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The New Jersey Devil

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The New Jersey Devil


The events began in January 1909, when the Jersey devil was reported in at least 30 towns. One of the earliest sightings was on Sunday 17 January at Bristol, Pa. close to the New Jersey border. At 2AM John McOwen heard strange noises and got out of bed. He said:"I looked from the window and was astonished to see a large creature standing on the banks of the canal. It looked something like an eagle...and it hopped along the tow-path." Patrolman James Sackville also saw it in Bristol that night. He reported that it was winged and hopped like a bird, but had strange features and a horrible scream. Sackville ran towards it, and fired his revolver at it as it flew off. A third Bristol sighting early that same morning was made by the postmaster, E.W. Minster, who saw the Jersey devil flying over the Delaware River. The large crane-like bird seemed to be glowing, and it got close enough for Minster to see many details: It's head resembled that of a ram, with curled horns, and its long thick neck was thrust forward in flight. It had long thin wings and short legs, the front legs shorter than the hind. Again, it uttered its mournful and awful call-a combination of a squawk and a whistle. Bristol residents next morning found the Jersey devil's footprints in the snow: they resembled hoofprints.


During the following week the Jersey devil seemed to be everywhere, and its presence caused panic in the state. Farmers set steel traps and hunters followed the hoofprints. The scene must have looked like the present-day 'flaps' that occur when sightings of a bigfoot are publicized in any area, leading to an influx of photographers and hunters, with resulting chaos. But the Jersey devil seemed indifferent to the furoe. On Tuesday 19 January, in the early hours, Mr and Mrs Nelson Evans of Gloucester City, New Jersey, were treated to a close-up view of the monster dancing on their shed roof for 10 minutes. Said Mr Evans later: It was about 3 feet and a half high, with a head like a collie dog and a face like a horse. It had a long neck, wings about 2 feet long, and it's back legs were like those of a crane, and it had horse's hooves. It walked on it's back legs and held up two short front legs with paws on them. It didn't use the front legs at all while we were watching. My wife and I were scared, I tell you, but I managed to open the window and say "Shoo!" and it turned around, barked at me and flew away.Other witnesses mentioned that it had skin like an alligator's and some thought it was nearer 6 feet high.The last sightings seem to have been on Friday 22 January, after which the Jersey devil disappeared as suddenly as it had arrived. Many facetious explanations were proposed: that it was a "jabberwock", the "missing link", or an "asertoraksidimundiakins". Mass hysteria was also put forward as an explanation.


>>>Post note by Louise

I have lived in the area of Bristol most of my child and adult life. I remember all the stories on the New Jersey Devil and how we use to go in carloads to the Pine Barrens of New Jersey to look for this strange creature. Even though I myself have never witnessed this strange creature, I do know of others that have caught sightings of it in the vast wilderness. The stories still go on today. As they hear the cries in the night from this creature.



Research Topic: Mothman



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