Vanishing Jumper

I’ve received word of a man who leaps to his death from a train trestle in rural New Jersey at least once a month.

The man has been seen taking his suicide dive—a two-hundred-foot drop into a rocky gorge—by more than a dozen witnesses in the last year.

He is currently unidentified. Witnesses describe him as approximately thirty years old and six feet tall. He’s Caucasian with curly black hair that three people have independently referred to as “marvelous”. He wears a gray sweatsuit and blue sneakers.

He’s been seen at different times of the day—never at night—running east from a heavily wooded section of the tracks. He stops, facing north, in the middle of the trestle. He stands for several minutes, staring into the distance, before removing his sweatshirt’s hood and shaking out his curly hair. He then hops off the trestle, without drama or panache, and falls two hundred feet to his death.

Depending on the witness’s vantage point, his body can sometimes be seen on the rocks below, but by the time anyone is able to descend into the gorge, no trace of him remains. Search teams combed the area after the first few sightings but no one in town bothers anymore.

Every witness has seen him from a distance, usually from a narrow road that runs along the western side of the gorge. The site has become a popular macabre attraction, and local high-schoolers frequent the site to drink and wait for the spectacle to reoccur, but the jumper has yet to appear when anyone was in a position to approach or speak to him. Despite the ubiquity of smartphones, he has not yet been photographed.

The most recent incident happened last Thursday, at 9:45 A.M., during a cold drizzle. The woman who saw him jump had seen him once before, last May, and became the first person to witness his suicide twice.

She noticed an additional detail the second time. When the man removed his hood, his curly hair appeared to slide backward on his skull. He mussed it up, as people often do after removing a hood, and his hair looked normal again. A wig, perhaps? Might the jumper be different people wearing identical costumes? But how do they survive and vanish, and what is the purpose?

I understand Claire Maple is currently in New Jersey. I’ve sent her the details and the location of the trestle and hope she’s able to investigate. This is right up her alley.

— Report filed by Hank Ridley

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Reanimated Squirrel

A six-year-old boy, neglected by his mother, walked out the side door of his farmhouse and tried to resurrect a squirrel he’d seen crushed by a Subaru on Rural Rte. 21 in _________. (I’m withholding the boy’s name and location because he’s a minor.)

The squirrel had darted directly under the car’s front right tire, as if nature itself had forced its suicide. It flailed for a while, its upper half attempting to crawl away from its pancaked lower half.

The boy had the foresight to put on his father’s leather work gloves before he left the house, entered the road, and attempted to reshape the squirrel into its whole, living self.

The boy was too focused on the squirrel to notice a Ford Fiesta approaching from the north. According to a witness—a neighbor named Linda Ray—the Fiesta driver “smelled like my ex from ten feet away”. By which she meant he smelled powerfully of beer.

The driver, perhaps aware of his intoxication and driving with exaggerated care, saw the boy and gently braked. He turned on his emergency lights, left the car, and encouraged the boy out of the road.

Linda Ray appeared from her house on the opposite side of the road. She had seen the boy enter the road but had been slow in coming to help due to “bad hips”. She spoke briefly to the drunk Fiesta driver before leading the boy home to his mother. The driver left the scene.

According to Ray, the reconstituted squirrel bounded off, good as new and leaving behind only a trace of blood and fur. The boy’s mother was furious her son had left the house. She has declined to speak with me about the incident.

Naturally one would assume the squirrel hadn’t actually been injured, but Linda Ray referred me to several other locals with similar stories about the boy. A cat. A corn snake. A skunk. The boy has a growing reputation for reanimating dead animals. I spoke with the town pastor, who knew the stories well and seemed both awed and fearful of the child’s ability.

I hope to question the boy directly but expect his mother to put up serious resistance.

— report filed by Hank Ridley

Snow Angel Attacks Teen

Fifteen-year-old Jarred Crew was injured in Barre, VT when a snow angel, or at least the snow delineating its form, violently held him to the ground for twenty minutes.

Crew and two friends, Julia Peters and Mary Walsh, were walking together through a neighborhood park at 8PM Saturday night when they came upon a man-sized snow angel with no surrounding footprints. The angel was missing a wing and, at the urging of his friends, Crew reclined in the form and spread his arms to finish the design.

The snowy outline contracted around his body, compressing his legs and torso and immobilizing his head.

“We though he was fucking around,” Julia Peters said, “until he started freaking out, telling us to pull him up and yelling that it hurt.”

Peters and Walsh were unable to pry him out of the angel’s grip. Nearby snow filled the space around Crew’s arms and then, according to Walsh, “the wings lifted off the ground and like squeezed down around him”.

Crew began to scream—he suffered three cracked ribs and significant abdominal contusions—and Walsh ran for help. Peters said, “This halo of snow covered his face and he couldn’t talk or breathe. I had to take my mittens off and claw it away with my fingernails.”

Crew sustained scratches, including one to his cornea, from Peters’ effort to help. By the time Walsh returned with her father and older brother, Crew had escaped and walked with Peters’ assistance to a nearby road. He was treated at the E.R. and released later that night.

No one investigated the scene of the incident until the following morning, by which time the snow angel had vanished under blowing snow. Authorities are said to doubt the veracity of the teens’ account.

Author note: Given this event’s proximity to Montpelier, VT, I can’t help but wonder if Harold Jens, still missing after his apparent dissolution in fog, somehow entered the local water cycle and was clinging to Crew in an effort to regain his original corporeal form. Either way, I’m en route to VT to investigate further.

— Report filed by Hank Ridley

Man Dissolved by Fog

A man named Harold Jens was dissolved by fog yesterday morning, shortly after dawn, in the suburbs of Montpelier, VT.

According to witnesses, Mr. Jens was taking his daily walk through the neighborhood when a bank of white fog moved toward him from the end of the cul de sac. Fog was widespread that morning, due to an influx of unseasonably warm air, but was described by locals as “plain old fog” or “thick but I don’t know, just fog”, etc.

Mr. Jens entered the fog wearing a black tracksuit and orange sneakers. Another walker, Debra Lakewood, was half a block away and watched him blur and fade entirely from sight. A minute later, Mr. Jens reemerged, staggering toward Ms. Lakewood and waving his arms as if surrounded by a swarm.

He was covered in fog, which clung to him so densely that he appeared as a pure white, featureless, humanoid body. “He looked like he was made of cloud,” another neighbor said. “I couldn’t see his face or anything. I only knew it was Harold because I could still see his orange sneakers a little.”

Ms. Lakewood reached him and tried to help, but neither she nor Mr. Jens were able to clear the fog away from him. “He couldn’t talk,” she said. “I thought he was suffocating. Whenever he opened his mouth, it was just this gap in his blank face with mist flowing in, like it was rushing down a drain. It was the scariest thing I’ve ever seen. I didn’t know what to do. I guess I started screaming.”

Two more neighbors responded to Ms. Lakewood’s cries and hurried outside to help. Mr. Jens, blind and panicked, ran into the fog before anyone could stop him. His sneakers were seen moving toward an acre of woods at the cul de sac’s end and the neighbors pursued him, fearing he would crash headfirst into the trees. They lost sight of him just as the fog started to disperse.

“The sun broke through and burned it off so fast,” Ms. Lakewood said. “I swore I saw Harold’s shape in the haze, near a green Honda parked at the end of the street, but then he swirled and disappeared with the rest of the fog. Everything was clear in less than half a minute, like Harold and the fog had never even been here.”

Mr. Jens remains missing. Anyone with information is encouraged to contact local authorities or email The Equinox Society.

— report filed by Hank Ridley

Veterinarian Finds Ouroboros

A vet in New Mexico is in possession of a snake devouring its tail—an actual ouroboros.

The snake is three feet long, dull black, and eyeless. Its species is unrecognized by consulted herpetologists.

Approximately one third of its total length is within itself at any given time. X-rays reveal a varying portion of the swallowed tail is always in a state of decomposition or digestion, but the snake’s total weight remains constant to the ounce, presumably because the self-consumed matter is being converted to new tissue in a constant cycle of regeneration.

Which of course is biologically impossible. At minimum, the snake should require water and additional calories for essential vitality, and yet the creature has been monitored in a closed environment for thirty-seven days and appears perfectly healthy.

The veterinarian, however, is said to have grown badly obsessed with the snake. Colleagues tell me he lost an alarming amount of weight in the weeks after its discovery. He has abandoned his job at the clinic, locked himself in his apartment with the snake, and communicates only via brief, snake-related texts.

His friends and relatives are increasingly concerned about his well being, especially because he has, in the words of his sister, “often struggled with OCD and severe introversion, even before he found the snake.”

— report filed by Hank Ridley