Mystery History

Presidential Death on the Jersey Shore

Situated alongside a narrow seaside street in the tony Elberon section of Long Branch lies a curious footnote to United State history––a monument marking the death spot of the twentieth U.S. president, James A. Garfield. Garfield was shot on July … Continue reading

USS Ling Runs Silent in Hackensack

It’s sad and hopeless looking sight to see – a U.S. Naval submarine mired in the muck of a river not deep enough to allow for its draft when the ship is on the surface. The vessel is the USS Ling, a 312-foot long, 2,500-ton veteran of World War II, which now rests on the silty bottom of Hackensack River in Hackensack. 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

The Cult of Mysterious “Monks 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