Hackensack River Canoe & Kayak Club

paddling for over a third of a century

 The following dispatch was intercepted and decoded by U.S. Government Intelligence Agencies under powers granted in the Patriot Act, and recently declassified.


October 29-30, 2005
A Report to the Jersey Devil 

Dear Frightening Sir:

I regret to inform you that the diabolical plans that were laid to horrify, frighten and otherwise intimidate the members of the Hackensack River Canoe and Kayak Club over the Halloween weekend on their Batsto River paddle and camp trip were largely unsuccessful.

The Weather Witches, who had outdone themselves in the period leading up to the trip had apparently run out of evil magic, and the weather which started out as menacingly cool and cloudy at the intended victim’s rendezvous and put in only got better.

The ten intended victims launched a flotilla of seven canoes and two kayaks.

Much of the blame for the failure to frighten must be placed on the Department of Dread. Their intelligence reports had suggested that the leafless branches overhanging the Batsto River would lend a ‘Spooky and Creepy’ ambience to the river. They completely overlooked something, as there were still many colorful leaves on some of the plants, and the intended victims were constantly heard to remark about the beauty of the area and the season.

The Department of Panic Planning is to be commended for their efforts, even though their results must be considered less than totally effective. The cedar tree which they caused to fall across the stream just below the (unintelligible) bridge proved an ineffective barrier. Additionally, the victims actually spent a few moments to clear the obstruction and were obviously quite pleased with themselves. Further downstream, the maple tree which blocked the stream from bank to bank was only partially successful, causing only one victim to get wet. Unbelievably, the wet victim’s spirits were not dampened. It was just bad luck that the victim that got wet was a woman, as the women always are stronger, and the one called ‘Robin’ was obviously extremely resilient. The Dept. of Panic Planning claims that the Weather Witches were supposed to provide cold, windy weather to aid their efforts and failed.

The rest of the intended victims’ float to the designated campsite can be characterized by the complete failure of the combined Forces For Fright (FFF) to accomplish their mission. It was decided to regroup and reorganize and await nightfall to employ our old ally, Darkness.

Darkness, however, had a tough time working his fiendishly fearful wiles because of the proliferation of flashlights, headlamps and a set of small grinning jack-o-lanterns lit from within by some more of this unnerving man-made illumination. The bright and lively fire also undid our attempts to disrupt the contented good cheer of the participants. Our plans had not counted on the extraordinary skill with which they garnered firewood, or the clever foresight of the one called ‘Scott’ who brought along a supply of seasoned hardwood in the ample hold of his canoe.

Two of the intended victims, the ones called ‘Dave’ and ‘Lee’ spent much time discussing martial arts and demonstrating various moves and techniques, which cowed and discouraged the imps, boogie men and demons waiting in the shadows to infect the group’s mood with fear. Also, ‘Dave’ had brought a companion with him…a hideous wide eyed blue penguin whose unblinking eyes and steady stare kept our army of imps and demons at bay.

In the end, the victims all retired to their tents & sleeping bags and slept soundly, with perhaps only the one called ‘Jeff’ hearing the haunting screech of the owl we had sub-contracted from Mother Nature. The results were less than desired, as the victim yawned, sleepily announced “Cool”, and went back to sleep.
By the next morning, the FFF were completely dismayed, disorganized, disheartened and dispersed.

It is with great fear and trepidation that I report to your Frightening Fearfulness that the victims were laughing and enjoying themselves for the rest of the trip to the take out at Batsto Village.

Awaiting your horrible retribution,

Spook E. Monster, commanding
Forces For Fright
Batsto River Brigade
Pine Barrens