Imagine embarking on a treacherous journey, sailing into uncharted waters, and stumbling upon a hidden spring that holds ancient secrets. This is the captivating story of Henry Hudson and his encounter with what is now known as Henry Hudson Springs. Join us as we delve into the enigma surrounding this legendary captain and the curses that have haunted these shores for centuries.
The Curious Visit
In the early days of September 1609, Henry Hudson, an English explorer sailing for the Dutch, set sail on a momentous expedition up the river that would eventually bear his name. But before venturing further into the estuary, Hudson and his crew made a fortuitous stop at a small freshwater spring in present-day Atlantic Highlands. This spring, which we now know as Henry Hudson Springs, rested peacefully on a steep, wooded hillside along Bayside Drive. Little did they know that their encounter with this innocuous spring would sow the seeds of a chilling curse.
The Legend Unveiled
Local legends surrounding Henry Hudson’s ill-fated visit to New Jersey have endured through the ages. One such tale, recounted by a reader of Weird NJ, sheds light on the haunting apparitions and eerie events that unfolded after Hudson’s arrival.
According to the story, the New Jersey coastline has long been steeped in tales of lost explorers, pirates, and inexplicable phenomena. In 1609, Hudson’s ship, the Half Moon, found itself in dire need of water and provisions. Navigating through the area known as Sandy Hook, the crew sought refuge in the northeast shore of New Jersey’s mainland, specifically in what later became Atlantic Highlands.
As the crew made their way ashore, they unwittingly trampled over sacred burial grounds belonging to the local Lenape tribes. Their path led them to a bubbling spring, revered by the Lenape for its reputed medicinal properties. Today, a 400-year-old footpath, accessed from Lawrie Road off Ocean Boulevard, serves as a testament to their journey. A marker, placed by the local historical society, designates the sacred spot where the Lenape and Hudson once crossed paths.
The Unleashing of the Curse
Sadly, the crew paid little heed to the consequences of their intrusion upon these hallowed lands. Soon after, misfortune befell the Half Moon and its ill-fated sailors. Sail tore, masts snapped, and moorings broke loose. Tragedy struck when one crew member, John Colman, fell victim to an Indian arrow through his neck. The once-promising voyage turned into a maritime nightmare, and the crew attributed their misfortune to Hudson’s ill-advised decision to trespass sacred grounds.
Not long after, in November 1611, Hudson set sail on a subsequent expedition aboard the Discovery, hoping to explore and map Hudson Bay with dreams of discovering the elusive Northwest Passage. However, dissent among the crew grew, with many yearning to return home. In June of the following year, the crew mutinied, leaving Hudson, his teenage son, and seven loyal crewmen stranded in a small open rowboat amidst the vastness of Hudson Bay. They were never seen again… until various reported sightings emerged along the coast of New Jersey over the centuries.
The Haunting Continues
Legends persist of Henry Hudson’s apparition roaming the shores of Atlantic Highlands, perpetually searching for a safe landing spot, doomed to wander the rock-strewn coast that he once violated in 1609. The ancient forces that watch over the area prevent his restless spirit from setting foot on the same lands he desecrated. It is said that on moonlit nights, Hudson’s ghostly figure can still be spotted, his voice calling out “Ahoy!” across the ocean. The spirits of old stand guard, ensuring that no intruders disturb their sacred domain.
The tale of Henry Hudson Springs is a reminder of the power of ancient forces and the repercussions of trespassing on sacred lands. It serves as a haunting testament to the enduring mysteries that lie beneath the surface of our world.
The preceding article is an excerpt from Weird NJ magazine, “Your Travel Guide to New Jersey’s Local Legends and Best Kept Secrets,” available on newsstands throughout the state and on the web at Ratingperson. All contents ©Weird NJ and may not be reproduced without permission.