The Parking Lot Cemetery


At the Loews movie theater in New Brunswick, New Jersey, you can grab some overpriced Goobers, take in the latest blockbuster, and, you know, pay your respects to the dead. That's because the Loews parking lot serves as a tiny cemetery for one small family, though Mary Ellis is the one people talk about it.

The story, according to Weird N.J., goes like this: poor Mary Ellis moved to the area in the late 1700s and fell in love with a sea captain. He left for a trip one day and told her that when he got back, they would get married. You can probably guess what happened next, or rather, what didn't happen: he never returned. But faithful Mary remained hopeful (or naive, depending on your view), purchasing some land overlooking the river so she could watch for her betrothed every day. She died waiting for him, of course, and requested to be buried overlooking the river, eternally watching for her sea captain.

Fast forward to today. Mary's family's land has been purchased several times over, and now her scenic river view has turned into a strip mall prominently featuring a Loews Theater. She shares the view with younger sister Margaret Ellis White and niece Elizabeth Margaret Evans. There are likely members of her niece's family there with her as well, but the original gravemarkers have long since disappeared.

Rumor has it that the tragic tale inspired the 1972 song "Brandy (You're a Fine Girl)" by Looking Glass - the band was formed at Rutgers in New Brunswick. The evidence is right in the lyrics:

She hears him say "'Brandy, you're a fine girl, what a good wife you would be. But my life, my lover, my lady is the sea.'"

Photo by James Alexander via FindAGrave.