Take these eerie, haunted hikes in the Pine Barrens, Jersey Shore

I had a wonderful conversation with Gabriela L. Laracca of Asbury Park Press which was a rather atypical interview about Ong’s Hat because it focused on one of my passions, long-distance hiking. Here’s a fun article about hiking in Ong’s Hat.
A sand road leading to the Apple Pie Hill fire tower, which is the highest point in the Pine Barrens. The tower is not open to visitors.”Courtesy Of Gabriela L. Laracca
It’s no question that weird things can be felt in the eerily silent trails in the Pine Barrens. The cracking of every twig prompts an over-the-shoulder glance for things unknown. It’s like you’re in a scary movie — or at least getting into the Halloween spirit. For those not faint of heart, mysterious legends are waiting to be found, hidden along the same trails their subjects once walked (or ran) hundreds of years ago. One of these is the Batona Trail (short for “back to nature”), which spans from Pemberton to Little Egg Harbor through 50 miles of sand and pitch pines. It has several trailheads, some with grim stories. The most notorious is the legend of Ong’s Hat. The Ong’s Hat Trailhead is just off of Magnolia Road, which can be reached via Route 70 in Pemberton. The leaf-covered Batona Trail at the Ong’s Hat trailhead in Pemberton. This portion of town, once called Ong’s Hat, was believed to be named after a former resident — and he was a bit of a lady’s man. That was until a woman became angry with him and stomped on his hat, prompting him to storm off in a rage, only to throw his hat into the air and get it stuck in a tree. It hung there as an eerie reminder for years. Visitors began to recognize the town by the hat, and all that’s left today of the small village are ruins of a ghost town that no one seems to be able to find. Now for the fun part: Some believe it’s a portal to an alternate dimension.