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STATE: New Jersey
COUNTY: Ocean County
LOCATION DETAILS: Residential neighborhood that is on the outskirts of the Pine Barrens.
NEAREST TOWN: Brick
NEAREST ROAD: Gloucester
OBSERVED: Even after all of these years, I still find it difficult to discuss what exactly I saw. I still vividly remember the encounter and how terrified my friend and I were afterwards. It’s amazing how time slows during intense moments, every detail is burned to memory, but in actuality only several seconds passed. To be honest, I don’t know exactly what I saw that summer evening long ago. As a child growing up, we were taught in school the legends surrounding the Jersey Devil and weird happenings in the Pine Barrens. Hopefully this story won’t be viewed as lore that the region is famous for. The only thing I can say for sure is, it really did happen and I will do my best to portray the event as I remember it.
I grew up in a middle size town, a few miles from both the Jersey shore and the edges of the Pine Barrens. My neighborhood & town were undergoing a growth spurt and wooded areas where I played as a kid were now strip malls or homes. My house was on a corner lot and the neighbor’s house directly in front was a summer cottage (they were not there at the time). I was 18 in 1989 and recently graduated from high school, with a strict midnight curfew. My friend dropped me off on time with the passenger side of the car facing the front of my house. I was outside of the car talking to Scott through the passenger side window, when we both heard a rustling sound near the trees on the corner of my neighbor’s property, about 30 feet away. There was a street light on the opposite corner, and I could not make anything out beyond it. We didn’t think much of it and continued to talk. The rustling returned a little louder, and with a sound that I remember as something being dragged on concrete such as a stick.
At this point I asked Scott if he saw anything over there. At first he replied no, then he hesitated and said he sees something like a big dog that is sitting by the trees. Not wanting to be bit by some rabid dog, I got in the car. We went up the road and turned the car around on the opposite intersection. Once around, we were facing my house, and there was what appeared to be a large grayish dog directly under the street lamp. We started moving very slowly towards my house, and as we got closer it really didn’t appear to be like any dog I had every scene before. When we were about 50 feet away, I turned to Scott and asked him to turn on the high-beams. It is here where things happened very quickly, and I will try to capture it as best I can. To our horror, what we thought was a large dog stood up and began to run on two legs. It crossed the car and ran on an angle at first towards the middle of my house, but then quickly changed course and went around the dark side of my house. We were both yelling, “what the h**l, was that” repeatedly. The creature was very tall, his head was taller then the top of the windows on the house so I estimate around 8-feet. He appeared to be a light gray in color, but it could have been the lights reflecting off his hair. His arms were long and lanky, and sort of swayed forward and aft as he ran. The creature had amazing speed/agility, and ran with what one would consider to be an odd gait. His head was tilted forward and he might have been slightly hunched over. His head swayed between looking forward and looking at us. I will never forget the way his eyes reflected in the headlights. The total time we had eyes on the creature was between 3-5 seconds. Once he disappeared, the car accelerated around the corner and Scott slammed on the brakes. Expecting to see the creature in the headlights, there was nothing but dark road…..he was gone.
Not wanting to get out of the car we proceeded to Scott’s house a few miles away. After a quick phone conversation with my parents, they ordered me home. They were waiting out front when we got there, and we tried to explain what we saw. My parents would hear none of our tale and assumed we were either drunk, or on drugs. We were both rather shaken by the event, and my parents began to question their original assessment. Over time came the inevitable ridicule of family and friends, and with their mocking I never really wanted to discuss this with anyone again.
It took years before I was comfortable being alone, especially at night. After spending time in the military, I came to the realization that he was as scared of us, as we were of him. While I no longer have the fear, there isn’t a day that has gone by without me thinking of that night.
ALSO NOTICED: None.
OTHER WITNESSES: My friend Scott
OTHER STORIES: None.
TIME AND CONDITIONS: Weather was warm, clear and humid. Time was approximately midnight.
ENVIRONMENT: Residential neighborhood that is on the outskirts of the Pine Barrens.
Follow-up investigation report by BFRO Investigator Mike Aragona:
I spoke with the witness on the evening of January 18th 2009. The following details can be added.
The witness did not know what he had seen back in 1989. Bigfoot did not cross his mind because he always thought this species was only found in parts of the west coast. This changed when he read some of the other reports for the same general area on the BFRO web site.
The creature was built like a tall runner, lean, muscular, very fast and agile as it crossed the one lane road in two strides. The witness compared the movement of the creature to that of a deer.
The arms were long, the fingers reached below the knee. The hair appeared to have a mangy look.
The witness did not get a good look at the face but was able to tell it was flat and did not have a snout like a bear or dog.
This was the only encounter the witness ever had.
Editor Comment (Matt Moneymaker):
I re-categorized this one to Class B. It was a very brief observation in the dark, and witness is not sure what he saw. Though it was most likely a bigfoot, which do exist in rural parts of New Jersey, the type of observation should be considered Class B.
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.