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Paranormal Creatures: The Jersey Devil

Updated on January 6, 2013
The New Jersey Pinelands
The New Jersey Pinelands | Source

New Jersey's Infamous Devil

For over 270 years now, the Jersey Devil has haunted the forest of the New Jersey Pinelands. Phenomenally, over 2000 witnesses have seen this Jersey Devil. From what I know, that’s the most sightings for an unexplained creature. This devil has caused quite a bit of trouble from terrorizing towns to causing schools and factories to shut down. People believe that it is a mythical beast and its legend originates in Pine Barrens. To this day, the Jersey Devil continues to stalk around Pine Barrens terrorizing it’s local residents.

There are several stories about how the Jersey Devil legend began. All of them occurred in 1735. The first was when a woman by the name of Mrs. Leeds, who was involved with witchcraft, got pregnant for the thirteenth time. The family, having twelve children, were living in deep poverty. Her husband was a drunkard who didn’t put any effort into supporting his family. Learning that her thirteenth child was coming, she raised her arms up to the heavens saying “Let this one be a devil!” It was born on a stormy night and at first appeared to be a normal baby boy. Moments later though, the baby began to morph into a creature with hooves, a horse’s head, bat wings, and a forked tail. It then started to grow drastically, and it’s face became monster-like with red eyes. It then attacked it’s own family killing them brutally by clawing and biting them. Those that survived watched in horror and the devil escaped through the chimney.

The other stories were much less brutal. In these, Mrs. Leeds also claimed that she wanted the child to be a devil. When the child was born, it was deformed. She kept the baby in the house so no one would see it. Then on one stormy night, the child began flapping it’s arms which shortly turned into wings and the baby escaped through the chimney. The family never saw their baby again. The other story was that a girl fell in love with a British soldier during the Revolutionary War. This news led the people of Leeds Point to curse her. On the day she gave birth, it was a devil. Some people believed that this was punishment for mistreatment of a minister by the Leeds family.

Since the date of those incidents, the Jersey Devil hasn’t been seen until 1890. Then the word really got out there in 1909 on the week of January 16-23. He was seen by over 1,000 people from South Jersey, and even as far as Philadelphia. People saw hoof prints in snow that they couldn’t explain. The Devil’s longest appearance was on January 19th, 1909 at around 2:30a.m. A man by the name of Nelson Evans and his wife heard some odd noises. They then looked out the window and saw the Jersey Devil in plain sight. He was described as three feet tall with a head that looked like a horse, with hooves, and wings. Evans then told it to go away. The devil barked at him and flew away.

SInce 1909, sightings of the devil are rare, but still occur. Witnesses say that mid January is the time when the most sightings occur, just like in 1909. In recent times, it has appeared in terrifying ways. On an episode of Paranormal State, a man was sitting in his car when the Jersey Devil flew out of a tree. Soon after he saw it, he drew a picture. He described it as a teradactyle. Another man had a face to face encounter with it, saying he saw red eyes. He also forbad anyone from the show to go into Pine Barrens forest at night alone. So if you come across Pine Barrens in New Jersey, be on the look out for the Jersey Devil, because the legend lives on.


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    • WiccanSage profile image

      Mackenzie Sage Wright 4 years ago

      I always found this an interesting legend. People say it's a sandhill crane, but how the heck do you confuse a bird with the creature that people describe? I can't see how that could be. Very good hub, I enjoyed it.

    • profile image

      CALI KID 5 years ago

      I think the Jersey devil just needs some california sun and women in bikinis around then maybe itl relax and stop stalking people around. But maybe thats just me, people see what they want, then again legends have to come from somewhere.

    • xstatic profile image

      Jim Higgins 5 years ago from Eugene, Oregon

      Reading this makes me glad to be in Oregon, where we only have to contend with the elusive Sasquatch and a few haunted lighthouses and hotels. At least Sasquatch can't fly. ( I hope!)

    • dmop profile image

      dmop 5 years ago from Cambridge City, IN

      Who knows what's really out there, new species are discovered every day. Interesting subject, it gets the mind thinking at the least.