The Jersey Devil
The Jersey Devil is a legendary creature or cryptid said to inhabit the Pine Barrens of Southern New Jersey, United States. The creature is often described as a flying biped with hooves, but there are many variations.
Most accounts of the Jersey Devil legend attribute the creature to a “Mother Leeds although the tale has many variations. According to one version, she invoked the devil by saying “let it be the devil” while giving birth to her 13th child, and it either immediately or soon afterward transformed into a devil-like creature and flew off into the surrounding pines.
The Jersey Devil remained an obscure regional legend through most of the 18th and 19th centuries until a series of purported sightings in 1909 gained it press coverage and wider notability. Today, the Jersey Devil is considered to be more in the realm of popular culture than folklore.
During the week of January 16 through 23, 1909, hundreds of people reported encounters with the Jersey Devil.Newspapers of the time named it “Phenomenal Week” and the public reaction has been called the Devil’s “most infamous spree.” Reports initially concerned unidentified footprints in the snow, but soon sightings of creatures resembling the Jersey Devil were being reported throughout South Jersey and as far away as Philadelphia and Delaware. The widespread newspaper coverage led to a panic throughout the Delaware Valley prompting a number of schools to close and workers to stay home. Among alleged encounters publicized that week were an attack on a trolley-car full of passengers in Haddon Heights and an attack on a social club in Camden. Police in Camden and Bristol, Pennsylvania supposedly fired on the creature to no effect.