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STATE: New Jersey
COUNTY: Middlesex County
LOCATION DETAILS: 30 yards South of the point where Rt. 614 ends at a " T " intersection with Rt. 535, behind a small stand of trees on the West side of Rt. 535. The area is undergoing heavy construction, transforming former and current farmlands into large warehousing facilities and commercial sites. There are several small wooded areas remaining, and the closest residences are at least 1/2 a mile away (with the exception of an old vacant house at the intersection of Rt. 535 and Rt. 614) .
NEAREST TOWN: Cranbury
NEAREST ROAD: Rt. 535 (Cranbury South River Road)
OBSERVED: The town of Cranbury, NJ held fireworks on July 5th this year (2000). My wife, our two children (ages 6 and 2), and I had driven from our nearby town to watch the fireworks from our vehicle. When the fireworks ended (shortly after 10:00 PM) we decided to take a short drive. We headed North on Rt. 535, and although it was a warm night we still had our windows down because of the fireworks. After approximately one mile, as we were passing a stand of trees on our left (speed was approximately 50 mph) I could make out a shrieking sound coming from outside. After we had passed I slowed down and asked my wife if she had heard the sound. She said that she had heard it, but with the noise from the wind rushing through the windows it hadn't registered.
I decided that the sound was too odd and urgent to ignore, so I made a U-turn at the next possible point and slowly made my way back to the section of road where the sound came from. As we approached the stand of trees (now on my right), we began to hear the shrieking sound again. I stopped the vehicle near to the point where the sound was coming from. The shrieks would last about 4 or 5 seconds with a one or two second pause in between. Our immediate impression was that it was like a young woman in sheer terror or agony. After a very brief moment we decided that no, it sounded more like a hawk or an eagle. Then, again we thought it could be human, because it was just too powerful to be coming from a small animal.
Unable to determine what the sound was, I decided to honk the horn to see what the reaction would be. There was no change in the shrieking so we decided that there probably wasn't a crime in progress, because the perpetrator would probably have stopped, or the victim would have intensified or vocalized their pleas. At this point about 20 seconds had passed since we had returned to the area. The sounds seemed to be coming from the far edge of the trees, about 15 yards away, so we were unable to see where they were coming from because of the dark. We decided that to determine if something or someone was in danger or hurt I should step out and yell into the trees to see if the shrieking would stop, which I did armed with my sons wooden baseball bat. The first time I hollered the shrieking faltered and the second time I hollered the sounds stopped altogether. Total elapsed time since returning to the site was probably less than 30 seconds.
I got back in the vehicle and we waited several minutes and the sound didn't continue. We went for a short drive and stopped at the area a few minutes later but we didn't hear the sound again. My wife and I have discussed the incident several times and have never come up with a satisfactory explanation as to what could have made those sounds.
I grew up in Canada, where I spent most of my summers camping in the wilderness, so I can easily identify most animal sounds and responses. This creature didn't seem to behave like an animal would when approached by a vehicle, a horn, or myself, until I hollered extremely loud two times. The sound was distressed, extremely loud, bordered on human, but was definitely not human, and I have no explanation for it.
OTHER WITNESSES: Myself, my wife, our six year old son, and our two year old son. Everyone was sitting in our vehicle as we drove down the road.
OTHER STORIES: The only things I have heard about are what I've read on your site. I stumbled across your site by accident and when I started reading case reports, the incident that happened to us immediately came to mind. As I read more I thought that this might be a similar incident, and after listening to the recording of the scream (although I think much of the true sound is not captured) I am almost convinced. Of course this may have been some large animal, but because of the similarities with other peoples experiences I decided to report it.
TIME AND CONDITIONS: 10:15 PM no rain excellent visibility.
ENVIRONMENT: The incident occurred approximately 15 yards west of Rt. 535 behind a small stand of trees (15 yards by 50 yards) that runs parallel to the road. South of the trees is an abandoned vegetable stand with some trees, north is an abandoned house, west is a farm field that also runs behind the vegetable stand and the house, and across the road to the east is a large, new Aetna US Healthcare facility with large parking lots and landscaped grounds. This area is approximately 20 miles north of the northern perimeter of the pine barrens and about 6 mile north of a local wildlife conservation area.
Follow-up investigation report:
I spoke with the witness regarding an encounter in Central New Jersey. After having spoken with the witness two nights this week, I believe that the witness is a credible observer. The witness added to his initial report as follows.
This week, approximately a month after the initial observation of vocalizations, the witness and his wife returned to the site. The witness expanded on the initial report regarding the vocalizations saying that they were as close as 50 feet from the road, and that they were very, very loud. In his opinion, they were beyond the capabilities of a human in terms of volume.
The area is semi rural and in which there has recently been large scale commercial development (malls, office buildings, warehouse facilities). The witness stated that deer are plentiful in the area and that there are still quite a number of farms cultivating edible crops. The witness indicated that he and his wife came upon a "depression" that had the basic outlines and shape of a footprint. The depression measured approx. 15" long, 7" wide across the ball and 4" across the heel. Toe prints were not discernible as there had been rain in the area which obscured details. There were no other prints visible, perhaps because there were no other areas nearby of bare soil.
The next night the witness and his wife drove past the area where they first heard the vocalizations. There is an abandoned barn and abandoned farm stand, and a circular driveway which cuts through the property containing the structures; it is bare yards long. The witness drove down the driveway from one end and his wife down the other. As the witness started to drive down the driveway, he smelled a strong, acrid "skunky" smell that turned into a dead animal type of smell; he looked around but could find no source for the smell. It was transitory and disappeared quickly; however, there was little or no wind. The witness volunteered that he will make discrete inquiry of local farmers to see if they experienced anything unusual and call us if anything further is revealed.