Must-See Attractions: The Woodbridge Ghost Walk

“There are two kinds of fears: rational and irrational – or in simpler terms, fears that make sense and fears that don’t.”

WGWWhen famed author Lemony Snicket said this, he wasn’t talking about the Woodbridge Ghost Walk; but, when you think about the walk, the quote certainly makes sense. Usually, ghost tours, zombie walks and other events of the like can summon fears that don’t quite make sense; It’s easy to be taken aback by those in costume and gory makeup. What makes this particular event stand out, though, is its ability to recreate the past, put you in the shoes of those who lived it, and make those irrational fears very, very rational.

Every Halloween, Jane McLaughlin and Haunted History Productions present the citizens of New Jersey with the Woodbridge Ghost Walk: fun, fascinating 40-minute guided tours into the spirit-filled past of New Jersey’s oldest-chartered settlement. Some of the stories you hear along the way will be real, and others fictional. Which is which is up to the attendees to decide.

“What we do here is blend the real history and citizens of the town with ghost stories,” says McLaughlin. “We like to put our own creepy spell on actual happenings, then bring those stories to life.”

WGW1Costumed guides (Most of whom are students and instructors from McLaughlin’s European School of Dance) tell the stories of New Jersey’s first European settlers, Revolutionary War heroes and members of Victorian society, among others. Dressed in the clothing from their respective time periods, all cast members are supplied with ghoulish makeup and accessories to appear as the spirits of famous, infamous and fictional local residents of the town’s past.

“What’s really nice,” says McLaughlin, “is that it’s only $6 per ticket, so you can take the whole family.” She does suggest, though, to bring your children to the earlier scheduled walks, as it gets progressively scarier as the night progresses.

So, whether you want to learn more about the Jack the Ripper copycat who once roamed the streets of town, or if wondering about the well in the Parker Press (and why it’s been sealed up for decades) has kept you awake at night, the Woodbridge Ghost Walk is a must this October.

Fright Catalog’s Definitive Ranking of Disney Villains

Gaston10. Gaston

It’s a debate as old as time: Is Gaston TRULY a Disney Villain? Okay, so he almost kills Belle’s Beast, and nearly makes the greatest love story ever told completely non-existant. In the end, though, Gaston is just a guy who doesn’t understand why the pretty girl in town won’t give him a chance.

Let’s be honest – If you ate five-dozen eggs (and were large as a barge), wouldn’t you be wondering the same thing?

9. HadesHades

Hades, King of the Underworld, really should be higher on this list if you look at the grand scheme of things, however… He’s just too funny to hate. His inexcusable actions are always followed with a witty punchline, and always gives his audience one of those “Wait. Why am I rooting against this guy again?” moments.

Then you remember, “Oh yeah. It’s because he’s using a beautiful girl, a three-headed dog, and a lazy river filled with dead people to try to kill his nephew.”

Evil Queen8. Evil Queen

For most of us, if somebody tried luring us into a lifelong sleep, and an apple was there weapon of choice, we’d probably laugh them right into their end-of-the-movie demise pretty prematurely. But, hey! It worked for the Evil Queen. Come to think of it, if somebody was offering naps for extended periods of time, many would just hop into bed voluntarily.

Again, it worked for the Evil Queen, but between poisoning the apple and turning herself into the second-ugliest Disney villain of all-time just seems like a lot of unnecessary work.

Queen of Hearts7. Queen of Hearts

“Off with their heads!” Those are four mindless words that are said often without anybody really considering the emotion behind them. Think about it for a second. “Off. With. Their. Heads.” Pretty violent, right? That’s why the Queen of Hearts ranks seventh on our list.

She’s the most maniacal character in a movie that consists of a hyper-anxious rabbit, a disappearing cat, a high-all-the-time caterpillar and a guy who wears top hats and is formally referred to as “Mad.” She’s qualified.

Jafar6. Jafar

Much like Gaston, Jafar is the guy who wants the attention of the girl. Unlike Gaston, he’s much more malicious in his intentions. Not only does he father a pet parrot (Seriously, could you find a more annoying pet?), but his entire role in Aladdin is basically finding new ways to trick the people that trust him into putting him into power.

Think about it: He’s literally introduced by the Sultan as “Jafar, my most-trusted adviser.” At the end of the day, he deserves his itty, bitty living space.

Maleficent5. Maleficent

Had you asked the team at Fright Catalog to rank Maleficent on the list of Disney villains before the release of her self-titled blockbuster movie, she for sure would have been at the top. Her nickname has forever been The Mistress of All Evil. Can you get much more evil than all evil? Probably not.

Whether you loved or hated her feature film, there’s no denying that it softened the character. It made you like Maleficent, and maybe even feel bad for her. True villains don’t need defending.

Captain Hook4. Captain Hook

Captain James Hook has the look of a classic villain, Disney or not. His stingy features and pencil-thin mustache combine for a face that only a mother could love. His bright red suit surely exudes the power and dominance he holds over the members of his crew. He turned his one crutch into his most-deadly weapon, and his only fear comes in the form of a crocodile.

Unfortunately for him, the youthful exuberance of his nemesis led him directly to it.

Scar3. Scar

Scar being ranked so prominently on this list has less to do with what he did to the characters in his respective movie, and more to do with what he did to us, the viewers. For the primary audience of The Lion King, he provided us with the death of a loved one for the first time. Scar lured a child into a dangerous situation in an effort to murder two family members, and alienated an entire race of female lions in favor of his hyena friends.

Plus, he gets points for being the voice of the second-most terrifying Disney song.

Cruella DeVille2. Cruella DeVille

She kills puppies and wears them.

Let’s move along.

Ursula1. Ursula

Previously in this post, we’ve mentioned the second-ugliest Disney villain, and the singer of the second-most terrifying Disney song of all time. If you haven’t already guessed, Ursula takes the cake in both of those categories. She’s got tentacles in lieu of legs and is all caked-up with gaudy makeup. “Pour, Unfortunate Souls” is absolutely chill-inducing. As if living underwater wasn’t scary enough, the thought that someone down there might take your voice and turn your loved ones into limbless worm-looking minions makes it even worse.

The seaweed is always greener in somebody else’s lake, unless that lake has purple lighting and houses the Disney villain most likely to haunt your dreams.

The Origin of The Blob: The Star Jelly

You think fake blood is gross? Nuh uh, Mother Nature has you beat.

Ever walk outside to find a sloppy mess of gelatinous goo on tree branches or grass? It’s usually translucent or grayish-white, and always a pile of goop. Some know it as Star Jelly, while others call it Astromyxin. But even stranger tales call it the residue of meteor showers.

Star Jelly.
Star Jelly.


Ever since the 13th century, people have been finding examples of Star Jelly across the globe. John of Gaddesden, for example, mentions “stella terrae,” which translates in Latin to “star of the earth” or “earth-star,” in medical writings, and even describes it as “a certain mucilaginous substance lying upon the earth.” He goes on to suggest that Star Jelly could be used to treat abscesses. (Pro tip: It doesn’t.)

In the 14th century, there’s a medical Latin textbook containing an entry for “uligo,” which is described as “a certain fatty substance emitted from the earth, that is commonly called ‘a star which has fallen.’”

Later, in 1440, an English-Latin dictionary includes a definition for “sterre slyme.” The Latin equivalent provided within the text is “assub,” which in medieval Latin is a term for a “falling” or “shooting star.”

Recently, an article in the magazine Fate argued that Star Jelly came from extraterrestrial origins. The article called the goo “cellular organic matter” that exists as “prestellar molecular clouds” which float through space.

Is that true? Eh, I wouldn’t put money on it. But it doesn’t change the fact that Star Jelly is strange as hell and super gross to look at.

So what is it?


The National Geographic Society hired scientists to research Star Jelly, and they failed to find any DNA within the material. (So there goes Fate’s extraterrestrial origin.)

The Massachusetts Department of Environment Quality Engineering performed tests on “star fall” that dropped on North Reading. The results found that the material was “non-toxic,” though it’s still recommended not to eat Star Jelly.

In the 18th century, Thomas Pennant came up with a theory that the goo is “something vomited up by birds or animals.”

Along that same thought process, a separate theory proposed that Star Jelly is frog spawn consumed and then vomited up by amphibian-eating creatures. However, no frog spawn has ever grown to the size of some reported cases of Star Jelly. (And some of the aforementioned studies have proven that the substance contains no DNA.)

Regurgitated spawn.
Regurgitated spawn.

Lastly, some believe that slime molds are the reason for Star Jelly, because these mold types appear gelatinous at first and quickly turn to a dust-like form. The colors also range from white to pink, yellow to orange, and even in some cases brown.

The Blob

One of the strangest examples of Star Jelly happened in 1950, when four Philadelphia policemen found “a domed disk of quivering jelly, 6 feet in diameter, one foot thick at the center and an inch or two near the edge.” When they tried to pick the thing up, it turned into an “odorless, sticky scum.”

And here’s the best part: this incident actually was the inspiration for the film The Blob. Ponder that next time you see some of this strange goop hanging out.

The Alien Abduction of Betty and Barney Hill: Part 3/3

Take your alien love up a notch: Read the following post through the eyes of an alien mask!

In 1963, Barney and Betty Hill went public with their alien abduction experience. They told the story to a small church group, which must have been one hell of an awkward conversation.

A few months later, a speaker came to the Hills’ church to discuss hypnosis. After the lecture, the Hills told the speaker about how Barney was going to a psychiatrist, and the speaker suggested trying hypnosis to alleviate the leftover alien-induced fear.

At the mention of hypnosis, Barney’s psychiatrist recommended him to Dr. Benjamin Simon, located in Boston, MA. Simon immediately recognized Barney’s intense and immediate fear, and he even believed that Barney was holding a lot of it back.

So the two hopped right into the hypnosis sessions.

Barney’s Hypnosis

To say that Barney’s hypnotic recollection of seeing alien figures was traumatic would be a huge, huge understatement. He had emotional outbursts, expressions of fear, and vividly described his feelings during the alien’s physical examination.

The experience was so ridiculously wild, Dr. Simon actually recommended not continuing with hypnosis until Barney could calmly deal with the experience. But Barney insisted that they continue.

Under hypnosis, Barney could recall much of the alien abduction, even the parts previous escaping his memory. For example, he remembered initially driving the car away from the UFO, and then he remembered feeling an urge to pull off the road and into the woods. There, six figures stood in the road. Then the car stalled and three of the figures approached, telling Barney not to fear. When they got right up to the car, Barney said it “felt like [their] eyes had pushed into my eyes.”

The eyes were a focal point for Barney’s hypnotic recollections. He often described the figures as staring into his eyes with a terrifying, mesmerizing effect. On the topic he said things like “Oh, those eyes. They’re in my brain.” And “I was told to close my eyes because I saw two eyes coming close to mine, and I felt like the eyes had pushed into my eyes.” And “All I see are these eyes…I’m not even afraid that they’re not connected to a body. They’re just there. They’re just up close to me, pressing against my eyes.”

Seeing Barney make so much progress with his hypnotic sessions, Betty then decided to try it out.

Betty’s Hypnosis

Betty wanted to see if her hypnotic recollections would be similar or different than her dreams. And as it turned out, they were a bit of both.

The UFO’s technology was different within her hypnotic sessions, as was Betty’s capture and release. The alien figures also had a drastically different physical appearance. Moreover, Betty recalled more detail within her hypnotic state than within her dreams.

Both Barney and Betty’s hypnotic sessions were similar to each other, yet both were very different than Betty’s dreams. Both also displayed intense emotional discomfort during the sessions. (Betty once had to end her session early due to too much agony and crying.)


So, was it all true? Did Betty and Barney get abducted by aliens while driving down a highway at night? Depends on what you want to believe, I guess. The hypnotic sessions both supported and contradicted Betty’s dreams, yet the amount of total evidence is overwhelming. Clearly something happened to the Hills, and clearly it left them with traumatic damage for the rest of their lives.

Whether or not it was aliens that did it, it’s up to you to say.

Read Part 1 and Part 2

The Alien Abduction of Betty and Barney Hill: Part 2/3

Right, so the scene is set: Betty and Barney, deserted highway, metallic craft, creepy alien outfits, telepathic messages, lost time, and then they arrive at home. So, what do they do? And more importantly, what can they do?

Let’s find out:

Upon arriving at their house, both Betty and Barney begin to experience strange sensations and impulses. For example, Betty insisted that her luggage be placed near the back door, not within any main room.

The watches they were wearing during the alien ordeal no longer worked (and would never again work). The leather strap of the binoculars was torn and Barney’s dress shoes were scraped, though he could not recall how either of those items became damaged.

Betty and Barney both later admitted to taking long, long showers to remove some unknown filth, and they each drew pictures of what they saw, which were incredibly similar.

Utterly confused about what happened, Betty and Barney spent a while trying to reconstruct the events, piecing fractured memories together to form a whole picture. Both could remember everything up to the point when rhythmic beeps flooded the car, and then things grew hazy. Barney remembered shouting, “Oh no, not again,” though he couldn’t recall why. Betty remembered a moon shape sitting in the middle of the highway and that Barney took a sharp left off Route 3 to escape.

But that was it.

So they went to sleep. A few hours into the night, Betty awoke and began putting her clothes away. That’s when she noticed that the dress she was wearing during the event had been torn at the hem, zipping, and lining. Later, she noticed a pink powder on the dress, so she threw it away, only to change her mind and put it back in the closet.

In the morning, the couple noticed that the car’s trunk had concentric circle marked into the metal. Struck by a moment of brilliance, Betty and Barney grabbed a compass and placed it next to one of the circles, and the needle began to spin rapidly.

Betty’s Nightmares

Ten days later, Betty began to experience intense dreams.

In one of the dreams, Barney and her were again in the car, stopped at a roadblock and surrounded by what appeared to be men in uniforms. But the men had bald heads, large wraparound eyes, small ears, and almost no noses, and they had grey skin. The men forced Betty and Barney to get out of the car and walk into the woods. When Betty turned to scream at Barney for help, he looked to be in a trance.

The alien men led the couple up a ramp to a disc-shaped metallic craft. Inside, Betty and Barney were separated, and when Betty protested, a figure that she called “the leader” told her to quiet down.

Betty was then taken to a new room, in which the leader and a new alien (she refers to this one as “the examiner”) stood waiting. The examiner shone a light on her, cut away some of her hair and nails, and examined her eyes, ears, mouth, teeth, throat, and hands. He then thrusted a needle into her navel, causing her immediate pain, but the examiner waved a hand in front of her face and the pain went away.

Afterward, the examiner left and Betty was allowed to explore the room with the leader. She looked at books full of an unknown language, and was even told she could keep one. But when an argument between the aliens broke out, she was told the book had to stay, and that her memory had to be wiped.

Both Betty and Barney were then taken off the ship and back to their car, and were told to watch the craft disappear.

And so they did. And when the craft was gone, they resumed driving again, and eventually “woke” up.

If you haven’t already, ready Part 1 of The Alien Abduction of Betty and Barney Hill

See the next post for the stunning conclusion of this tale!

The Alien Abduction of Betty and Barney Hill: Part 1/3

Aliens, abductions, flying sauces – oh my! Few things send goosebumps dancing across skin like a good alien story, which is why this especially delicious one has been broken up into multiple parts. From a telepathic life-sized alien leader to hallucinogenic dreams, it’s definitely a spooky tale.

As if pulled straight from a Stephen King novel, Betty and Barney Hill’s run-in with alien abductors happened under the cover of night, on a nearly deserted highway (US Route 3), just south of Lancaster, New Hampshire.

Betty, in the passenger seat, spotted a bright ball of light moving below the moon, describing it as a falling star moving upward like a plane, except that it moved erratically and was growing larger in size. Fascinated, Betty begged Barney to pull over so she could watch it some more, and the two stopped at a picnic area. Barney feared for bears in the area and retrieved a pistol hidden in the car’s trunk.

Using binoculars, Betty watched the light travel across the moon’s face, and she immediately thought it to be a UFO. Barney, on the other hand, thought it resembled a normal plane — though, as the light began to descend rapidly toward them, he quickly changed his mind.

“This object that was a plane was not a plane,” he later said.

The two immediately ran for the car and drove toward Franconia Notch, a mountainous stretch of road. Moving slowly to keep an eye on the light, the Hills navigated the isolated road, trying to avoid the object as much as possible. But, as they later recalled, the light would bounce in and out of sight, as if playing a game of cat and mouse with them.

About one mile south of Indian Head, the object descended toward their vehicle, forcing Barney to stop in the middle of the highway. (Barney claims the object filled up his whole windshield and resembled a huge pancake.) Holding tight to his pistol, Barney got out of the car and approached the object, and he saw what looked to be about a dozen humanoid figures peering out of the object’s windows.

Then he received a message from one of them. A telepathic message saying, “Stay where you are and keep looking.” At the same time an image flooded his mind: humanoid figures wearing black uniforms and black hats.

Barney panicked. He fled for the car in a hysterical state. “They’re going to capture us!” he shouted at Betty. As the object shifted closer, Barney drove at top speed down the highway, telling Betty to keep an eye on it.

Almost immediately, both Betty and Barney heard beeping and buzzing sounds that seemed to be bouncing off the trunk. The whole car vibrated. Their bodies tingled. Betty described it as feeling a static discharge just before touching metal.

A second series of rhythmic beeping followed, and both Betty and Barney felt a waking-up sensation, like they had returned from sleep or being unconscious. After the initial confusion, the two realized that they had somehow traveled 35 miles on the highway, yet neither could recall the trip or what happened between the first and second set of beeps.

One moment they were fleeing for their lives, and then all was silent. No object of light. No beeping sounds. Nothing.

Just them, the highway, and a deep fear for what they had experienced.

Come back tomorrow to learn more about this alien abduction.

World’s Largest Orb Webs: Darwin’s Bark Spider

Scared of fake webbing? Let’s take that fear up a notch.

Down in Madagascar, there exists a spider capable of building orb webs ranging in size from 900 to 28,000 square centimeters. Moreover, this spider’s web has anchor lines reaching up to 82 25 metres. Which really is made all the more ridiculous by the fact that this specific spider has never grown larger than two centimeters.

So what is it?

It’s a Darwin’s bark spider, and it’s a whole bunch of crazy.


Kevlar Webbing

The silk of a Darwin’s bark spider is the toughest biological material ever studied within a lab, and it’s said to be ten times tougher than a similarly-sized piece of Kevlar. Crazier still, this spider’s silk is twice as tough as any other known spider silk.

So not only does this little thing weave massive webs but it’s capable of ensnaring almost anything within those behemoth webs. It’s seriously the stuff of nightmares.

But wait, there’s more!

Darwin’s bark spider is capable of spinning both the world’s longest spanning webs ever observed and the largest orb webs. (The largest web recorded was an area of 2.8 metres.)

So let’s go down the checklist one more time:

  • Toughest web silk in the world? Check.
  • Longest spans of web in the world? Check.
  • Largest area coverage of webs? Check.

Darwin’s bark spider is a monster.

Web Locations

Even more unique to this spider — as if it needed more uniqueness, right? — is the location in which it places its webs. According to Professor Ingi Agnarsson, director of the Museum of Zoology at the University of Puerto Rico, the spider builds “their web with the orb suspended directly above a river or the water body of a lake, a habitat that no other spider can use.”

This gives the spider a secluded hunting ground without any competition, and its webs have been known to hold up to 32 mayflies at a time.

As for how a little spider can build such huge web constructions, it begins with letting loose strands onto a breeze and letting them be carried across bodies of water. This establishes bridge lines. (It’s important to note that the spider do not explore an area before making a web. They just wing it and go.) Then the spiders get a-building.

But really, words don’t do justice to the spider’s webs. Let’s take a moment to see some shots:




Imagine running into those webs! Jeez, it gives me goosebumps. If they’re strong enough to be compared to Kevlar, I’m sure they can slow down a grown person. And then you’re covered in spiders and mayflies.

What a nightmare.

The Ghost Legend of the S.S. Ourang Medan

Titanic objects sometimes disappear, that’s the truth. And sometimes, as with the case of Malaysia Airlines Flight 370, the object’s absence becomes such a point of fascination that it transcends reality, to become something of legend.

What really happened to the plane? Where is it? Why is it that even now, in the Internet era, such objects can still disappear?

OurangMedanAnswers remain elusive, yet the fact remains, titanic objects disappear. Take for another example the tale spinning wildly around the S.S. Ourang Medan, a Dutch cargo ship that shipwrecked in Indonesia after every member of the crew suspiciously died. (Which would make such a sweet story for a ghost ship Halloween costume!)

Here’s the story:

In June 1947, while navigating the Strait of Malacca, two American vessels, City of Baltimore and Silver Star, received a Morse code distress message from the Ourang Medan. The message said, “All officers including captain are dead lying in chartroom and bridge. Possibly whole crew dead.” The message was followed by indecipherable Morse code, and then a final message of “I die.”

Silence followed. No more messages were received.

Immediately the Silver Star sought out the distressed ship, finding it undamaged floating on open waters. Inside, corpses (including a deceased dog) were littered throughout the ship, all posed in terrified positions, arms outstretched toward the sky as if reaching for something. Worse still, the ship and corpses showed no signs of struggle or fight. So what happened?

Well, the answer remains unknown. Soon after boarding the ship, rescuers fled. A fire broke out in the ship’s cargo hold and eventually caused the ship to explode and sink. Whatever happened remains mystery.

But there are a few theories:

1) Carbon Monoxide Poisoning – Vincent Gaddis, in the novel Invisible Horizons, puts forth a theory that an undetectable fire or malfunctioning boiler system might have poisoned the crew with excess carbon monoxide. That same fire or boiler malfunction may have even been the fire that caused the ship to explode and sink. A worthy theory, but there are others.

invisible horizons

2) Unsecured Hazardous Material – Details about the Ourang Medan’s construction or history are non-existent. Moreover, searches for an official registration or accident investigation record have proved unsuccessful. For these reasons – and others – Roy Bainton, in the article A Cargo of Death, argues that the ship may have been smuggling illegal substances or wartime nerve agents. He believes that sea water leaked into the cargo hold, reacted with the hazardous material, released asphyxiating or poisonous fumes, and thus killed the crew. And maybe there was some nitroglycerin or something in there for the final explosion. Who knows.

3) Paranormal Phenomena – Here’s the creepiest theory of all: some argue that the Ourang Medan came under paranormal of extraterrestrial attack, citing the terrified positions of the dead and how the arms were reaching toward the sky. Maybe something was up there worthy of being terrified of? Rumors claim that some of the deceased were even pointing upward.

It’s hard to say for certain what caused the death of an entire ship, but it’s clear that some things in the world will forever remain a mystery, even with all of this advanced technology.

But really, isn’t life a little sweeter with some morbid mystery in it?

Non-Fiction Horror of the Month – A Visit (Part 2 of 2)

A Visit – Part 2 of 2

To read Part One Click here

When I got there my brother was parked up outside. We both went to the back of the house (I was still on the phone with my sister). The first floor of the house was lit solely by the TV in the living room. As we approached the patio door we saw that a man was sitting on the couch facing us. We were frozen solid and my sister noticed that we went quiet and started asking what was wrong and if we could see him.

I told her to stay quiet and that we had it in hand, I then hung up and called the police to explain the situation. The guy hadn’t moved from the couch at all. The TV turned off while we were waiting for the cops, me and my brother majorly freaked out when it happened. We couldn’t see anything downstairs. Then the hallway light turned on, meaning someone was on the stairs.

We opened the patio door and ran up the stairs and caught the guy with his ear to her door. We kicked the shit out of him and got my sister out of the house, he had a knife in his coat pocket.

The cops came maybe 10 minutes later (he could have killed her if he wanted too.) which is fucking outrageous. It turns out the guy was one of our mom’s old boyfriends who had lived with us for a while in the 90’s. He had always been fond of my sister but we had never suspected it to be him, he hadn’t contacted any of us for nearly a decade.

My sister has moved back in with my mom and is undergoing therapy to get over what had happened. Our ‘step dad’ as he liked to call himself, was given three years in prison. We are doing are best to cut all ties with the man.