By Alexis Shanes and Rodrigo Torrejon
HARRINGTON PARK — They all float down here. Or at least they fall from the sky.
Renee Jensen and her boyfriend were relaxing on a sunny Saturday afternoon when an unidentified object landed in their backyard. The object sailed through the air, somehow not hitting any of the trees surrounding her yard, she said.
As Jensen approached the object to inspect it, she came face to face with Pennywise, the murderous clown that lives off fear. And although it was a doll, the plush toy with its frayed-off tag and mysterious markings on its forehead was enough to spook Jensen and her boyfriend.
"I turned it over and I jumped back and dropped the thing and yelled for Alex," Jensen said. "He picked it up, and I was freaking out. It was creepy and it had weird ... I don't even know what the writing was. It looked culty."
The plush doll represents the latest iteration of the fictional character Pennywise, the ancient, evil antagonist from Stephen King's novel "It." After a TV miniseries adaptation in 1990, a film adaptation of the novel hit theaters in 2017. The sequel "It Chapter 2" is set to be released next month.
In the sequel's trailer, Pennywise is seen dangling in the air from a cluster of balloons, as he slowly floats down to the ground.
With her boyfriend getting ready to leave for work, Jensen decided to report the doll to the police. Even officers were creeped out by the tiny doll, refusing to touch it, she said.
So when officers left, Jensen, who owns a reiki and intuitive healing business in Ridgewood, did not want to take any chances.
"They left, and then I burned the thing," she said. "I tried to burn it with a lighter. The stupid thing would not light, because it has the flame retardant. Then I put olive oil on it. Still wouldn't light. Then I put newspaper on it and light it up on fire."
The doll succumbed to the flames, almost completely burned to ashes. After burning the doll, Jensen burned sage and walked around her property, trying to cleanse the area. And at night — still scared — she slept with a knife. Just in case.
"I didn't want this thing on my property," she said. "I know people think it's crazy but ... it's creepy."