Mays Landing, NJ
Laura K. Leuter, Charley Lolio, Belinda Connolly, Heather Norcross
We've been going to the same old locations for several years now. Today, we decided to investigate a new location, Mays Landing. This particular area happens to be a Jersey Devil hotspot, so we figured it was worth our time to look into it and see what it has to offer.
We began our trip during the day, since we've never really investigated this area and wanted to make sure we could do so while we had some visibility. Heather and Charley led the way towards a local lake in the Mays Landing area. We drove down this incredibly isolated road until Charley turned the Jeep to the left.
Mays Landing impresses me in that parts of it are very busy and developed, and then other parts, like this particular area, are completely isolated and buried deep within the woods. Being at this lake felt like we were miles away from anything civilized! The view of the lake was absolutely beautiful, and we had definitely chosen a decent day to see this. I was immediately struck by how cool of a location this place was - it was something straight out of a bad Jersey Devil horror movie. We had a gorgeous lake in front of us, Pine Barrens all around us, and a series of trails to explore.
We began our exploration and discovered some standard things - bird foot prints, etc. Unfortunately, we discovered a lot of beer cans and human garbage. I was disappointed and disgusted with all the garbage that was left strewn about. I understand that people want to party and have a good time, but this type of littering was just completely disrespectful. It was really sad to see.
Charley led us back to an area that he had investigated earlier, where we found the remains of some sort of old structure. There were giant stone walls that had collapsed and sunk into the sand. Charley informed us that this area was rumored to possibly be the remains of the original Estelle Manor, though we have yet to confirm whether or not that rumor was true. We'll probably look into this a little more and see if we can narrow down what this structure had once been.
We walked the trails alongside of the lake and determined a nice location for us to sit and do some surveillance after dark. At that point, we'd been out for several hours, so we decided it was time for a break and headed to a local diner for a late lunch.
At sunset, we wrapped up at the diner and headed back into the woods. It was almost perfect conditions for our hunt - the only difficulty was that it was incredibly windy. We couldn't really hear anything over the wind, and what we were hearing was most likely caused by the wind. So this made surveillance an incredibly difficult mission, since all we were hearing were rustling leaves and moving tree branches. A few times we heard what sounded like foot steps, but really there's no way for us to tell if it was or not. It's very possible (and highly likely) that it was nothing more than some movement caused by the wind.
After standing out in the middle of the woods getting wind burn, we decided to call it a night. Even if something had been out there, with the wind blowing all over the place we would never have heard it. So we headed back to the cars and called it a night.
Despite the fact that nothing significant happened during this trip, I still think it was a great experience for us and something we needed to do. Mays Landing is definitely a place that we should have been investigating years ago. In 2007, we had back to back sightings come in from this area, and I regret the fact that our team was in no shape to investigate them when they happened. That is a mistake that I am hoping we can avoid in the future. I'm pleased that we are now familiar with another hotspot, which I believe will broaden the likeliness of us ever finding anything of importance.
We will definitely be back to this particular area at some point. I think Mays Landing has a lot to offer, and a lot of ground to cover, so it'll be added to the list of our favorite Jersey Devil related places!
For the first time ever, we have decided to create a video blog of our hunt. Unfortunately, we're not using the best quality equipment, so we apologize for the grainy images, but we hope you still manage to enjoy the video!