Jersey Devil

The Jersey Devil, although interesting, may be nothing more then a strange urban legend.

The birth of the creature is said to revolve around an old bitter woman in Leeds Point, New Jersey in 1735. The poor woman became pregnant with her thirteenth child. Cursing the child, she declared that her offspring might as well be a devil. Amazing, the child was just that- born with bat's wings, a horse's head, cloven feet and a small tail. The creature promptly flew away into the nearby forest of South Jersey, where it is said to still live.

Locals keep the legend going by reporting the strange deaths of cattle, bizarre footprints and chilling cries at night. At first the creature was known as the Leed's Devil, after the location and hometown but as time went on the creature took the name of Jersey Devil.

The first sighting of the Jersey Devil was around 2 AM on Sunday, January 17, 1909 in Bristol, Pennsylvania. The local postmaster claimed to see a creature with a ram-like head, complete with curled horns that stayed in the air by using long thin wings. E.W. Minister also reported the creature had short front legs and long hind legs and gave out a shrill cry. A local police officer and another unidentified witness also claimed to have seen the creature.

The next day another police officer reported seeing a "jabberwock" with glowing eyes. Local residents began to see strange tracks near their homes. Mrs. Micheal Ryan claimed she saw the creature walking up and down an alley at about 6 AM on January 19. She gave a description that nearly matched the original sighting.

Within the next couple of days Mrs. Davis White claimed she came across the animal in her backyard at about 4 PM. This time the encounter was in Philadelphia and the devil had alligator-like skin and breathed fire. Mr. White quickly scared the beast away after hearing his wife's screams. That night a police officer claimed to see a "devil bird" with one leg of a mule and the other of a horse's, a horn on its head and an ostrich tail. The officer also reported that the creature was eleven feet long.

The next day a fisherman saw the creature, which was now a three feet tall monkey-like creature with a dog's face. Another man reported the creature was a winged kangaroo. Later reports also include attacks on pets.

Public hysteria was reaching maximum levels as businesses and schools had been shut down. Firemen soon attacked the creature with fire hoses on January 21 as it sat atop a building in West Collingswood. No further sightings were reported for nearly a month. On February 24, Leslie Garrison claimed to see a giant bird with a man's feet.

After the last encounter no major sightings have been reported. Some say the creature can still be found wondering in the dead of night in the New Jersey area.