Wigwam Brook runs beside a parking lot in Orange, N.J., the shallow water traveling quietly through a world of asphalt and beneath a power station.
David Schwab, 52, grew up on Cleveland Street, across from the brook, and the parking lot that sat alongside Lakeside Avenue. Events from his youth are linked to that brook – dark events.
“I had a recurring dream that something was down in that brook,” Schwab said. “In the dream I arrive home one night with my parents and there is a crowd of people gathered with a spotlight of some kind shining in the water, and a feeling of fear, and what looks like glowing eyes down in the darkness.”
In the early 1970s, Schwab, two close friends – Jerry and John, and three or four friends of theirs he doesn’t remember well, sat outside Schwab’s house one February night when his dream came true.
“It was late winter and there was still some snow on the ground that was starting to melt,” Schwab said. “It was about 10 p.m. and we were just hanging out talking and stuff. It was an overcast night and I noticed something moving in the sky.”
Through the clouds Schwab saw a dark brown spindle-shaped object with a light on each end float just above their neighborhood.
“I pointed it out to the other guys and we all wondered what it was,” Schwab said. “It was darting back and forth in the clouds.”
The boys watched what they were sure was a flying saucer skim over their heads and saw it sink low over the railroad tracks.
“A block from us was the old Erie Lackawanna freight line,” Schwab said. “By this time it was rarely used, and me and my friends used to go walking on the tracks all the time. When a train did come, it moved very slowly. So we decided to go check this thing out.”
The boys grabbed sticks and other objects – Schwab picked up an aluminum tent poll – and walked toward the tracks.
“We were like an angry mob looking for the troll,” Schwab said.
They walked down Lakeside Avenue and up High Street. At this point the tracks ran alongside Wigwam Brook. The backs of buildings lined one side of the tracks, the brook and beyond that back yards lined the other. The boys walked down the railroad tracks, gripping their makeshift clubs, their way guided by the light of a far off street lamp.
“As we were walking we thought we saw this object go back into this area,” Schwab said. “This was a very strange feeling, like it wasn’t happening or something.”
As they walked farther down the tracks, they saw a “disk-shaped object about 20 to 25 feet in diameter.”
“The object. It was either on the ground, or right above it,” Schwab said. “It was hard to see in the dark, but something was there.”
Then the boys saw the prints in the soft earth, muddy from the melting snow.
“A series of small, hoof-like prints,” Schwab said. “They looked like parentheses and were open in the front and back. They were staggered left to right like a biped would leave tracks. They were about three inches long and two inches wide. This is a city, a suburb of Newark, N.J., so there is not a lot of wildlife to be had. We had possums and raccoons, and that’s about it for exotic animals.”
Schwab and his friend John took a few steps closer to what they’d determined was a spacecraft, but a splash in the brook stilled their feet.
“At this point in the brook was kind of a dirt island. The water was only a few inches deep,” he said. “I looked down to where I heard the noise and to my horror saw two small things standing upright like a person.”
The creatures were about four feet tall, dark and covered in hair.
“They were standing in a posture like they didn’t want to be seen or make any noise,” Schwab said. “Like a tip-toe posture with their arms slightly raised by their sides, and they were slightly leaning. One was just behind the other.”
Although Schwab couldn’t make out facial features in the dim light, he could see something that chilled him. Something from a childhood dream.
“They both had very large glowing green eyes, round, but much larger than human eyes,” he said. “They didn’t seem to be reflecting light like an animal, but were glowing.”
Schwab froze, staring at the creatures in horror.
“What are those things?” John asked from his side.
As David and John stood, staring at the entities that stared back at them, one of the other boys yelled, “Where’s Jerry?” David turned and looked, but Jerry wasn’t there.
“Jerry was gone,” Schwab said. “I think someone might have said, ‘they got Jerry,’ and we all ran like hell out of there and back to my house.”
Jerry’s house sat in the middle of the block on Lakeside Avenue on the way to Schwab’s house. When they got to Jerry’s house he was there, sitting on the front steps, out of breath.
“We asked him what happened, and he said, ‘something grabbed me on the arm and I turned around and saw this hairy thing and ran,” Schwab said. “At this point we did not discuss what we had seen with each other. It happened too fast. We then spend some time wondering what they were and comparing what we saw.”
The next morning, Schwab went back to the area. The hooved footprints as well as the boys’ footprints remained – so did something else.
“Back where we thought we saw the disk was a large circle melted in the snow down to the dirt,” Schwab said. “The snow was maybe an inch deep.”
He went home and, as he mixed plaster in an old coffee can to make casts of the hoofprints, John showed up.
“We went back together,” Schwab said. “We went to the spot and poured some in a couple of the prints, one in the snow and one in the dirt.”
When the boys went back the next day to retreive the foot casts, someone had destroyed them.
“I went back with John again and they were smashed to bits,” Schwab said. “John started going on about how there were kids who walked along the tracks breaking plaster in the snow. Yeah, John, right. I’m sure he did it, but I have no idea why.”
Years later, Schwab heard stories about the dark, hairy, glowing-eyed entities near the brook from friends who had no connection with his encounter – he’s convinced they are real.
Copyright 2010 by Jason Offutt
Got a scary story? Ever played with a Ouija board, heard voices, seen a ghost, UFO or a creature you couldn’t identify? Let Jason know about it: Jason Offutt, P.O. Box 501, Maryville, Mo., 64468, or firstname.lastname@example.org. Your story might make an upcoming installment of “From the Shadows.”
Jason’s newest book on the paranormal, “What Lurks Beyond: The Paranormal in Your Backyard,” is available at Jason’s blog, from-the-shadows.blogspot.com.