History of the Jersey Devil

 

 

Written by: Maureen Devenny

You’ve heard of Bigfoot. You’ve heard of the Loch Ness Monster. But did you know that the Jersey Shore had its own mysterious creature?

 

Meet the Jersey Devil. Like many mystery creatures, descriptions of the Jersey Devil vary. Most agree that the creature is deer-sized and has bat-like wings, horns, hooves, a forked tail, and the head of a goat.  Needless to say, he’s not a very cute prom date. Picture above from Doubtful News.

 

The Jersey Devil makes its home in the Pine Barrens, a large forested area in South Jersey that many out-of-state shore-goers drive through on their way to the beach. Large sections of the Pine Barrens are undeveloped–the perfect place for a mysterious creature to live.

 

The first recorded sighting of the Jersey Devil was in 1735. A woman known as Mother Leeds was pregnant with her 13th child. She was exasperated (having 12 kids will do that to you) and wished that her 13th child was “a devil.” It is said that the baby was born in a human form and then grew wings and flew around the room, shrieking. Some versions of the story have the Devil biting his family members.

 

Sightings of the Jersey Devil were rare until 1909, when hundreds of Jersey Devils were spotted as far north as Camden. Fortunately, there have been no similar sightings since. A group that calls itself the Devil Hunters investigates sightings; so far, they haven’t found conclusive evidence of the creature’s existence. But they remind us that you can’t prove a negative–just because they haven’t seen it, doesn’t mean that the Jersey Devil doesn’t exist!

 

Luckily for us, winter is the best season for a Jersey Devil sighting. The most recent sighting was, incidentally, just before Halloween this year. Take a look at the pic, captured on a cell phone, below:

 

Jersey Devil Sighting

 

Photo was taken by Dave Black; image from here.

 

Do you think the Jersey Devil is real or a hoax? Tell us below!

 

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