Is the Jersey Devil’s range increasing?

Jersey Devil breaks it's geographical bounds as time feeds its strength.

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New Jersey’s pine barrens might qualify as the strangest stretch of woods in the world. It is completely out of place, a huge thick pine forest with only a sparse rural population situated among developed and largely urban New Jersey. The Pine Barrens is just the type of place for a cryptid, and boy does it have one. Of course, I speak of the Jersey Devil.

The most famous tale of the origins of this cryptid is of Mother Leeds. In 1735, the story goes, the good mother had given birth to twelve children. Said to be a witch, Leeds said that if she had child number 13, it would be the devil himself. Variations of the story say that the Devil was the father, but in any case, the child was born completely normal. Within minutes, it killed the midwife, grew a horse’s head, forked tail, wings and hooves and escaped through the chimney and went directly toward the Pine Barrens.

But this may not be entirely true. The Native American Lenni Lenape tribes called the Pine Barrens “The place of the dragon”, and other name places and accounts may suggest an origin that predates Mother Leeds. The first well documented sighting dates from the early 19th century when the famous early American naval commodore Stephen Decatur visited a foundry in the barrens searching for a source for decent cannon balls. He related a story of seeing a white creature with huge wings flying overhead, and directed cannon fire at it. The story goes that the creature was entirely oblivious to the hole Decatur made in its wing.

Perhaps the most famous person to see the Devil was Joseph Bonaparte. Most people aren’t aware that this older brother of Napoleon Bonaparte, and former King of Spain, called Bordentown, New Jersey home for some years. Unwelcome – and perhaps wanted – in Europe he fled France before the capture of Napoleon and bought a lovely rural estate, not far as monster flies from the Pine Barrens. He is said to have seen the Jersey Devil in 1820.

In the 1840’s the Devil was blamed for numerous livestock killings (though one wonders how many of those were actually related to the UFO phenomena). But, unlike many cryptids and paranormal phenomena, the sightings of the devil increased. By 1909 thousands had claimed to see the Jersey Devil, most of them between the dates of January 16-23. Newspapers went wild with the story, Numerous accounts of the horse-faced, winged devil surfaced, and mass hysteria set in. The devil was said to attack a trolley car, schools closed, a local fire department claimed to stave off the monster with a hose, and the local economy screeched to a halt when business owners were too fearful to open their doors.

Sightings continued with regularity throughout the 20th century. But the range of the Devil seems to be increasing. 2008 has already seen two sightings, both well out of the Pine Barrens area, and well out of New Jersey in fact. The first was January in in Litchfield, Pennsylvania, where a farmer saw the creature in his barn. The second was in Rising Sun, Maryland on August 18th, 2008 where three people observed the creature flying past their car, landing in a field a short distance away. The Jersey Devil is still with us, unlike many cryptids, and seems to be increasing its range….

The Verdict

A result of mass hysteria or an ever-growing winged devil soon to terrorize near you? With no actual evidence but countless sightings this seems more like a human induced frenzy than fact.

Probable Hoax

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The Facts

  • First sighted early 19th century
  • Horse head, forked tail, wings and hooves
  • Sightings and range increasing with time

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  • hey researchers this is great new article about the nj devil indeed, please keep updated on future updates on this sitiuation. good afternoon. bill 🙂

  • It would have been helpful to include the Litchfield and Rising Sun witnesses’ descriptions of the creatures…

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  • Dale

    I think the Jersey Devil could of had children and they’re is what we’re seeing.

  • Jill

    We are South Africans who lived in NJ for 3 years and the story of the Jersey Devil always fascinated me. Thanks for the update I just wonder in this day and age of mobile phone cameras why nobody has been able to take a picture? Mind you, if it was me I would probably be too scared to even think of taking a picture!

  • I am dying to get to jersey to do some exploring. I am sure you have all seen this. My interest is totally peaked.

  • Sorry. The supposed Devil picks are at the end of the page. Interesting stuff. Do any of you know about this vortex area? It adds an interesting spin and concept to the whole legend.

  • Info mentioned in headline is at the end of the article, that’s called a buried lead. As noted, quotes from eye witnesses and map would have been helpful. Concise, well written synopsis with the exception of the UFO’s as cause of livestock disappearing, hungry neighbors are as likely.

  • Der, forgot to add, exact dates, name or sources for the PA and Maryland sitings would be great.

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  • Psychic

    An interesting story and cunning research there. The devil thing keep me reading on each paragraph.

  • Pingback: Is the “Jersey Devil” Moving into PA and MD? « Ghost Radio()

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  • judy

    We had a sighting in 2008 outside of our home in the month of October. My fiancee went outside with our puppy late at night and the large winged human/dragon type figure flew over his and our puppys head. Our dog was starteld and shaking and my fiancee and her came immediatley inside to inform us of what he had just seen,

  • Victoria

    My name is Victoria and i am starting a report on the JD
    (Jersey Devil) also known as the MLD (The Mother Leeds Devil)
    I really want you to keeping up the good reports also add to the reports of the time and the date also where it was seen.
    I want you to add pictures and about the mother the day it was born and the fathers name.
    People say when you make the Jersey Devil Cake and put it in your yard the Jersey Devil might come
    i never tried it but maybe you can
    after you do that i want you to email me and tell me what happened

    here is the recipe


    3/4 cup boiling water
    3 ounces unsweetened chocolate
    2 1/4 cups sifted cake flour
    1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
    3/4 teaspoon baking powder
    3/4 teaspoon salt
    3/4 cup margarine
    3 eggs, well beaten
    1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla
    3/4 cup buttermilk
    2 cups brown sugar

    1/4 pound margarine
    3 cups sifted confectioners’ sugar
    3 squares unsweetened chocolate, melted
    1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla
    1/4 to 1/2 cup evaporated milk

    To make cake: Pour boiling water over chocolate. Stir over low heat until smooth and thick. Cool. Sift together flour, soda, baking powder and salt. Cream shortening with sugar until fluffy. Add eggs and beat well. Blend in chocolate and vanilla. Add dry ingredients and milk alternately, beating after each addition. Pour into well-greased 9-inch pans. Bake in 350-degree oven 30 minutes.

    To make icing: Blend butter, chocolate and vanilla. Add sugar alternately with evaporated milk until smooth. Add milk until spreadable.

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  • Alejandro

    When I was a 12 years old, I saw a Jersey Devil flight in my parents farms way back to Mexico 26 years ago. I told to my parents and my relatives but nobody believe me.
    I saw a Jersey Devil when the big big storm was coming.

  • Misty

    Omg i have heard alot about the Jersey Devil and i found it to be so amazing! i want to move to New Jersey myself and try looking for it….that would be so awesome!!!

  • logan

    it FAKE my dad a pilot hes fly 24/7 and im 16 and hes flys everywhere u can think of and he fly miltary people to iraq and counter terrsiost from hawii! so yea people can tell stoires but they can lie so do not to belevie them . yes u will say im wrong but im not k??? the next is if it was real then the world end ps the bible said when the world end thats when the war with god and the devil , and try everything i could from all websites said do this it fake nothing work i use to live in NJ be4 that my family came from poland,sewdian, and irish, gremany and i was born right here in us in NJ but i never seeing nothing i be honest i never seen th (JD) jersey devil

    • pietas

      no it’s not fake. your dad flies around but never sees every single bird on earth either, and that doesn’t prove that birds he doesn’t see aren’t real. the Bible does speak of dragons aka dinsoaurs. Behemoth and leviathan are mentioned and so is dragon and sea serpent. Job 41:1-34 – Canst thou draw out leviathan with an hook? or his tongue with a cord [which] thou lettest down? (Read More…)

      Isaiah 27:1
      – In that day the LORD with his sore and great and strong sword shall
      punish leviathan the piercing serpent, even leviathan that crooked
      serpent; and he shall slay the dragon that [is] in the sea.

    • pietas

      also many people live in jersey, it’s the most densely populated state, but only a handful people are lucky enough to see it. it’s very smart and elusive. even if you camped in the woods a whole year, you may not see it. but many have and the jersey devil hunters site has accumulated the sightings, many actual newspaper clippings sightings given by people like police men and sheriffs and other people who had to take an oath of honesty

  • asasas

    I saw the jersey devil a couple nights ago.

  • asasas

    saw the jersey devil a couple nights ago.

  • asasas

    does anyone read this?????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????

  • asasas

    I saw it in Ebensburg pa

  • asasas

    come on look at it Tyler