Monday, January 5, 2009

The Stone Living Room

Up in the Mountains of West Milford, NJ is a mystery of the rock type.

There stands the Stone Living Room. Some believe it was a meeting place for Native Americans, some believe it was a spot of satanic worship, some believe it was created by a guy and his friends back in the 70s. But all believe it is one of the greatest Weird New Jersey spots.

My story of the stone living room starts with my friends, that were part of the musical I was in at school. When there wasn't practice we would go to many Weird NJ places. So one day we decided to search for the Stone Living Room.

We went on our way and drove up to West Milford to find this elusive place. As we drove down a windy mountain road, we found a parking spot and started our 1 mile hike up a steep mountain. We kept getting higher and higher, not knowing if the place was really there. But as we came to the top, we saw it there staring right at us.

As we sat there, staring off the mountain at the beautiful view. No one said it, but we all agreed that this is what Weird NJ is all about.

Sunday, January 4, 2009

What is Weird NJ?

Weird NJ began in 1989 as a personal newsletter sent to friends by Mark Moran and Mark Sceurman. Gradually it evolved from a fanzine into a public magazine published twice a year in May and October. Abandoned places, creepy experiences, unique people, and strange landmarks were and still are common subjects for the magazine. Past issues have covered everything from the Jersey Devil and UFO sightings to abandoned Nike missile silos and the life of Zip the Pinhead.

In 2003, the Marks started Weird US after noticing there were weird things outside their home state. 

In 2004, they got their own show on the History Channel about their Weird US stories. 

Ever since its' beginning, Weird NJ has gained more and more of a following. Some good and some really bad.

The Marks magazine is often blamed by teenagers trespassing and defiling different sites. This led to them putting a disclaimer saying Weird NJ is not responsible for others actions and they put out warnings telling people not to go to certain places or get arrested.

Gingerbread Castle

"Most every American knows the major theme parks -- Six Flags, Paramount, and the various Disney establishments. But for decades, the American landscape was dotted with also-rans with names like "Jungle Habitat," "Space Farms," and "Fairy Tale Forest." These parks were aimed at children too young for the giant roller coasters of the major parks, and to their families looking for an outing without having to drive across the state. Nestled in the woods of northern New Jersey is such a place. Known as Gingerbread Castle, this park is tucked away along an unremarkable rural road in Sussex County, New Jersey. Built in 1930 by F.H. Bennett, it uses a life-sized castle to tell the story of "Hansel and Gretel." It also featured other stories, and even had a miniature railroad for the children to ride. The property actually started out as a flour mill in 1808. When that enterprise became unprofitable, a wire and cable factory was erected on the property. This was an important turn of events because the owners used their plastics to make several plastic dinosaurs which adorned the property. As children came to visit, more dinosaurs were added, and then eventually the Gingerbread Castle, itself.
Some time in the 1980's, the Gingerbread Castle fell into a serious state of disrepair. Eventually, the property was only used as a haunted house attraction during Halloween. But in the early 21st century, there was a renewed interest in the property. A man by the name of Frank Hinger bought the property and began a series of fundraisers to help fix it up."

Eastern State Penitentiary

I took a trip to Eastern State Penitentiary back in July and had a blast exploring the place. One of the reasons I loved it so much was the thought that Ghost Hunters(one of my favorite shows) caught some great evidence there. The past is greatly preserved there and you can really feel the different moods in the air. 

Pictures taken by: Tony Brandao



Weird NJ Video #1

Here is the video of places I have been in Weird NJ. Not everything is in there but I'll update this blog with more sights and stories.

Ye Olde Village Trader(Part 2)

Then there is the lady who runs the store.....

See those swords and stuff behind her? She tried to get me to buy them because they were on sale and I was just browsing. There was also a confederate soldier guy there buying swords for his re-enactments. 

That's it for now about this Weird place.

Ye Olde Village Trader(Part 1)

First off, I would like to say hello to everyone out there in Blog land.

Our first story will not take place in New Jersey, but not to far away. 

In Pennsylvania, there is a shop were it is so old it's falling apart. 

They sell every random thing you can possibly imagine

Where the back room is kind of creepy......