The following is from the book, “Bigfoot in the New Jersey ‘Burbs” (Where to find Bigfoot in our great, not completely paved over yet, state.”) Permission is granted by the Author, William Taylor.
There isn’t any proof that Jersey has a Bigfoot population. Similarly, there isn’t any scientific proof that the Olympic National Forest in Washington State, which has one of the highest concentrations of sightings of any area of the country, has even a single Bigfoot, let alone a possibly sizable population. The difference between the Pacific Northwest and New Jersey is that the former has a lot of sightings and New Jersey has considerably less, though enough to keep things interesting.
In the world of Bigfoot research, there are mostly only sightings, sounds, and smells. There are the occasional footprints, hair samples, possible DNA samples, and other indications that something is out there, but the only real evidence is the thousands of first and second hand reports nationwide. For New Jersey, 260 publicly available reports have been compiled over roughly the past fifty years.
Documented reports of Bigfoot encounters (seen, heard, or smelled) in New Jersey occurred in a number of places, from the wetlands of Delaware Bay, where a Bigfoot was seen in the marshes behind an apartment complex near the Sewaren Wildlife Management Area (WMA), to the edge of the New York border in Wawayanda State Park, and all kinds of mostly concentrated areas in between.
Some of the reports are rigorously researched to eliminate hoaxers, animal misidentifications (i.e. what was seen was really just a bear), heavily intoxicated and/or stoned witnesses, and other criteria. The more rigorous reports, like that of an encounter by an off-duty state trooper in Bass River in 2003, are investigated by actual Bigfoot researchers that conduct telephone and in-person interviews, make visits to the area of the sighting, and examine pictures, sound recordings, and other physical evidence for their providence and legitimacy. The less vigorous reports can include a few lines of text in a local newspaper, reader-submitted accounts to Weird NJ, or some research group’s online discussion forum, video testimonies on YouTube, and secondhand friend-of-a friend/police officer/park ranger descriptions.
The Bigfoot Field Research Organization (BFRO) is one of the research groups with a more rigorous standard for including an encounter in their public database. The BFRO posts new accounts nearly weekly, and the number of sightings going back decades is approximately 4,030 nationwide, with over 500 in Washington State alone. Canadian reports total about 275, bringing North American sightings to over 4,300. (The BFRO categorizes encounters into “A” and “B” classes. Class A reports are for incidents that include a substantial amount of evidence of an encounter, such as a visual sighting. Class B reports may have somewhat less evidence, but nonetheless, suggest an encounter.)
In the BFRO public database, there are about forty-one New Jersey reports. Alone, the number of reports does not compare to the numbers out west; however, assuming Bigfoot does not notify the Post Office of a change in state residency, when combined with New York reports, the count jumps to 147. Adding Pennsylvania into the mix adds another ninety-six, bringing the total reported sightings to about 240
Using only the official BFRO NJ count of forty-one is a worthwhile place to start counting Bigfoot encounters. However, other sighting reports have been compiled that when added to the BFRO count provide enough where, what, and when instances for guidance in the search for Bigfoot in the Garden State.
The Gulf Coast Bigfoot Research Organization (GCBRO) online database contains about eight sighting reports. There is also long-time Bigfoot researcher John Green’s database, which has forty-six reports for New Jersey going back to the 19th century. The New Jersey Bigfoot Reporting Center (NJBRC), which no longer accepts reports, has over 100 reports in total, or a little less than fifty, if you exclude the reports that also appear in other sources such as the John Green lists. New report submissions are supposed to be sent to the Northeast Sasquatch Research Association (NESRA). Weird NJ magazine has a compelling accumulation of reports going back to the first few issues that were published in the early ‘90s (thirty-eight issues have been published through May 2012) and in the two hardcover books also published. Between the magazines, books, and media accounts, there are about sixty-four encounter reports. Scouting the Internet for other instances of Bigfoot encounters, some of which are scarily believable, we have been able to find another fifteen to twenty. Books such as Phantom of the Pines, (More Tales of the Jersey Devil)
produce roughly another twelve instances that are distinctly reminiscent of run-ins with Bigfoot-like entities, as opposed to run-ins with monsters of the flying type, the more classical description of the Jersey Devil.
Taken all together, one can produce a list of approximately 260 encounters with Bigfoot in New Jersey, give or take a few to account for overlap in more than one database. (While we can produce a list of about 260 sighting encounters in New Jersey, our “official count” in the book is 207. The 207 count excludes reports from before 1960, reports that could not be placed on a map, duplicates and suspected duplicates and other exclusion factors.)