Aka: the Leeds Devil
There are over thirty different descriptions of the Devil ranging from a feathered animal with the head of a ram to a flying lion to a green upright monster. The Jersey Devil is blamed for all unexplained animal deaths in the Jersey Pine Barrens and surrounding areas, mysterious footprints, and strange cries in the night. There are several new sightings of the beast reported every year.
The Jersey Pine Barrens and surrounding areas.
The most popular tale took place in 1735 where the 13th pregnancy of a Mrs. Leeds was said to have led to the birth of a devil child who flew away up her chimney. Local records vaguely support the idea that a thirteenth child in a family named Leeds disappeared. Some believed that Mother Leeds was a witch and the child’s father was the devil. The child was described to have hooves, the head of a horse, bat wings, and a forked tail.
Another version tells of a Mrs. Shrouds of Leeds Point who wished her next child to be a devil, and gave birth to a misshapen and deformed child who also escaped up a chimney. Other stories that took place at Leeds Point includes the one which tells of a young girl who was cursed by the townspeople for falling in love with a British soldier during the Revolutionary War and as a result, gave birth to a devil child.
Since then, numerous New Jersey residents have earnestly reported sightings of the demon for the last two hundred years.
Most of the sightings are of a winged creature with a ram or bull’s head, which is similar to the traditional image of the horned devil. During 1830 and 1840, when numerous livestock died mysteriously, the blame was laid on the Devil, who became an invisible beast capable of killing even those animals in highly secured areas. It then became a winged creature with a bird’s body and the head of a ram that leaves strange footprints in the snow. Then it changed to a flying lion in the early 1900’s, and a half-man, half-beast in 1932. In wake of the Roswell Crash of 1947, the devil became a “green, clearly male, upright monsters”. Later in the 1950s, the Jersey Devil took on the appearance of a “seven feet tall, faceless hairy creature, or a cross between a Tasmanian devil and a human being. The legend has also changed and adapted to the passing of time in order to stay current.
Today, the Jersey Devil has won iconic status, being the regional symbol of the area. The NHL hockey team is even named “ New Jersey Devils”