• AP Magazine

    An alternative way to explore and explain the mysteries of our world. "Published since 1985, online since 2001."

  • 1
Classic Mysteries—Alternate Perceptions Magazine, January 2016

When Bigfoot was on the loose in New Jersey!

by: Brent Raynes

Back in 1977, I was asked to travel to New Jersey (I was living in Maine at the time) to conduct a low profile investigation into a rash of Bigfoot reports, of all things. Furthermore, the encounters seemed centered in and around Somerville, New Jersey, of all places, just an hour’s drive from New York City!

I arrived around 8 p.m., Friday, April 15th, at the home of a gentleman named George, a man who had long been interested in all phases of the paranormal it seemed. About an hour later his friend John from Long Island, who had put us in touch and initially notified me about what was going on there, walked in the door. The stories I heard were extremely tantalizing and I couldn’t wait for the next day to come so that I could begin meeting and interviewing these witnesses and visiting the actual locations of their alleged encounters.

The following day, I was introduced to two young men I had been hearing so much about. There was David Jackson (pseudonym), 19, and his friend David Estes (pseudonym), also 19, both of nearby Neshanic. David J’s father was said to be Cherokee and his mother Irish, while David E’s ancestry consisted of Dutch, English, and Shawnee Indian.

David J. recalled his first encounter for me, which was back around the last week of November or the first week of December, presumably 1973. “I was hunting one day and I thought that it was a deer in the bushes,” he began. “So I fired at him and he stood up and started running. He was white.” He described how it “roared like.” This was in an undeveloped area known as Zion Mountain where there is much wildlife. Also known as Sourland Mountain, it is approx. 580 feet high.

Both David’s came to have repeat encounters with the local Bigfoot. As for the white haired creature, D.J. said, “He’s the biggest one. Nine feet or more.” I asked about the shape of the head and he told me “he looks like he’s sort of got a helmet on or something.” No ears were visible, nor were any lips. He did observe a flat nose with large nostrils.

D.E. told us, “I used to walk through the woods at night, about 10 or 11 o’clock. All I used to carry was a stick. It would be zero out, maybe 2 or 4 below. I’d just go out walking. I’d hear something walking with me, but I’d figure it was deer. I’d stop and it would stop. I’d keep walking, and then one day I came out in the field down here and I just happened to see there was an 8 point buck. ‘Well it was a deer following me (I thought)’. So I came up through here, through the gully down here and I heard tremendous noise coming out of the woods. Sounded like about 3 or 4 deer coming out, crossing in front of me, so I stopped. Well, when it came out it was only one thing. It was standing on two and it crossed the road in three steps. Then it went down through the other side. Didn’t stop or nothing. Just kept going. I thought that it might have been a bear or something.” The distance had been about 25 feet, he said. “It was bent over a little bit. I didn’t notice how big it was or anything because it didn’t really bother me. It was just there.” But about five months later, after D.J. described to him his encounter, he stopped taking his walks alone.

Next D.J. recalled a recent and very close and curious encounter. He said that it had happened back around February of that year, 1977. “I was walking up the road and I could hear something in the woods following me,” he said. “It was dark and I always carry a flashlight whenever I go out at night. I was walking and this sound is walking even with me but it’s getting closer and closer to the road. I took my flashlight and I turned around and I hit him right in the face. I didn’t know whether to run or – my legs just stayed glued to the ground. He was spooky looking. Just like before. Got a little bit of hair around his face and everything.” This time he observed what he called it’s “weird looking lips.” The eyes of the creature, he said, were round, half-dollar sized. He estimated that he was a mere 18 inches or so from its face! “He just stood there and looked at me and blinked his eyes a couple of times,” D.J. added. As if this wasn’t unusual enough, he claimed that an estimated 15-20 feet away, behind the creature’s right side, was a tiny pinpoint of light that seemed to give off a “high pitched whistle or squeal-like (sound).” When it stopped making the noise, the Bigfoot began moving again and D.J. found that he could move again too! D.J. stated, “I’ve seen all of them except for the little one. The big white one – almost all white, like a dirty white, and then there’s a black one and a brownish-black one.”

D.E. said that he had been within approximately 20 feet of the creatures. A good friend of D.E.’s, a Bob B., also 19, recalled an experience. He was driving a stationwagon that was quite loud, he said, and as he was traveling along about 30 miles an hour he spotted what he at first thought initially was a bear. He stopped and backed up to get a better look. “This thing had gotten up and it was standing there. It was taller than a bear. It didn’t look like a bear. It was broad shouldered [he spread his hands apart about four feet]. Another time we were out in the woods and we were walking around. That night it was noisy out. Whistling and running (sounds). We were going back to our cars and all of a sudden you could hear something fly through the woods. You could hear it coming. It must have flown a good 60 feet. It was a big boulder. [he demonstrated again with his hands, this time about two feet, to indicate its width] It must have been a strong thing that threw that.”

Sunday I met and interviewed D.E.’s brother, Bob E. Jr., 22, who was married and lived in Raritan. He had had a recent sighting of a Bigfoot type creature he claimed, which converted him from a skeptic to a firm believer instantly. He told me that it happened Saturday, March 12th, around 9:30, possibly 10:30 p.m. He was driving a Ford 4-wheel drive pick-up headed up Long Hill Road towards Belle Mead when, he explained: “I seen it come out of the side of the woods at the side of the truck. I swerved around to miss it. Dropped the truck in the ditch. Thank God I had a four wheel truck. Otherwise, I would have gotten stuck. I just stepped on it and I rode the ditch about 15-20 yards, pulled back out and looked in the rearview mirror and he was right behind me, at about 20 miles per hour. I drove down the road another 30 yards and threw the beacon [amber flashing] off and he stopped and just walked off the road. I came back that way but I didn’t see nothing.”

“I’d say he stood almost seven foot, at least,” Bob recalled. “There was an odor on him that was unbelievable. It was warm, so I had the windows open. It smelled like a guy who hadn’t taken a bath in months, or like a dead animal almost.” He estimated that it had come within 5-6 yards from the side of the truck. He said it was broad shouldered, had a “rounded” looking head, with no apparent neck visible. “His face kind of shined when the lights hit it,” he said. The creature was covered with hair, but the face appeared black or dark with no hair. “When that beacon hit his eyes they just glowed like an animal’s would,” Bob added. “Green.” [His brother and the other David described how they saw the creatures of their encounters reflecting red from their eyes]. “As far as I’m concerned he probably could have ripped that truck apart,” Bob stated. The eyes, he said, looked oval, rather human, except for the reflection.

Later that day, I was introduced to a Mrs. L. S., who lived on Long Hill Road. In a field behind her home, during the last snow fall in February, huge tracks had been found. She gave me a copy of a picture she had taken of one of them, in which she placed a set of keys for comparison. Unfortunately, not much can be told from that picture. Mrs. S. is very psychic it seemed. She said that she came by it naturally and she wished, she said, that she could be rid of it. Her and her daughter Denise seem to have quite a psychic bond. She gave me her daughter’s address in Florida and encouraged me to write her about that and the UFO incident two or three years earlier, that happened at their home there on Long Hill Road. This was before Denise got married. Denise later wrote me back: “Yes, I did see a UFO. The thing I noticed first was a humming sound. Then it was there. An oval object with colored lights on the bottom. The guy I was going out with went outside right under this object. Then a stream of light came out right on this guy. I ran, then I turned around and it was gone. It disappeared. The color of this thing was like a silver or gray color. Before we saw this object for a couple of months we would watch the stars. While we watched, there were real bright things in the sky that would move in groups across the sky, and then disappear. Some things would go into the trees, like if they were landing.”

Regarding her and her mother and their psychic bond and abilities, Denise wrote: “Yes, my mother and I can tell if something is wrong. The way I know is I go into a very depressed state of mind. I would not be at ease till I call and find out. This could happen anytime. I could be out enjoying myself and then just go in this state. My husband would ask me what’s wrong and I can’t tell him. All I say is, something is wrong. Then I call and sure enough, something went wrong. Someone got sick, hurt, or things just aren’t working out and she wanted to talk to me. My mother also knows if I get in an argument. She tells me the date and time it happened. In a way, it’s good, but then it’s sad. I had a friend that was riding a motorcycle and couldn’t make a curve. He snapped his neck and died. I saw this in my sleep the night it happened. Also I saw my grandfather come out of his coffin and he told me to come with him. I went into shock. From that day on I cannot step foot into a funeral home. When I was smaller I used to see my draws of my dresser open and close by themselves.”

Mrs. S was the mother of three children. Her youngest, a girl age 10, seemed to have interesting abilities. She had an apparent healing related to a serious heart condition when she was 5. Mrs. S. noticed how her young daughter seemed to have a deep understanding of the Bible. One day, after seeing Uri Geller on television, the child went into a “deep concentration,” rubbing a spoon and trying to bend it. By the second day it bent slightly and she took it to her mom to show her. The mother, working in the kitchen at the time, gave her another and watched in amazement as she bent it too. “She can really concentrate on things,” Mrs. S. said. “I can’t. She is a very intelligent kid when she wants to be, and if she doesn’t want to bother with ya she’ll ignore you.” In that respect, typical of most children.

A month after my visit, George contacted me that he had stopped by and visited D.J.’s father, the Cherokee Indian, and asked him about the creature his son had seen. “I can’t tell you much about that,” George said he was told. “However, on flying saucers I could tell you a whole lot.” He then proceeded to describe how on recent occasions, within the previous couple of months, he’d be coming up Zion Road in the evening, and near the communications relay towers on Zion Mountain he’d see a mysterious silvery craft hovering nearby. As he’d watch it would move off out of sight to the east.

I soon discovered that Bigfoot and UFOs were on the prowl elsewhere in New Jersey. In June 1977, a Dr. C. Louis Wiedemann, a dentist and co-founder of a newly formed Fortean group called “Vestigia” in Hackettstown, N.J., just 27 miles from Somerville, wrote me of massive activity going on in his area. “The town of Wantage in Sussex County was the location of a very exciting Bigfoot incident last month,” he wrote. “The creature appeared on a farm several nights in succession, killing and mutilating 7 pet rabbits and abducting (eating?) 2 additional rabbits. The 7-foot tall hairy biped (with red eyes, a beard and a mustache) ripped off a section of a shed door to get to the bunnies. The creature was seen by several members of the family, and since they saw him in the light of a mercury vapor lamp, it was a clear sighting. On the final night, they shot at him with a shotgun and a rifle, but he escaped, leaving behind no blood or hair. I arranged for a local veterinarian to autopsy and x-ray the rabbits, and they were killed brutally. Many bones were fractured, internal organs were burst, apparent tooth-marks showed up, and there were spaced in a way that might indicate jaws and teeth twice as large as a humans!” He mentioned other strange and disturbing incidents that were occurring, including “weird hoof-like footprints in a garden in Hackettstown.” Our correspondence was short lived and a few years later, I would be meeting with a former Vestigia member when I was to learn that the New Jersey dentist had become so spooked by all of the activity occurring in his immediate area that he decided to back out of that line of work. Huge Bigfoot tracks were being found near his home.

As I continued to probe the matter, I learned that UFOs and Bigfoot were nothing new to the garden state. I corresponded for awhile with a ufologist named Michael J. Campione of Cinnaminson, New Jersey, who not only believed that there was a connection between the two, but that invisibility could play into it. Back in 1968, he had a report of four beer-drinking male teenagers reporting that they had encountered a 50 foot wide circular object in a very isolated wooded area around 2:30 a.m. He stated that about 200 feet away the UFO came down in a clearing and “all sobered up very quickly and raced away from the area.” Later the ufologist was, he claimed, visiting the site with an adult friend and his teenaged son when they encountered what he feels was an invisible Bigfoot. “We could see 15-16 inch size feet impressions following us to the side of our walk,” he wrote. “The ground indentations stayed about 6 feet behind me and 3 feet to my right. The strides were about 5 feet long. The ground indentations were about 4 inches deep. We kept our cool, got into the car and left the area.”

“The landing site was even devoid of any bird life and strangely silent, like a vacuum,” he added. Campione explained to me how he perceived an ET connection with Bigfoot. “Bigfoot is nothing more than a creature created on another planet left here to analyze if and how he can adjust to earth’s environment,” he wrote.

Thursday, June 20, 2024