New Jersey Devil: The Legend Of Pine Barrens, Philadelphia

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New Jersey Devil -The Legend Of Pine Barrens, Philadelphia
New Jersey Devil -The Legend Of Pine Barrens, Philadelphia

The Jersey Devil, also renowned as the Leeds Devil, is an iconic beast said to live in the Pine Barrens woods in South Jersey according to local legends in both South Jersey and Philadelphia. Despite its numerous variants, the animal is generally portrayed as a flying biped with a hoof. A humanoid kangaroo or wyvern like monster with something like a horse- or sheep head, fleshy bat-like feathers, horns, small arms with pecked hands, cloven-hooved legs, and a forked tail is the typical characterization. It is usually described as quickly moving and making a strong-pitched “blood-curdling scream.” 

A true folk myth is the tale of the Jersey Devil. As many people as there are who say they saw or got to hear him, it is diverse. There have been rumors about an animal that prowls through the night in a quiet, uninhabited swamp for more than 250 years. Stories of the Jersey Devil have evolved as a curiosity about the paranormal has increased, fusing local legend with South Jersey history.

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The Devil Of Pile Barrens

You should first comprehend the Jersey Devil’s birthplace in order to comprehend the legend surrounding him. Over 1700 square miles in southeast New Jersey, it is a remote location. It is certainly sizable groundwater covered in thick white pine stands. The atmosphere is quiet, awesome, and peaceful within, with thick darker areas. The channels in the swamp are stained red with Tannen from the cedar trees. The Pygmy Forest is a region of trees that are severely underdeveloped. 27 different species of orchids sprout there, despite the fact that many people view it as a desolate wilderness. Travel was challenging in the beginning because the cedar swamps presented significant challenges. Old Indian paths still exist on some roads. Some were once used by stagecoaches.

There are maintained and fine sand roads. Paths lead to locations with names like Mary Ann Furnace, Hog Wallow, Double Trouble, and Sooy Place. These titles can be traced back to the early colonial period in New Jersey. The Pine Barrens is the name of the region where the Jersey Devil was born.

The Devil’s History

One of the most popular tales is about Leeds Point. A Quaker woman gave birth to a baby in the middle of a lightning storm on a windy night in 1735. Lighting candles flickered in the space. The wind was howling. Some people thought she was a mage. It was thought that the poor woman referred to as Mother Leeds had up to twelve multiple children. Some claim the child was malformed at birth. Some claim that because of her precarious situation, she cursed the baby. According to various accounts, the baby was born normally but later developed strange traits like an extended body, winged upper arms, a big horse-like face, fanged feet, and a thick tail. The kid was imprisoned, so the story goes until it either escaped out the basement door or over the fireplace. The Jersey Devil was now a reality.

bipedal kangaroo like New Jersey Devil
bipedal kangaroo-like New Jersey Devil

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In another tale, a youthful Leeds Point girl had a romantic relationship with a British soldier. Because Batsto’s iron furnaces have been providing the privateers, the British traveled to the area. The Fight of Chestnut Neck in 1778 saw the British and Americans in combat. Her liaison was viewed as treason by the locals, who opposed the union. The girl was cursed by them. The Leeds Devil was the name of the child that she ended up giving birth to, as per legend. A young woman who is passing a gypsy who is asking for meals is the subject of one version of the story. She declined because she was scared. For her defiance, the gypsy tormented her. So when a girl child was born in 1850, years later, the curse was ignored.

Another well-known edition goes as follows: In October 1830, a Mr. John Vliet, a native living in Vienna, New Jersey, was amusing his kids with a mask he had made. a mask depicting a horrific face. The local townspeople embraced it and made it an annual custom. As both parents and children alike donned spooky faces and outfits in the latter part of October, it has grown in popularity and was replicated.

Mentioned Occurrences

There have been numerous reports of incidents and spottings of the Jersey Devil. As per legend, Commodore Stephen Decatur saw a gliding beast while attending the Hanover Mill Works to see how his cannonballs were being made. He then straight shot a cannonball at it, but it had no impact. It is also said that Joseph Bonaparte, Napoleon’s older brother, saw the Jersey Devil while going to hunt on his Bordentown estate around 1820. The Jersey Devil was held accountable for many farm animals’ deaths that occurred in 1840. Similar assaults with routes and shrieks were observed in 1841. 

Asbury Park Press illustration
Asbury Park Press illustration

A farmer in Greenwich gunned down an undiscovered living creature in December 1925 as it tried to take his poultry, then took photos of the dead animal. He later asserted that neither of the 100 individuals he had shown it to was able to recognize it. A journalist for the Pennsylvania Bulletin of July 28, 1937, matched an unidentified animal seen by citizens of Downingtown, Pennsylvania on July 27, 1937, to the Jersey Devil. A group of teenage boys from Gibbstown, New Jersey, alleged to have witnessed a “creature” in 1951, and in 1957, reports of a dead body that matched the Jersey Devil’s characterization surfaced. In 1960, sounds and tracks near Mays Touchdown were allegedly made by the Jersey Devil.

In the same year, local business owners in Camden prepared to offer a $10,000 reward for information leading to the catch of the Jersey Devil. They also stated that they would construct a personal zoo to contain the animal if it were to be seized.

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About The Author

  • Vishal Pal

    Hi, My Name Is Vishal & I am from Mumbai. As I am a movie enthusiast I love watching movies. I am here to express my love for writing.

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