When people hear the words “Jersey Devil,” they more than likely think of the New Jersey hockey team. But residents of the Garden State have an entirely different interpretation of the words.
For over 200 years, there has been a legend amidst the locals of a winged creature that lives in the Pine Barrens of New Jersey. The creature is said to have large, leathery wings, hooves, and a forked tail. The Jersey Devil is also described as having large horns, like that of a goat.
According to a Wikipedia article on the Jersey Devil, sightings and encounters with the Jersey Devil have cropped up throughout the state of New Jersey over the past two centuries. People claim to have seen the devil in the woods, and some say that they have attacked the devil to no avail. Farmers claim to have had their livestock stolen by the Jersey Devil, and some blame the devil for missing children.
With any tall tale or folklore, hoaxes are a common thing. Over the years, people have faked footprints, and there has even been a photograph of a corpse that was said to be that of the Jersey Devil. When pictures and stories emerge, it’s always safe to assume that the accounts are either from someone performing a hoax or someone being tricked by a hoax.
On Tuesday night (October 6), NJ.com was sent an email from a New Jersey native claiming to have seen the elusive and legendary Jersey Devil.
David Blake was driving home from his job in Atlantic City when he saw what he thought to be a llama running between the trees next to the road. Blake detailed the encounter in his email, saying that he did not know what the animal was.
“I was just driving past the golf course in Galloway on Route 9 and had to shake my head a few times when I thought I saw a lama. If that wasn’t enough, then it spread out leathery wings and flew off over the golf course. Either my mind is playing tricks on me or I just saw the Jersey Devil. Thought I’d send it in for you to share. I’m not looking for anything in return, just thought someone else could maybe explain this in a more rational way.”
In this day and age, it’s natural to assume that any photo of this kind of mythical creature is altered or Photoshopped in some way. The person who had received Blake’s photo of the Jersey Devil asked him if the picture had, in fact, been modified. David insisted that he had not done anything to the picture whatsoever.
“Yes, I swear it’s not Photoshopped or a staged thing. People have said it’s fake, but it’s not. I’m honestly just looking for an explanation for what I saw.”
Blake tried to reason that maybe he had just seen two different animals and that what he had seen was just an optical illusion.
“The mind plays tricks on you. A friend suggested that maybe it was an animal running and an owl grabbed it, the photo being a combination of them. That’s still not my first instinct, but I don’t know how to explain it otherwise. I think I saw a large, flying mammal about the size of a deer.”
Right after Blake’s story of his encounter with the Jersey Devil came out, Weird N.J. published a story about a woman named Emily who claimed to have seen the beast and even included a video along with her email.
“I realize this sounds crazy but I saw a red animal with a long neck and horns. I swear on my mother’s grave, this is not a joke. I pulled over to take a video and as I started filming it got on its hind legs and flew away. I am an middle school teacher but moonlight tutoring algebra for high school students. Was driving home from an appointment on Old Port Republic Rd in Leeds Point when I took this video. “
Unfortunately for both David and Emily, their respective picture and video look more like a bad attempt at a homemade horror flick. Though the devil in both images looks the same, it looks more like poorly made movie prop thrown into the air.
Take a look at both the picture and video, and you can decide for yourself whether or not the Jersey Devil is real.
[Photo Courtesy of Weird N.J.]