Situated at the tip of a peninsula on the Atlantic Ocean, New York's Camp Hero State Park offers pristine maritime forests, freshwater wetlands, and stunning ocean vistas, but unbeknownst to many of the unwitting hikers strolling its beaches, the park has a dark side, one that's rife with rumors of mind control, horrifying genetic meddling, and even secret experiments that made use of kidnapped children. 

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Montauk-Monster-May-2009-Close-Up

The park garnered plenty of attention in 2008 when a hideous, seemingly-mutated "monster" washed up on its sandy beaches, a mammalian creature with a beak that no one could seem to identify before it was swept back out to the ocean. Many point to the area's history of strange military experiments, complete with an abandoned base, as proof that the "Montauk Monster" was an escaped genetic experiment.

Perhaps even stranger than the sightings of mysterious creatures, Camp Hero has, over the years, achieved legendary status among conspiracy theorists who claim that the facility has an underground base used for human experiments in time travel, mind control, and even extraterrestrial contact. 

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Some men, now easily in their 70s, have even come forward to claim that they were part of experiments referred to as the "Montauk Project", a secret continuation of the Philadelphia Experiment. The men point toward the large number of mysterious man-holes sealed throughout the park, claiming that they were once a way to actually reach the base hidden deep below the park.

Via Week in Weird:

Preston Nichols, an electrical engineer that once worked on the base, once stated that the facility was built in order to train psychic spies out of young boys, using technology gathered from wrecked alien space craft.

“We had the little grays and larger grays as well as a variety of reptilian beings,” said Nichols. “The large grays didn’t want anything to do with me. … When I entered a room, they would leave.”

Nichols claims that among the experiments performed on the secret base were projects that intended to master time travel, experiments that he says were successful when they culminated in a “hole ripped in space-time” in 1983.

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Today, though no conclusive evidence has ever been discovered, skeptics have largely concluded that the Montauk Monster was probably a raccoon, and quickly discount Nichols' claims of secret government experiments as a fantasy born of botched hypnotism sessions. But for those who believe, the remnants of the hidden military base and the occasional mutant creature washed ashore are proof enough that Camp Hero is the weirdest state park in the country.

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Abandoned military base on Camp Hero

Want to scope out some other of the weirdest legends in America? You can head to Felt Mansion where the cannibalistic Melon Heads are said to roam, or visit the Mothman Statue dedicated to the terrifying monster that plagued the small town of Point Pleasant years ago. Not spooky enough for you? You could always spend the night in the Villisca Axe Murder House where ghosts have driven paranormal investigators to freakin' stab themselves. Creepy.

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