That Strange Doctor of the Pines hired my parents again. I think he has them trying to write code so he could “Rule the World!” Who knows. This time I ventured a little further and came across this classic that has appeared several times in Weird NJ. Weird NJ is what started Myth Busters fortune.
So many strange things have happened on this long desolate road. One is the tale of the Iceman. I always wondered why they called him that. I thought it was because he ‘iced you’ when he shot you. No it meant he threw you in a freezer to confuse people.
In May 1983, a human body was found in the woods close to the road. According to Weird NJ, legend dictates that a cyclist going down the road discovered the body after investigating a vulture feasting at a spot in the nearby trees.
An autopsy found that the man had died of foul play, remarking something initially puzzling: ice crystals in blood vessels near his heart. His interior organs also had decayed at a rate far slower than his skin. Pathologists concluded that someone had frozen his body after death in an attempt to mislead investigators into believing he died at a later time than he actually did. The man was identified as someone on the periphery of mafia activities in nearby Rockland County, New York. The investigation ultimately led to the 1986 arrest of “The Iceman” Richard Kuklinski, a New Jersey native involved in Rockland organized crime, who confessed to being the killer.
Then there was Cross Castle, or what is left of it…
In 1905, a man named Richard Cross built a castle on high land near the reservoir for his wife and three children. Later in the 20th century, it fell into ruin after a fire had destroyed part of it and thus became a popular destination for hikers and local teenagers looking for secluded locations to camp out and have parties.
According to Weird NJ, “visitors have written telling of strange occurrences in or near the castle site, such as people going into seizures and having bruises appearing on their bodies afterwards, or having strange, disturbing visions. Writings that suggest Satanic symbols have been reported as appearing on the castle’s interior walls, particularly in areas that were supposedly inaccessible.”
Newark’s water department razed the castle as an attractive nuisance in 1988, but the foundations remain and several hiking trails still lead to the site.
Then here are the weird legends:
- The ghost boy at the bridge: At one of the bridges over Clinton Brook (Dead Man’s Curve) near the reservoir, if you put a quarter in the middle of the road where the yellow line is, at midnight it will supposedly be promptly returned by the ghost of a boy who drowned while swimming below or had fallen in while sitting on the edge of the bridge. In some tellings an apparition is seen; in others the ghost pushes the teller into the water if he or she looks over the side of the bridge in order to save him from being run over as he was in life.
- Besides the ghost boy, there have been other ghosts described by Weird NJreaders. One claims to have seen a ghost Camaro driven by a girl who supposedly died when she crashed it in 1988 (any mention while driving the road at night is supposed to trigger a manifestation). Another claims to have encountered two park rangers one night while camping with friends near Terrace Pond, a glacial tarnon a ridge accessible from the road by hiking trails, who in the morning turned out to have been the ghosts of two rangers who had died on the job in 1939. Other Weird NJ readers claim to have seen people dressed weirdly at odd hours who simply stare at those who see them and do not speak, who either disappear or are not seen by others present.
- The Druidic temple: A conical stone structure just east of the road south of the reservoir was said to be a site where local Druids practiced their rituals, and horrible things might come to pass for any intruder who looked too closely or came at the wrong time. The building is actually an iron smelter left over from the American Revolutionary War and the War of 1812 when the United States was forced into creating an economic independence to complement its political freedom. It was listed on the National Register of Historic Places as Clinton Furnace in 1976. It is currently fenced off by the Newark water department to prevent any entrance and the liability for injury that might result.
- Ghost truck: There are accounts of phantom vehicles: pickup trucks or even floating headlights not attached to any vehicle that supposedly appear from nowhere in the middle of the night and chase drivers to the end of the road, then disappear.
- Strange creatures, from hellhounds to monkeys and unidentifiable hybrids, have allegedly been seen at night. If not of supernatural origin, they are said to have been survivors of Jungle Habitat, a nearby attraction that has been closed since 1976, which have managed to survive and crossbreed.
Well I did not see anything. In fact I was hoping this was the road where your car gets pulled uphill when its in neutral. Everything else happened on this road but that…
To find out more about Tyler visit Salem House Press and buy Tyler’s latest book “Tyler Moves to Gibsonton Florida” on Amazon.com. Keep checking back often for great cheap vacation ideas that might end up surprising you and becoming the best vacation you ever had! Red proved to be always full of surprises…