The New Jersey Devil is said to inhabit the Pine Barrens of New Jersey. It’s described as a flying biped, with hooves, the head of a goat, bat wings, and horns (pictured left). Sightings report that the creature emits bloodcurdling screams and can move very quickly, as well as having blood red eyes that could paralyze a man!
The earliest legends of a creature in the Pine Barrens date back to Native American Folklore. The Lenni Lenape tribes called the area around the Pine Barrens “Popuessing,” meaning “Place of the Dragon.” However, the most popular New Jersey Devil origin story starts with a woman named Deborah Leeds in 1735.
“Mother Leeds” already had 12 children, and upon finding out she was expecting a 13th, legends say she cursed the child, saying it would be the devil’s child. Some accounts say the baby came out looking normal before turning into the creature, and some say he came out cursed. Either way, it’s said he ate the midwife on sight.
There have been many sightings, all starting in 1812, where Napolean’s brother Joseph Bonaparte claimed to see the New Jersey Devil on his estate. From January 16th-23rd 1909, newspapers published nearly 1000 claimed encounters with the New Jersey Devil. There were claims that the creature attacked a trolley car, and a social club, and that police shots had no effect on the creature. While testing cannonballs, a Navy Commander Stephen Decatur reportedly saw the New Jersey Devil, and blew a whole right through it, but it just kept running. The police tried tracking the NJD by its tracks, but even the bloodhounds refused to follow them. Schools even closed!
In 1980, a livestock killing happened, allegedly at the hands of the New Jersey Devil. The pack of pigs had the back of their heads ripped off with their bodies torn to shreds. However, not a droplet of blood was found at the scene.
Here’s where things get interesting. In 2015, a man named David Black was driving along Route 9. He thought he saw a llama, before the creature spread it’s wings and took off.
Here is the picture:
This picture obviously went viral, and was met with much skepticism, as well as awe. (It does look weird.) However, only a few days after this notorious sighting, a woman named Emily Martin shot a video of the alleged New Jersey Devil! This video was taken on Old Port Republic Road near Leed’s Point. Some believe it’s an elaborate Halloween prank, but I’ll leave that up to you to decide!
Do you dare believe?