Friday, 3 August 2012

Jersey Devil

The legendary creature of New Jersey has haunted the Pine Barrens for over 260 years. The Jersey Devil, sometimes refered to as the Leeds Devil, is so popular a legend in the New Jersey area that it had New Jersey's NHL team named after it.

The Jersey Devil was described by Nelson Evans of Gloucester, a witness from the 1909 sightings, to look
“…about three feet and half high, with a head like a collie dog and a face like a horse. It had a long neck, wings about two feet long, and its back legs were like those of a crane, and it had horse's hooves. It walked on its back legs and held up two short front legs with paws on them.”
Since it first appeared in the 1700's, it has terrorized the citizens of the New Jersey area, destroying crops and is believed to be a harbinger of war. It was seen before the start of the Civil War, the Spanish American War, World War I and II, on December 7, 1941 before Pearl Harbour was bombed and was seen before the Vietnam War.

So where did the Jersey Devil come from?

There are many believed origins of the Jersey Devil, the most popular story is that he was the spawn of "Mother Leeds", a supposed witch who resided in Burlington, New Jersey. The story goes that on a stormy night in the year 1735, she gave birth to a child which was believed to be the son of the devil himself. The child came out normal but soon changed shape, growing wings, hooved feet, a forked tail, and the head of a horse. It flew into a violent rage, beating everyone present in the room before flying up the chimney and towards the pines.

The Jersey Devil has been spotted by thousands of witnesses including policemen, politicians and highly respected members of the community over the years.

One of the first sightings of the Devil was by Commodore Stephen Decatur who was overseeing the forging of his cannonballs when he saw a strange creature flying in the sky. He fired a cannon at it, striking it and yet the creature continued flying, unphased.

Some say the mysterious creature still roams the Pine Barrens to this day.

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