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The Jersey Devil Legend

jersey wait for it devil legend

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#1    DarkGaia

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Posted 02 April 2013 - 01:45 AM

http://www.njpinebar...evil/Stretching from Toms River in Ocean County, to Cape May lies a tract of forest that has captivated people since pre-colonial times. Some of the first permanent settlements in North America were in the Delaware River area. Dutch, Swedes, Portuguese, and English settlers all found the area a harsh but profitable area to settle.

But there is something else about these woods that makes it a place shunned by many. The Pine Barrens are truly a world cut off from the rest of society. Within the Pine’s stretches many strange things have happened. Paint Island Spring, a natural hot spring, has been said to cure many illnesses. A tree in Burlington County that a man was murdered in front of is perpetually green – as is a patch of grass in front of it. A huge forest of stunted pines lay nearly in the center of the forest – you could look from horizon to horizon and not see a tree bigger than four feet.

And then there’s one thing that makes many of the locals dive for cover, when eerie screams ring out and cloven footprints appear in the ground – what many of the locals call the Leeds Devil, or to those outside of the pines, the Jersey Devil.

Birth

The weather that usually accompanies supernatural events is the standard “dark and stormy night”? stuff. And indeed, this night was one of those nights. Leeds Point, where our story begins, is located on the Southern shore of the Great Bay in Burlington County. Leeds Point today is a small dot on the map, just a few houses that are used only seasonally. Leeds Point, back in pre-colonial days, was a larger community, located conveniently on the Mullica River and the Great Bay.

Like any good folklore, the details of the Leeds Devil’s birth are shadowed by the mists of time. The most commonly accepted belief is that a lady known only as Mrs. Leeds (although many insist that her name was Mrs. Shourds) was blessed with 12 children. Upon finding out that she was pregnant with her 13th, she cried out, “May this one be the devil!”? Her wish was granted. The birth was normal, but accounts say that almost immediately, the infant began changing. It’s skin grew rough and scaly, it’s hands and feet elongated and grew hooves, it’s back sprouted a pair of bats wings and serpentine tail, and it’s face twisted and changed to have the face of a horse. Reeling about, it thrashed everyone in the room with it’s tail and flew up the chimney and off into the night.

The devil began raiding local farms, feeding off of crops and livestock, it’s most favorite animal being chicken, which would either be missing when their owners would check them in the morning, or be found dead, for apparently no reason. In 1740 one of the wandering missionaries that preached from town to town in the Pines exorcised him for 100 years. This may not have been effective, because the Devil was reported seen a few times between 1740 and 1840.

Another theory is that Mrs. Leeds refused food to a wandering gypsy, and that the gypsy cursed her unborn child. Another version has it that someone other than Mrs. Leeds had the child – that a young woman was impregnated by a British soldier, and that the offspring was the Devil itself. The latter is probably just Revolutionary War propaganda, because in the eyes of colonials, the Redcoats were the devil themselves! It should be noted that the British had several campaigns against smugglers and pirates in the area, and that the disastrous Battle of Chestnut Creek was fought not far from Leeds Point.
No matter what the variants on the legend, the basics are the same. It was man sized, with a forked tail, cloven hoofs, and the head of a horse. Sprouting from it’s back were two large leathery bat wings. It’s diet consisted of crops and livestock, but oddly enough, there are no reports of it every attacking a human. Many people believe the Devil to be a harbinger of doom. He has been spotted right before every major war, and legend has it that the Leeds Devil will perform some act of mischief on you if you hold evil thoughts.

The Devil was also not alone in the lonely pines. He has been seen with the spirit of a pirate thought to be one of the infamous Captain Kidd’s crew, killed so that his spirit would guard the treasure. The Devil was also thought to be cavorting with a mermaid out to sea, and a beautiful white clad girl with radiant golden hair.

The Devil was also not alone in the lonely pines. He has been seen with the spirit of a pirate thought to be one of the infamous Captain Kidd’s crew, killed so that his spirit would guard the treasure. The Devil was also thought to be cavorting with a mermaid out to sea, and a beautiful white clad girl with radiant golden hair.

Week of Terror – January, 1909

Many people had hoped that the new century would see the end to the Jersey Devil. He had remained quiet since the late 1880’s, when he was last seen raiding sheep near the New York – New Jersey border. However, fear and panic struck Burlington county in the latter half of January, 1909 – and a new era of Devil sightings were about to begin.

January 16-23 was a week not forgotten quickly by residents of the Delaware River valley. Thousands heard or saw the devil himself, or his footprints. Factories and schools closed for lack of attendance. Many people refused to come out of their homes unarmed, and that was in daylight. Trolley conductors were armed, and posses roamed the countryside following mysterious tracks that would lead for miles, crawl through areas with less than eight inches of clearance, hop fences, or suddenly disappear. His name also changed. In newspaper articles, he was given names like “jabberwock,” “kangaroo horse,” “flying death,” “kingowing,” “woozlebug,” “flying horse,” “cowbird,” “monster,” “flying hoof,” and “prehistoric lizard.”

Saturday, January 16th was the first day that sightings started being reported. A lone sighting in Woodbury, NJ, and two in Bristol, PA started off the furor. The Woodbury sighting, reported by Thack Cozzens, was quick – he just saw the Devil crossing the road near the Woodbury Hotel. He described it as moving faster than an auto, with two spots of phosphorescence for eyes. In Bristol, one sighting was made by Patrolman James Sackville, later chief of the Bristol Police Department. He described the beast as being winged, but hopped like a bird, with features of a “peculiar animal.” It’s voice was like a terrible scream. The creature fled after Sackville started firing his service revolver. Immediately after, E. W. Minster, the postmaster of Bristol reported seeing the Devil flying across the Delaware River at two o’clock in the morning.
Monday found Burlington in an uproar. Hardly a yard was untouched by them. The contents of many trash cans were strewn about and half devoured. Many people attempted to capture the devil, and the woods were filled with steel traps. Dogs would refuse to follow the tracks of the Devil. Posses combed the woods, shouting “If you’re the devil, rattle your chains.”

The next day, Mr. and Mrs. Nelson Evans awoke to ungodly sounds in their back yard. Peering out their bedroom window, they watched as the Devil perched atop their shed. Evans told the press:

“It was about three and a half feet 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 it’s back legs were like a crane, and it had horse’s hooves. It walked on it’s back legs and held up two short front legs with paws on them. It didn’t use the front legs at all while we were watching. My wife and I were scared, I tell you, but I managed to open the window and say, ‘Shoo’? and it turned around, barked at me, and flew away.”

More tracks appeared throughout Burlington and Gloucester counties. This time the descriptions varied. Some claimed the Devil to be the size of a dog, while others claimed it had antlers, and still others claimed it had three toes and was dog-like.

An unidentified policeman in Burlington was sure he saw a Jabbwerwock Wednesday morning. It’s eyes were like blazing coals, he claimed. It had no teeth “and other terrible attributes.”? The Leeds Devil was seen in Collingswood by a posse as it flew towards Morristown, where John Smith saw it near the Mount Carmel cemetery. He chased it unit it disappeared in a gravel pit. Later in the evening, the beast frightened riders of a trolley car in Springside. The driver, Edward Davis, reported that “It looked like a winged kangaroo with a long neck.”

The next sightings happened early Thursday morning, the 21st of January. It’s first stop was the Camden area, where it appeared to the Black Hawk Social Club at 1 a.m. It again frightened passengers on a trolley, circling above the tracks, hissing ominously. Fortunately, it kept with it’s pattern of not attacking humans, and was off into the night. The Devil then flew North to Trenton, where it made tracks in the park and several yards. The Devil also tried to enter the home of Trenton councilman E. P. Weeden, but was foiled by a locked door. Many residents elected not to venture outside of their homes until they were sure the threat of the monster was gone. So frightened were local residents that ministers noted an increased attendance at their churches.

Many poultry farmers also reported missing large numbers of chickens. Further adding mystery to this, chickens were soon found dead with no markings on them. Farmers speculated either choking or fright. They all agreed on one thing – that the Jersey Devil was at the root of the problem.

http://t0.gstatic.co...nnL_D4_kFAG010Q

http://t1.gstatic.co...QEJOWmau-RU-f-h

http://t0.gstatic.co...BdlPdEA6nAHCnko

http://t3.gstatic.co...3kh6No__WJXBnSk
Website at top. I do not own this and this IS true.



~DarkGaia

Edited by DarkGaia, 02 April 2013 - 02:03 AM.


#2    DarkGaia

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Posted 02 April 2013 - 01:58 AM

what should I do next? :3

Edited by DarkGaia, 02 April 2013 - 02:02 AM.


#3    Q-C

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Posted 02 April 2013 - 01:59 AM

Hello DarkGaia and Welcome! I couldn't get your links to work and the images were too small for my old eyes.
This subject has previous threads on UM.

Haha! Just caught your videos. Very convincing... :whistle:

I'm pretty sure there are a couple TV channels that would make a show around you and your friends(?) searching for the Devil.

Edited by QuiteContrary, 02 April 2013 - 02:05 AM.

Bigfoot is in the eye of the beholder

Scottish Scientists Only!

#4    Rafterman

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Posted 02 April 2013 - 04:29 PM

http://skeptoid.com/episodes/4282

A good review of Jersey Devil folklore by Brian Dunning.

Personally, I'm convinced that it was simply a political smear directed at the Leeds family back in the day.

"For me, it is better to grasp the Universe as it really is than to persist in delusion, however satisfying and reassuring."
                                                                                                                                           - Carl Sagan, The Demon-Haunted World:  Science as a Candle in the Dark

#5    DarkGaia

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Posted 03 April 2013 - 01:15 AM

I'll do dragons next or the Dover demons





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