by Andrew K. Arnett

In Mount Misery: Part 3, I discussed how paranormal researcher John Keel took a healthy interest in the weird goings on at Mount Misery Road and even, dedicated an entire chapter to the area in his book, The Mothman Prophecies. His liaison there was a soft spoken radio host and writer named Jaye P. Paro who had been reporting on all manner of bazaar happenings, happening in that discreet corner of Long Island, New York.

Paro would put Keel on to a number of leads, which eventually led him to witnesses with credible tales of encounters with Men In Black, phantom Indians, and other strange characters seemingly straight out of a central casting call for an X-Files film.

In July of 1969, Paro published an article in the now defunct Beyond magazine, which caught the attention of Keel. The article, entitled Medium’s Insist This Spot Is Dominated By Evil Spirits, was chock full of interviews and her own personal encounters with the paranormal on Mount Misery. I was determined to track down the article, and after some digging, found it.

Jaye Paro

In the article, Paro describes Mount Misery as “one of the highest and seemingly foreboding promontories on the island with a history of murder, secret Indian rites, revolutionary war skirmishes, hangings and destruction.”

Paro recounts how the area had been the site of two axe murders and one resident driven to death by poltergeist. Long time residents describe how the area is like a “supernatural volcano which periodically explodes to shower calamity and misfortune on anyone within range.”

More recent occurrences suggest that the place was haunted by ghosts of its past. Paro received a call one night at the radio station where she worked, from a distraught woman who related a disturbing incident she had just witnessed.

The woman related to Paro that she was walking home early one evening when she saw two men fighting in the middle of the road. They looked just like two Indians from a western film and right in front of her eyes, one of them stabbed the other with a spear. Then, the two figures faded into the blackness replaced only by a sudden shock of cold air.

When Paro visited the woman at her home for an interview, the lady already had her bags packed, saying she would not stay in the area another night for “all the money in the world.”

Paro investigated the area for the next few days but could not find anything unusual except “several attacks of the shivers because of the brooding eerie atmosphere of the neighborhood.” However, her research led her to a book titled George Washington’s Spies, which spoke of how Indian braves went to Mount Misery to prove their manhood in mortal combat.

Was this the source of the woman’s vision?

Paro muses on how traumatic events may leave vibrations that can appear as psychic manifestations by those who are especially attenuated to perceive such things.

Not being a psychic herself, she invited Zachary Ramirez of the Basilo Scientific Association of New York to accompany her on an investigation of Mount Misery. Mr. Ramirez arrived with three mediums and after a few hours of hiking through the Mount, Ramirez presented her with a report, related to him by one of the mediums whilst in a deep trance. He explained:

This land is under very hard spiritual pressures. It is dominated by wrong brothers, wrong spirits, for a long period of time. Former owners of this land have been Indians, victims of the Dutch and other European conquerors and colonizers. Three or four groups of spirits claim ownership of this land. Some of them because they are natural owners, some because they assume they own it. Someone of German descent was here before us. He says, ‘The burnt house must be taken down.’ This German man was the first farmer to build on the Mount. The spiritual forces are still fighting one another for ownership of the land.

On another occasion, Paro returned to Mount Misery with two associates and they encountered something that left her “alternately chilled and quivering with excitement.” She described it as a “black mass in human form that moved silently through the tangle of bushes.

Strange creature in the woods at Mount Misery. Photo by Jaye Paro

Paro was able to take a few hastily snapped photos of the beast before she and her friends retreated in horror to their car. A photo of the creature was published with her article and is included in this article.

Upon examination, it is hard to decipher what we are looking at. Certainly, if one encountered such a thing in the woods, one would be obliged to freak and get the hell out. I can’t make out if this is not some elaborate joke or if it is real evidence of the paranormal. Suffice to say, it is another wrinkle in the fabric that makes up the tenuous reality that is Mount Misery.

Paro is convinced what she witnessed was real. To further bolster the credibility of the photo, she includes in her article, a signed statement by Richard DiMartino, who accompanied her on that occasion. It reads:

At 8 a.m. on Sunday, January 12, 1969, I drove Jaye P. Paro and Barbera LaMonica to Huntington, New York, to the area of Mt. Misery for the purpose of taking photographs of the landscape. We pulled our car into a partial clearing on the left side of Mt. Misery Road, then decided to continue on foot. We decided to photograph an area which was located about 500 feet from our car.

Jaye was ready to take her first shot, when through the corner of my eye I caught a glimpse of a moving black object. Knowing we were completely alone in this desolate area, we were very scared. Immediately Jaye turned and snapped the first two pictures. The three of us were horrified to see the figure of something that resembled a human, disfigured face, long wild black hair, and dressed in a long black garment. It retreated immediately further into the bushes, made no sounds, and made no attempt to communicate with us. Frozen in her tracks, Jaye dropped her camera. I picked it up and shot the remaining two pictures. Barbara ran to start the car. Jaye and I followed and we took off in a cloud of dust.

Richard DiMartino