • 12 The Esplanade
  • Alpine, NJ
Average Review
  (16 reviews)
Listing Categories
Real Haunted Places
Open To Public
Yes - Open To Public
Share Your Experiences
The Devil's Tower was built in 1910 by a millionaire sugar importer named Manuel Rionda. Before it received the name Devil's Tower, it was formally known as Rio Vista. According to reporting from Forbes, the tower was built and dedicated to Rionda’s wife, Harriet Rionda, who was buried on nearby land but later moved to Brookside Cemetery, Englewood. Rumor has it that Mr. Rionda built the tower for his wife so she could look out at the New York City skyline. Others believe he built it as a mausoleum or for religious purposes. But, even with Mrs. Rionda’s death and later Mr. Rionda’s death in the mid 1900’s, many believe Harriet Rionda’s spirit still lives on at the tower.

The tower was connected to Rionda’s home by an underground tunnel. According to the local legend story, his wife was looking out of the tower when she saw Manuel with another woman. While she may have suspected infidelity for years, according to reporting from New Jersey Magazine, distraught from the site, she jumped off the tower, killing herself. Since her rumored suicide, there have been many reports of hauntings, including people who have said they have been pushed by something unseen. Others have reported strange noises and because of this, Manuel locked up the tower, filled in the tunnel connecting the home to the tower and even removed the elevator leading to the top of the tower proclaiming, “Nobody will ever go up here again,” according to reporting from Try To Scare Me.

Since that time, people started calling it Devil's Tower. Witnesses report still hearing noises and smelling perfume, while at other times you can hear a scream as the wife jumps from the tower or a workman falls from it. Her ghostly spirit has also been seen as a shadowy figure in the windows.

Some have said that if you drive or walk backward around the tower a certain number of times, the devil or Manuel's wife appears.

Devil’s Tower and the spirit surrounding it clearly seems to be here for good, keeping a dark cloud around the rich community of Alpine. Even after Mr. Rionda’s death there were plans to demolish the tower by the Town but activities were halted and eventually aborted after several workers fell to their death.

Clearly, this place stands as one of the most terrifying historical sites on New Jersey. And even though many local legends point to Mrs. Rionda committing suicide after witnessing infidelity, in reality, she died of natural causes in 1922, according to Untapped Cities.
Mouse over photos to see photo credits.
Nearby Real Haunts
Get Directions

View Larger Map

Recently Shared Experiences & Comments

Share Your Experiences
  • SuperNatural experience

    While surprisingly finding and Approaching this structure I felt a chill up my spine and undeniable connection to its past. While walking around the structure the sense that I had been here before was eerily real and undeniable. I want to go back at midnight sometime. Amazingly situated near an entrance of a fabulous and extremely neighborhood of mansions and scenery worthy of seeing.

    Posted 7/16/23

    Was this review helpful? YES NO

    3 out of 3 found this review helpful

  • so creepy.

    i went there with like 5 of my friends and we were sitting in the car just looking at the tower. we all went silent to try and listen to the tower because kept hearing noises coming from it. once we decided it was time to go, i plugged my phone in to connect to aux and my song wasn’t playing, instead, somehow, there was a random audio singing, not normal singing but a creepy humming type of singing. we all panicked and sped out of the place

    Posted 2/18/23

    Was this review helpful? YES NO

    5 out of 6 found this review helpful

  • I grew up on the Rio Vista Estate in the 70’s

    I grew up on the Rio Vista Estate in the 70’s before it was sold off and subdivided. There were several families that lived there at the same time that my family did. My family moved into the Estate from New York City in 1965 and moved out in 1979 to upstate New York. My father was the caretaker of the estate and the estate carpenter on another estate across town called Rabbit Hill that was owned by the same Family as Rio Vista. It was a great place to grow up and if you asked any of the kids that lived there they would agree. We had an orchard, many fields to play in to include every kind of sport you can imagine on those fields. Playing hide and go seek or man hunt on teams at night amongst all the kids was definitely a great night out playing in the dark. We had miles and miles of trails and dirt roads to ride our bikes and some dirt bikes on. There was an area of chestnut trees in the middle of the estate that few knew much about along with a pistol and rifle range. Our neighbors living on the estate were like family even though they all came different walks of life. We would ice skating on the pond during the winter and during the summer we would fish the giant gold fish out of the pond and throw them back. This pond was right down the road from the tower. Usually two weeks after Christmas my father would gather all the Christmas Trees from all the families on the estate (which numbered around 10 families) and make bonfire in the old fountain base at the center of the pond as all the estate residents would skate around it in its light at night. As far as the tower was concerned it was at the center of the road system separating the front of the estate up in Alpine to the back of the estate bordered on Cresskill and Demrest. We as kids would do a crab climb in between the exterior wall corners up to the first roof level and go inside the tower which was an empty deteriorated pigeon haven. If you walked in through the center arches garage entry in the center of the ground level of the tower, it was like an echo chamber with the wind whipping through because the tower was on a slight incline and not too far from the Hudson River. The Tower had some rumors of Mr.Rihanda on his Horse been seen as a Shadowy figure around the Tower at the stroke of midnight. The Tower was never anything we the kids of the estate were scared to be around. The Chapel that sat to the left of the Tower, on the other hand was an erie place inside because it was dark with all the windows cemented up and two big tombs where the giant doors to were left open on either side of the alter. Climbing the trees on the side of the Chapel onto its roof was fun! On the other side of the Tower was a house that looked more like a small castle that was rented by a man named Ronald Simpson at the front of his house it had a little hill that lead down into a big open field. As kids on that hill we would play king of the hill trying to throw each other off the hill so if you were the last one on the top of the hill you were king of the hill. Rio Vista had the orchard (as I mentioned earlier), stables, carriage house, garages, work shop, about 8 houses, many fields (several of which my father kept cut with a tractor), several ponds big and small, approximately 300 acres in land with several long stone walls with large stone and iron gates. In good weather all the kids in Rio Vista would walk through the woods across the end of Robin Lane and back through the woods for about mile to and from school. The older kids would take the bus to tenafly high school. As a kid, it broke my heart to move out of Rio Vista like most of the kids that grew up there. So you see the Tower was not feared by the residents of the estate but a place of many youthful memories of Rio Vista!

    Posted 8/14/22

    Was this review helpful? YES NO

    11 out of 13 found this review helpful

  • View from top

    From the top on a clear day you could see the Whitestone and Throgs Neck Bridges to the East and Lambert Castle in Patterson to the West. In the early 60s the stairs between the third and forth levels collapsed and you had to use ropes to go to the top. I often wonder what happened to the huge clock that was in the tower.

    Posted 4/6/21

    Was this review helpful? YES NO

    5 out of 5 found this review helpful

  • Definitely there is something eerie about this place

    Back in the day (like 20+years ago) my friends and I went to the Tower on a random night. I went to prep school right by Alpine. So, we knew it was supposed to be “haunted”. I believe in spirits and that energy can stay here even if someone has passed. Admittedly, I’m the person who walks into a house and says, “I’m not sleeping here!” Anyway, we drove up with a bunch of people. Maybe 2 cars full. You absolutely get a feeling as you approach the property. Back then, there were stories of devil worship, animal sacrifices, etc. I wasn’t scared of that. It truly felt like there was something much darker present. We saw lots of spray painted pentagrams, and such. Now, whether our one friend purposely wandered off to scare the rest of us I can’t say. Nevertheless, we all had to wander around to find him. We came across a pond and he was just standing there. Then we all heard an indescribable screech/scream and suddenly tons of crows flew across the water and above us. I don’t remember ever being so frightened! Whether our friend walked off to scare the rest of us, he wasn’t right when we got back into the car home. He was truly scared of something and I’m convinced he didn’t wander off on his own accord-it was like something drew him away from us and to that spot. He was always a pretty troubled kid. I absolutely never went back!

    Posted 2/12/21

    Was this review helpful? YES NO

    5 out of 5 found this review helpful

  • scary time

    i was going to the devil tower around 3:40 my uncle and i came back from mc'donalds [lol] but whatever so we spun around like 5 times after that we stopped in the front of the tower and all we start hearing is banging on the windows and like scraching and we heard a girl or a lady screaming but we still go there.

    Posted 12/11/20

    Was this review helpful? YES NO

    6 out of 7 found this review helpful

  • Haunts me to this day

    It was a long time ago maybe around 2006 when I convinced a friend of mine to go. He was a worship leader at my church so I knew I was safe. (Lol) Anyway, we arrive in front of the tower and parked our car debating whether or not to do the ritual of circling around the tower. Then after a couple of minutes of doing nothing, I see a small black figure in the bushes but thought it was probably a small animal. But all of a sudden it starts to run away but this time we both saw the figure running on two hind legs. It was the size of a small toddler but running quite fast. It was running kind of away from us but it spooked both of us like crazy and we reversed as far as we can out of that frikkin place.

    Posted 11/20/20

    Was this review helpful? YES NO

    4 out of 4 found this review helpful

  • I went but nothing appeared

    We drove in circles I know you we’re supposed drive backwards but whatever. Saw the inside filled with different materials. Unfortunately the windows were boarded up that was very sad to see. Overall gives you the same chill as going to other “haunted locations”.

    Posted 9/20/20

    Was this review helpful? YES NO

    4 out of 4 found this review helpful

  • Never Scared Me

    I grew up in the area in the 1950s and my friends & I used to play in Rionda's woods all the time before it was developed in the 70s. His estate was huge, with gravel roads, stone bridges, small cliffs, stone walls all over and at one time there was a man-made lake for swimming. We'd go up to the tower a lot and shinny up to the 2nd story (the stairs to the 2nd story were removed), then climb to the top. During WWII, my folks told me there was a searchlight on the top of the tower. I never heard of it being called Devil's Tower then, we called it the Tower or Rionda's Tower. I never heard of anything spooky about the place, nor did I ever observe anything out of the ordinary there. Given that I lived in a small town (back then the area was pretty undeveloped), if there was anything weird going on there, we all would have heard of it I'm sure.

    Posted 9/20/20

    Was this review helpful? YES NO

    7 out of 8 found this review helpful

  • Not sure

    I grew up in this area. 20 years ago when I was in my 20’s we did see something in the tower. This tower is surrounded by multi million dollar homes! It’s the first thing you see going into Rio Vista. I would definitely check it out and the homes are to die for!

    Posted 9/6/19

    Was this review helpful? YES NO

    5 out of 6 found this review helpful

  • Crazy Place to visit

    I went to the tower on a few occasions after hearing from a close friend who grew up in a nearby town about the "legends" & supposed haunting. The first time I went I'll never forget. As we approached the tower the fog thickened to the point you could barely see 20 feet ahead. Its blocked off by a sign but you could still approach. Without going into great detail all I can say is you get an ominous feeling, especially at night. I saw shadows and light spots appear here and there around the tower almost flickering on and off. My heart rate elevated and I got sick to the stomach. I quickly pulled away. What's even more striking to me is what occured after. Immediately after visiting I started having an unusual streak of bad luck. Everything from misplaced things on a daily basis to an unbelievable losing streak in Atlantic City. My friend for some weird reason suggested I visit the tower again to "put it behind me". I did, and after a second unpleasant experience I went home and the streak of bad luck was over. I cant explain what occured. I heard SEVERAL stories from my friend and his friends about Devils Tower experiences they had that made mine pale in comparison. Bottom line is if you visit, and are not chased away by police for trespass you'll know what I mean...

    Posted 8/25/19

    Was this review helpful? YES NO

    5 out of 5 found this review helpful

  • Devil's Tower Spook

    I used to go around with my friends and/or sisters to a bunch of Weird NJ places. I've been to devils tower a handful of times but I for some reason I haven't been back since my last encounter. I was with my two sisters and we parked the car and left it unlocked. We are standing at devils tower with our phones out when we just keep hearing small rocks or pebbles inside the tower and when we were trying to figure out what it was, we heard a huge BANG inside the tower. Then we hightailed it to the car and the doors were somehow locked. So we had to open the doors and we were out. The scariest part, which had me in tears automatically on the spot, was when I was turned around in the backseat of the car looking up at the tower, and in the little circle window I see a white figure in the space where its supposed to be black because it was dark out and it's an opened window space. Scariest experience ever and I have no idea when I'll be visiting again.

    Posted 1/11/19

    Was this review helpful? YES NO

    5 out of 5 found this review helpful

  • Climed to top and reppeled out window

    I use to climb up to the top in the mid 1970s. The tower is actually a water tower. There is a large wood water tank just behind the clock. To get to the top windows with the good view you had to climb a broken down ladder. There was a lot of dead birds and droppings around. Nice cool breezes inside tower during hot summer days. There is also a stone church that we use to explore. The church is now just behind the gate near the tower.

    Posted 2/15/18

    Was this review helpful? YES NO

    8 out of 8 found this review helpful

  • Eh

    This was the place to go in HS. There was a tale that if you drove around the tower backwards three times the ghost would appear hanging in the middle of the tower. We only did it once and nothing happened but still cool to go look at. Wouldn't travel there if it wasn't close to where I live. You can get out and walk around it but the middle section is chained off so there isn't much to see.

    Posted 2/16/17

    Was this review helpful? YES NO

    4 out of 4 found this review helpful

  • I climbed this dumb thing to the lower roof

    There was nothing spooky about it at all back in 1998. There were spikes to stop you from climbing it but you could use them to assist you onto the lower roof. It was an ok place to do nothing for bored teenagers but that's about it.

    Posted 1/29/16

    Was this review helpful? YES NO

    6 out of 6 found this review helpful

  • Not really open

    You can drive by it but it's fenced off. Cool to look at, interesting story but that's about it.

    Posted 1/26/16

    Was this review helpful? YES NO

    7 out of 7 found this review helpful

Share Your Experience or Comments - Devil's Tower
  • Click to rate
  • Do not use all capital letters. No profanity.
  • Tell Us About Your Experience(s) at Devil's Tower. Be specific.
  • Administrative use only. Will NOT be displayed
  • Did You Have a Paranormal Experience?
  • Have You Been To This Haunt?

  • Would you recommended to a friend?
Real Haunt Listing Info

Visitors to this page: 60,957
Last edit to this listing: 4/3/2017 (2627 days ago)

Disclaimer: New Jersey Haunted Houses does not endorse or support trespassing to visit real haunts. Before you visit ANY local real haunt, make sure to acquire the appropriate permits and/or permissions, and be respectful of privately owned properties. Countless Haunt Hunters have been arrested, ticketed, and reprimanded by the authorities for trespassing. To avoid this, be sure to get in touch with the property owners before visiting a haunt, and respect their hours of operation, local regulations, and rules for visiting at all times. Happy haunting!
All information on this page was submitted to New Jersey Haunted Houses and was believed to be accurate at the time it was posted. Please report any inaccuracies here.