On the site of what is now the Woodbridge Center Mall in Woodbridge, New Jersey, on the outskirts of New York City, once lay a series of clay pits. The pits were once the source of clay used in bricks far and wide. They were also known as the Sand Pits or the Dog Patch, and in the 1960s they were host to a bizarre mystery.
A shack near the pits was being demolished when inside were discovered over 100 small wooden figurines resembling African idols. All of the figures are armless and nude, and the facial features of the different figurines are distinct from one another.
All of the figurines are also hollowed out and stopped with a cork, implying that the figures were used as flasks or at least, that some liquid was stored in them. Twenty years ago or so, the figurines were bought at an auction in New York City (some sources claim this was by a man from Westchester, NY who was a connoisseur of “outsider art”). And here the story, or at least the known, confirmed story, ends.
When researchers tried to determine the provenance of the figurines in Woodbridge, they discovered a tangle of urban legends had sprung up about the clay pits and surrounding areas. Some claimed that on the crest of a hill off Karkus Avenue there stood a church-like building. Some said that there were no animals in the pits, or that there were scattered patches of quicksand in the pits. But the most prominent legend about the pits is that of a woman named Eva, or more ominously The Walker.
The woman lived with her family in an old farmhouse off Metuchen Avenue near the Pits, and it is said that local children were told not to approach the home as the family had a number of vicious dogs. Some legends had it that the family were descended from Hessian mercenaries who fought in the American Revolution, while others held that they were a group of inbreds.
A man at the Woodbridge Historical Society recalled that the “church” at Karkus Avenue was reputed to be a place of healing where “miracles” took place. Others said that there were always stories that the mall would eventually sink into the ground (presumably connected to the tales of quicksand in the Pits), while still others claimed that when the stories were investigated, they weren’t true. I’m not sure which they referred to, as there were several different stories associated with the area.
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