Local Heroes and Villains

The Cult of Mysterious “Monk’s Castle”

In the late 70s and early 80s rumors of a “Sex and Drugs” cult residing at “Monks Castle” began circulating around Montclair. One resident described the reaction of the community as “panic stricken” in a New York Times article about the cult, which ran under the headline “Guru’s Cult in Castle Troubles Montclair.” Continue reading

The Tiger Lady of Jackson

These days everybody seems to be talking about the Netflix documentary series ‘Tiger King: Murder, Mayhem and Madness’ and the eccentric character known as ‘Joe Exotic’. The series focuses on the little-known but deeply interconnected society of big cat conservationists and collectors in America, exploring the private zoos and sanctuaries they’ve set up for these unusual and deadly pets. Long before anyone ever heard of Mr. Exotic though, there was a real life Tiger Lady raising 450 pound Bengal tigers and terrifying local resident in the suburbs of Jackson, NJ. Continue reading

NEW Weird Gear Galore!

Now you can have all of your favorite Weird NJ icons on all kinds of cool new Weird Wear, like Tee Shirts, Girls Tees, Sweatshirts, Long Sleeve Tees, Hoodies, Unisex Tanks, Kids Tees, Tie Dyes or Onesies! All are available in all sizes and … Continue reading

Joe Mulliner, the “Robin Hood of the Pines”

Often referred to as “The Robin Hood Of The Pine Barrens,” Joe Mulliner was a Tory outlaw who was forced to flee his home in 1779 to avoid arrest, then went on a crime spree throughout the Pine Barrens of Southern New Jersey, burning farmhouses, kidnapping, and holding up stagecoaches. Continue reading

A Nightmare Before Christmas in Trenton

Three days before Christmas, Jean strangled her 78-year-old mother to death in their home. Standing over Julia Zelinsky’s body, Jean took a kitchen knife and decapitated her. Tossing the head into a plastic shopping bag, Jean got into her car and headed straight for Trenton – but not before stopping to wave to a neighbor. Continue reading

Zip The “What Is It?”

One curious little fellow from New Jersey enjoyed a long and fruitful career as one of P.T. Barnum’s star attractions. Billed as “Zip The What Is It?,” he was gazed upon by millions of people and touted as the survivor of a lost tribe discovered in the Amazon during the exploration of the River Gamba. The truth is that Zip was born William Henry Johnson in rural Liberty Corners, NJ. Continue reading

Nazis and KKK Bund Together for the “American Fuhrer”

Today it’s hard to imagine that the following sentence is describing an actual rally that once took place in a rural Sussex County, NJ town: “Flames from the wooden cross, forty feet high, crackled into the night throwing lurid shadows on the participants below, some of whom were dressed in hooded white robes, others in the gray uniforms of the German-American Bund. The scene took place at Bund Camp Nordland in New Jersey on August 18, 1940, when the Klan staged a monster anti-war, pro-American mass meeting jointly with the Bund.” Continue reading