The Jersey Devil is a hideous being that supposedly haunts the barren, sandy-soiled Pine Forest in Southern New Jersey. Alleged sightings of this mythical creature have been recorded for over three hundred years.
According to one origin story, a women named Mother Leeds gave birth to a child during a stormy night in 1735. Leeds was reported to be involved in witchcraft, having ties to the Devil himself. Soon after the baby was born, it quickly grew into a monster, attacked those present and then flew up the chimney and into the storm.
The Jersey Devil (aka, “The Monster of Leeds”) has been held responsible for numerous things that have gone wrong in the region, including harming farmer’s crops and livestock, poisoning pools and creeks, devouring babies, and appearing on the New Jersey shore just before a ship wreck.
It has been described as having the bony head of a horse (sometimes a goat), antlers, snake-like body, talon-like claws, cloven hoofs, leathery bat-like wings, glowing red eyes, forked tail of a dragon and a blood curdling scream.
The Jersey Devil roams the Pine Barrens forest which extends from Freehold, in Monmouth county, through Burlington, Ocean and Atlantic to the upper part of Cape May county.
So if you find yourself on a lonely road in these parts and hear an eerie cry, don’t turn around to look, just run for your life, for the Jersey Devil will surely be neigh.
Note: There is an alleged replica of the Jersey Devil’s Skeleton in Ripley’s Believe It Or Not Odditorium Museum on the boardwalk in Atlantic City, New Jersey.
Books on the subject include:
- “The Domestic Life of the Jersey Devil….” (2013) by Bill Sprouse.
- “The Pinelands Horror: The Story of the Jersey Devil” (2015) by Gary Botsch.
External Links: Jersey Devil | Monsters and Mysteries in America @ You Tube