In October of last year, the internet was intrigued with a photo released of the Jersey Devil in Galloway, New Jersey. It is not clear whether the photo was real, doctored or just someone who threw a goat with fake wings into the air (poor goat, if so!). Regardless, the legend of the Jersey Devil has been around for nearly 200 years.
What’s the story?
In 1735, a woman by the name of “Mother Leeds” gave birth to her 13th child. It was said that Mother Leeds was a witch and that the father of her final child was the devil himself. The baby looked normal at first, but legend says that he was quickly transformed into a horrible creature. The child developed hooves, a goat’s head, a forked tail and bat wings, gave out a terrible scream and killed the midwife before flying out the window.
In 1740, it is said that a clergyman in Southern New Jersey banished the demon for 100 years and it wasn’t seen again until 1840.
What’s it based on?
Many historians have said that the Jersey Devil was likely created to discredit a politician by the name of Daniel Leeds (1651-1720), who was largely known as “The Leeds Devil” for being a political monster. They posit that this image evolved over time to become the Jersey Devil we all know today.
The first published images of the Jersey Devil as we know him today were from 1909, when several newspapers published hundreds of stories of claimed encounters all over the state of New Jersey. This news caused widespread panic around the Delaware Valley, which led to schools and other professional organizations to close for fear of public safety.
How’s it used today?
The Jersey Devil has become a cultural icon of the state and surrounding areas. The creature has also appeared in several television shows (such as The X-Files), movies (The Jersey Devil (2005)) and video games (Jersey Devil (1998)). The hockey team, The New Jersey Devils, was also named after this notorious cryptid.
Take a look at the most recent sighting in October of 2015:
Let us know what you think in the comments below: The Jersey Devil, real or fake?