3 Pinelands: Weird Folklore

Although South Jersey may seem quiet and sleepy when compared to the northern half of the state, it has in fact inspired many authors to write twisting and bizarre works of literature.  We have collected a small sampling of weird narratives that have been inspired by our area during the last 30 years.  The Barrens and Others (1998) is a wild spree of story­telling that moves easily from the Old West of Doc Holliday to the present-day Pine Barrens.  The compilation Pine Barrens, Legends & Lore (1980) contains a wide range of intriguing tales that are similar to the popular Weird New Jersey books.  Who is Killing Doah’s Deer (2004) provides many suspenseful and unpredictable twists.  The story’s young heroine sets out to discover why the deer in her town are disappearing only to find she must confront local politics, marital infidelity, Pine Barrens folklore, Siamese triplets, sea monsters, pterodactyls, and of course the Jersey Devil.  The Treasure of Tuckers Island (2003) also packs a suspenseful punch, although the characters are searching for gold rather than solving a murder mystery.  Ong’s Hat: The Beginning (2002) –  truly an unbelievable story  – leaves us with the most questions.  The book purports to collect eyewitness accounts of time travel in South Jersey; along the way it discourses on heretics, incunabula, and quantum mechanics as consciousness.  Who ever said South Jersey was a boring place?

Wilson, F. Paul. The Barrens and Others. New York: Tom Doherty Assoc. Book, 1998.

McMahon, William. Pine Barrens, Legends & Lore. Moores­town: Middle Atlantic Press, 1980.

Markowitz, Jeff. Who is Killing Doah’s Deer. New York: iUniverse, 2004.

Calu, John and Dave Hart. The Treasure of Tucker’s Island. New York: iUniverse, 2003.

Matheny, Joseph with Peter Moon. Ong’s Hat: The Beginning. Westbury, N.Y.: Sky Books, 2002.

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