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The Grinning Man


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Perhaps the most famous sighting of a Grinning Man is reported to have taken place on October 11, 1966 in Elizabeth, New Jersey. The entity was sighted by two boys, James Yanchitis and Marvin Munoz, as they were walking home along Fourth Street and New Jersey Street when they reached a corner parallel to the New Jersey Turnpike (40°39'17.43"N, 74°11'29.48"W). The turnpike is elevated and there is an extremely steep incline going down from the busy street above which leads to Fourth Street. A very large, high wire fence runs along the edge of the other street below where the boys were walking, impeding climbers trying to scale the incline to the turnpike above. There are bright street lights in that area, which gave the boys a good glimpse of what they called "the strangest guy we've ever seen." Yanchitis noticed the strange entity first. "He was standing behind that fence," he stated later to investigators. "I don't know how he got there. He was the biggest man I ever saw.""Jimmy nudged me," Marvin Munoz reported to police, "and said, 'Who's that guy standing behind you?' I looked around and there he was... behind that fence. Just standing there. He pivoted around and looked right at us... then he grinned a big old grin."


There had been recent reported incidents of violence in the nearby neighborhood, such as a middle-resident being chased by a "tall green man" down that same street and on the same night, so the boys fled quickly.


Well-known author, paranormal investigator, and journalist John A. Keel visited the two boys in Elizabeth, New Jersey, three days after the incident. Along with Keel came UFO lecturer James Moseley and actor Chuck McCann. Munoz and Yanchitis were interviewed by Keel separately in the home of Mr. George Smythe and both boys told the exact same story. "The man was over six feet tall, they agreed, and was dressed in a sparkling green coverall costume that shimmered and seemed to reflect the street lights. There was a wide black belt around his waist." The boys also said "He had a very dark complexion, and little round eyes...real beady...set far apart." The most unusual aspect of the encounter is the fact that "They could not remember seeing any hair, ears, or nose on this figure."


The figure reported by witnesses became associated with extraterrestrials because it was sighted shortly after a UFO report near the same area. The report states that a "blazing white light as big as a car" almost hit the 550-foot-tall (170 m) television tower outside of Pompton Lakes, New Jersey. A policeman and his wife witnessed the object move in a slow manner north, and it then disappeared beyond the nearby hills. On the other side of the hills, Sergeant Benjamin Thompson and Patrolman Edward Wester, of the Wanaque Reservoir Police, also witnessed the same light at around 9:45 p.m. as it flew low over the reservoir. "The light was brilliantly white," officer Thompson said. "It lit up the whole area for about three hundred yards. In fact, it blinded me when I got out of the patrol car to look at it, and I couldn't see for about twenty minutes afterwards."




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