There was a time when I really enjoyed exploring abandoned ruins or otherwise “haunted” establishments in the woods of New Jersey. For whatever reason, my home state is loaded with such spots. But perhaps the most mysterious place I know is the vast pine barrens that cover much of Southern Jersey. And the long-abandoned homes and rail lines found in these woods date back to the Revolutionary War. Of course, the barrens are also home to the Jersey Devil that will fly out of the trees, grab you, and have you for dinner. Stories of people venturing into the barrens and never coming out abound.

Being that my friend Gabriel is a fellow weird stuff enthusiast, he signed on immediately when I suggested disappearing into the pines yesterday and hunting pickerel in the cedar bogs and creeks that flow through the area. We found a few ‘picks in the warmer shallows, but we also found out you’re never too old to get scared by a wandering imagination. Here it was, broad daylight, and you couldn’t help keeping an eye over your shoulder. You hear things in the wind. You swear you see things move. You feel like you’re the only people around for hundreds of miles. The pine barrens just naturally bring out the heebee-geebies.

I’ve gotten great stories from surfcasters about voices, screams, and eerie shadows they’ve seen and heard on darkened beaches. I love a good spooky tale. So let’s hear you’re best fishing ghost stories. Have you ever been on the lake or in the woods and swore you heard something go “bump?”