Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Watchung Reservation Haunted?

An interesting article appeared in the Westfield Leader on November 8, 2007 by Debbie Hoffman: Bloody Lane and a Headless Ghost: Tales of Watchung Reservation (p. 21) (If you click on the title of the article, it will take you to the full-text in the newspaper which has been archived online since 1996.)
In researching the urban legend (rural legend?) that a car full of teenagers crashed and died in the Watchung Reservation causing the road to appear red as blood by moonlight, Ms. Hoffman interviewed L'Aura Hladik, founder of the New Jersey Ghost Hunters Society; consulted the stories in the books Weird New Jersey, based on the magazine of the same name; interviewed Union County Parks Director Dan Bernier, who lives in the abandoned village of Feltville in the Reservation. And Ms. Hoffman called the BHPL Reference Department and set the librarians on the trail of trying to prove or disprove the legend by looking in our local clippings file (newspaper morgue, sometimes called vertical file.) The librarians ferretted around in the dusty newspaper clips, but could not confirm the story. We were happy that the reporter thought of the library Reference Department as part of her research. A bit like reporters, research librarians love to track down a lead, but while reporters often use human sources (interviews), librarians usually turn to the printed word, much of it local, not indexed and not available by "googling" on the internet. Either way, the point is to get to the truth of a story.
Call or email the BHPL Reference Department with your questions. We will try to find the answer, teach you how to research it, or refer you to a person or other resource that can help you find the answer.

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