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STATE: New Jersey
COUNTY: Ocean County
NEAREST TOWN: manahawkin
NEAREST ROAD: rt. 72 and Breakers ave.
OBSERVED: It was at least 2:00 am, in January or Februrary. The temprature was in the low teens.
I was dropping a friend off at his home, the back of which was separated from the Highway (Rt.72) by about 150 to 200 yards of woods and a dirt road.
There are no homes or streetlights on this part of Rt.72. The east side of Rt.72 is completely untouched woods for miles into Burlington county. This area was the end of a development that had never been finished. Work stopped in the late 1970's, as part of the Pinelands Preservation Act.
There was a dirt road about 30 yards behind the house,which connected to the East into a grid of unfinished, unpaved roads. At that time his house was the last house on that road, completely surrounded by woods.
We were talking beside the car under the streetlight for at least 20 minutes, when we both heard a woman screaming. It sounded like it was coming from the unpaved road behind his house. We both thought someone was in trouble, so we ran inside his house and grabbed a flashlight, knife, and a hatchet.
We ran into a trail along the right side of the house, (south-east) which led out to the dirt road. We could hear the screams getting louder and more to our right in the woods.|
We were only about 40 paces into the woods, when I started feeling very uneasy, and I started to realize that this wasn't a woman screaming. I could hear it now to my right, more like a loud whistling now (not ahead in the dirt road like I had thought) about 15 yards away.
We both stopped and listened for a few seconds, my friend had the flashlight scanning the woods which was new growth oak saplings, blueberry bushes (waist high) and 12' to 14'ft. scrubby pine saplings(20 years old?). I could hear it heaving as it breathed in and exhaled out with a very loud high pitched whistling, we couldn't see anything but It was very close to our right as we faced southeast -- within 10 yards.
My friend immediately turned toward me and said "that ain't no girl screaming" and quickly moved past me back toward the house. I was standing still and listening, it was still screaming right at us. At this point I knew it wasn't a girl at all, more like a loud whistling is how I could best describe it. There was no noise other than the screams. There was no movement at all. No sound of struggle. I thought that it might be a wounded animal, like a deer or something.
It was so loud and the deep breathing noises were from a much bigger animal than a fox. I could distinctly hear it breathing in and out rapidly to make the screaming noise. I remember thinking that it's dangerous to be this close to a large wounded animal. It was not like anything I had ever heard in my life. I turned and headed back, looking and listening. It was still screaming, but did not follow.
We immediately called the police and reported it. Within 15 minutes we went back outside, now the screams were further toward the south-east, very faint now. It had definitely moved off quickly. The screams faded totally within 10 minutes. We listened for at least another 45 minutes but it was gone.
I don't know what the police had done after we'd called. I had always thought it was a wounded animal of some kind.
OTHER WITNESSES: 1 witness
returning from a party
OTHER STORIES: After reading the accounts posted,especially those from Ocean and Burlington counties, I knew that I also had a similar story.
I had heard similar stories of "a woman" screaming in the woods in Manahawkin from relatives who'd lived in the area since the 1930's. They said it was accompanied by an awful smell,and would come around at night during extremely hot or extremely cold seasons.
They ALWAYS expressed concern that hunters would come and hurt or kill it, so it was best kept a SECRET.
I never believed them until I heard it myself.
TIME AND CONDITIONS: between 1:00 and 2:00 am
extremely cold (less than 15 degrees)clear and still. no wind
ENVIRONMENT: Pine Barrens. 20 years earlier cleared for building, but abandoned in the late 70's. White sugar sand overgrown with young scrubby pines oak saplings and blueberry ground cover.
Follow-up investigation report by BFRO Investigator Mike Aragona:
I spoke with the witness over the phone for an hour. He recalled his encounter in detail. The witness had the following information to add.
The witness was told stories from relatives of a similar screaming animal that would come around their farm only at night during the 1950ís, in the same general area. The screams of this animal would be accompanied by a strong foul odor. The animal would leave signs of tree bark being stripped from surrounding trees and scrape marks which were well above six feet in height.
The animal would also enter the barn to eat oats stored for horses. The witness was also told by his relatives that the animal would urinate in certain spots, killing the surrounding vegetation and emitting a strong odor for days.
The witnessís mother once told him that when she was a teen on horseback with her sister they had an encounter from a distance, with what they thought was a man in a black suit waving his arms frantically. This took place in the middle of the summer. The witnessís mother always thought it strange that there would be a man in a suit out in the woods during the hottest time of the year. The horses became extremely agitated and the girls left out of fright.
The witness was apprehensive to file this report at first because he was not sure what he had heard that night. It was only after reading other reports of screams in the same area of New Jersey on the BFRO web site, coupled with the stories of his relatives that the witness felt comfortable sharing his experience.
About BFRO Investigator Mike Aragona:
Mike is a long time New Jersey resident. He attended the 2005 and 2006 New York Adirondacks Expeditions, the 2006 Ohio Expedition, the 2008 Maine Expedition, the 2008 Pennsylvania Expedition, the 2009 Pennsylvania and New York Expeditions and the 2010 New Jersey, North Carolina and Pennsylvania alumni expeditions.