Monthly Archives: September 2012

Sam Patch, the “Jersey Jumper”

In 1827 Paterson mill worker named Sam Patch announced that he would jump over the Great Passaic Falls 0n the day that the new Chasm Bridge was to be erected across the span. That day a large crowd gathered to watch launched himself from the 80-foot high cliff, arms at his side, and shot down into the turbulent river like an arrow, then swam to shore unharmed. The daring feat was reported in newspapers across the country, and the legend of the “Jersey Jumper” was born. So began the spectacular, though short-lived, career of Sam Patch. Continue reading

Jungle Habitat: Wild, Free and Abandoned

It was an African safari theme park in West Milford operated by Warner Brothers in the early to mid 1970s where “wild” animals, such as lions, zebras and elephants, roamed free. Over the years Weird NJ had received reports sporadically from the West Milford area of sightings of non-indigenous species of animals, such as monkeys and kangaroos, roaming the woods there. It was always rumored that these were the descendants of escapees from Jungle Habitat. Still, for some reason we never though to actually go to the site of the old abandoned park until this new tip came in. When we did go we could hardly believe what we found. Continue reading

History and Legends of the Mysterious “Jackson Whites”

Ever since the Revolutionary War there have been stories of a degenerate race of people who live an isolated existence in New Jersey’s Ramapo Mountains. This motley group of social outcasts who had taken refuge in the northeastern hills of the state and inbred to the point of mutation. The group, which has been alleged to be comprised of a mongrel hybrid of renegade Indians, escaped slaves, Hessian mercenary deserters, and West Indian prostitutes, have come to be known as the Jackson Whites. Continue reading

The Unsolved Case of Jeannette DePalma

In this all-but-forgotten unsolved case from 1972, the body of a teenage girl was discovered atop a cliff, high above an abandoned quarry in the town of Springfield. The corpse was found thanks to a dog that brought home a badly decomposed human forearm to its master. The deceased would later be identified as Jeannette DePalma, a local teenager who had been missing for six weeks. Before long, witchcraft, satanism and police conspiracies would all become suspects in the bizarre case. Continue reading

Henry Hudson In Atlantic Highlands

It was on this day, September 13th, in 1609 that Henry Hudson began his exploration of the river that would one day bear his name. Before he ascended the estuary though, Hudson stopped at a small freshwater spring in what is now Atlantic Highlands to collect water for his ship the Half Moon. Continue reading

Homemade Homages to 9/11

September eleventh of this year marks the eleventh anniversary of the terrorist attacks that brought down the Twin Towers in 2001. Here are just a few examples of homemade New Jersey homages that prove that the World Trade Center and those who lost their lives on 9/11 will not be forgotten. Continue reading

The Mystery of the Morro Castle

On Sept. 8th in 1934, that the passenger liner S.S. Morro Castle ran aground just a few yards from Convention Hall in Asbury Park, NJ. 137 passengers and crewmembers died aboard or while trying to escape from the fire engulfed ship. Many mysteries still surround the wreck of the Morro Castle, which remains one of the worst maritime disasters in U.S. history. Was one of the heralded heroes of that fateful day, radio operator George White Rodgers, actually the true villain of the catastrophe? Continue reading