In the Pine Barrens of New Jersey, a million acres of wooded land, there is said to live a creature. One with wings, cloven feet, and often described as having red eyes. It's known as the Jersey Devil. Many believe that it emerges from it's lair to kill live stock, raid chicken coops, and terrorize the people in nearby towns. Over the last 20-30 years, there have been hundreds of sightings of the Jersey Devil, and even evidence left behind.
The legend may have multiple origins. An early Native American tribe, that lived in the area, had named it "Popuessing". It meant "place of the dragon". Swedish explorers later came to the area and called it "Drake Kill", meaning "dragon river". Eerily similar, yet the most widely known and accepted legend comes from around 1735, and a woman name Deborah Leeds.
Mother Leeds was believed to be a witch during that time, a time when people believed in witches, magic, and curses. When she delivered her 12th baby, it is said that she proclaimed, "If I have a 13th child, let it be the devil!" She was again in labor in 1735, with her 13th child, and this is the one said to have changed into the Jersey Devil. This legend has variations. Some say it was born the devil, others say it changed into the devil. It was said to have flown out a window, or in some cases a chimney. Some tell the story where the devil killed the midwife then flew away. One reason the Jersey Devil is sometimes known as the Leeds Devil as well.
Where ever the legend originated, there is definitely something suspicious going on in the Pine Barrens and surrounding areas. Throughout the years, several sightings have been reported of the Jersey Devil. Including being shot at in the 1840's, with no apparent effect. It's reported to have come out of it's lair several times, and prey on area livestock. It's also left behind evidence, including hoof prints.
One of the most famous sightings occurred in 1909. During this time, the Jersey Devil was spotted multiple times (some say 100, some say several hundred sightings), during a week's span. WIth multiple sightings and a horde of unidentified hoof prints, a mass hysteria arose in the area. Children were kept home from school, and shop owners shut their doors, all in fear of the Jersey Devil.
The sightings have continued throughout the years, with one of the most recent ones being in 2008. A mother and her son were outside late in the evening when they spotted the creature. They ran in fear, right back to the house, hearing the creature fly above them. They claimed the creature landed on the roof. The next day, the husband excitedly proclaimed there were hoof prints left all over roof, perfectly preserved in the snow. This, and other compelling evidence, led a History channel show called MonsterQuest to investigate. To see this intriguing episode, and the compelling evidence visit this link http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EYZWUJjuHx4 .
Whether the Jersey Devil exist or not, I do not know. Perhaps it's an unknown species, possibly a dragon as the Native Americans believed. Or maybe it's a species of dinosaur that's survived, as many cryptozoologist believe. Or maybe it really is the devil, in New Jersey. Watch the compelling evidence below, and see if you believe!