Batsto, Egg Harbor, & Leeds Point, NJ
Laura K. Leuter, Belinda Connolly, Charley Lolio, Katie Brown, Jeff Heimbuch, Heather Norcross
It is certainly turning out to be a busy summer for us!
A few weeks ago we got an e-mail, and along came a great opportunity and some good news! The History Channel's "Monster Quest" would like to do a Jersey Devil episode, and has asked for our assistance with the episode! Many members of our group watch the show on a fairly regular basis, so there was no way we were turning this down. The show has a proven track record of rooting itself in facts and reality, and we knew there'd be no shot of a false 'sighting' situation like Scariest Places on Earth.
Katie Brown and I (Laura Leuter) met with Tom Phillips, a producer/director for the show, and had what turned out to be a 4 hour lunch meeting discussing the plans. At that time, we set plans to take Tom on a tour of New Jersey, hitting some of the great spots that we've conducted our investigations.
And that's where our hunt comes in. We met Tom at 1pm in Batsto Village so he could get a taste of old forgotten New Jersey town. Batsto was a pretty solid hot spot for Jersey Devil activity over the years, though we haven't had many recent sightings from that area. Still, it's got great history, and film crews tend to like the view, so it seemed like the appropriate starting point.
Since we managed to get to the village early enough for the shop to be open, we finally took a tour. For any of you out there that enjoy the history of old New Jersey towns, I recommend that you go through there! They've got a walk-through section of the visitor center that talks not only about the history of the Batsto Mansion and the families that lived there, but also goes through some of the interesting facts about the Pine Barrens in general. And best yet, the gift shop even comes with some Jersey Devil related items. Naturally, our group bought several "I saw the Jersey Devil" stickers! We also took Tom to some of the more woodsy areas that we've traveled through in the past. We brought him to the Batsto area where we tend to hear noises, and shared some of the stories for our previous hunts.
We then headed south and made our way to Egg Harbor, where we introduced Tom to the family that had the great sighting in February of 2004. We spent quite a good bit of time in this area, talking with the family, hearing their stories, and discussing some of the additional events that had taken place. We walked through their yard (they own a good large bit of property out there) and re-familiarized ourselves with the grounds. Tom agreed that there was no way a bear or a cougar could have been responsible for those prints that showed up on their roof, and wouldn't have been able to make the leap from tree to rooftop (Click here if you would like to read the sighting report).
After several hours, we decided it was time to wrap up. We set camera traps in the family's backyard with the intention of returning to download the photographs. Maybe we'll catch something on film this time?
What tour would be complete without Leeds Point? So right after we left the family in Egg Harbor, back to Leeds Point we went. Our first stop was dinner in JD's Pub. It was delightful. We were all so hungry at this point that they could have served us anything and we would have been happy! Still, JD's is known for providing some pretty excellent food, and that day they delivered again on that promise! Over dinner we discussed the future plans for filming and talked about some of the experiments that we will conduct with the Monster Quest crew on board. It's going to be like our normal investigations, only on metaphorical steroids. Their resources are incredible.
After dinner, we went out to see the house foundation and docks area of Leeds Point. Tom enjoyed the view of the Atlantic City skyline across the marshes of Leeds Point. Getting to the house foundation was a bit of a trek, and a reminder of why we try to avoid Devil Hunts in the summer. It was so thick and overgrown. Even the so-called 'clearings' were full of knee-deep weeds.
We headed back to JD's Pub for some post-hunt drinks and to discuss the future plans for filming. Oh, we're going to be a busy team over the next few months... The schedule will be undoubtedly intense! But we are very optimistic and everyone is looking forward to the outcome of this show.
We'll have more info on the show when it is finally aired, though we are most definitely looking at an air date no sooner than 2009. Jeff is creating a video blog of this hunt, which will be posted shortly!
Well, that's our story for Hunt #39. Questions? Comments? E-mail us at Contact@NJDevilHunters.com.
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