Tuesday, July 26, 2011

The Jersey Devil

     The bleak marshes of New Jersey in the USA have never been welcoming to people, and locals tell of strange sightings and chilling cries emanating from unknown sources in the dark. According to many, something evil is out there.
     The Jersey Devil is a creature of legend said to inhabit the Pine Barrens in southern New Jersey. The Devil is often described as a bipedal flying creature with hooves, bat-like wings and the head of a deformed horse topped with two goat-like horns. This inexplicable beast has been terrifying locals for more than 200 years, emerging in the dead of night to kill wild and domestic animals and abduct small children.
     In a single week in January 1909, more than 1,000 people claimed to have come face-to-face with the Jersey Devil, being seen by homeowners, policemen and local officials. So very similar were the separate accounts that local and national newspapers had no choice but to take the story seriously. Newspapers nationwide followed the story and published eyewitness reports. Hysteria gripped the entire state during this terrible week.
  • 16th (Saturday) — The Devil was sighted flying over Woodbury.
  • 17th (Sunday) — In Bristol, Pennsylvania, several people saw the creature and tracks from cloven hooves were found in the snow the following day.
  • 18th (Monday) — Burlington was covered in the same tracks that seemed to defy logic; some were found on rooftops, others seemed to disappear completely. Several other towns found similar footprints.
  • 19th (Tuesday) — Nelson Evans and his wife, of Gloucester, sighted the Devil outside their window at 2:30 AM.
    • Mr. Evans gave the following account: "It was about three feet and a half high, with a head like a collie dog and a face like a horse. It had a long neck, wings about two feet long, and its back legs were like those of a crane, and it had horse's hooves. It walked on its back legs and held up two short front legs with paws on them. It didn't use the front legs at all while we were watching. My wife and I were scared, I tell you, but I managed to open the window and say, 'Shoo!' and it turned around, barked at me, and flew away."
    • Two Gloucester hunters tracked the Devil's seemingly impossible trail for 20 miles. The trail appeared to jump fences and squeeze under eight-inch gaps. Sightings were reported in several other towns.
  • 20th (Wednesday) — In Haddonfield and Collingswood, posses were formed to find the Devil. They watched him fly off toward Moorestown, where he was later sighted by at least two people.
  • 21st (Thursday) — The Devil attacked a trolley car in Haddon Heights, but was chased off. Trolley cars in several other towns began to maintain armed guards. Several poultry farmers found their chickens dead. The Devil was reported to have walked into an electric rail in Clayton, but if this did happen, it did not kill the beast. A telegraph worker near Atlantic City claimed to have shot the Devil and watched him limp into the woods. If so, he was not fazed much, because he continued his assault, visiting Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, and West Collingswood, New Jersey, where he was hosed by the local fire department. The Devil prepared to attack nearby people, who threw whatever they could find at it. Right as he was about to strike, the Devil flew away. He emerged later in Camden and injured a dog, ripping a chunk of flesh as the dog's horrified owner looked on. This is the first Devil attack on a living creature that was witnessed.
  • 22nd (Friday) — Last day of sightings. By now many towns were in a panic, with businesses and schools closed for fear of the creature. It was, however, only seen a few times this day and didn't attack anything.
     The origin of the beast is a grim tale. It is said that the Jersey Devil was the 13th child born to a Mrs. Leeds, a resident of the Pine Barrens during the mid-18th century. Mrs. Leeds was so upset at yet another pregnancy that after giving birth she exclaimed, "I am tired of children! Let the devil take this one!" What was once a human child immediately transformed into a winged monstrosity. It devoured all the other children and flew out through the chimney into the night.
     What manner of creature is the Jersey Devil really? What is its purpose for attacking the local residents and instilling in them a deep sense of fear and dread?  These questions might not ever be answered, though the beast lurks evermore in the shadows of the Pine Barrens.

30 comments:

  1. Scary story, but after so many people see this creature, not a single pic was taken?

    ReplyDelete
  2. Oh, sorry, it happened in 1909! :(

    ReplyDelete
  3. reminds me of the coheed and cambria song, devil in jersey city. very interesting blog post!

    ReplyDelete
  4. I've heard of the Jersey Devil but never actually read the story of it before.

    ReplyDelete
  5. never heard of the The Jersey Devil befor, thx for the infos ;-)

    ReplyDelete
  6. I've heard of this story before, pretty creepy!

    ReplyDelete
  7. I saw this post and immediately thought of the song "Devil In Jersey City" by Coheed & Cambria...And now I have to go listen to that song...THANKS!

    ReplyDelete
  8. This is creepy! Very interesting and thanks for sharing it with us! Hope you keep up the posts, did you see that story about the ghoul caught by the hunting camera? Was earlier this year I think

    ReplyDelete
  9. I remember reading a book in elementary school about different paranormal beings, it had a chapter on the Jersey Devil. It was always one of my favorites. You should do a post on Mothman one day.

    ReplyDelete
  10. Very interesting! Too bad there aren't any more recent sightings D:

    ReplyDelete
  11. I wish it was true. Life would be more interesting with these creatures flying over our heads.

    ReplyDelete
  12. Interesting story.
    But I think I weren't gonna like to see it.
    haha

    ReplyDelete
  13. Great story! I love stuff like this!!!


    definitely following!

    ReplyDelete
  14. I suspect superstition and hysteria played a role myself. Still I enjoy this kind of stuff.
    +followed

    ReplyDelete
  15. Where do you find these stories.

    ReplyDelete
  16. This one was nice. Very informative. Had heard many things, but never got a lot of info.

    ReplyDelete
  17. creepy! nice blog btw! +followed

    ReplyDelete
  18. I'm guessing this is how the hockey team got their name then, cool.

    ReplyDelete
  19. do some people actually believe this thing exists?

    ReplyDelete
  20. I suspect these are the origins of the "Snooki"...

    ReplyDelete
  21. I heard the city actually to this day has a ransom out for $1000 for anyone who can get it live...

    ReplyDelete
  22. thanks. guess im not sleeping tonight.

    ReplyDelete
  23. i've heard of the jersey devil. it's a bald chipmunk isn't it?

    ReplyDelete
  24. I never heard of the Jersey Devil before, looks harmless enough ha.

    ReplyDelete
  25. nvr heard of it, sounds scary.

    ReplyDelete
  26. waiting on more ghosts and stuff

    ReplyDelete