For hours, Secaucus resident and radio producer Bob O'Brien huddled with Don Taylor and Brent Forster at one of the tables. While all sorts of people hung out at Secaucus' most famous eatery and discussed various topics, these three talked about werewolves, ghosts and how to bring up such things on the radio.
Forster and Taylor had just self-published a book on the paranormal, So Now You Know, based on a true event. But now they were making plans to expand their horizons, and O'Brien was just the man to help them do it.
Although in promoting their book, both men had appeared on numerous TV and radio shows, the idea of having their own and bringing on their own guests did not occur to them until they hooked up with O'Brien for a brief radio interview about the book.
"I thought it would make for a fascinating radio show," O'Brien said.
Now, once a week, both men, with O'Brien's help, bring the paranormal experience to the airwaves on AM 620 New York from the witching hour of midnight to 1 a.m. each Thursday, talking to people who have written about or experienced strange events. Then, they take phone calls on the same subject.
"Sometimes we get a lot of calls," Forster said.
Every show has a topic, such as metaphysics, and both men try hard to come up with guests. Some of these provide a funny tone. Some work at being scary.
"We try to mix things up a little," Taylor said.
In one instance, they even use clips from movies, such as "Sleepy Hollow" and build a show around an author who investigated unexplained phenomena.
While they scrounge the area for local happenings in New York, New Jersey or Pennsylvania, they are not restricted to subjects by geography, and will go any place to get a good subject.
The program's demographics are unusual.
"We reach people from 17 to 84," Taylor said.
"Most stations have a range from 25 to 54," Forster said.
There is a thrill to live radio, both men concede.
"Sometimes there isn't time to take a breath," Taylor said. "Bob produces the show. We have three interns, one phone and a computer."
What they are looking for are sponsors: local advertisers that would like their name associated with the scary stuff they produce. Both men envision a time when they will take their program to the big time, a national audience.
"This is why I insisted they keep control of the idea," O'Brien said. "They broadcast on WSNR.
But the radio station doesn't own the program; they do."
It started with the book
So Now You Know is a fictional take off on a real-life situation that follows a psychic working with the New York Police Department to help locate missing people
Nina Ambrose and her boyfriend, in their investigation, discover other beings walking around amongst us. They get caught up in a larger-than-life struggle.
Brent Foster of Mountain Side, a 1999 Kean University graduate in English and writing, met Don Taylor of Rutherford, and entertainment entrepreneur and advocate of improv theater, when they were both in the sixth grade.
Forster said never thought he would work with a partner, but it worked out. Both men were avid science fiction buffs, and both men discovered a fascination in the paranormal. But one of the keys to developing the storyline and the characters came by way of Dungeons and Dragons role-playing games, a hobby both men shared.
Both realize that the paranormal seems odd to many people, but they refuse to be turned off by an idea just because it is strange.
"We try to keep an open mind about everything," Traylor said.
The two of them are not particularly interested in UFOs. "UFOs have been done to death," Foster said.
Whereas you might catch other programs dealing with Big Foot and the Loch Ness Monster, this radio show takes on theories such as the concept of a hollow earth or dragons. They delve into theories behind the creation of the Egyptian pyramids - were there supernatural beings involved? They also cover material such as psychometry or how to make material objects reveal their owners' secrets. They might look at how to read the various layers of auras and what each layers means.
The show explores all things strange, mysterious, weird and unfamiliar, or as they put it, "just plain out of the norm." This could include haunted houses, New York's headless horseman or other mysteries of the night.
But this isn't just cheap thrills. These two want to educate people into the science and technology that study in these areas often require. They said they want to teach about the subjects and often learn about things as they go along as well.