Here's a creature that has been seen by policemen, goverment officals, postmen, businessmen. People who's integrity is beyond question.
So what is it?
As the Legend goes, Mrs. Leeds, being quite cranky to find herself pregnant again, with a thirteenth child, shouts out "I hope it's the Devil."
Be careful what you wish for.
The creature is said upon its delivery, to have had cloven hooves, wings, a horse-like head with horns, and a tail. The creature supposedly escaped up the chimney. It would come back to visit its mother daily. Mrs. Leeds would stand at the door and tell it to leave. Eventually it never came again, at least while Mrs. Leeds was still alive.
It it said that it now nests in the old Leeds home. People have found nests, very large nests there, lined with the feathers of birds that had been ripped from their bodies. Hmmm. A big eagle? Not on the ground.
From the pre 1909 era, few documented records of sightings exist. The ones that do are eerily similar, the same in description and nature and seem to confirm the existence of the devil.
In the early 19th century, Commodore Stephen Decatur was testing firing cannon balls when he saw a strange creature flying across the sky. He fired and hit the creature but it kept on across the field.
Joseph Bonaparte, former king of Spain and brother of Napoleon, saw the Jersey Devil in Bordertown, NJ, between 1816 and 1839 while he was hunting.
In 1840-41 several sheep and chickens were killed by a creature with a piercing scream and strange tracks.
In 1859-94, the Jersey Devil was seen several times in Haddonfield, Smithville, Longbranch, Leeds point and a few other towns and villages. It was said to carry off anything that moved.
For the most part, the Jersey Devil is said to inhabit the Barren Pines.
Here are some interesting sightings that started around January 16 1909:
On Thursday, the Jersey Devil was seen by the Black Hawk Social Club and also by a trolley full of people in Clementon.
Hoof prints were also found at the arsenal in Trenton. As the day wore on the Trolleys in Trenton and New Brunswick had armed drivers to ward off attacks.
The West Collingswood Fire Department fired their hose at the devil. The devil retreated at first, but then charged and flew away at the last second.
On Friday, Camden police officer Louis Strehr saw the Jersey Devil drinking from a horses trough.
Hysteria erupted. The school in Mt Ephraim was closed because no students came in. Mills and factories in Gloucester and Hainesport had to close because nobody came to work. Many New Jersey residents wouldn't leave their houses, even in daylight.
In Riverside, NJ, hoof prints were found on roof tops and around a dead puppy.
To this day, the residents of the Barren Pines don't like to venture into the woods after dark.
Since 1909, there have been many reports of people seeing the Jersey Devil. They all have one thing in common, the description. He has been described as having of cloven hooves, wings, a tail and horses head. The sound of the screams the creature makes, and the feeling of being watched when in the Barren Pines all seem to follow the same pattern.