Jersey Devil

Of course on this blog there has to be some mention of the “original” and most commonly talked about cryptids in the world. This time around I’ll be talking about the infamous Jersey Devil, the legend of a creature born in a way for the Devil.

The creature is said to inhabit the Pine Barrens of the Southern part of New Jersey. It’s often described as a flying biped with hooves, but there are many variations. The most common descriptions are that the creature is kangaroo-like with a head of a goat, bat-like wings, horns, small arms with clawed hands, cloven hooves and a forked tail, and is said to move quickly and has a blood-curdling scream.

According to the folklore surrounding the creature, the legend originated from a family known as the Leeds family. A member of the family named Mother Leeds, had already given birth to twelve children in her lifetime and when she found out she was pregnant with another child, she cursed the child in anger and said it would be the Devil. When she gave birth the the child it came out normal, then turned into a monster with hooves, a goat’s head, bat wings, and a forked tail. It growled and screamed at the family, killing the midwife and flying out through the chimney and disappearing into the woods. In other versions it’s said that there was an exorcise attempted on the creature, or that it killed the local children.

Prior to the sightings of the Jersey Devil, it was referred to as the Leeds Devil or The Devil of Leeds. It was either connected to the local Leeds family or the town of Leeds Point. “Mother Leeds” has been identified by some as Deborah Leeds on the basis that her husband, Japhet, named 12 children in his will in 1736. There are other suspected people as well relating to the legend. Deborah and Japhet also supposedly lived in Leeds Point. There are many legends, myths, and hoaxes that come along with this strange creature. What is real and what isn’t?

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