Close to the past 300 years or so, a monstrous creature has been eye-witnessed by thousands of people in the area that is now the Pine Barrens area of southern New Jersey. The creature is said to be the cause of animal deaths and has been named the “Jersey Devil” (or is sometimes referred to as the “Leeds Devil“. ) There are a few different versions of how the legendary Jersey Devil actually came to be, however the most common version goes something like this – a woman, called Mrs. Leeds, gave birth for the 13th time. The woman, who was believed to be a witch, proclaimed that she wished her child was a devil. The child was born with hooves, claws, a tail, and wings, and was proclaimed a devil. A few variations of this story exist, another version for example, says that a woman named Mrs. Shrouds, gave birth to a child in Leeds Point, NJ. She hoped that the baby she had was a devil, and then gave birth to a deformed baby with wings. It is said the devil destroyed its whole family.
The story of the Jersey Devil is curious as it has persisted for hundreds of years. The devil has been blamed for things such as dead animals, strange tracks, and odd sounds. There are some that swear they have actually seen the monster (sightings are continually reported every year, including this year),with most sightings centering around the towns of Mays Landing, Chatsworth, Little Egg Harbor, and Galloway. Others say it is just an old wives tale created by the people that settled the area in the 1700s as a means of explaining their fear of the unknown surroundings. In 1957, it has even been said that the remains of a body bearing a resemblance to the description of the Jersey Devil was found in the woods by the Department of Conservation. Oddly, sightings were reported even after the body was found leading many to believe that the creature had not actually died and still others to point to that as proof that the creature was not real to begin with. There are however many that believe the creature is in fact real, and many studies and much research have been done to prove it’s existence – or non-existence.
The main characteristics that describe the Jersey Devil vary, but most seem to include some of the following: feet like hooves, wings like a bat, head like a dog, face like a horse, claws, forked tail, glowing red eyes, and antlers.
The video below for example, seeks out Harry Leeds, a supposed relative of the Jersey Devil who shows investigators the secret location of the birthplace of the Jersey Devil: