New Jersey Mysteries, Myths, and Lore Series

This month, the Monmouth County Library Eastern Branch, at 1001 Route 35 in Shrewsbury, will host a series of seasonal programs. For more information on any of the following, call the library at (732) 683-8980.

Cemetery John: The Undiscovered Mastermind Behind the Lindbergh Kidnapping, presented by author Robert Zorn

Saturday, November 5 at 3:00 p.m.

A former software entrepreneur, Robert Zorn is the son of the late economist Eugene C. Zorn, Jr., the only person to witness the Lindbergh kidnappers planning the crime. On a summer day in 1931 at New Jersey’s Palisades Amusement Park, 15-year-old Gene Zorn inadvertently observed two of his German immigrant neighbors from the Bronx conspiring with Bruno Hauptmann nine months before the kidnapping of 20-month-old Charlie Lindbergh took place. Robert’s book was the driving force behind the PBS/NOVA documentary, “Who Killed Lindbergh’s Baby?” Dr. Edward I. George, chairman of the statistics department of The Wharton School, analyzed the evidence presented in Cemetery John and concluded that there is a 99.9% probability that Gene Zorn’s Bronx neighbor John Knoll – a man previously unknown to history – had collaborated with Bruno Hauptmann in the kidnapping.


Lost Topanemus, presented by reporter and historian Dan Radel

Sunday, November 6 at 2:00 p.m.

Topanemus is a Lenape place name that translates to “a place of plentiful freshwater and fish.” The town of Marlboro, in fact, once appeared as the Village of Topanemus on early maps of New Jersey. An old cemetery in the “village” missing its gravestones is linked to a congregation in Freehold that still meets in its 18th-century-era church at the corner of “Old Indian Road.” Dan Radel will help us “find” this lost Topanemus.


The Wreck of the Lady Mary, presented by Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist Amy Ellis Nutt

Sunday, November 13 at 2:00 p.m.

Journalist Amy Ellis Nutt talks about the tragic New Jersey story of a high seas hit-and-run: the mysterious sinking of the Lady Mary off the coast of Cape May that left only one survivor and not a single clue to its demise. Ms. Ellis Nutt won the 2011 Pulitzer Prize for Feature Writing for The Wreck of the Lady Mary. She was also a finalist in 2009 for her Star-Ledger feature, Accidental Artist. Currently a health and science writer for the Washington Post, as well as a New York Times Best Selling author, she is a graduate of Smith College and holds Masters Degrees from MIT and Columbia University. She was also a Nieman Fellow at Harvard University


The Real Story of the New Jersey Devil, presented by Brian Regal, PhD

Saturday, November 19 at 3:00 p.m.

The story of the Jersey Devil is one of the most popular myths of New Jersey history. The problem is that everything you think you know about the Jersey Devil is wrong. It is not about a spectral winged-horse demon, but rather the bare-knuckled political and religious upheavals and fights of colonial America. The real story of the Jersey Devil’s birth is far more interesting, complex, and important than anyone thinks.  It is a product not of witchcraft, but innuendo, scandal, rumor mongering, and media hype. While a tale of early America, it could have been taken from the tabloids and internet gossip of today.

Brian Regal, PhD teaches the history of science, technology, and medicine at Kean University. He is the author of numerous books and articles on the more esoteric realms of history. He has appeared on radio, television, blogs, and Op Ed pages around the world.


The Friends of the Library Fall Book Sale will be held from Tuesday, November 1 through Saturday, November 5 during library hours. Friday is half-price day and Saturday is $1-a-bag day.