As reported by the New York Post, and various other media outlets, "a man hiking through the woods in Long Island stumbled upon what looked like a scene out of a horror film... he shot on his phone the real Missing Persons signs, cans of food and the handmade cage-like structure that littered the scene before bolting to safety." The hiker, James Rankin, posted footage of his bizarre discovery on his Facebook page. This would be insanely creepy if true, hinting at a serial killer on the loose.
There were approximately 25 posters featuring both missing women and men. They all appear to be real missing person cases, including Jennifer Kesse who has not been seen since she went missing on January 24, 2006.
After 12 minutes inspecting the site, Rankin said: 'We've got to get out of here. We've got to get as far away as possible."
Once he returned home, the hiker contacted local police to report his discovery. Initially, Rankin posted to his Facebook to say "I've spoken with a detective, and showed them the videos. They agree this is creepy, if not suspicious, and will be investigating," The Suffolk County Police confirmed that they received a complaint at Berkeley Jackson County Park and considered the situation "active" but would not offer any other details.
Well, Snopes has already called out the video, stating that Suffolk County Police don’t suspect any wrong doing, and have found no evidence of misdeeds, let alone serial killer activities. Two days after posting the video to Facebook, Rankin provided an update to say "the police have told me that the homeowner of the adjacent property is claiming this was set up for a "Halloween party," and that it would be taken down after Halloween. They are not investigating further."
The hiker isn't convinced though, stating:
"What I wanna know is, if these were “Halloween party” decorations, why have they been hanging there for weeks or months? Because it was plainly obvious that the stuff had been there for quite a while, and not set up recently. That’s clearly the case as seen in the videos. Seems to me they’re just using the time of year as an excuse (just my opinion).
Also gotta wonder just what sort of person thinks it’s OK to use real missing persons posters of people’s lost loved ones as party decor"
Some have speculated that it is an elaborate hoax, a promotion for an upcoming horror movie. If it is, you have to admit it's pure genius, though arguably a bit tacky. I hope it's an attempt to help find these missing men and women, similar to the video the rock band Soul Asylum released in June of 1993. The video for their smash hit "Runaway Train" led to 26 missing children being found after being featured in the video.