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The Jersey Devil



Theories on Jersey Devil

The Jersey Devil is probably one of the most long-standing and misunderstood cypto legends...I am interested to hear of anyone's theories on this phenomena that has out lasted Mothman, Goatman etc, and seems to flitter between real creature to superstitious omen to product of witchery! Any thoughts!

The Jersey Devil...mmm...I supoose it was on some occasions described as kangaroo-like, but I think the only natural explanation is the sandhill crane which shrieks mournfully, stands four-feet high and, of course, flies. I realise too that there were many livestock kills but this could have been put down to cougar kills which at the time were being hunted out of New Jersey.
It's bizarre too how the JD hoof-prints were mirrored by the 1855 Devonshire prints...
I think the Jersey Devil mystery was dramatised by the so called 'origins' which mentioned Mother Leeds etc and a deformed/cursed child, but I guess all these kinds of legends are given a root that probably isn't connected.
I was just talking about the hoof prints. If two very small kangaroos was jumping along, it could look like the hoofprints of a biped animal. I don't mean it seriously though.
There is alot of legend surrounding the jersey devil which I don’t pay much attention to i.e. some woman gave birth to a deformed baby that flew out the chimney. But I do think that the serious sightings of this animal sound similar to chupacabra sightings. I’ve heard the Devil sucks the blood of farm animals just like chupa does. Maybe the Jersey devil is a chupacabra or some type of creature that could be related to the chupacabra and this species of animal is so elusive that it remains to be caught, I don’t think this is improbable considering the creature seems to be nocturnal.
I don't think of the JD as a crypto legend, if only because it's descriptions are so improbable. I mean, Nessie could be a pleiseasour (sp?), or Bigfoot a Gigantopithecus, but a bat-winged, ostrich-legged, horse-headed beast?
Not all descriptions are like that tho Minor Drag.

I remember reading a description that said the JD was like a panther with glowing red eyes and that it sucked the blood of farm animals, this is similar to chupacabra sightings. I think the bat winged ostrich can be put down to silly legends getting out of control. Im suprised some drunk scottish guy hasnt said he saw nessie breathing fire and flying off into the woods to be honest.
Actually, I agree with the sandhill crane theory. I have heard them several times at nature preserves here in the US, and they make a terrible sound, which would be really frightening in the woods at night. I've spent time in the Pine Barrens periodically for the past twenty years, hiking, camping, and so forth, and I can tell you that it is a rather scary place, but I don't think the Jersey Devil is really a cryptid. As to the hoof-prints, I heard from a park ranger some five years ago that the Barrens has been home to small bands of feral pigs for the past 200 years, so perhaps this could explain it? Not many people know about the pigs, and they're very seldom encountered, being way back in the pines and very timid of humans, and the park service is naturally loath to publicize their presence.
Joisy Debbil

Birds of some sort is my only rational notion, but how or why I've no clue.
The Sandhill Cranes do not frequent the Pine Barrens any longer, yet these migratory birds would certainly shock the residents of a town if 40,000 of them turned up, omitting their mournful cries and flapping their 80-inch wingspan. Also, these birds would roost on many houses hence the many 'prints' reported on roof-tops. The cranes stand around four-feet tall and have long necks but this doesn't explain the horse and dog-head descriptions and the front 'paws'. I agree that this is animal is similar to the Goatsucker in some ways and feel that the origins are mere background rumour to add flavour and depth to the mystery. I still believe that many of the livestock kills were the work of cougars (another animal with an eerie cry) which were allegedly driven out by the early 1900s, but seem to roam everywhere from Illinois to Michigan.
The Jersey Devil has been moulded as a local bogey man story, and whilst many reports are vague, a majority tally with one another and some of this sightings are still said to occur.
My "Wildlife of the Mid-Atlantic States" mentions a sandhill crane sighting in 1992, the first in some twenty years. But they are very rare, which I think lends credence to their being suggested as one possible source of the legend. You mention cougars, which were driven completely out of New Jersey in 1921; prior to this they occupied a very small range mostly in the north of the state. I agree that pumas have a weird cry- I'm a wildlife rehabilitator, and have worked with many cougars over the years. They are quite capable of killing several large sheep and countless chickens in the course of a single night. May I also suggest as a source for the livestock predation the packs of wild dogs which still roam the Barrens to this day? They were first noted in the mid-1800's as probable descendants of the dogs brought by colonists and Hessian soldiers. They are somewhat of a threat to backwoods hikers- the park service doesn't talk about them either, but residents do, and they are blamed for a great deal of mischief in those woods. Traps are set for them by rangers, but they've learned to avoid them.

Several members of the heron family make their home in the southeast of NJ, and in the marshy areas of the Barrens. Blue and night herons are rather large, some standing up to 2 ft., and they have a peculiar gait and the same piercing shriek most herons have. My own personal opinion on the JD is that it's a "Just So" story, created to explain unusual sightings or cries from the pines, which are unsettling enough without any legends. An alternative theory states that the "devil" dayes back to the late 1700's, when a local family (the Leeds of the story- they actually existed, and live in Galloway Twnsp. to this day- a descendant is a local politician) had a son who was retarded and badly deformed- a "devil" in the parlance of those times, which held any abnormality to be of satanic origin. Interestingly, there is some babsis for this- I have seen records of a Daniel Leeds being cared for through his life by his brother as he was "feeble-minded".

I'm not sure about a genuine cryptid in the Barrens- despite its protected status, it's a rather damaged and marginal habitat, mostly home to marginal species which thrive in disturbed environments, such as raccoons, deer, possum, etc. Heavy logging and cranberry-bogging in the past two centuries has driven out many species which once lived abundantly there, such as black bears, and in the earlier days, wolves. But if there were an undiscovered species in the pines, I'd have to guess it would be a bird, probably one of the herons or the wading birds.
Maybe I Did It

I was lost in the Pine Barrens once, so it may have been me causing the reports of a cryptid lurking about...

sorry, folks!
As a resident of New Jersey I have the unfortunate task of telling everyone that the Jersey Devil probably isnt real.I've driven past the pine barrens every Summer since I was 5 and have yet to see a thing.

But if you want to know something genuinely scary about New Jersey,check out Clinton Road in West Milford, NJ.
THE JERSEY DEVIL is simply zooform phenomena, a creature akin to Mothman, Olwman, etc in that whilst many see it, it doesn't exist and is a zoological impossibility. I have researched the reports and it is a fantastic case that plays out better as a campfire tale in a similar way to Bunnyman or Goatman, but many of these apparitions, despite leaving alleged footprints and even animal kills, are moulded by society, and immortalised. Goatman makes for a great campus horror tale but there is no solidity to the tale, but such bogeymen and creatures, (i.e. Lizard Man, Bray Road Beast, Monkey Man) but these creatures may well exist as ethereal scavengers, in the same way as psychic vampires, old hags etc, or may be modern images that were once known as harpies etc. Many of these creatures appear as portents of doom but with all due credit to The Jersey Devil, it certainly hangs around and has done so for many years.
Yes, perhaps so. It's interesting as a phenomena rather than a reality, IMHO.
waster said:
But if you want to know something genuinely scary about New Jersey,check out Clinton Road in West Milford, NJ.
Have you ever been there? I've haven't but I've read alot about it. I wish to go sometime.
Mr. R.I.N.G. said:
Is the Shrouds house still extant?
I don't believe so. What's strange is that if the NJD is supposed to be an omen how come there were no reported sightings immediately before 911. I follow these things pretty well so I think I would have read or heard of any sightings if they had transpired.
Sorry to bring this thread back if it was dead cuz I'm not sure. But I have an idea about the jersey devil. bats are mammals right? Perhaps its a strange cross-breed. There could exist a very small colony of them which breed with each other. Could be an abandoned smokestack in the forest, a secluded cave, etc. So that would explain why it could seeminlgy live for 100s of years. But suppose a horse did breed with a dog and a bad breeded with a squirrel, and then the two cross breeds also breeded. I know that the particular case could not be possible but its food for thought. Theres a number of caves in south jersey, think of all the shutdown coal mines. And then add ontop of that that the creature is nocturnal, so its not as if people are going to see these things come and go from their location. And if there were some strange-strange crossbreeds over a number of years then you could have a hybrid-looking animal as such, who always flocks home to this hidden cave, or abandoned factory and its mere chance that the den has not been uncovered where half a dozen of these things reside due to the nocturnalness, remoteness of the location, etc. ?
But if it's not possible for any of those species to interbreed, it's highly unlikely that any of them are in part the cause for the Jersey Devil, isn't it? ;)
JerryB said:
But if it's not possible for any of those species to interbreed, it's highly unlikely that any of them are in part the cause for the Jersey Devil, isn't it? ;)

Its supposed to be food for thought, to give the idea that there is a chance, however slim that some strange combinations can be cross bread. We need a geneologist here, :)

And I'll reiterate my other point about how a small colony of these could very well exist in some remote cave or factory and breeding with each other and we wouldnt know for sure. What would we see? Exactly what we already do, random sightings.
The chances of just one devil arising from some freak bout of cross-species inbreeding is probably astronomical. The chances of a breeding pair arising from said bout even less so ;)
JerryB said:
The chances of just one devil arising from some freak bout of cross-species inbreeding is probably astronomical. The chances of a breeding pair arising from said bout even less so ;)

True, but you get the idea man! 8)
Explanation for the Jersey Devil??!!

Its supposed to be huge in size.
Hypsignathus monstrosus

^ ^ That aside, here are hoof-tracks from the Jersey Devil. The family witnessed it upon the roof and took the pictures the following morning!!! 4-6 feet tall monster, the tracks are supposed to be almost 4 feet apart. Thats a HUGE STEP!!

20 Questions with Loren Coleman

20 Questions with Loren Coleman

17. The Jersey Devil back story is one of the more humorous accounts of an unknown animal. How seriously do you take the idea that there's a cryto beastie lurking out in the New Jersey woods?

Not to sound like a broken CD here, but in my newest book, Mysterious America: The Revised Edition (NY: Paraview, 2001), there's a whole chapter on the Jersey Devil. I think that several unknowns may be riding just below the radar as "Jersey Devils," but the 1909 cases appear to be based on an elaborate hoax.

SOURCE : http://www.lorencoleman.com/loren_coleman_7.html
Human_84 said:
Explanation for the Jersey Devil??!!

Its supposed to be huge in size.
Hypsignathus monstrosus

It is big for a bat, males on advarage measure 25cm (10 inches) from head to the tips of it's hind limbs, it comes from central africa and is thought to be an endangered species (as part of it's range includes the congo rain forrest it is hard to get acurrate population estimates), feeds on fruit and makes a very loud croaking sound when looking for a mate.
when I lived in Guam (7th and 8th grade) we had a fruit bat named Charlie, that would always fly around folks at the "out-door" movie theater-the girls would screem ...It was big! (to me at the time , but very cool)