Weird NJ Halloween 2015: Tales From NYC, Pleasantville, the Swimming River Reservoir and More!

Weird Figure At Bowlmor Lanes

We received this photo from Nicole Gregory (in print), who swears this photo was not altered or staged. She was at Bowlmor Lanes in New York City on Halloween and snapped this photo in the ladies’ room. Later she noticed this small weird figure peering out from the stall behind her. There are no shadows or legs we can see in the photo and she said there was no one in the open stall.


The Backyard Footsteps

About a year ago my wife’s niece died of cystic fibrosis. A few weeks after her death I had to run into the garage to get something for my daughter’s school project. It was early in the morning. We have a screened-in back porch with five steps going up to the rear screen door.

After returning from the garage I noticed footprints going up the stairs, but it was only the right foot, and small, like a child’s foot.

The footprints stopped at the top step. There was also some kind of stain in the driveway. First I thought it was someone was trying to break into the house, but the weird thing was that there were no footprints going down the stairs, just up, and no footprints went past the screen door onto the wooden floor of the porch. And the stain wasn’t water condensation or anything like that. It was kind of sticky, like soda.

Anyway, it was freaky. My wife was convinced it was her niece. The stain washed away during the next rainfall. -MS


The Haunting In Pleasantville

Several years after college, I moved into a house in Pleasantville, NJ where I lived with four other people. The house was across the street from a graveyard. I didn’t mind living near a graveyard, because growing up I loved to walk around in graveyards, reading what was written on the gravestones, etc. I wasn’t afraid, only interested. I wasn’t someone who was easily scared or superstitious…until I moved into the Pleasantville house in the late ’70s.

The house in Pleasantville was about 100 years old. At first, I liked living there. A musician lived in the house, and it was usually filled with music. The rent was cheap, like $25 a month. My room was in the attic of the house. It was a small room with a window overlooking the backyard, separated from the attic by walls and a door. I thought it was kind of cool at the time. The only strange thing I noticed about the house was a staircase that didn’t lead anywhere. I remember that there was a door in the kitchen that opened up to a set up stairs that led down to a solid wall. There was a basement in the house, but there was another set of stairs that went down there. I thought the strange stairs that led nowhere was quirky and wasn’t bothered by it.

After living in that house for about six months, I fled in terror. In fact, all of my roommates moved out. Then, a new group of people moved in, friends of the musician. I don’t believe he told them anything about the house. I kept in touch with my musician friend for a while, and he told me that after the new set of people moved in, things got really bad in that house. The woman who took my room in the attic had undergone what she called a “rape” in her bed in the middle of the night. She said that she was held down by a cold force, mouth covered, while her body was intruded upon. I was fortunate to have gotten out of there when I had, but I still, to this day, (about 30 years later) shudder when I think about that place. After the woman had the “rape” experience, and others in the house had had experiences of their own, a psychic of some sort was brought in from Stockton State College. The house was found to be haunted with very negative energy. One of the investigators told the people to move out ASAP. That was the last that I heard about the house. I remember for quite a while, I was afraid that the “powers” that were in the house, could have somehow attached themselves to me.

I don’t want to be specific with my experiences in that house, but I will tell you about the first strange thing that happened that didn’t scare me at the time. The house had a front and back door, both with doorbells. I was alone one afternoon, about one week into living in the house, when the front doorbell rang. I got up to answer it. No one was there. Before I could sit down, the back doorbell rang. I went to the back, and no one there. The front doorbell rang again, and I didn’t bother to answer it, figuring it was autumn, soon to be Halloween, and that most likely some kids were having fun. The doorbells rang back and forth for a little while.

I don’t like to think about that house, but I wonder if it’s still there. I wonder what the heck was going on there. I’ve never had anything weird like that happen to me again, thankfully. -Joyce



The Phantom GI Of Swimming River Reservoir

When my friend, Pauly, noticed one of your hardback editions on my mantel, and knowing I like to write, he asked, “Hey Al B, don’t ya have a story you could send to Weird NJ?”

At the time I could not recall anything weird or paranormal ever happening to me. But later that same day I did recollect a strange experience that I had never really forgotten.

In Monmouth County at the border of Tinton Falls and Colts Neck where Rt. 537 begins, the Swimming River Reservoir reaches very close to the end of Lakeside Avenue. There’s a place where the shoreline juts in, like a finger. There was a rope swing, so we youngsters used to ride our bikes there, jump in and have a great time. While teenagers, it was a good place to party.

It was the summer of 1974. We were down at the reservoir on a humid evening doing what teenagers to, when at about midnight my friends and I decided to take a swim around the point to where there was a small beach. There were five of us. It’s a rural, secluded area to begin with, but at night, with the all the trees that surrounded the entire reservoir, together with sharing the water with giant snapping turtles, snakes, muskrats and whatever else, one could get “the willies.” Even so, the water was warm, so in we went.

Out in front doing the breaststroke, I noticed a figure in the moonlit water, moving directly towards us. His wake was breaking the calm water. Someone was breaststroking towards us as well. My first thought was that this guy must be a little wacko, swimming all by his lonesome this late at night. We exchanged greetings as he passed within a few feet of me. He wore a handlebar mustache, a crew cut, and was wearing some sort of fatigue hat with a Budweiser logo on it. Must be a GI from Fort Monmouth, I figured. You saw them all the time, and they all looked pretty much the same. I turned around to watch him as he passed alongside my pals who were but a few yards behind.

When they came up beside me, I asked, “Did you see that crazy ‘doggie’ go by with the Budweiser hat?” Even though the GI passed within a few feet of my friends, they hadn’t seen him. I found this hard to believe because it wasn’t that dark on this moonlit night. I pressed my buddies further. “He went right by you! He was right next to you!” They looked at me like I was crazy and then accused me of making it up.

It was quiet for a few moments as we treaded water when my friend Keith spoke up, “Hey, maybe it was that GI that drowned in the reservoir the other day.” It was local knowledge that people drown there each summer. They would get tangled in the logs and mire, or go too deep after jumping off the rope swings high on the banks. No doubt, the usual summer beer parties were in cahoots with the unfortunate results.

“I guess that’s what it was,” I replied half seriously, and feeling a bit creepy too, because the water was chilling rapidly as we spoke. Another chum, Wally, piped up nervously that he did he think he “saw somethin’, let’s get the hell out of here!” Someone else said, “The water’s freezin’!” Helter skelter, we kicked and splashed our way back to where our clothes were.

Although my friends hadn’t witnessed the “phantom GI,” they believed I was serious. The fact is, I was serious and have recited the story exactly how I remember it. Also, I wonder if young people still go down there to hang out and swim.


-Alan John Unger

formerly of Tinton Falls, NJ


Biker Encounters The Big Red Eye In Sussex

This happened to me a couple years ago…I know it’s nothing new to the residents living near Sussex NJ (well, let’s just say there’s been plenty of writings in Weird NJ about this). However, this was certainly new to me! I’ve never seen anything like it in the past and have not seen anything like it since. Anyway, here’s my story:

I was riding my mountain bike on the Iris Trail, which is located in the High Point State Park. The Iris Trail goes from essentially the Park Rangers’ office, five miles through the woods and ends at Route 650. It’s a five-mile out and five-mile back ride. Riding this trail, right about at the four-mile mark, you cross a pipeline cut-out where the grass and trees are cleared, so as you’re riding and you come to the pipeline clearing and look to your left, the clearing goes down into a small valley and continues over the mountain ridge. While riding, I decided to take a rest at the clearing and that’s when I saw it. Looking straight across from where I was standing, towards the mountain ridge, I saw what I first thought was a bear pacing back and forth across the clearing. Then I thought to myself, “This bear is walking on his hind legs…” and surmised, this is not a bear! For about 30 seconds I watched this “creature” (for lack of a better term) pace back and forth across the clearing. Then, about two-thirds the way across the clearing, it stopped and turned and was looking directly at me. It basically stared me down for a good 15 seconds before turning and quickly taking off into the woods and out of sight. My best guess is that I was about 300 yards away, not close enough to see facial features, but close enough to know it wasn’t a bear and close enough to see it stood extremely tall (taller than me at six feet).

Totally freaked out, I jumped back on my bike and pedaled the last mile to the end of the trail. I then realized, my only way back was back through the woods passing the pipeline again. I did not see the “creature” during my return trip, but let’s just say it was the fastest I’ve ever covered that distance back to my truck. Still freaked out when I reached my truck, I went into the Rangers’ station to report what I had seen. Along the walk, I thought to myself, “What do I say? They’re going to think I’m nuts, stoned or drunk” (which I was none of the above…all I had to drink was water!).

I went inside and spoke to one of the Rangers, saying, “I just saw something I really can’t explain. It was really tall, walking upright with lots of really long brownish hair.” The ranger replied, “Oh, that must of been a hunter wearing one of those camouflaged suits…that’s all it was.” I replied, “Really, how come it wasn’t carrying a gun? Is there any open hunting seasons right now?” (and there was not). The ranger didn’t know what to say and all I know was I was not satisfied with that explanation.

Trust me, I’m reluctant to tell my story because I have told some of what I saw and they all think I’m full of shit or ask what I was smoking, etc. I know what I saw and I also know there have been many other very similar stories told from basically the same area. Big Red Eye is what he’s called around Sussex. I know it sounds crazy but until I hear a reasonable explanation for what I saw (a hunter in a camo outfit is not reasonable!), add me to the list of those who have seen Ole’ Red Eye. -Anonymous


The Boy In The Crawlspace

We moved into our house on Arlington Drive in Howell Township in the early ’70s in the Salem Hill section. It was pretty big, with dorm style bedrooms and storage spaces (which were the length of the room) upstairs where my brother and I slept. I was 10 years old and my brother was seven when we moved into that house, and from the start we knew something was up.

At nighttime we used to hear feet shuffling and noises from the storage space that had two pop-out panel doors in the wall for access. Initially we thought it was an animal or a bird and didn’t make much of it until one evening (not long after we moved in) I decided to pop open one of the storage doors. When I did, I looked inside with a flashlight and saw nothing on one end of the crawlspace, but when I turned to look at the other far end, there was a small stool and a school desk and sitting at the desk, it looked like a boy about my age who turned and stared right at me! He was wearing a coat and hat like it was winter and I panicked and closed the door FAST…and then I heard a moan then nothing emanating from the space.

The next day my mom opened the space to find the stool and desk, and a photo book with pictures of an 11-year-old boy who must have lived in the house before us…and it looked EXACTLY like the boy I saw in the storage space. One of the pics was taken with him standing in the same coat and hat I saw him in the previous night! My mom immediately dismissed the claim, and left the items in the crawlspace. (I thank God she didn’t throw them out, or who knows what may have happened!)

As I got to meet the other kids in the neighborhood and make friends, several of them told me that it was a sad thing about what happened to “Tommy,” the kid who lived in the house before us, and when I asked what happened, they told me he tried to climb a telephone pole that was just off to the left of our house and he was electrocuted and died, and that’s why the family moved soon after. Needless to say I was shocked and never told my friends of what I saw in the crawlspace.

We lived in that house for eight years afterward, and occasionally I would hear “Tommy” walking in the storage space and hear noises in the basement like a child crying. When we went downstairs there was no one. When we would leave our house we usually would turn off the lights, but when we came home, the basement or our dorm bedroom lights would be on and we’d get yelled at for leaving them on. This kept happening on occasion until our last year there. “Tommy” no longer made his presence felt and the things stopped happening. Soon after I emptied out the storage space of “Tommy’s” belongings and threw them out. I guess “Tommy” finally went to his place of rest, and my brother and I have a laugh now when we think of what happened back then. I wish I had one of those photos to send you. -Ralph Arroya


Growing Up In A Haunted Hotel

I grew up in a very unusual house in Dorothy in Weymouth Township outside of Atlantic City. It was originally built in the early 1900s and was owned by a family with the surname of Eckel. Named “The Dorothy Hotel,” it was located directly across the street from the railroad station in town.

The Eckel family had five young boys. Although I’m not sure of the date, I do know that three of them perished in a gasoline fire in the stone buildings which lined the edge of the property. One of the strange things about this family is that the parents adopted three more boys and reused the names of the boys that died. The creepiest thing is that I believe that the house was not only haunted by those three boys, but by others as well.

My parents purchased the hotel about 40 years ago and raised 12 children in it, myself being the youngest. Each of us has our own individual stories and opinions about our house. The following is my personal account:

When I was young, one of my favorite places to play was, of course, the stone structures on our property. I knew the story about the boys, but it didn’t really bother me. There were, however, places I did feel uncomfortable. Every room, in fact, inside the main house creeped me out if I was alone. I have three very specific memories of unusual goings on.

The first one happened when I was about eight years old. I was in a room that was off the back of the house where my dad kept his tools and lawnmower and other handyman whatnots. I was just goofing off, like most kids do, thinking that if I tried hard enough, I could fly. So here I am, running and jumping off of this little ledge, only about a few inches high, with my arms stuck out. One jump, however, was a little different than the rest. Because, for one instant, I actually believed I was floating over the ground. Of course I panicked, dropped my arms, and landed on my feet. This was only a matter of seconds, and I guess it could have been my mind playing tricks on me. But I honestly, truly, believed I was off the ground for longer than I should have been. I was terrified, shaky and sweaty. Needless to say, I never tried that again!

The other two occurrences actually happened quite often. For some reason the toilet seat in the bathroom was always falling down. No one would even be near the bathroom and “BANG!” down it would smack, leaving an echo that would reverberate down the hallway and through the whole second floor. Sounds silly, right? When it happened on a daily basis, however, it tends to make you wonder. And then there was the upstairs floor creaking. Not a creak here and there, but creaking from one end of the house to the other. As if someone, or something, was walking down the hall. Now, if you could see how big the house (hotel) actually was, you’d understand just why this was so strange. And I’m not the only who heard that. Everyone heard it!

My sister has a story about seeing a hand on the banister at the bottom of the stairs early one morning. No one was down there. My cousin called one day to ask who was visiting us. She was riding home on the school bus and saw a woman in a polka-dot dress looking out of our attic window. No one was visiting and we never went into the attic. We didn’t even use it! Then there was this friend of my brother’s who spent the night once and refused to come back in the house again after that. My mom says that to this day she has no idea what he saw that frightened him so badly. He would never tell anyone.

Of course, there were plenty of other instances when you would catch a movement or a flash of light out of the corner of your eye. I know people are always seeing light where there are no windows, movement where there is no movement. But it happened in our house a lot. So to tell you the truth, I’ve never actually “seen” a ghost. But I don’t think you have to see it to believe it. I felt things in that house that I haven’t felt since we moved out of it. While we were living there, the house fell into severe disrepair (we were what you’d call a lower-class family). It was literally falling down around us. After a threat from my mom, my dad managed to scrape up enough money to build a new house on the same property. The new house was built and the old one was demolished in 1985.

I went to school one day, the house was there. I came home the same afternoon and it was gone. I was 11 years old and I’ll never forget the overwhelming feeling of melancholy when I saw the large, empty lot. My mom and I just sat in her car crying and hugging each other. Even though I couldn’t wait to get out, I was still saddened. Almost as if I were crying not for me but for someone else.

My parents couldn’t afford to have the remains hauled away, so it was just knocked down and buried right in that spot. Almost like a large grave in my mother’s front yard. So there it lies, beneath a large flowerbed my dad constructed dead center in the spot where the house used to stand (sort of like a memorial, I suppose). The only thing left is an old outhouse my dad insisted on leaving as a keepsake. It looks a little goofy sitting there out in front of my mom’s house, but it’s been there so long I think everyone’s just used to seeing it there. -Melissa C. Ferrante