If you are a sports fan, you may have heard of the New Jersey Devils. However, those familiar with the history of Cherry Hill, New Jersey are aware of the origins of that name. The Jersey Devil the true story, is what you are about to read!
The Jersey Devil is a creature that has long been part of history around New Jersey. It resembles a body that is similar to a very small horse. It also features wings that are similar to those of a bat. However, there are plenty of variations out there about it. Some of them describe a body that is more like that of a kangaroo or with a goat head. There are some drawings that show this creature with claws and with horns as well as a forked tail.
No matter what description is used, the Jersey Devil, is said to be living around Pine Barrens in the Southern part of New Jersey. It is stated to be fast moving and it lets out a scream that you won’t forget. This creature is believed to date back to the Native American folklore of the Lenni Lenape tribes. It was a stormy night in 1735 when she went into labor.
According to the early stories, Mother Leeds had 12 children. When she found out that she was pregnant with a 13th, she said it would be the devil. Those around here saw the baby be born as a lovely, beautiful child. Then, before their eyes, it changed into a creature that had a head similar to that of a goat and wings that looked like a bat along with a forked tail.
This new form then made screaming and growling sounds before it killed the midwife in the room. Then it flew out the chimney and circled the village before it took flight in the direction of the pines.
There are numerous reported occurrences of the Jersey Devil being seen. Commodore Stephen Decatur wrote about seeing this flying creature when he went to the Hanover Mill to check the process for the cannonballs. Decatur stated that he fired a cannonball at the creature but it didn’t do any damage to it at all.
The brother of Napoleon, Joseph Bonaparte, reported seeing the Jersey Devil in 1820 when he was hunting around Bordentown. He was hunting with several other men when they saw the creature in the sky. They shot at it but the creature just circled them for a while and then flew away.
Beginning in 1840, this creature was blamed for a variety of livestock being killed. While no one saw the actual events, there were reports of screams and there were also tracks to indicate that the livestock had been dragged. In 1937 a farmer reported seeing a flying animal with red eyes trying to steel chickens. In 1960 various tracks and noises around Mays Landing were reported. There was a $10,000 reward for the capture of the Jersey Devil. The plan was to put it in a private zoo.
The height of the sightings was in 1909 when there seemed to be reports continually for a full week in January. This included reports from people riding a trolley car in Haddon Heights and people at a club in Camden. Police shot at the creature but nothing happened to it. The reports in the newspapers made people afraid, and schools as well as some businesses closed. People were encouraged to stay indoors.