Mystery History

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

A Governor In Queen’s Clothing

New Jersey’s first royal governor, a first cousin of Queen Anne, took office in 1706, and quickly gained the dubious distinction of being one of our state’s most loathed leaders. Edward Hyde, Viscount Cornbury, (1661–1723) had already rubbed Americans the … Continue reading

A Bridge Abridged in Hoboken

Today, one backyard along 12th Street in Hoboken is five feet wider than it was a few years ago. Because that’s when Hoboken’s “Phantom Bridge” cornerstone mysteriously disappeared. Once located in the backyard of 1200 Garden Street, it was a … Continue reading

The Mummies of Newark

Most people would find it weird that a church would pave over its own historic cemetery to create a parking lot. To some, it may seem sad, the cemetery was one of the oldest in the state and contained members of the founding families of Newark, who settled the town in the 1660s. Some might be disturbed to know that most of the 2,000-plus graves in the cemetery were not removed prior to paving the parking lot in 1959. Continue reading

There She Wasn’t – Miss America. The Ballad of Bette Cooper

Bette Cooper wound up being a 1937 Miss America contestant purely through chance. The 16-year old Hackettstown resident was at Lake Hopatcong’s Bertrand Island amusement park with a few friends when they saw a notice soliciting contestants for the “Miss Bertrand Island” contest. But her reign as pageant queen would be strange and short-lived. Continue reading