New Jersey Attractions Worth Seeing

New Jersey attractions are varied and diverse. Where a visitor may be attracted to a question of what generally interests him or her in the first place. This state is located in the mid-Atlantic portion of the United States of America bordered by the state of New York and on the other side by the Atlantic Ocean. There are many different places that one can visit in order to fully appreciate the state. These include historical sites, fun places and other interesting areas that are considered attractive to people who are visiting the state. There are many to choose from and explore during one's stay in the state. It is best to do some research first and find out what can be interesting here.

Historical Places

Not many people know this but the state has a lot of history to boast about. Some of the historical attractions here include parks, lighthouses, museums and entire or partial villages, which have a lot of history in them. The state is, after all, known as the Crossroads of the American Revolution. Notable lighthouses include, but are not limited to, the Absecon Lighthouse, Barnegat Lighthouse and the Cape May Lighthouse. The first one is the tallest one in the state while the others also have a rich historical contribution to the area. Some of the parks here house the different areas where battles were gone and won as well as residences and offices of people who are a part of the American history. Some of the residents of the state also stage battle battles during crucible seasons to reenact the real battles that their forefathers thought. The New Jersey battleship has an arsenal of artifacts and historical items that can make one appreciate the valor and courage of the American people.

Entertainment

For the amusement and entertainment of members of the family, New Jersey offers attractions for both children and adults. There are numerous beaches to enjoy as well as several casinos in the area where adults can have their fill of thrill and fun. Ocean City is noted for having miles of beautiful beaches and a variety of things to do in and out of the water. There are many different places to shop and choose souvenirs from as well as eat and enjoy the local fare. Children and adults alike will also enjoy Six Flags Great Adventure and Wild Safari, which have different rides and entertainment fare for people of all ages. It is supposed to be the largest theme park in the United States of America. It offers a total of three parks and a couple of hundred thrilling rides. A wild safari drive through is also another thing that may attract people to Six Flags. Atlantic City is well known for its casino offerings that can captivate and enthrall adults for days. There are numerous popular casinos here that one can visit and try one's luck. Apart from the casinos, Atlantic City also has the boardwalk, which can be entertaining for those who do not wish to try their luck at the casinos.

Haunted Travel Destinations in New Jersey

Whether looking to visit or buy a new home in New Jersey, you may want to know about the state’s haunted sites. New Jersey is a pretty state and has much history attached to it. It’s located along the east coast and many of the local towns have reported a lot of paranormal activity. Many of these places are private and not open to the public, but there are quite a few that have guided tours available for the curious. If you are moving to New Jersey then it is a good idea to get to know the state’s best haunts, don’t you think?

Many of the homes in Cape May, New Jersey are reported to be haunted so this is where you may want to start on your quest for the best haunted places in New Jersey. There are a couple of bed and breakfasts and a restaurant that are haunted to choose from. The restaurant is a Cape May establishment and a baby is reported to haunt the place. The story goes that the baby was murdered in her crib, and images of the baby appear in pictures there that were taken in the 1900’s. Guest and employees alike have reported feeling the baby’s presence.

If you are looking at new homes in New Jersey, but aren’t sure where you want to live yet, you can always venture out onto Combs Hollow Rd. The story goes that a young woman was killed while jogging along that road by a hit and run driver. Later that night the man killed himself and is said to haunt the bridge where it happened. People have reported seeing him on the bridge around midnight as they were crossing.

Another road in New Jersey that is reportedly haunted is Shelly Drive. Shelly Drive is located in a subdivision in the town of New Monmouth. According to legend, a British spy was shot and killed by his own men on that road. He is rumored to still be roaming the neighborhood, playing his flute and wondering why he was shot at by his own troops. Residents of the neighborhood have heard him playing and walking along the road.

There are many places that are rumored to be haunted in New Jersey. From old prisons to bed and breakfasts and even many private homes, the ghosts of the past are alive and well in this lovely state, there for everyone to seek and find.

Joseph Bonaparte and The New Jersey Devil

Joseph Bonaparte and The New Jersey Devil:

“Commodore Stephen Decatur was an American naval hero in the early nineteenth century. According to legend, he visited the Hanover Mill Works to inspect his cannonballs being forged. While there, he visited a firing range and sighted a flying creature flapping its wings. He fired a cannonball directly upon it. It had no effect and the creature flew away.

Joseph Bonaparte, the brother of Napoleon Bonaparte and former King of Spain, was reported to have seen the Devil. The incident took place in Bordentown, New Jersey while he was game hunting in the nearby woods.

The infamous Captain Kidd is reputed to have buried treasure in Barnegat Bay. Legend has it he beheaded one of his men to guard forever his buried treasure. Accounts claim the headless pirate and the Jersey Devil became friends and were seen in the evenings walking along the Atlantic and in nearby marshlands.

In Clayton, New Jersey, the Devil was chased by a posse to the edge of a wooded area. The Devil fled into the wood. The posse, afraid to pursue him, halted and declared ‘if you’re the Devil, rattle your chains.’

The Devil’s taste varies. He was seen cavorting at sea with a mermaid in 1870. And he is reputed to have had a ham and egg breakfast with a Republican – Judge French. But the Devil is not known to have specific political leanings.

The Devil’s sightings have covered great geographic distances. – from Bridgeton to Haddonfield in 1859; to the New York border in 1899; and from Gloucester City to Trenton in 1909. Until this time, tales of the Devil were passed by word-of-mouth. However, published police and newspaper accounts during a famous week in January of 1909 took the story of the Devil from folk belief to authentic folk legend. Thirty different sightings in a one-week period told of the Devil sailing across the Delaware River to Maryland, Pennsylvania and Delaware. Newspaper articles created a near panic in the region.

Theory and the Devil

After the 1909 appearances, the scientific community was asked for possible explanations. Reportedly, science professors from Philadelphia and experts from the Smithsonian Institution thought the Devil to be a prehistoric creature from the Jurassic period. Had the creature survived in nearby limestone caves? Was it a pterodactyl or a peleosaurus? New York scientists thought it to be a marsupial carnivore. Was it an extinct fissiped? However, the Academy of Natural Sciences in Philadelphia could not locate any record of a living of dead species resembling the Jersey Devil.” (2)

There is a remote ‘possibility’ that the Hapsburgs and Randolphs or other Merovingian sorcerers who live in the upper Chesapeake area have something to do with this Devil. Some of their rituals definitely involve the invocation of Asmodeus or other elementals that some call demons. They also claim to be able to shape-shift but I suspect they are involved in projecting hallucinations or what is called mind-fogging. In any event it is interesting to find Napoleon’s brother living in these parts of America.

New Jersey Home Remodeling

The U.S. state of New Jersey lies on the Eastern seaboard, with New York to its north and northeast, and Delaware and Pennsylvania to its west. New Jersey became heavily industrialized soon after the Revolutionary War, with the building of canals and railroads. It retained its position as a heavily industrialized state well after World War II. However, it is now better known as a commuters’ state, because many people who live in New Jersey commute to work in New York City, Delaware, and Pennsylvania. People prefer to buy homes in the suburbs of New Jersey’s cities and travel to work in other states.

At Total Remodeling, we have done several home remodeling projects in New Jersey. Since New Jersey was one of the original 13 colonies, its craftsmen, architects, and designers absorbed several styles that were popular in the colonial period and also copied Victorian examples. Many homes in New Jersey have been built in the Neoclassical and Victorian styles. Most homes in New Jersey are built of wood, and since New Jersey is bordered on the east by the Atlantic Ocean, the wood does tend to show signs of wear and tear within a few years.

Total Remodeling has done several projects in New Jersey using vinyl siding and roofing products, as well as doors and windows. We have used modern home remodeling products to give a new look to homes designed in the Victorian style. For example, we used vinyl siding products to finish a Second Empire French Victorian house in Maplewood, New Jersey, and received an award for our efforts. The vinyl siding products we use–System 2000 and Elite–replicate the look of cedar clapboard but require less maintenance. Our skilled craftsmen were also able to add and emphasize authentic period details that enhanced the look of the house.

Many homeowners in New Jersey have consulted us on home remodeling projects when they planned to sell their homes. One of our home remodeling projects in New Jersey was for a couple whose children had just joined college–this project took us four years to complete. At the end of this project, the couple hoped to sell their home of 15 years for at least $300,000, which was the closing price in their locality. They closed the sale of their home at $410,000.

Whether or not you plan to sell your home or live in it for the rest of your days, you can always consult us at Total Remodeling for your home remodeling needs.

Juvenile Court in New Jersey

Juvenile cases in New Jersey differ greatly from cases involving adults. The goal of the juvenile justice system, the rights which juvenile defendants have, the procedures which police and courts must follow, the facilities in which juveniles are detained, the roles of the defense lawyer and the judge, and many other aspects of juvenile jurisprudence are all significantly different from the adult criminal system.

Even the Juvenile Court is separate. Juvenile cases are handled in the Family Division, not the Criminal Division, of Superior Court. In a growing number of counties, such as Essex, Family Court matters are heard in a separate building from the criminal courts.

The goal of Juvenile Court is to rehabilitate. By definition, the adult penal system contains an element of punishment. The juvenile system, on the other hand, is designed to rehabilitate the youth, rather than punish the criminal act. Thus, the case will not be called “State vs. Jane Doe”, but “The State of New Jersey in the Interest of Jane Doe, a juvenile.”

A juvenile case begins with a determination of probable cause. When a person under the age of 18 is accused of committing an offense, the matter is brought to a court’s attention. This is usually the municipal court, and the matter is brought usually, although not always, by the police. Then, a judge or court official such as the Court Administrator or Clerk must determine that there is probable cause to think that the juvenile has been delinquent, s/he can be taken into custody.

Juvenile charges are brought in the county where the juvenile resides, rather than where the offense occurred. In appropriate cases, a judge will grant the juvenile’s lawyer’s motion to transfer the case to the county of the offense. While the New Jersey’s twenty-one counties should strive for uniformity in the handling of juvenile cases, this is not always achieved.

Juveniles are not arrested; they are detained. They are, according to law, taken in into custody for their own protection. Parents or guardians must be notified without delay. Juveniles may not be detained in the same facility, or even the same police car, as adult suspects. They will be given a “detention hearing” by the morning following their detention to determine whether it will be safe to return the juvenile to the custody of the parent or guardian while the matter is pending.

While in custody, a juvenile is brought before a judge at least once every three weeks, to review the need for continued detention. Sometimes juveniles are released to home, but subject to home confinement, electronic monitoring, curfews, continued employment or school, or other conditions imposed by the court.

A form called a “5A Notice” is sent to the parent(s) or guardian early in the case. This is the Family Court’s summons for the parent(s) and juvenile to appear and also to file an application for a Public Defender. The form is a bit confusing, and the various counties treat the 5A hearings differently.

A juvenile must have an attorney, and a Public Defender will be appointed for a juvenile whose family cannot afford to retain a “private” lawyer. Public defenders are lawyers who are available to low-income families at little or no cost. They are usually experienced in juvenile law and are familiar with the courts. Many of them are excellent lawyers. In most NJ counties defendants and their parent(s) or guardian(s) must appear at the “5A Hearing,” even if they intend to hire a lawyer, as the state or the court may require “intake” information or procedures such as fingerprinting.

Juveniles have no right to a trial by jury; juvenile trials are heard by a judge without a jury. The rules of trial in juvenile court are different from adult court, and at sentencing, the judge has many options that are unavailable to adult defendants. Most juvenile cases are settled, however without a trial.

New Jersey’s juvenile justice system provides many diverse options for rehabilitating the youth. The system strives to understand each defendant and to treat each as an individual. In counties such as Essex and Union, where there are several judges sitting in the Juvenile part, repeat offenders are usually scheduled to appear before the same judge, often with the same prosecutor. In appropriate cases, there are programs and plea bargains that allow for dismissals and downgrades, intensive supervision, probation, job training, substance abuse remediation, pyromania counseling, anger management, and much more. An experienced juvenile attorney can often help fashion a resolution that makes sense.

Not all juveniles are tried in juvenile court. Some are “waived up” to adult court where they receive adult court treatment and are exposed to adult penalties. Among the factors a court will consider in determining whether to waive a juvenile up to adult court are the gravity of the crime, the juvenile’s age, history, gang affiliation, and the involvement of “adult” instrumentalities such as firearms, motor vehicles, and sexual activity. Offenders convicted as juveniles are not sent to prison, but to places with names like The Training School for Boys, and custodial juvenile sentences do not exceed five years. Cases that are waived up expose the youth to penalties ranging to twenty years in prison, and even more.

Juvenile records, that is, records of the juvenile offense, “disappear” once the juvenile turns eighteen. That is not exactly true – the records remain available for certain purposes, but may not generally be disclosed. Subject to some very rare exceptions, no employers, schools or government officials may inquire about a juvenile record. Juvenile records may be expunged, later on, in most cases. Consult an attorney.

Experienced New Jersey juvenile lawyers know that the juvenile justice system favors the youth who make efforts to improve, and who shows promise for a law-abiding future. Supportive families, success in school, part-time or full-time employment, involvement organized community, religious or athletic activities all suggest that the youth has a significant likelihood of rehabilitation. Juveniles with these advantages benefit most from the non-penal philosophy of the juvenile system.

Families seeking a private attorney should look for an attorney experienced in juvenile court matters. The family can help the case by appearing in court, by trying to keep the juvenile out of trouble, and by providing alternative activities and moral support to the juvenile. The juvenile’s attorney should work towards a resolution that is realistic and rehabilitative, one that has a chance of succeeding. Sensitive handling of juvenile criminal matters may be the difference that saves an imperiled juvenile.

New Jersey’s Tax Exemption And Abatement Laws

P.L.1991, c.431 with final retroactive amendments effective August 5, 1992 consolidated, into one more flexible law, the various long term tax exemption laws under which municipalities may agree with private entities to undertake redevelopment projects in return for tax exemptions.
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P.L.1991, c.441, effective for the first full tax year commencing after its January 18, 1992 enactment, consolidated the various five-year tax abatement and exemption laws into one, more standardized law to govern all tax abatements and exemption regardless of the type of structure.
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Long Term Tax Exemption Law

Prior to 1993, which was the first full year of operation governed by the new Long Term Tax Exemption Law, under the provisions of N.J.S.A.40:55C-40, the “Urban Renewal Corporation and Association Law of 1961,” commonly known as the Fox-Lance Act, a qualified municipality (a municipality with “areas in need of rehabilitation”) could abate from 15 to 20 years the taxes on newly constructed industrial, commercial, cultural, or residential projects of a corporation, with profits in excess of the limited profits returned to the municipality, or from 30 to 35 years for condominium projects.
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Condominium projects were given 30 to 35 years in order to provide a realistic period for permanent financing. Also, prior to 1993 under the provisions of N.J.S.A.55:16-1 et seq., the “Limited-Dividend Nonprofit Housing Corporation or Association Law,” a qualified municipality could abate for up to 50 years the taxes on newly constructed housing.
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Further, under N.J.S.A.55:14I-1 et seq., a qualified municipality could abate for up to 50 years the taxes on newly constructed senior housing. Lastly, prior to 1993, under the provisions of N.J.S.A.40:55C-77, the “Urban Renewal Nonprofit Corporation Law of 1965,” basically the same types of properties and projects as the Fox-Lance Act could be abated for 20 to 25 years with all profits being returned to the municipality. In all cases under these property tax exemption laws in-lieu of tax payments were required.
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Commencing in 1993 the provisions of N.J.S.A.40A:20-1 et seq. permitted a qualified municipality to abate the taxes on properties and projects in the same way the pre 1993 law did with the following notable exceptions:

A new, flexible in-lieu of tax formula was established with a phasing-in of payments in-lieu of taxes to occur under both the percent of gross rental formula and the percent of total project cost formula.
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The formulas for computing payment in-lieu of taxes for both office projects and housing projects were changed. The minimum annual service charge for office buildings was reduced from 15 to 10 percent of the annual gross revenues of the project or units of the project. Municipalities retained the option of computing the payment in-lieu of taxes at no less than 2 percent of the total project cost or total project units cost.
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For housing projects the annual service charge was changed from a minimum of 15 percent to a maximum of 15 percent of annual gross revenue of the project or from a minimum 2 percent to a maximum 2 percent of the total project cost or total project unit cost.
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The payment in-lieu of tax formulas remains basically unchanged for all other types of industrial, commercial or cultural projects.

Five-Year Exemption and Abatement Law
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Prior to 1993, which was the first full year of operation under the new Five-Year Exemption and Abatement Law, there were three types of property to which a qualified municipality (a municipality with “areas in need of rehabilitation”) could grant a partial exemption and abatement for a five-year period.

These property types included:
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Homeowner improvements (including additions and enlargements) made to one-unit or two-unit residential dwellings that were more than 20 years old. As determined by ordinance the first $4,000, $10,000 or $15,000 of increased value due to improvement on each unit could be exempted from taxation (see N.J.S.A. 54:4-3.72 to 3.79).
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Commercial and industrial improvements and construction projects (with less than a 30% increase in building volume) could have the full assessed value of the improvement exempted with payments in-lieu of taxes made at 2%of project cost or 15% of annual gross revenues or an in-lieu of tax payment phased-in. (see N.J.S.A. 54:4-3.94to 3.112).
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Multiple dwelling improvements or conversion of other types of structures to multiple dwellings could have up to 30% of the full value of the improvement or conversion alteration exempted. No in-lieu of tax payment was required (see N.J.S.A. 54:4-3.121 to 3.129).
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Commencing in 1993 the provisions of N.J.S.A. 40A:21-1 et seq., the “Five-Year Exemption and Abatement Law,” which consolidated all provisions of the previous five-year abatement statutes, permitted a qualified municipality to grant partial exemptions and abatements on residential dwellings, non-residential structures and multiple dwellings in the same way the pre 1993 law did, with the following notable exceptions made to the new law:

A new, single definition of “areas in need of rehabilitation” was established to govern all exemptions and abatements which, if chosen, could enable an entire municipality to be designated as an area in need of rehabilitation (thus permitting new structures to facilitate infill construction).

The new five-year law also permitted, for the first time, tax abatements and exemptions for new construction of single family and multi-family dwelling units and non-residential structures rather than just improvements or enlargements to such properties.

The new law also increased the allowable maximum tax exemptions for the value added by an improvement from $4,000, $10,000, and $15,000 to $5,000, $15,000 and $25,000, respectively, as the municipal ordinance may specify.

New Jersey Home Builders

New Jersey is located in the northeastern part of the US. The most densely populated state in the entire US; New Jersey is bound by New York City and Philadelphia and is an extended part of their metropolitan areas. According to the US Census Bureau estimates of 2006, New Jersey has a population of 8,707,739. Apart from being the most densely populated, New Jersey is also the second wealthiest state in the US.

The south, central, and northeast parts of the state have a humid subtropical climate, while the northwest has a humid continental climate, with slightly cooler temperatures due to higher elevation. The state has the highest percentage of millionaire households. New Jersey has a progressive economy centered on the pharmaceutical industry, chemical development, telecommunications, food processing, electric equipment, printing and publishing, and tourism.

As a major center for tourism, New Jersey offers quite a handful for tourists. The major places of attraction are the Liberty Science Center, the Maywood Station Museum, Montclair Art Museum, Morris Museum, Newark Museum and the Thomas Edison Museum.

Going by its thick population, New Jersey is popular living destination for many, with several quality homebuilders working together in making your dream come true. Here is a quick checklist:

K Hovnanian Homes: K. Hovnanian Homes carries with itself a legacy of success, financial muscle and award-winning standards of homebuilding quality with an eye on enticing customer satisfaction. Do a Google search for K. Hovanian Homes in New Jersey for more information.

Ryan Homes: For over 60 years, Ryan Homes has earned a reputation of building superior customer service, innovative, award-winning designs, quality construction, affordable prices and unique communities in prime locations. From the first time buyer, to the move up buyer, to the empty nester/move down buyer, buyers of all ages and stages of life can find exactly what they are looking for in a Ryan Home. For more information, Google search for Ryan Homes in New Jersey.

Beazer Homes: Beazer Homes is another prominent homebuilder of New Jersey. It is also one of the top 10 homebuilders in the whole of US in terms of the homes closed. Beazer Homes have a wide range to offer its customers and its flagship product is eSMART that has been built across locations. Do a Google search for Beazer Homes in New Jersey for detailed information.

Pulte Homes: Pulte Homes is an established homebuilder in New Jersey. PulteGroup has been providing the American Dream of homeownership to families for 60 years. Search for Pulte Homes in New Jersey for more information.

The Mystery of New Jersey’s Hookerman

Fantastic stories of ghostly lights which frequently appear near railroad tracks and, according to popular imagination, are carried by the spirits of long-deceased conductors have become a permanent and tantalizing feature of American folklore. Commonly referred to as “spook lights,” the phenomenon has captured the imagination of Fortean investigators around the world.

According to recent estimates, there exist more than 60 separate locations throughout the United States alone where this strange phenomenon occurs. The “Maco lights,” of North Carolina, have, by far, received the greatest attention of all, and are said to have been first sighted during the 18th Century.

Others, though less familiar, are equally well-documented, with many of the contemporary sightings having their roots in local Indian legends, such as the Hornet Spook Light, found in the southern midwest region of the country. Here, as in countless other cases, the belief persists that the lights are concrete proof of psychic survival after death, and that the discarnate personalities of dead railroad conductors and ancient tribal leaders are with us today.

Over the last five years, however, many researchers have sought to strip away the thick layers of myth and superstition which surround the spook light mystery, and have begun to employ sophisticated scientific equipment and methods in their research efforts. One such research group, Vestigia, has been concentrating its attention on strange lights observed in northwestern New Jersey, in an area known as Long Valley. Their investigation and findings, along with material gathered from other researchers in the field, have yielded some provocative answers to the spook light mystery.

The spook lights of Long Valley have been actively reported since the turn of the century. One particular section of the High Bridge Railroad is the focus of the activity, a stretch of railroad which is now owned by Con Rail. The spur was originally built in the mid-18th Century, and was, for a time, a bustling link between the iron-rich Long Valley area and the main line of the New Jersey Central Railroad as Chester, N.J. The High Bridge Railroad was built by mine owners for the transfer of ore; the line later carried both passengers and freight until the 1930s. Today the line is an infrequently used freight spur.

The legend of this local spook light is, indeed, colorful, and conforms faithfully to the mythic storyline found in many similar cases. A brakeman of the High Bridge Railroad is supposed to have lost his hand in an accident caused by a mechanical malfunction. Mentally unbalanced by the trauma of the accident, he walked the tracks near the site of the mishap with a lantern swinging from a hook which replaced his lost hand. One night, legend has it, that hapless figure, while searching for his lost limb on the tracks, was struck by an oncoming train, and instantly killed.

It was believed that the lights appearing over the High Bridge Railroad were a psychic re-creation of that tragic night. The “Hookerman’s” lantern sways over the tracks, then, suddenly vanishes as he is once again felled by the approaching locomotive.

The High Bridge legend is almost identical to others across the country, both in reported phenomena and folklore. In almost all cases, the lights appear suddenly and at random, but seldom during heavy rain. The light itself, often a dull yellow, flickers much like a lantern, swinging from side to side like a pendulum. Generally it appears several inches to a few feet above the ground, and seems to move toward the observer in uncanny silence.

In one isolated incident, a young high school student was said to have been severely burned by the bizarre light, though this report ha yet to be confirmed. What is confirmable, however, is that the phenomenon is genuine, and has been reported by hundreds of people since the turn of the century.

At Long Valley, the researchers of Vestigia undertook a preliminary study of the spook lights in 1976, studying the history of the area, the High Bridge Railroad, and any accidents that could be linked to the Hookerman legend. It was learned that Long Valley was rural farmland until 1850, when iron ore began to be mined in the area. The High Bridge Railroad was, at first, a short spur that was used to transport ore from the mines to the foundry, and was actively used until 1885, when the mines began to cut back on operations. Eventually the railroad added several spurs, to the original Chester branch that ran to Long Valley. It was this spur that became the center of Vestigia’s study. By 1899, the railroad was renamed the Delaware, Lackawanna, and Western Railroad, and ran passenger operations until 1934. The line was still in use for freight until 1960. Today, there is little activity on the spur, which is now part of the Jersey Central Railroad owned by Conrail.

The area is incredibly rich in folklore, including several tragedies associated with both mining and railroad operations. Many of these casualties are on record, but nothing in the records parallels the legend of the Hookerman, or gives any hint as to his identity, if he did, in the fact, exist.

Representatives from Vestigia collected background information from local residents about the legend, including several accounts that suggested the Hookerman was hospitalized at a local institution for the insane after his accident. Local hospital records and old railroad documents were carefully examined. The researchers even visited the local mental hospitals in search of the true identity of the Hookerman, but nothing could be found to link the legend of Long valley to reality.

Even if the Hookerman was the product of overactive local imaginations, the spook lights of Long Valley certainly were not. Researchers visited the area several times and each time they were able to see the Hookerman’s infamous “lantern.” Although the size, shape, speed of movement, and color varied from sighting to sighting, one thing was certain – the phenomenon was authentic and repeatedly observable. The directors of Vestigia then began the arduous task of amassing the technical materials, test equipment, and personnel necessary to study the phenomenon properly.

The first studies of the lights were scheduled for the fall of 1976 and the list of necessary equipment was extensive. Included were cameras, Geiger counters, methane gas sniffers devices, oscilloscopes, a Vascar radar unit, recording apparatus, thermometers, walkie-talkies, and assorted auxiliary equipment.

The team, led by Bill Wagner, was working on the theory that, if the lights could be seen, they should be recordable, photogenic and measurable. To that end, the team, 16 in all, amassed their equipment, much of it at their own expense. Next, the researchers selected the location for the study – a one mile stretch of railroad track, a virtual straightaway, intersected at its midpoint by a dirt road and bordered by two major roads.

While team members worked on collecting their gear, other Vestigia investigators secured the necessary releases, and received the cooperation of all authorities involved. Conrail was contacted, and permission was granted to use its right of way for the tests. A local resident whose house was in close proximity to the railroad tracks was contacted, and agreed to make power available from his home to the central post during the experiments.

On the night of November 20, 1976, the first of the field experiments were initiated, with three outposts set up. For the first time in Long Valley, the Hookerman’s light was going to be photographed, measured, and permanently recorded. The team assembled on the night of the initial test was composed of individuals from all disciplines and backgrounds. Within the group were experts in electronics, meteorology, physics, optics, photography, chemistry, and mathematics. What distinguished Vestigia’s study from any other was the quality and amount of technical expertise and equipment amassed from its study. A total of 10,000 man-hours were spent in the search, and the value of the equipment totally over $30,000.

What follows is a brief description of the first night of study into the Long valley spook lights. The investigation continues in the area, and Vestigia is presently collaborating with other research groups and universities in its probe.

On the night of the investigation, 4,000 feet of ground antenna wire was laid between the rails, and attached to an amplifier and oscilloscope which would detect variations in electrical frequency and amplitude. Other cables were attached directly to the rails to act as a capacitance test; anything metallic between or over the rails would register on a readout device in the equipment van. The Geiger counter was positioned at the presumed “hot spot,” and it, too, was wired into a readout in the command post. Other devices included a methane gas detector, and a parabolic listening device.

At Post Two (level with the command post), a group of observers on the track manned the Vascar radar unit as well as cameras which were loaded with infra-red sensitive film, and a motion picture camera containing ultra-fast film. Post One and Post Three observers, located a half-mile to the right and left, respectively, were armed with cameras, binoculars, and radio communicators.

At approximately 10 p.m., researchers at the control van reported drastic fluctuations on their instruments. Researchers at Post Three simultaneously observed a small, distinct light that startled them with its sudden and unanticipated appearance. They described it as yellowish, of low magnitude, and from five to six inches in diameter. It hovered over the tracks, about a foot above the ground, and was positioned between Post One and the control vans. Cameras clicked, and recording devices were quickly activated. One puzzling thing occurred, however. Although Post Three was in visual contact with the object, and Post Two was clearly recording it electronically and had activated its cameras to photograph the phenomenon, observers at Post One had no visual contact with the light.

The oscilloscope, and other electronic measuring devices, recorded changes in the electromagnetic field of the area in which the light appeared, as well as discharges of electrical activity.

During the appearance of the light, the oscilloscope recorded a dramatic reaction for a period of one minute and 50 seconds. Amplitude varied from.5 volts to 2.5 volts, while a normal background signal is only.4 volts at 60 cycles. During this time the normal 60 cycles range swelled to well over 40,000 cycles.

These readings obviously indicated that whatever the observers were seeing, whatever the cameras were recording, were capable of producing a dramatic change in the electrical activity of the area.

Other equipment did not immediately respond to the sighting; no radiation was evident at the time of the incident. Although there were noticeable reactions in the rail capacitance tests, both the test and the radiation indicators became active after the sighting. One thing was certain: for approximately one minute and 50 seconds, the legend of the Hookerman became objective reality, and staged a performance for the most sophisticated audience in its history.

As quickly as the phenomenon occurred, it disappeared, and the team began to run through the tests to find any possible explanation for the incident. The observers at Post One never obtained visual contact with the object between them and the command post, but all tests, with the exception of the rail capacitance test, verified that the phenomenon had, indeed, physically occurred.

Team leaders checked the apparatus responsible for the rail capacitance test and discovered why it had not responded at the time of the sighting. It seems that one of the connections to the track had been knocked loose perhaps by some of the onlookers earlier in the evening.

At approximately 10:45PM, a full ten minutes after the visual sightings of the light had ceased, test equipment used to record radiation began to show active readings from the track area. The Geiger counter recorded these readings for about five seconds before returning to its normal level. This occurred again nearly four minutes later, and persisted for seven seconds. There was a third and final recurrence 15 minutes following the visual sighting, this time lasting over 10 seconds.

The team worked on past midnight, hoping for a possible replay of the phenomenon, but all was quiet. Finally, at one a.m., the team leaders called it a night, yet the most dramatic proof of the evening would not be apparent until the photographs of the light were developed.

Two independent cameras at Post Two, near the control van, photographed an image, using two different types of film. A total of six frames of regular black and white, and seven frames of infrared were taken. Each frame reveals a definite image – a glowing ball of light. The black and white film shows a pinpoint of light, while the infrared shows a more detailed image. The black and white film (Tri-X) which was shot at 1/1250th of a second, shows only a light source, similar to that discerned by the observers’ naked eyes. The infrared film was exposed at 10 seconds per frame, and provides far more detail. This furnished us with important insight into the light range of the object, the film images showing density not discernible in normal black and white photographs.

What, however, does all of this prove? In what way do Vestigia’s findings contribute to an overall understanding of the spook light mystery. Just how have they succeeded in deflating the widespread claims of bodily survival.

To answer these questions, it is necessary to enter the realm of geophysical science.

It is fairly common knowledge that when certain types of quartz-bearing rocks are subjected to stress from within the Earth, an electrical potential results. This principle, referred to as the piezoelectric effect, is applied to telephone receivers as well as microphone transmitters, in which pressure from sound waves produce electrical responses in crystals. Physicists David Finkelstein and J.R Powell, of New York, vigorously explored the phenomenon in 1970, and concluded that stress accumulated in rocks over a period of years may change in intensity very slowly just prior to major earthquake activity. They further hypothesized that such stress may be capable of establishing an electrical field whereby discharges of electricity would ionize the air in the area into visible light.

Intrigued by this curious theory, Vestigia investigators carefully examined geodesic maps of New Jersey, and discovered that a major fault, the Ramapo Border Fault, runs through Peapack in northern New Jersey and passes within a mile of Indian Point, N.Y. It was also learned that since 1962 no fewer than 33 earthquakes have occurred along that fault, with a sizable portion in close proximity to the Long Valley area. After exhaustive study and field investigation, Bill Wagner and his associates within Vestigia became convinced that a definite correlation existed between the appearance of the light and local seismic activity. Through careful observation and documentation, they have succeeded in establishing, beyond any reasonable doubt, that the Long valley lights

persistently and predictably precede reports of local earthquake activity, and are entirely dependent upon natural, physical principles. Many, if not all, of the mysteries associated with the Hookerman have been unraveled.

For instance, the railroad bed at Long Valley is composed of granite, an extremely good conductor of electricity. Wagner has noted that the phenomenon is most prevalent in Long Valley either before or after changes in weather, and he cites barometric pressure as a logical correlative factor. As for the tendency of the light to recede as a human agent approaches, Vestigia believes it is foolish to automatically ascribe intelligent behavior to the light when a more sound and reasonable explanation exists. It is likely, they claim, that either the delicate field within the area is disrupted by the body’s own electrical charge, or merely that the static charge of the light itself seeks the natural ground of the approaching human and harmlessly discharges to the earth. But what about the radioactivity? Wagner and his co-workers suspect that the abnormal radiation recorded during their investigations of the light is associated with the presence of radon, an inert, natural gas, which is apparently bled off during earthquake activity.

The movement of the light across the tracks, though a bit more difficult to explain, has been linked by scientists to subsurface stress forces within a dynamic state of displacement. The spook light, according to informed speculation, is simply following the local fault lines, rift zones, and other rock strata that locally dissipate the stress. Dr. Michael Persinger, in his work, Space-Time Transients and Unusual Events, argues that “since the locus of the subsurface sources exists in a three-dimensional space, any movement of this source would be deflected, like a ‘transformation of axes,’ on the surface by the luminosity.” Persinger maintains that the light’s apparent movement, whether pendulum-like or vertical, is dependent upon the source’s subsurface position.

Wagner and his team members are in full agreement with the findings of Persinger, and are currently refining their research techniques at Long Valley. They are confident that with additional research and investigation, earthquake prediction, based on the observation and the scrutiny of these spook lights, may evolve into a more precise and accurate science.

Due to Vestigia’s pioneering research on the spook light mystery, major universities and governmental agencies have begun to collaborate with the group in its probe of this highly elusive, but natural phenomenon. As for the legend of the “Hookerman,” local residents appear to be accepting the conventional explanations advanced by Vestigia. It would seem as though the colorful story centered around this mythic figure has begun to lose much of its luster, and that superstition, at least for the community of Long Valley, has been firmly replaced by truth.

Fighting a Temporary Restraining Order in New Jersey or Dissolving a Final Order in NJ

Domestic Violence and the tools that have been created to prevent continued violence and harassment in New Jersey have become quite effective compared to how domestic violence charges were handled 20 years ago. Today a victim can not only seek a criminal charge, but can also seek a FINAL restraining order in the State of New Jersey which as its name implies is FINAL, forever. Today we will touch upon how to prevent getting a final restraining order in the first place and if you lose and have a final order levied against you, how to remove or dissolve it.

In New Jersey, domestic violence covers criminal acts against your spouse, your partner, your former partner, a household member, someone you once dated and so forth. The criminal acts include: assault, sexual assault, harassment, terroristic threats, homicide, kidnapping, criminal restraint, false imprisonment, criminal sexual contact, lewdness, criminal mischief, criminal trespass and stalking. Many people can be charged with one or two charges, others can face eight charges or more at once! For a restraining order in New Jersey, even if someone is found to have committed an act of domestic violence, that does not mean that the person will automatically get a final restraining order against them. There are many factors in determining if a final order is needed.

Some of the main factors in determining if a final restraining order is needed are:

  1. Previous history of domestic violence between the parties (this includes threats, harassment, physical harm/abuse.
  2. The existence of immediate danger to the victim’s person or property.
  3. Best interest of victim and any children involved.
  4. Existence of an order of protection from another State.

Now while, the previous history is very important, if one-act alone is egregious enough, a final order can be given. Fighting against the possibility of a final restraining order is difficult at times. Unlike criminal court where you have months if not years to prepare, restraining order hearings are usually heard within thirty days after the service on the defendant. Because of this, the defendant and his attorney must begin gathering evidence to show the defendant in a positive light, to show the defendant defending him or herself (if applicable), any evidence showing instigation or a motive by the victim to push the defendant over the edge. While I know there are people in this world that would harm someone for no reason, I do believe the majority of people who are involved in a fight or argument are in that situation because it takes two to tango and it is not simply one person’s fault.

The Defendant has the right to call witnesses, has the right not to testify, has the right to cross-examine the victim and any of the victim’s witnesses. The standard of proof in a final restraining order hearing in New Jersey is lower than that which is used in criminal court and is called the preponderance of the evidence standard rather than the beyond a reasonable doubt as used in criminal courts.

The other calls and emails I receive fro people throughout the country who have a New Jersey Final Order against them is, how do I get rid of this order that has affected my life in so many ways? There are a few ways to compel a Judge to dismiss the final restraining order and some of the factors the Judge considers in that case are:

  1. Consent of the victim to lift the order
  2. The victim’s fear of the defendant;
  3. Nature of the relationship today
  4. The number of contempt convictions
  5. Other violent criminal acts by the defendant
  6. The good faith reason the victim still opposes the dismissal.

While it is not easy to defend a person in a final restraining order hearing or to have a final order removed, it certainly can be done under the right circumstances. When attempting to vacate a final order, the Defendant must order the transcript from the original final restraining order hearing.

In conclusion, despite what is spread and said on television, New Jersey is tough on domestic violence. If you are a victim or have been accused, we strongly suggest you get legal representation in your area.