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STATE: New Jersey
COUNTY: Sussex County
LOCATION DETAILS: Can't remember but I went back there many years later just to see it, was easy to find. Not a big state park.
NEAREST TOWN: No idea
NEAREST ROAD: No idea
OBSERVED: This happened roughly in 1990, High Point State Park in NJ. Camping with my much-younger siblings. I was about 23, they were about 8 and 9. Camping area was around a small lake. Picture a straight road with a left-hand turnoff to the camping area. Campsites were accessed by a horseshoe-shaped access road that went around the lake. Hillsides sloped up from the far (non-lake) side of the access road.
A few folks were camping right near the turn off. We went all the way around the lake to the far side, away from everyone. It was about 20 yards from the access road to the lake -- we put up the tent close to the lake, so about 20 yards from our vehicle. Made a fire. About dusk, from directly across the lake from where we were camped, up on the hillside there, we heard a long, loud howl. Will describe it later, but my little brother and sister asked what it was. I said, "A moose," knowing full well it wasn't but not really thinking much about it.
After it got dark and we were roasting marshmallows, we heard the same sound, now closer to us, to the left. My siblings asked the same question, I gave the same answer.
It started to drizzle so we went in the tent to sleep. Sometime in the middle of the night, after we were all asleep, we were awoken by the same howl, except much closer and much louder than before. So loud that if I had to yell at my brother and sister I'm not sure they could've made out what I was saying. Same question, same answer.
On the way out of the campground the next day, I asked the ranger on duty if he'd heard "the howling last night." He sort of laughed and said no. Like an idiot I thought he stayed there overnight, but he could've lived an hour away for all I know.
Anyhow, I didn't remember any of this...UNTIL I was watching a "strange creatures" show ion late night cable about 8 years later, and heard a howl supposedly made by a bigfoot. Every hair on my arm stood up -- I remembered everything. I called my siblings and asked them to play the sound -- found it on the nascent internet somewhere, I think. They then remembered the noise too and were freaked out, but I don't think they remembered the details as well as I did because they were so young at the time.
I've been an outdoorsman all my life and know and have heard every sound made by every known animal in the North American woods. This sound was not like any of those. I describe it as sounding like it was made by a huge man with at least 2x the lung capacity through a PA system. It was that huge, long and loud. And remember, this was way before this stuff was on TV much and way before the Internet -- I was in no way influenced by that stuff.
If I had any clue about it at the time, I wish I'd looked for tracks. It had been raining, and I'd bet that animal was near the truck on what I believe was a dirt road. Ah well.
Incidentally, this experience ended up in me producing a novel, "Dark Woods," years later. It was published but is out of print so this is not a plug!
OTHER WITNESSES: Described above
OTHER STORIES: There was an article in the major NJ newspaper, the Star-Ledger, I believe in the last year or so about sightings and other stuff in NJ, and High Point State Park was mentioned.
TIME AND CONDITIONS: Dusk, early night, middle of the night. Clear until rain moved in probably around 9:00-9:30.
ENVIRONMENT: Lake shore ringed with a forested slope, can't remember tree mix.
Follow-up investigation report by BFRO Investigator Larry Rippon:
I spoke with the witness over the phone on 3/14/2014. The following details can be added.
The impression I got from this witness was that he was being ingenuous.
The howls heard on this night were between 7-12 seconds long and started out as a low howl and then eventually climaxed. What the witness described to me, resembles the well known 1994 Ohio Moaning Howl.
The area in and around High State Park has a rich history of similar incidents and reports of sightings and vocalizations continue to happen in this area to this day.
About BFRO Investigator Larry Rippon:
Larry is a lifelong New Jersey resident, having lived the past 23 years in the northern part of the state. He became interested in Bigfoot after seeing the Paterson-Gimlin film when he was a young boy. Larry likes spending time with his family and is an avid hiker. Larry has attended the following public BFRO expeditions:
2014 northern New Jersey
2016 southern New York
2017 northern New Jersey
2018 southern New Jersey
2019 northern New Jersey (co-organizer)
2020 southern New York #1