Thursday, January 12, 2012

The Legend of the Jersey Devil

The legend starts in the Pine Barrens 2000 square miles of dark forest. These Pine Barrens are home to much wildlife but there is said to be another creature lurking in these woods, the Jersey Devil.

The Jersey Devil is a strange looking creature its 4ft tall, has the head of a horse, a serpentine body, large bat-like wings, cloven hoofs and a forked tail.

Legend tells us that in 1735 mother Leeds was pregnant with her 13th child, being she already lived in poverty and could not afford to have another child, she cursed the child and said let it be the devil.

When the child was born, it was born a perfectly normal baby boy. Within a few moments the child started to change, the midwife dropped it on the floor. The baby sprouted wings and attacked everyone in the room, killing some and wounding others then escaped out the chimney.

The legend was born and it claimed the Pine Barrens as it home, the devil has been there ever since.
The devil at that time was known as the Leeds Devil, it was said to dry up milk in cows, and kill the fish in streams. In 1740 frightened residents begged a minister to perform an exorsism on the devil. He did, but said it would only last for 100 years.

The devil was gone, so everyone thought. It was sighted twice in that 100 year spread. The first was in 1800, Commodore Stephen Dectaur visited the Pine Barrens to test new cannon balls. He noticed a winged creature flying overhead and took a shot at it. Many claim he hit the devil with the cannon ball, but the devil just flew away.

1816 Joseph Bonapart, brother of Nepolean, claimed to have seen the devil while hunting in the Pine Barrens.

1840 the devil was back in full vengeance, as the minister warned, once again it was back to terrorizing everyone in the Pine Barrens. It was said to have killed chickens, dogs and small children.

1909 the devil would make itself known to everyone in around New Jersey. Thousands of people claimed to either see the devil or footprints the devil left behind. Schools and factories closed, people wouldn’t go outside for fear the Jersey Devil would get them.

Police officer James Sachville had the devil jump out in front of him, it let out horrific scream, the officer fired his gun at the creature but it just flew away. Mr. and Mrs. Evans saw it on the roof outside their bedroom window. There were many reports of the devil attacking dogs, and people chasing it away with brooms and shovels.

The Philadelphia Zoo offered a 10,000 dollar reward for the capture of the devil.

Suddenly the devil disappeared until 1927 when a cab driver changing a flat tire, said the devil landed on the roof of his car and shook it violently and then flew off.

1951 another outburst of sightings occurred. Investigating police soon found a stuffed bear paw on a stick and quickly determined it to be a hoax. Locals tired of putting up with the devils terrorism swore to hunt it down and kill it. Many folks took to the Pine Barrens armed with weapons. Police knowing a bunch of angry folk in the woods with weapons hunting a devil was not safe. They arrested anyone whom was hunting the devil.

In the years since there have been many sightings. Is the Jersey Devil lurking in the Pine Barrens? Or is it just a myth?

The Jersey Devil is so popular, even The Boss pays tribute to it in this song.

Mike Morris

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