New Jersey Journal
By Michaelangelo Conte
Journal staff writer

KEARNY – A strange object found near South Kearny railroad tracks operated by CSX Transportation triggered suspension of PATH service from Newark to Jersey City yesterday morning, officials said.

At 10:57 a.m., a CSX engineer found an object the size of a basketball inside a cloth bag that was wrapped in chains and padlocked, Kearny Police Sgt. John Manley said. Investigators suspected the object was for use in Santeria rituals.

The object, found about 1,000 feet from PATH tracks, triggered a major response from emergency personnel, including Jersey City police bomb technicians, Port Authority of New York and New Jersey Police, Kearny police, New Jersey State Police, and investigators from the Hudson County Prosecutor’s Office, Manley said. The Port Authority operates the PATH system.

Hudson County Prosecutor Edward DeFazio said further inspection revealed the bag contained “what could be described as a large gourd with pins stuck in it. Preliminary indications are that it has something to do with the Santeria cult.”

Bomb technicians X-rayed the pumpkin twice before declaring the large fruit to be nonexplosive, Manley said.

PATH service from Newark to Jersey City was suspended from 11:26 a.m. until 12:02 p.m., when Port Authority of New York and New Jersey officials were informed the object was harmless, said Port Authority spokesman Steve Coleman.

Santeria, an amalgam of religious traditions, originated in West Africa and was practiced by slaves in Cuba. The religion blends African beliefs with Roman Catholicism, fusing Christian saints with African deities. Rites, which includes animal sacrifice, are led by a priest or priestess, and reincarnation is a main belief.

New Jersey is home to thousands of practitioners of Santeria. It is practiced by an estimated one million people in the United States.

Michaelangelo Conte can be reached at

Sorry, the comment form is closed at this time.

© 2010 Web design and development by Tami Jo Urban Suffusion WordPress theme by Sayontan Sinha