Like Bigfoot, Big Red Eye sightings of the northwest corner of the state describe a large bipedal creature covered with long hair from head to toe. But what witnesses in Sussex County who have seen the beast for themselves remember most are the creature’s glowing red eyes.  Here, some of our readers recount their run-in with Big Red:

Over a period of two weeks back in 1977 strange moaning sounds and eerie haunting screams filled the night along Wolfpit Road in Sussex County. It always started around 2 a.m. and went on until almost dawn. The wailing noises were constant, and they lasted for hours. It sounded like some kind of huge primate, making these noises, and it woke me out of a sound sleep.  I had the windows open so I could hear it really well, but I couldn’t tell which direction it was coming from. It was a terrible moaning, like something out of a horror movie, and it was so intense it just seemed to go right through me. It made the hair on the back of  my neck stand straight up and my eyes water. I called my friends to see if they could hear it at their house, which is about a quarter mile away.

“It went on for such a long time, like an hour,” said JD Grant, a neighbor. “It was horrible, just this horrible, blood curdling wailing sound. I’ve never heard anything like it before, I have heard coyotes, bears and fox and it wasn’t like anything. It was this low guttural sound, it went right through you.”

Another witness to the night of Big Red Eye serenades was my friend Chris, who recalled, “It was around 2:30 am, and I just got home from work. I heard this low moaning noise, kind of a cry. It was hard to tell where it was coming from because there are a lot of wooded areas. It definitely wasn’t a person.  Anything that could make screams that loud definitely had to be big.” The only evidence left after these occurrences were a few overturned garbage cans.  There were no footprints, but that may have been due to the fact that the ground was not soft enough.

Grant recalls a night back in 1996 when she and a friend were walking along Layton Road, when they encountered the creature nearing the side of the road.

“I knew it wasn’t a bear, it was too lean and upright; it was humanoid.  It had been there the whole time, watching our approach. There was no noise, otherwise we would have heard something that big crashing through all the underbrush. It was tall and shaggy with red eyes,” she said. “The eyes were glowing red from reflected light, not glowing like LED lights. It just stood there motionless, arms hanging limply at its sides. It didn’t seem to have any bad intentions, it was just creepy. Then of course, we ran and we did not look back. I don’t care what anybody says, I know what I saw. That is something you don’t forget, I definitely did not go back to that spot anytime soon.”

After some digging through old newspaper clippings at the library, I found more info on past Bigfoot sightings. Such as two men encountering a shaggy creature being attacked by two dogs in a Hainesville swamp.  Also, in 1975 a forest ranger walking along a Sussex County Trail encountered a creature about eight feet tall with big red eyes.  A friend of mine tells me that The Big Red Eye is infamous for his run-ins with High Point State Park Rangers. He also tells me that is where the name “Big Red Eye” comes from. I have lived in Sussex County for nearly my whole life and never heard people talk about Bigfoot, but you mention the name Big Red Eye and you would be surprised how many people have seen him or heard of some one who has.  –Vashni 

Big Red Eye in the House

I have recently moved to Sussex County less than a year ago.  I was surprised to hear of such a thing as the “Big Red Eye” and didn’t really believe in it or let it bother me at first. I am originally from Essex County and the only thing for me to be afraid of is being a victim in a drive-by or being verbally attacked by a mentally challenged neighbor named Gordy.

Layout 1I was on my way home from the dentist and was getting ready to pull in my driveway when I noticed the figure of a tall man, maybe 7 feet tall, and it seemed to be very hairy. I didn’t pay any attention at first because I thought it was just deer, but as I got closer I could see it was something far bigger.  But as quick as I saw it, it was gone.

Although I did not see big red eyes, I did hear some kind of howling or growling in the distance, which I guess could have easily been a bear.  I know one thing: I’ll never go outside when it’s dark around here while I’m alone. –David C.

The site of the 1977 sightings as it appears today.

Big Red Eye Hates Condos

Not that I’m a big believer of urban legend and folklore, but I must tell you this story because after reading about The Big Red Eye in a recent issue, I got the chills!

My wife and I live in Westwood now, but we’re formerly from Mahwah. One night, early last summer, we were walking our dog in our condo development (Paddington Square in Mahwah) and heard this guttural sound that scared us so much that we called the police. I’ve heard just about every animal noise imaginable and I’ve got to tell you this was the strangest thing I’ve ever heard. It wasn’t a dog, or bear, but it was big and angry, and had red eyes. I estimate it was roughly 30 yards from us. We were standing by a street light on the sidewalk.

I told my wife to pick up the dog and go into the street and walk home slowly. I was shaking in my boots as I slowly backed up, keeping my eyes on the brush. We made it home and called the police, not once, but twice, to find out what the hell that thing was. They investigated but found nothing. To this day my wife and I wonder what it was.  –Mike V.

Big Red Eye Chases Girl Right Outta NJ

I am originally from Hamburg, NJ–born and bred in Sussex County. I now live in Savannah, GA. About eight years ago I had a very vivid encounter with The Big Red Eye. I was driving along Rt. 517 and decided to take the shortcut into Scenic Lakes, where I lived. The road was simply referred to as “the Dirt Road,” (though later I found out its official name was Shady Lane). The two very descriptive names suggest that it’s a creepy road to drive on. I was halfway to the end of the road when I saw this awkward looking bear (?) saunter across the road. Naturally I stopped the car and the creature stopped, too. He looked at me for a few seconds (probably the longest few seconds of my life!), and sort of lumbered off into the thick of the woods. The strange thing was that his eyes were red and I could see the whites in the corners of them. I was scared shitless and BOOKED home–no kidding!  –Amanda G.

An audio story told by Mark Moran with sound collage by Clay Pigeon. One of a series of Waking Weird episodes which can be heard broadcast live every Monday at 8:39 am (EST) at WFMU FM and Hear the program archives at Hear more audio stories HERE.

The preceding article is an excerpt from Weird NJ magazine, “Your Travel Guide to New Jersey’s Local Legends and Best Kept Secrets,” which is available on newsstands throughout the state and on the web at  All contents ©Weird NJ and may not be reproduced by any means without permission.

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