Many may think Long Island is a typically boring suburbia devoid of anything unusual besides the Big Duck, but looking deeper reveals a region replete with stories of aliens, ghosts and Bigfoot sightings.

Local reports of extraterrestrial, psychic and cryptozoological phenomena have been met with skepticism as well as trust, but some claims are easier to explain away than others. The sheer number of such purported sightings suggests the Island’s residents either have wild imaginations or are indeed living in a cauldron of metaphysical mysteries.

What follows is a roundup of five weird, bizarre things reported on Long Island:

Stranger Things Montauk Monster
The so-called ‘Montauk Monster’ that allegedly washed ashore on Long Island in 2008.

5. Montauk Monster
Some say it was just a decomposing animal carcass that beachgoers found washed up on the shore in Ditch Plains in July 2008. Others maintain it was viral marketing for a horror movie. Conspiracy theorists suggest it was some otherworldly experimental creature that escaped from the Plum Island Animal Disease Center. Either way, a legend was born when international media picked up on the story and the body of the enigmatic “monster” couldn’t be recovered for testing, leaving only speculation based on creepy photos of the beast.

Photograph of an alleged UFO in New Jersey, taken on July 31, 1952
Photograph of an alleged UFO in New Jersey, taken on July 31, 1952

4. Do You Believe?
With all the alien encounter allegations that originate from LI, some say the region is as much an antenna for extraterrestrial activity as Roswell, New Mexico, the infamous purported UFO crash site. Several local residents previously interviewed by the Press shared stories of spaceships landing on the Island. Some even said they were abducted by aliens, but few were willing to publicly share their stories, for fear of being ridiculed. Believers and sky watchers meet to swap stories of their sightings in the local chapter of MUFON, a national UFO research group.

Stranger Things Season Two
Netflix Stranger Things Season Two is coming in 2017! Stranger Things’ fictional town Hawkins, Indiana and its paranormal and psychokinetic scenarios share striking similarities to local lore surrounding Camp Hero (L) in Montauk, NY and Brookhaven National Laboratory (R) in Upton, NY, both on Long Island, NY. (Photos: Wikimedia Commons and Brookhaven National Laboratory)

3. Strange Island
The hit Netflix series Stranger Things, originally titled Montauk, is based on local lore of children purportedly being abducted and taken to the Camp Hero military base, where they were forced to participate in secret government experiments, including time travel, telekinesis, teleportation and mind-control. The show’s creators later changed the name and setting to the fictional town of Hawkins, Ind., but there are parallels aplenty between the series’ plot and the LI suburban legend, as chronicled in The Montauk Project book series. Skeptics say the books are science fiction, but author Preston Nichols continues to fuel speculation by insisting it could be true.

2. Bigfoot or Big Hoax?
Last year, the paranormal investigative unit of Scoopy Doo, a local dog poop collection company, released a video purporting to show footage of a Bigfoot sighting in Glen Cove, but the video appears to be a hoax. One local newspaper picked up the story and added a note at the end indicating that it “may or may not be completely true.” Patch.com posted a similar story recently about a sighting in the same area, but later retracted the article. For what it’s worth, Scoopy Doo’s proprietors also predicted in 2012 that Mitt Romney would win the presidency because dog poop they picked up resembled the Republican.

Long Island Ghost Hunters
Long Island Ghost Hunters investigate paranormal hauntings.

1. Ghostly Encounters
There are so many reported specters on LI that the region has more than a half dozen ghost-hunting groups and a bus tour that visits the haunted sites. Every Halloween police increase patrols around the Kings Park and Pilgrim State psych centers to deter thrill seekers. The infamous Amityville Horror house drew so many gawkers over the years that the owners changed its address and replaced its creepy windows. Besides Amityville, among LI’s most infamous haunted locations are Sweet Hollow Road, Lake Ronkonkoma, Raynham Hall in Oyster Bay and Katie’s, a bar in Smithtown. Go there if you dare!

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