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Jersey Devil

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It waits for its prey to fall down laughing before it strikes.
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Hiding with Schrödinger's cat

The Jersey Devil is a legendary creature of folklore rumored to live in the New Jersey Pine Barrens. Cryptozoologists take the legends at face value and think it's an unknown animal that somehow has evaded capture for hundreds of years. The local professional hockey teamWikipedia's W.svg is named for it.

Appearance[edit]

Supposedly, the appearance of the beast varies depends on the eyewitness. Most accounts describe the devil as having the head of a dog, the face of a horse, bat wings, a tail, and (of course) hooves.

Folklore[edit]

Birth[edit]

According to folklore, the creature was born in 1735 at Estelville, New Jersey as the child of a Mrs. Leeds. She had cursed the unborn baby out of frustration (it was her thirteenth child) and declared that it would be born a devil. She apparently got her wish and soon after its birth it transformed into a devil and fled into the Pine Barrens. Other accounts vary when it comes to the family the creature was born into or the location of its birth.

Another theory relates it to a feud between scientist, politician and publisher Benjamin Franklin and the rival publishing firm of the Leeds family, who had a dragon on their family crest which looks a bit like some images of the Jersey Devil. Hero of the Enlightenment Benjamin Franklin may have claimed his rivals were in league with the devil and made up other stories about them cavorting with monsters to discredit their business, according to historian Brian Regal.[1]

Other miscellaneous accounts[edit]

There are other various myths associated with the Jersey Devil. In one a clergyman was able to exorcise the devil from the Pine Barrens in 1740, but it returned 150 years later (apparently exorcisms have expiration dates). Two famous accounts state that the devil was seen by Commodore Stephen DecaturWikipedia's W.svg and Joseph BonaparteWikipedia's W.svg, brother of Napoleon Bonaparte.

The Devil's most famous appearance was a rash of sightings in January 1909 across New Jersey and eastern Pennsylvania. Several hoaxers took advantage of the hysteria by presenting a "captive" Jersey Devil which turned out to be a kangaroo with wings glued to its back. One of them, Norman Jeffries, even planted fake reports of the Devil in local newspapers.

Some people have stated that the creature is a bird, a pterodactyl[note 1] or a supernatural harbinger of disaster.[2]

Recent sightings[edit]

There were two sightings in 2015. One was photographed by Dave Black from Little Egg Harbour, and was described by Vice as looking like "a stuffed animal hanging from a tree". For the record, the person who "broke" the story was NJ.com’s (ahem) lifestyle-and-paranormal-activity reporter Kelly Roncace, who, when not playing ghost buster with an organization called "Jersey Unique Minds Paranormal Society", supposedly has high journalistic standards.[3]

Another local, Emily Martin, took a video of a bat/goat thing apparently flying through the night sky.[1] It looks a bit fakey to say the least,[4] as Snopes.com observed:

The creature’s body is immobile other than its wings during its supposed flight (a characteristic common to piñatas but not legendary cryptids)...Martin’s video is undeniable proof that if you film an inanimate object being tossed through the air on a dark night, you can convince people that the Jersey Devil is alive and well.
—Snopes[5]

Notes[edit]

  1. This theory is bound to be accepted by the YECs.

References[edit]