I have never been one for having an interest in the unknown or the paranormal, but when someone you trust tells of an experience from their past, sometimes you have to give the benefit of the doubt. I was reading Your True Tales about a month ago and came across a story that took place in New Jersey on or about the area of Doris Duke farms. After reading it my jaw dropped because this story gave the one that was told to me some validity. My grandfather told me this story back in 1991, a few years before he passed away... and so it goes.
My grandfather worked from the late 1950s to the early '70s as a landscaper on the Duke Estate in Somerset, N.J. When he told this story to my sister and me, he was foggy when giving the exact dates, but he was still very sharp and explained it with incredible detail. My grandfather's job was to manicure and care for the lawns in the north section of the property (whatever that meant) and other various duties. He said that in the summer of 1972, one August afternoon, he was told by the head groundskeeper that he would be working overtime and that he was needed because a shipment was being delivered from Wisconsin. They needed about eight men to unload a crate and to bring it into the garden area.
That night, the truck arrived and it was getting late. The men who were asked to stay for overtime were eager to get things done and over with and be on their way. When the truck pulled up, my grandfather said that the crate was about 8 feet tall and 5 feet wide. When he asked what was inside it, the one in charge said they were exotic trees.
What happened next was enough to make half of the team get up and walk off the job and not care about the consequences. When the men started pushing the crate off of the flatbed truck, a blood-curdling scream was unleashed from within the box. All of the men let go of their grip and the crate fell to the floor. As everyone jumped back, realizing that this was anything but a tree, the head keep did all he could to save the contents' real identity and said that there was a black bear inside of it.
While the men were regaining their composure, most of the helpers walked off the job. They said they didn't want to get hurt or mauled dealing with a wild animal without the proper safety equipment, so off they went, including my grandfather. Only two men stayed to finish what they were asked, and so this is what was told to my grandfather.
The two remaining men managed to get the load onto a dolly and then drag it into the garden compound. While guiding the crate down the main path, balance was lost and the crate came off the wheels. The hard hit was enough to crack the side of the crate and loosen the side panel, which fell off and exposed the contents. What the two remaining men witnessed that night was enough to make them seek employment elsewhere.
What I am telling you was how it was told to me. Inside the crate sat a creature that had the shape of a man, but was anything but a man. They couldn't give a height measurement since the creature was in a sitting position, but they said it was huge. It had the shape of a man with a very large frame, only it was covered with black hair. The "creature" was strapped down and had shackles on his legs and feet and arms. The face didn't look like a man, but had some human features. The workers said it looked more like a monkey or a gorilla. The hair was extremely long and dirty. At one point, one of the men said they thought that this "thing" was trying to speak or communicate with words, but all it did was keep on drooling. They were under the impression that this creature was heavily sedated because it couldn't keep his head up straight; it rested its head on its chest.
A couple of inches away from the creature's head was an empty water bottle nailed to the wall. On the other side of the creature was an IV stand connected to the wall and stuck to its arm. It might have been used to feed this "creature" during its transport. One of the oddest parts to this story was that my grandfather was told that this creature was sitting on a rocking chair! I could never understand this. After thinking about it, though, I think it was maybe to prevent this "thing" from getting cramps during the move. They also said that the odor was overpowering and enough to make anyone pass out -- the combined smells of urine, waste and body odor was rank.
My Grandfather stuck by this story until the very end. About two weeks before he passed away, my sister reminded me to bring it up again and confront him, which I did. There was no need to go over the story again because we both knew how it went. I just asked him, "Papa, remember the crate you had to move in Jersey?" He just looked at me, smiled and said, "Of course." I said, "Did you embellish at all?" He said, "No, there was no reason to. It happened the way I said it happened." I said, "Because now would be the time to tell me."
He looked at me and said, "You want to know if I embellished the story. The truth is that I am guilty of the opposite." There was so much that I left out... the story was just the beginning. Remember something, I worked there for two more years after that. There are things that a young mind should not hear." I said, "But I am not a child anymore. I am sure I can handle what it is that you have to say."
Grandfather said, "Tomorrow I will finish the story. Come back tomorrow." But there was no tomorrow. Grandfather passed away at 2 a.m. at New York Hospital. This is a true story.