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8 Days: Weird Delaware?

October 24, 2008

I commented on a very nice post by Dominique about how nice Delaware is. I’ll be honest, I like Delaware. A lot. But, having grown up in South Jersey, I have to admit that there is something that DE seems to lack: weirdness. So, in honor of being in the single digits to Halloween, I’ll tell you some stories of the weird shit that Jersey had to offer, and ask you Delaware natives for some weird local stories.

The White Man

This legend seems to be localized to the area where I spent my pre-teen years. Tabernacle, NJ was out in the goddamn boondocks. The closest supermarket was 45 minutes away in Medford, though you could go to Nixon’s market for odds and ends or get you fresh produce from any one of 3 major farms in the area. Remote areas like Tabernacle was tend to be just the type of place where local legends rise.

The White Man was our small-town version of the boogeyman. His skin deathly white, wearing all-white clothing, usually a striaght-jacket and white pants. He is tall, close to 7 feet, but lanky and emaciated. You might think that, due to his skin tone, he was an albino, but he didn’t have the pale blue eyes, as he had no face at all.

According to the tale, he escaped from the local asylum in Ancora and wandered the local woods from Atco to Southampton, looking to vent his rage on people to unwise to keep out of the woods at night. Eeryone knew someone that saw him, including me. My brother told me a tale of a night he and his teenage friends were out drinking at the Carranza Memorial. Everyone had gotten into their cars and they were getting ready to go when one of the cars heard scratching on the door. None of the other cars were in reach.

They decided to high-tail it out of there when the same car heard furious scraching on the roof. The scratching shortly stopped then they felt the rear of the car dip as if something jumped off of it. In the rear-view mirror, the drive say a tall white figure running away from the car. True? Doubtful, as my brother always delighted in frightening me.

The Atco Ghost

Every town has this tale. On Atco Road, nect to Lake Inawendiwin, there is an intersection where it is told that a boy had died when he chased his ball into the road and was struck by a drunk driver. Now, if you go to that intersection, and turn off your headlights, you will see the ghost of the little boy chase his ball into the road, right in front of swerving oncoming headlights.

Abandoned Town

I wish I could remember the name of this small development that was left abandoned in the space of a day. The 8 or 10 houses were left in a state that seemed as if everyon had just picked up one evening and left, leaving all their belongings . Some of the houses even had half-eaten dinner plates still sitting on the table and some amature explorers had found very personal artifacts, such as clothing and picture albums. Shortly after the homes had been abandoned, the windows were boarded up and someone later pained windows shades on the boards. This ton was covere by a magazine called Weird N.J., and the number of people seeking it caused the local authorities to cordone off the area, arresting any trespassers.

A few years ago, the neighborhood was demolished. There were a number of rumors as to why the town was abandoned, the most fantastic was that the people were sacrificed by a satanic cult that used to use the area for their dark rituals. The most likely is that there was found to be a building code violation and the land was taken by the state, the people moved to another area. But what is the explanation for the state of he houses? Remnants of prepared food still on the tables, precious family belongings scattered about the area…

Sure, there are others: a grove of trees in the middle of a swamp that is decorated with tattered men’s dress shirts, odd decorations that appear on the tops of telephone poles during the night, a dwarf pine forest where the full-grown trees are less than 5 feet high, the Jersey Devil, the Blue Hole, and many odd abandoned iron ore towns jst waiting in the middle of the Pines to be found.

So, what kind of weird shit does Delaware have? Any run-down homes, satanic cults, spooky woods, or local monsters?

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6 Comments leave one →
  1. Ed T. permalink
    October 24, 2008 5:29 pm

    Need to check this out as well:

    http://www.offroaders.com/album/centralia/centralia.htm

    -E

  2. October 24, 2008 9:30 pm

    Ah, Centralia, the inspiration for the Silent Hill movie!

    I heard most of that town was eventually leveled. Still have a few occupied homes, some roads, and streetlamps, but it’s basically a ghost town.

  3. Ed T. permalink
    October 27, 2008 12:02 pm

    I also have a book called “Odd Delaware” that I will lend you. Will bring it to game with me on Wednesday.

    -Ed

  4. meatball permalink
    October 30, 2008 10:01 am

    Of course the Selbyville Swamp Monster turned out to be a hoax, but a good story none the less. Here’s a quick synopsis. Newspaper man wants to sell newspapers. Pays a guy to dress up like monster in the swamp and jump out at passing cars. Newspaper man writes about monster, sells papers. Dozens of Sussex rednecks fire off rounds into the swamp and organize search party. Sightings become much less frequent. 30 Years later swamp monster fesses up and still has original costume.

    I found this today http://www.delmarvanow.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=2008810300371

    Cape May- Lewes Ferry Terminal ghost stories.

  5. October 30, 2008 11:00 am

    meatball, that’s awesome! I’m goin to have to find more info on that.

    Good article, too. A paved-over graveyard is just the kind of thing I’m looking for!

  6. November 1, 2008 4:29 pm

    Thanks for the great info! Too Shy to Stop writer Adrian Wirstiuk just wrote a piece about Weird N.J. magazine in celebration of Halloween. You can read the article here.

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