Rutgers Rarities Investigations

In addition to reporting coincidental personal experiences and occurrences and collecting stories from the general public, Rutgers Rarities is approaching rarities and unexplained phenomena in a more pro-active way. Research is being conducted on the history of the Rutgers community as well as New Brunswick, Piscataway, and the immediate surrounding areas. Based on various leads, Rutgers Rarities investigations are currently being conducted. The "Investigations" section will be used to document some of the more interesting locations that have been explored by providing a series of brief summaries and accompanying images. This page will be updated frequently as additional areas are investigated. Account-worthy stories will be written up for the Incidents, First-Hand Accounts and Stories section, while significant interviews and items of interest will be included in the applicable sections.

Due to the high volume of recent Rutgers Rarities investigations, this section has been divided into three separate investigations pages:

Rutgers Rarities Investigations Menu
Rutgers Rarities Investigations Page I
Rutgers Rarities Investigations Page II
Rutgers Rarities Investigations Page III
Rutgers Rarities Investigations Page IV
Rutgers Rarities Investigations Page V

Private Dick - Dark Shadows at Walters Hall

All along the watchtower, the security guard of Walters Hall.

If you should chance to stroll behind the May Duff Walters Hall on Douglass, home to the theater arts studios of Mason Gross, be prepared for an eerie guardsman who appears to look out upon Antilles Field from the 2nd floor. This strange silhouette, spotted by the RR Team when investigating the area, is startling to behold when unprepared. The figure, which is clearly a prop cleverly placed inside the rear building window, resembles nothing so much as Dick Tracy gazing perplexedly upon the woodsy campus. When one member of the RR Team (who shall remain nameless) first saw the dark silhouette she demonstrated true bravery and a noble, self-sacrificing spirit as she shrieked and tried to hide behind the other member of the Team. Dick Tracy was a scary movie after all, Warren Beatty, Madonna, Dick Van Dyke..aahhhh!

The stoic guard watches over Antilles Field. One image shows a strange reflection from the trees. Mr. Tracy better get on that.

Un-Bear-Ably Refreshing - The Poland Springs Bear

The Poland Springs/Great Bear polar watch-bear protecting the crystal waters.

Who would have ever thought that Poland Springs would be found in Bound Brook, NJ? And who would have ever thought that the dauntless RR Team would spot a Polar Bear guarding these precious waters? Yet, one recent snowy night the Team thought that they were dreaming when they spotted what looked like a giant bear poised for action in front of one of the largest Poland Springs and Great Bear Water bottling facilities in the country.

According to the Great Bear Water Company website:
"Legend has it that the father of Hiawatha, the hero of Longfellow's poem, met and vanquished a large bear. Exhausted and in dire need of water, the warrior sought out a spring in the area known to his tribe. Giving thanks to the god of water for his drink, he named the spring Mishemokwa meaning great bear, in honor of his victory."

If you are ever in nearby Bound Brook be sure to stop by and pay this great white rarity his due. After all, who can resist a bear named Mishemokwa?

The RR Team pays homage to the bear who put the "rare" in "Great Bear".

Key Master - The Watchman's Box of Douglass Campus

The historic watchman's box holds the key, but location of the watchman's lock might never be found.

After hearing stories of ghostly piano music playing late into the night at the Stephanie Morris Marryott Music Building on Douglass Campus, the RR Team decided to investigate this artsy campus corner which includes the Nicholas Music Center and the Music Annex Building. Alas, not an eerie note was heard, but the find of the evening was an odd little metal box located outside of the Annex that was imprinted with the words "Detex Watchclock Station". Inside of the little box was an old-fashioned key attached to the box by a rusted chain. "Ah hah" thought co-investigator Jess, "now we have the key- but where is the lock?"

This question plagued the Team on the rest of their investigation and led them to explore the many nooks and crannies of the easternmost fringes of Douglass. It took the wonders of the Internet to answer the question of the box, which turned out to be in fact a true "station" or an actual "Night-Watch Man"s Stop". It seems that in the early 20th Century the method to ensure that the Night-Watch Man was performing his rounds in the evening was to make him "check in" at various points by stopping at one of these boxes (usually soldered to a lamppost) and turning the key in a portable clock that the Night-Watch Man would carry. The time that the key was turned would be marked in the portable Watchclock and the Night-Watch Man would turn a "marked" Watchclock at the end of his rounds to demonstrate when and where he stopped at the various "Stations". This little metal box was the remnant of a non-electrical system that was commonly used in the 1920's to help record Watches or Patrols in secured areas.

Undoubtedly, the "lock" that the Team so eagerly sought to match with their key has long since been retired, along with the spirit of the old Night-Watch Man who made his rounds at Douglass long ago.

The Music Building and the site under the Music Annex overpass where the watchman's box was found.

The view of New Brunswick behind the music annex.

I Don't Know Why The Caged Rabbits Sing - Douglass Rabbits

The rabbit cages behind the facility maintenance building on Douglass near the #1
RR Hotspot.

The RR Team has yet another oddity to report in the University Inn vicinity: large pet rabbits. While this may sound very far from odd, bear with us here as we describe the bunnies" location on Douglass. Across from the University Inn parking lot and closer to the woods that line Route 18, there is a facilities building that seems to have a lot of debris strewn around. There are old mattresses, furniture and clothes just sort of scattered behind the small building. Upon further examination of this cluttered area, it was discovered that there are three very large (maybe 3 x5 foot) coops/huts made out of chicken wire and wood directly attached to the back of the building. These huts seem as though someone was trying to hide them as they very difficult to get at as there are large bushes obscuring the space around the huts and there is hardly even any room to get up to them. Inside these strangely-placed coops are several extremely large rabbits, one albino and a few dark brown ones.

The coops are fairly elaborate set-ups with wooden roofs, separate rooms, water feeding bottles and obvious signs of maintenance. The bunnies themselves were huge, fat and frisky. I would not be surprised if each one weighed at least 25 pounds. The albino in particular was very friendly and took a liking to Co-Investigator Ray and would try to sniff and nibble at his hands. There were also leashes (for walking the rabbits?) and tons of pellets.

Why is someone raising rabbits behind the University Inn Facilities Building on Douglass? On Cook Campus this would not seem strange but why in this small, tight obscure spot on Douglass? Who is raising them and for what purpose? The huge size of these rabbits suggests to me an experiment in animal husbandry and again, maybe on Cook Campus...but surely not in this odd spot. The RR team just hopes that nobody is fattening them up for a nice warm stew in the cold winter months. If anyone knows whose rabbits these are, please drop us a line. Once more, it"s nice to know that the University Inn area is just full of interesting denizens who are hardly expected in an urban college setting.

The fiesty albino pet rabbit - a favorite of the RR team.

The brown and black rabbits of the back cages are big mammer jammers - what are they feeding this monsters?

Human Pig Rats of Cook Campus...Or Something Like That

Site of the pig rats on the farm at Cook Campus.

The animal farm on Cook always seems kinda nice by day. The goats are usually out playing and the horses can be seen basking in the sun. The cows and pigs are a little smelly and less pastoral but overall the farm seems like a pretty cheery spot. By night, however the place is a scary haven of weird sights and sounds and of course, bad smells. Late one evening Ray and I were strolling down College Farm Road and turned onto Sheepfold Lane as we heard a rather strange loud banging sound. It was repetitive sound that sounded like a loud clanging of metal and it came from the pig run/silo area.

As we got closer we could hear it louder and we assumed that it was something normal or possibly mechanical, it was so regular sounding, albeit very loud across the otherwise quiet farm area. However, as we got closer we heard other sounds between the clangs and those sounds were rather disturbing. They were these incredible high-pitched squealing-hissing noises that sounded nothing so much as like the cross between a pig"s squeal and a rat"s squeak. There was also a sort of "hssst" to the sounds as well. As I had seen many rats there during the day, I thought maybe it was their noises, but after a while I realized that these noises were being made by many creatures and if it was rats then there had to be a huge congregation of them squealing and hissing in concert. Upon a closer look into the pig silo area, Ray and I made out these large hairy dim shapes that were most likely the pigs, but they seemed rather strangely shaped. The weird sounds, bad smells and overall creepiness of the place made Ray and I decide to get outta there, convinced that there were some animal experiments in progress and that a hybrid mutant Rat-Pig-human creature was lurking in the dark repeatedly banging its head on its water bowl and calling to its mutant brethren. Eeegh.

De-Mural-izing Images

The South Plainfield mural tells stories of industry, killer trees, ice cream, passion, hatred, disdain, and life. It also appears that some sort of giant bird added its creative input.

A strange mural depicting people at work and play was noted by the RR Team when driving through South Plainfield on Oak Tree Road. The mural, which is on the side of a Commerce Bank, features some scary people doing rather scary things to a large tree. If this is community artwork at its finest then all we can say is will somebody just tag that sh*t!

Two mural panels with one featuring the kid who wants five scoops of ice cream. The health-conscious dad, who has no face, still shows an expression of pain due to his clear inability to say "no" to his little boy.

A construction worker struggles to complete the time machine to prevent the birth of the evil tree which has taken over the land. A co-worker looks on, knowing there is little hope.

Somebody's Watchung

A strange castle sits amidst the Watchung Mountains.

A creepy abandoned-looking castle exists on Washington Drive near the Watchung Mountain Reserve in Greenbrook, NJ. It"s in a residential area where the surrounding properties, although huge, look fairly typical. The Castle was noted by the Team as they wound their way around these purportedly haunted woods on a recent cold but crystalline evening. In one of the pictures an image was captured that appeared to be an orb. The jury is out on whether this place needs some further investigation...

Almost every picture of the castle captures images of orbs, a coincidence - who knows?

Getting closer and closer to the castle, the orbs are still present. One of the most interesting features of the castle is the matching garage.

Castle Grayskull on the Banks

The Raritan Castle stands on the banks of the Raritan River - a daunting archeological structure that manages to turn back the clock to medeival times.

An impromptu investigation took place when the RR Team made a wrong turn while attempting to go to Duke Island Park and happened upon an odd Castle-like structure that overhangs the Raritan's Northern bank. Some research has proven that this odd, barbed-wire encrusted affair is in fact a pumping station that belonged to the now-deceased Duke family. The "castle" dates from 1909 when James Buchanan Duke decided that his estate needed a 2 million gallon emergency water reserve, just in case, cause ya' never know. The RR Team found the Castle, ahem, pumping station and the nearby suspension bridge to be picturesque, yet strange. Maybe it was all the rusty barbed wire, or maybe it was the random strangers walking by, stopping at the water's edge and seemingly deciding to stick with life, that made us pause and wonder what really lies beneath all that moldering stone. If you should happen to be in a dreary, lemming-like state of mind, the RR Team doesn't neccesar ily reccomend this site- however if you've got some grappling hooks and up-to-date tetanus shots, give us a yell- we're game, or at least completely unafraid of lock-jaw.

Looking out at the Raritan Castle and the currently closed down suspension bridge and factory surrounding it.

Closeups of the castle walls demonstrate its magnificence - each stone in its place.

Instead of the traditional moat, the Raritan Castle keeps people out by using ye olde barbed wire fence.

The not-so-medeival door to the castle which dons the number four (imagine giving someone directions to this place yeah, meet me at 4 Raritan will I know which place that is...just look for the number...what if I don't see the number?...oh, yeah, let me think, I guess I can try to describe it to you, hmmm, well, it's kind of a giant castle, uh, I don't know; give me a call when you're close). Also, a closeup view of the suspension bridge, currently suspended from pedestrian use.

The Devil's Playground

The eerie site on the docks next to the Kin-Buc Landfill in Edison near where the Jersey Devil sighting was reported exclusively to Rutgers Rarities by Frank and Janet M.

After hearing the amazing Jersey Devil account from Janet and Frank, who encountered a strange, flying, glowing, horse-like creature in the basin of the former Edison Quarry, the RR Team decided to conduct our own investigation of the site. We found the place just at the end of Meadows Road in Edison, courtesy of Janet"s excellent directions and we were immediately impressed by the creepiness of landfill area which leads right into the Raritan River. Some background research indicated that the Kin-Buc landfill is from the early 1940's and that while the initial contents of the landfill came from a stone quarry in northern jersey and were considered relatively harmless, the EPA listed the Kin-Buc site in the 1980's as a major toxic fill site, with serious environmental implications. When the RR team pulled into the lot/dock area that is directly connected to the Raritan, we saw how placid the water seemed at this point of the Raritan and we saw that the landfill itself towers over the flat area, creating an atmosphere of marshy beach front w/large garbage-filled cliffs. How Jersey-like. In any case, Co-investigator Ray was struck by the sudden flashes of light that beamed off the top of the landfill heaps and it was while staring out across the water and attempting to determine if these lights were regular security beams or something else, that he noticed some larger green lights that seemed to glow across the water. Recalling that Frank & Janet described their creature as surrounded with a "transparent, green glow", Ray snapped of a few pics of the unidentified green light source. It seemed stationary, but the Team is still uncertain as to the source of the light as the area it emanates from is part of the landfill wasteland and could hardly be a business or residential area.

As the team was heading out over to the quarry site immediately next to the waterfront area, we noticed the movement of a large creature in the marshy brush that bordered the water. Flashing our car lights on a parting in the woods, we both made out the image of a dog-like, elongated head of an animal that was maybe 4 feet tall. We snapped many pictures but the creature moved off very quickly and silently. We heard nothing of its passing and in retrospect we both felt that the head of the creature looked weird. It could have possibly been a deer, or even some sort of wild dog, but again, the team is unsure what they saw and after reviewing our pictures, we are even more uncertain as the image we captured looks weirder and weirder after some adjustments of the light contrasts in the pic. The basin of the quarry itself was occupied by a large industrial building, but we were still able to locate the spot that Frank and Janet identified as where they were on that fateful night. It"s easy to se why the couple were so startled at the approach of the creature as the "cliff" right behind the quarry is at least 20-30 feet high and there is simply no way anything could approach without being able to fly or at least fall down the cliff. The lot, even with the factory, is huge and flat. You can see in all directions and again, a large glowing creature would be impossible to miss in this scene.

Really, the spot seemed to the RR team to be an excellent vantage point to observe the Edison portion of the Raritan and skygaze. There are definitely some odd lights in this desolate industrial area and clearly some animal life does still exist. The question is what type of creature would make this toxic and polluted environment its home? With the water and garbage mounds, we're thinking maybe Godzilla. If anyone has a story or has seen anything strange in this area, please drop us a line. we're sure that this place breeds strangeness.

Views of the water from right to left. The Hilton Towers can be seen in the background and a large gazebo looks to be part of a picnic area along the water.

Views of the structure and the canal that runs to the left of it toward the front entrance of the Kin-Buc Landfill.

The canal contines as the landfill can be seen - a smoldering mound of garbage - behind it.

Another shot across the river from the docks (left). When part of the image is further enhanced (right), a strange green glow is noticeable in the distance, where there appear to be no commercial or residential areas.

An opening in the woods leading toward the landfill. It was at this location that the RR Team saw a creature lurking around (left). An enhanced image of the opening is shown (right).

After locating the specific site of the Jersey Devil sighting by Frank and Janet, pictures were taken from the top of the "cliff" from which the creature was believed to have swooped down. This is the original site of the rock quarry described in the account.

After venturing to the bottom of the "cliff", more pictures were taken to capture the dropoff and the strange modern day road ahead.

Pure Genius & A Creepy Friendship: The Edison Bulb Investigation

The Edison Monument sits high atop an obscure residential area, illuminating the site of his former laboratory.

It goes like this: while in pursuit of the strange and unexplainable late one evening, the RR Team found themselves driving alongside the Metro Park station area in Menlo Park/Edison. It was getting late, we were feeling tired and Co-Investigator Ray was starting to look rather frozen over -he always gets this glazed look after hours of being driven in my car with cold air incessantly blowing in his face (hey, I like it cold). As we were staring at the rail line and noting that this night"s investigations were coming to a grinding halt, suddenly I saw a light bulb literally appear above Ray"s head. And no, Ray wasn"t just being brilliant. It was a bona-fide, incandescent light bulb that was glowing high in the sky and it seemed to be the sure sign of something strange that the Team was waiting for this night. We followed the beacon, puzzling over old memories of "something about Edison and light bulbs- what was that old story? Oh yeah, Edison invented the light bulb and here we are in Edison, does this mean something?". It was during this highly intellectual exchange that the keen and swift Team literally stumbled upon the work of a fellow genius; our lightbulb was in fact a huge memorial to Thomas Alva Edison that was comprised of a 131-foot tower topped with a 13-foot incandescent light bulb. The sight was impressive and we quickly pulled over to get some shots of this rather odd memorial that we later found out was built in 1937 on the exact spot where Edison"s labs stood. We also found out that Ford was one of Edison"s greatest admirers and even tried to "capture" Edison"s last breath (seriously, it"s true) by having Edison"s son hold a test tube over Edison"s mouth when he died and "capturing" any air that might have been released. You can actually see this test-tube in the Ford Museum in Detroit, along with Ford"s replication of Edison"s Menlo Park Labs, complete with some authentic Edison Jersey soil transported by railcar to Dearborn, MI. Creepy, creepy friendship aside, please check out this tower as it"s an amazing old memorial, especially when glowing at night. It also appears to be deteriorating as it"s a little crumbly and there have been concerns noted online by several historical groups that the Memorial Tower may need some saving. The RR Team was happy to have found this nearby monument which has inspired further genius yet to our project- and has made me, for one, ponder the question of what exactly the good folk of Edison were memorializing with this very phallic-like tower that continues to flame on...

Views of the giant light bulb monument, where carvings and plaques shed some light on the scientist's interesting life.

A small museum and gift shop dedicated to the namesake of Edison, NJ.

A strange path through the woods with wooden posts providing information about the life and times? A tombstone-like plaque with an engraving of Mr. Edison (who may have stopped by to greet RR in the form of an orb)? Great men throughout American history have traditionally been honored - George Washington with the dollar bill, DC monument, a college among other things - Ben Franklin on the Benjamin, his own institute to name a few - Thomas Alva Edison - a giant light bulb and a path through through the woods on a hill in the middle of Dirty Jersey.

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©Rutgers Rarities and Unexplained Phenomena, 2005