Monster or Hallucination? New Jersey’s Mantis Man

For a little bitty state, New Jersey has more than its share of weirdness. The latest is the “Mantis Man,” a giant bug-like creature said to haunt the countryside around the Musconetcong River ( ).

What makes people tell stories like this, about having seen Mantis Man? You’d think they’d be afraid of being thought insane, or laughed at as really silly liars. Like, you’re fishing the river and all of a sudden you see this creature, eight feet tall if it’s an inch, looking like a cross between a human being and a giant praying mantis: and then it disappears.

As reported in the magazine, Weird NJ (issue No. 45), the few eyewitness accounts of Mantis Man, tendered by persons who probably don’t know each other, seem to agree as to details and a general sense of terror.

Mantis Man is a new arrival on the scene. By contrast, the Jersey Devil, the resident monster of the southern half of the state, has been scaring people since the 1700s and is still occasionally reported to this day. ( See “The Mystery of the Jersey Devil,” ).

Are all these people lying? Or crazy? Are their eyes just playing tricks on them?

Beats me. I just don’t know what to make of it. Do you?

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