Weird New Jersey

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Feature on CNN.com today:

GROVERS MILL, New Jersey (AP) -- Let's face it, America. New Jersey is one weird state.
Punch line to New Yorkers' jokes and gibes. Home to the Jersey Devil and Tony Soprano. And when Orson Welles sent the Martians to attack, he sent them here.
For the past decade, two New Jersey natives named Mark have been compiling the state's odd legends and cataloging its strange places for a magazine called Weird NJ. And just when you thought the Garden State couldn't get any weirder, Mark Sceurman and Mark Moran have published a book.
"Weird NJ" is in its fifth printing since coming out in September, seemingly flying in and out of bookstores the way Martian space ships zipped around Grovers Mill in Welles' classic 1938 radio play that thousands of people thought was real. Today the only visitors flying around the town are Canadian geese, which flock to a pond near a plaque that commemorates the broadcast.
The Martian landing site, about 10 miles northeast of Trenton, is one of hundreds of strange places described in the "Weird NJ" book. Its 271 pages are filled with folklore and ghost stories, such as:
• The Monkey-Man, an apelike man rumored to have terrorized Hoboken schools in the early 1980s.
• Cry Baby Bridge in Middletown, where people say a baby cries in the middle of the night at the spot where a baby drowned years ago.
• Albino Village, a section of Clifton supposedly home to a community of albino people.
• The Stone Living Room, a mysterious rock formation in Passaic County that was crafted either by native Americans or drunken high school kids.
For the authors, weird and New Jersey are a natural fit.
"When you just put the words together, people seem to instantly know what you're talking about," said Moran. He and Sceurman have backgrounds in graphics arts. They have wives and daughters. You might even say they're normal.
"We're not weird," Sceurman said. "Everybody else is."
Weird NJ got its start in the early 1990s as Sceurman collected odd bits of information and produced a newsletter for friends. A cult following developed, and the newsletter evolved into a magazine mailed to New Jerseyans around the world.
Sceurman and Moran had long wanted to turn their material into a book and talked with several publishers before another Jersey guy happened along -- Steve Riggio, chief executive officer of Barnes & Noble.
Riggio was visiting one of the bookseller's stores in 2002 and spotted a display of Weird NJ magazines.
"In the instant I saw the magazine, I saw the book," Riggio said. Barnes & Noble worked out a deal with Sceurman and Moran. The book was in print within a year and it has sold more than 100,000 copies.
"That's a mind-boggling, astounding figure," said Riggio, who described the book as a celebration of all that is weird and wonderful about New Jersey. The book is a star among the 4,000 active titles the bookseller's publishing division has in print, he said.
Nancy Byrne, executive director of the New Jersey Office of Travel & Tourism, said the magazine is "making its way into the mainstream" and will be a good source for tour operators looking for places to take people.
And what of the demographics of Weird NJ readers?
"It bridges all ages," Sceurman said. "Senior citizens to punk rockers to school kids."
With the book a success, Sceurman dreams of someday having an office on Shades of Death Road in Warren County. In the meantime, he and Moran still work out of their homes.
Riggio thinks the "weird" concept can work in other places, and the authors are contemplating expanding to other states.
"We're trying to see how they stack up against New Jersey," Moran said. "We haven't found any state that has the quantity of stuff that New Jersey has."
Moran and Sceurman have files brimming with Jersey stories they have yet to publish, and more and more keep coming.
"It could go on forever," Sceurman said. "That's the scary part."

Any other regional Weirdness mags out there?
 

Mighty_Emperor

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Monstrous rumors hit Jersey

Friday, March 25, 2005
BY FRED J. AUN
For the Star-Ledger

New Jersey's wildlife management officials, already tormented by the ongoing controversy surrounding the bear hunt issue, might have another crisis on their hands.

How will they deal with the possible existence of a Garden State Sasquatch?

That's right. A New Jersey version of Bigfoot might be prowling the woods of Sussex County.

Maybe it's not exactly the same as the creature roaming the Pacific Northwest. It might, for example, sport a mullet.

Nevertheless, the existence of something big and predatory -- possibly not of this earth or this millennium -- was recently the subject of an e-mail discussion between some members of the state Fish and Game Council.

Before reading any more, you might want to go online and download some X-Files music to play in the background. Creating the proper atmosphere is important.

On second thought, choose some circus music. Anything silly will do.

The odyssey began last week, when a miniature horse in the Sussex County township of Andover was found missing from its outdoor pen. The mauled and partially-eaten carcass of 250-pound "Phantom" was found at the end of a blood trail leading from its pen to a woodsy hilltop nearby.

Clues at the scene prompted state Division of Fish and Wildlife Biologist Kelcey Burguess to believe Phantom was abducted and killed by a 500-pound black bear. His determination was based, in part, on the existence of 5-inch-wide bear prints found at the scene.

The owner of the horse said she saw a large bear peering into her stalls the next day. Of course, all this is merely circumstantial evidence, at least to the very, very open mind of Fish and Game Council Member Jack Schrier.

In e-mails sent this week to fellow council members and many others, Schrier responded with skepticism to Fish and Wildlife's version of the tragedy.

"So a bear was seen peering into the stalls," he wrote. "Where is the evidence that a bear -- any bear -- killed that mini? I remain unconvinced."

Former council member George Howard responded by suggesting Phantom's murderer was the Abominable Snowman. The frenzy continued when Joe Crouch, who heads the state chapter of Ted Nugent USA, offered his thoughts.

"I agree with Jack," he wrote, "Any number of animals in NJ could have dragged that 250lb pony over and under a few fences and up a steep hill. The fact that there was 5-inch bear prints in the area and along the drag path means nothing."

Callously avoiding political correctness, Crouch wondered if O.J. was in the vicinity. Or, he suggested, "it could have been one of those bloodthirsty local hunters with bear shoes on trying to incriminate the bear. Did anyone check if there were UFO sightings?"

It's too bad Schrier will soon be leaving the council. As hunters are well aware, he is the member who regularly voted against a bear hunt.

The council will need his brand of wisdom when it decides if New Jersey should initiate a season for Chupacabras, Godzillas or Jersey Devils.
Source
 

Mighty_Emperor

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Police Search New Jersey's 'Bermuda Triangle'

Updated: March 9th, 2006 12:06 PM EDT


Authorities call it "New Jersey's Bermuda Triangle," a watery place where people disappear, never to be seen again.

The description held true Wednesday after a 4 1/2-hour search of the sprawling Round Valley Reservoir failed to turn up any trace of six missing boaters and fishermen, some of whom were last seen in 1973.

"It would be nice to bring some closure, not only to our open cases but to the families involved," state police Detective Sgt. Jim Price said before the search began. All six men are presumed drowned.

Weather and water conditions at the reservoir were ideal this week for an expanded search: Because of infrequent snow this winter, the water level is 8 feet lower than normal, exposing an additional 30 to 90 feet of shoreline that is normally submerged.

A team of 30 state police, FBI and Bergen County Sheriff's officers fanned out on foot and in boats across the 180-foot-deep reservoir, looking for skeletal remains, clothing or other signs of the missing victims, all of whom are presumed drowned.

"It's like looking for a needle in a haystack," Price said afterward.

Since 1971, 25 people have drowned at the reservoir, said Lt. Jim McCormick, supervisor of the state police's missing persons unit.

The oldest unsolved case dates to May 4, 1973, when Thomas Trimblett, 27, of North Arlington, and Christopher Zajaczkowski of Jersey City, whose age was unknown, were fishing on the reservoir from a 12-foot aluminum boat that was later found capsized. A broken fishing pole and reel were found with the boat and two yellow life jackets and a wooden oar were found nearby.

On March 15, 1977, Craig Stier, 18, and Andrew Fasanella, 20, both of Trenton, launched a canoe from a reservoir boat ramp and were last seen paddling along the north shoreline. Four days later, their canoe was found washed ashore along with some camping gear.

On March 18, 1989, John Kubu, 37, of Rahway, and Albert Lawson, whose age and hometown were not available, failed to return from a fishing trip on the reservoir. Their 13-foot aluminum boat and various personal items were later found on the shoreline. Lawson's body was found that October; Kubu's body has not been found.

On Oct. 22, 1993, Jeffrey Moore, 27, of Ringwood, was fishing in a canoe with a friend when their vessel ran into trouble. The friend was rescued by a passing boater, who told authorities Moore drowned after the canoe took on water. Items from the boat were recovered on the shoreline.

Two search teams on Wednesday split up and fanned out to the north and south, finding 24 small bones or bone fragments and marking the location of each with a small orange flag.

The bones were examined by Donna Fontana, a forensic anthropologist with the state police, who was able to determine that each had come from an animal.

A ripped and tattered green and white baseball cap that was found wrapped around a tree branch was too damaged to be of use in the investigation, even though Trooper Bernie Borrelli said a green and white ball cap with the letters "WW" on the front had been linked to one of the missing victims.

FBI Agent Mike Scimeca determined the hat was so thoroughly damaged by the water that no traces of DNA would be present that might help identify its owner.

On two boats, specially trained cadaver-sniffing dogs were brought in to sniff for the telltale gases that decaying bodies emit. The next step will be to search sections of the reservoir with a special underwater robotic camera, Price said. That search has not yet been scheduled.

-------------
Copyright 2005 The Associated Press.
www.officer.com/article/article.jsp?sit ... 1&id=29117
 

EnolaGaia

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Calico-EvilNJClown.jpg
Creepy, evil clown is an N.J. landmark. It just turned 65.

The Garden State’s Middletown Township is not much like Stephen King’s sleepy, fictional town of Derry, Maine.

But nevertheless, an evil clown lives there. And he just turned 65.

Since January 18, 1956, when the former Food Circus grocery store opened, an 18-foot tall, steel clown with a devious grin has loomed over Route 35. For decades, he’s stared at commuters and visitors alike, a comparably creepy Tillie for northern Monmouth County. ...

Calico, clad in blue and cream checkers and a red bowtie, soon became the store’s mascot and a weird icon of Middletown, with different versions of the character popping up throughout the grocery store. When Calico was first installed, he rotated 360 degrees, casting his gaze on everyone in all directions.

Eventually, Calico was anchored sometime in the ’70s after high winds would cause the clown to spin wildly around and around, likely making him all the more menacing. ...

In 1990, Food Circus closed, but Calico remained. Today, he still stands and keeps watch of Route 35 and advertises the nearby liquor store, Circus Wines.
SOURCE: https://www.nj.com/monmouth/2021/01/creepy-evil-clown-is-an-nj-landmark-it-just-turned-65.html
 

Souleater

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Two things about this OP i find concerning, firstly, the OP reads like an advert for the book, is the 'anonymous' author a publucist for the authors or publishers?
Secondly the book is described as being accessable to
"Senior citizens to punk rockers to school kids."
Is NJ stuck in some time hole (a bit like the Isle of Wight haha) where punk rockers still wander the streets? It seems an odd decription of the demographic. :p
 

gordonrutter

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Two things about this OP i find concerning, firstly, the OP reads like an advert for the book, is the 'anonymous' author a publucist for the authors or publishers?
Secondly the book is described as being accessable to

Is NJ stuck in some time hole (a bit like the Isle of Wight haha) where punk rockers still wander the streets? It seems an odd decription of the demographic. :p
The original post was a quote of an article from CNN apparently. The author of the original post was not anonymous at the time of posting, this represents an account which several things could have happened to since 2004 which have rendered it impossible to attach the original id to.
 

Souleater

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The original post was a quote of an article from CNN apparently. The author of the original post was not anonymous at the time of posting, this represents an account which several things could have happened to since 2004 which have rendered it impossible to attach the original id to.
I see, though it does not preclude the publishing house/author posting the article from CNN under a name here :p
 

gordonrutter

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I see, though it does not preclude the publishing house/author posting the article from CNN under a name here :p
That is indeed true and it has happened. However the fact that no one called them out on such a charge suggests that their posting in other threads suggested that they were a genuine person fully engaging and interested in all aspects of the forum.
 

Souleater

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That is indeed true and it has happened. However the fact that no one called them out on such a charge suggests that their posting in other threads suggested that they were a genuine person fully engaging and interested in all aspects of the forum.
Fair play, no foul :D
 

Lb8535

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Two things about this OP i find concerning, firstly, the OP reads like an advert for the book, is the 'anonymous' author a publucist for the authors or publishers?
Secondly the book is described as being accessable to

Is NJ stuck in some time hole (a bit like the Isle of Wight haha) where punk rockers still wander the streets? It seems an odd decription of the demographic. :p
Yes, yes it is. Especially the Jersey shore. Jersey is a place where people tend to feel perfectly free to look any way they want to. And remember that it has the Pine Barrens.
 

Souleater

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Yes, yes it is. Especially the Jersey shore. Jersey is a place where people tend to feel perfectly free to look any way they want to. And remember that it has the Pine Barrens.
Being British 'the Pine Barrens' is lost on me, ill admit that there are nichè groups of punk rockers in this counrty still, but in now way would anyone anywhere in this country make a comment on their demographic tjat included punk rockers, i just found it an odd thing to say, it would be like saying, for example 'it appeals to everyone from the elderly, to medieval re-enactors to school kids', there is just not enought wanna be knights to justify the comment. But thats just me, maybe thats one of the 'Weird NJ' topics 'The Pine Barren Punk Phenomenom'
:p
 

Lb8535

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Being British 'the Pine Barrens' is lost on me, ill admit that there are nichè groups of punk rockers in this counrty still, but in now way would anyone anywhere in this country make a comment on their demographic tjat included punk rockers, i just found it an odd thing to say, it would be like saying, for example 'it appeals to everyone from the elderly, to medieval re-enactors to school kids', there is just not enought wanna be knights to justify the comment. But thats just me, maybe thats one of the 'Weird NJ' topics 'The Pine Barren Punk Phenomenom'
:p
I don't think there are any punks in the Pine Barrens - they tend to need civilization in the form of clubs and bars and fast food. The PB are a large section of Jersey nearish to Atlantic City that are scrub pine with minimal permanent inhabitants. Long history of strange phoenomena there, it's a spooky landscape. They have their own bigfoot, the Jersey Devil (who was featured in an X-files). Great place for hiking. https://www.nj.com/burlington/2017/09/inside_the_ghost_towns_of_njs_pine_barrens.html
 

Souleater

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I don't think there are any punks in the Pine Barrens - they tend to need civilization in the form of clubs and bars and fast food. The PB are a large section of Jersey nearish to Atlantic City that are scrub pine with minimal permanent inhabitants. Long history of strange phoenomena there, it's a spooky landscape. They have their own bigfoot, the Jersey Devil (who was featured in an X-files). Great place for hiking. https://www.nj.com/burlington/2017/09/inside_the_ghost_towns_of_njs_pine_barrens.html
I saw a programme about the Jersey Devil recently, was quite interesting and the eyewitnesses seemed genuinely scared by what they saw, im sure there is a thread around here about it somewhere.
 

Souleater

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I don't think there are any punks in the Pine Barrens - they tend to need civilization in the form of clubs and bars and fast food. The PB are a large section of Jersey nearish to Atlantic City that are scrub pine with minimal permanent inhabitants. Long history of strange phoenomena there, it's a spooky landscape. They have their own bigfoot, the Jersey Devil (who was featured in an X-files). Great place for hiking. https://www.nj.com/burlington/2017/09/inside_the_ghost_towns_of_njs_pine_barrens.html
I.was correct there is a thread
https://forums.forteana.org/index.php?threads/the-jersey-devil.2488/page-4#post-1952051
 

Victory

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I don't think there are any punks in the Pine Barrens - The PB are a large section of Jersey nearish to Atlantic City that are scrub pine with minimal permanent inhabitants. Long history of strange phoenomena there, it's a spooky landscape. They have their own bigfoot, the Jersey Devil (who was featured in an X-files).

It also has a dangerous Russian who killed 16 Czechoslovakians!
 

madmath

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