Yearly Archives: 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