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Famous Legends of New Jersey

Updated on November 21, 2018
Jersey Devil
Jersey Devil | Source

New Jersey - I've lived in this state all my life. I never realized as a kid that there are tons of stories on paranormal activities or legends. Let's discuss a couple of these legends I discovered as an adult that I find quite interesting.

One legend that I heard exists in New Jersey is the Jersey Devil. This creature is said to be a combination of animals. The head is that of a goat, the body of a deer, plus huge horns and wings. Supposedly the Jersey Devil is said to be the thirteenth child of a woman named Mary Leeds, born in 1735. The child was born a demon because of a curse that had been put on Mary, I believe while pregnant. Numerous sightings have been reported since that time. Even Napolean's brother, Joseph Boneparte, is said to have reported seeing the creature. The year 1909 seems to have been a bad year with many attacks and sightings being reported all over the state. Today, multiple programs have reported on the New Jersey Devil including "Paranormal State" and "Mysteries of The Museum". In 2001, the movie "Jeepers Creepers" came out which was based on this creature. Knowledge of the New Jersey Devil radiates through out the state and it's a topic many are aware of and talk about.

I discovered another legend that lives on in New Jersey. I don't remember hearing about this one before but it's not too far from where I presently live. I have driven past this place too many times to count but never I knew about the history. The legend is that of the Witch of Edison, Mary Moore, and she predates the existence of the Jersey Devil.

Let's start with a little history. There's a white church sitting next to one of the oldest graveyards in New Jersey. The name of the graveyard is Piscatawaytown Burial Ground and it sits right on Woodbridge Avenue in Edison. Many a Revolutionary War hero are buried here. When the British Army moved through the state, they used this area of land as a training ground. Also sitting on these grounds, next to the commons yard, is a tavern that was used by George Washington and Alexander Hamilton. So much deep, rich history exists here.

Now for our legend, that of Mary Moore. She was buried in this cemetery in 1731. She had been accused of being a witch. If you know anything about the "witches" in Salem, Massachusetts, you know they were killed for their "crimes" and Mary Moore met the same fate. No one seems to agree on exactly how Mary died. One theory is she was hung, another says she poisoned herself after murdering her husband. One thing seems to stay the same across time, and that is Mary was a witch with strange plants in her yard, she caused animals to do weird things, and even dressed like a witch.

You might be wondering at this point what Mary Moore and the Piscatawaytown Burial Ground have to do with each other, other then the fact Mary is buried there. According to the legend, the cemetery is said to be haunted by Mary's ghost. You might come face to face with her ghost should you be in the cemetery. For this to happen it is said that you need to walk around her grave three times and then spit. Not everyone believes that, especially if you are a skeptic when it comes to ghosts. I personally believe in ghosts, so I might try this if I were in that cemetery.

Should you decide to test this legend out, I understand that you are going to need some luck on your side. The reason is that you have to find her grave first. Unfortunately Mary's headstone was stolen by two boys, either in the 1950s or 1980s, no one is sure of the exact time this happened. According to the story, after stealing the headstone one of the boys tried to cross Route 1, which is a major highway running through Edison. Upon doing this, he was hit by a car and died instantly. The second boy then smashed the headstone for fear that it was cursed. Another story says that after the first boy was killed by the car, the headstone fell into a sewer.

Many people feel this whole story of Mary Moore is just that, a story. They say there are entirely too many inconsistencies for this to be true. Information on Mary Moore is hard to come by, or better yet, nonexistent. But for most everyone, the fact alone that she was accused of being a witch is enough.

So, what do you think? I believe in the supernatural and have an open mind on the subject. You might want to do the same. If nothing else, the subject is an interesting one to talk about.


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    • cjnileski profile imageAUTHOR

      Cynthia J Nileski 

      16 months ago from Somerset, New Jersey

      Thanks for the comment. Always a source of interest for me too. I actually stumbled on these creature so I would have to go back and find more information on him. Been in NJ all my live and never heard about this.

    • profile image

      eric thomas g 

      16 months ago

      stories like this always intrest me and keep me curious I would like toknoe more if you don't mind telling me


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