This legendary creature has haunted the Jersey area for close to 260 years. Nearly 2,000 witnesses have encountered the creature. This mythical beast originated from folklore in the Pine Barrens of New Jersey, though, there are many versions of the lore, they all seem to lead to the same conclusion.... a devil was born.
Here are a few of our favorite legends:
- A woman of Leeds Point, New Jersey, wished that her next child would be a devil. One dark and stormy night, the child was born and immediately morphed into a creature with a goat's head, bat wings and hoofs, it screamed and killed the midwife that had performed the birth then flew out the chimney, never to be seen again... In 1740, it was reported that a local clergyman exorcised the demon and banished it for 100 years.
- A young woman from Leeds Point falls in love with a British Soldier, but the people of Leeds Point are displeased by this, so they curse her. The woman gives birth to a devil that is later called the Jersey Devil.
Though, our all time favorite legend involves Benjamin Franklin and some of the earliest known political feuds! It all starts with Daniel Leeds, who comes to America in 1733 and settles. Daniel publishes an Almanac containing references to astrology and his neighbors, who are Quakers, attack him! Daniel continues to publish his work and goes on to write a satirical series on the Quakers further fueling the fire, which eventually leads to the Quakers to deem Daniel Leeds as Satan.
When Daniel Leeds son, Titan, takes over the Almanac, he becomes entangled in a feud of his own, with Benjamin Franklin. Franklin and Leeds spiral into their long running fued, leaving the Leeds family with the title, "Political & Religious Monsters". Some claim the Leeds Family gave birth to a deformed child which spawned the Leeds Devil of Jersey name, which later was referred to as the Jersey Devil, though there are no actual reports of the Leeds Family having a deformed child. This lore all died down in the early 1800's, then a 20th century museum, began promoting items from the Jersey Devil, bringing the legend and lore back to life.
While all of these legends are great... there is little to no proof of any of it.. However, there have been nearly 2000+ sightings of the Jersey Devil! One of the more notable sightings would be from, Joseph Bonaparte, which is Napoleon Bonaparte's oldest brother, he claims to have seen the Jersey Devil while hunting on his estate in 1820.
Have you seen the Jersey Devil?! Share your thoughts and experiences in the comments!