Jersey Devil Woods

I grew up in New Jersey, where as a child you could not escape the legend of the Jersey Devil. Even those who haven't grown up in Jersey have heard the legend of the Jersey Devil.

As children we were mesmerized by the terror of this creature. This tale, not only talked about by adults but told from child to child, has been told for 250 years in this state. The tale was told around campfires while camping in the Jersey woods. The campfire flames seemed to depict the image of the monstrous devil while out in the black of the night.

Children tend to believe what they hear, but let the truth be told. Does anyone know the truth? I believe, all tales develop from truths. That being said, there may be some truth to the Jersey Devil.

What we do know is that Deborah Smith came to America to marry Japhet Leeds. After she became pregnant for the 13th time, she gave birth to a child or creature. It may have been a deformed child some people speculate. Others say that the child was born a human and quickly grew into a creature.

Some stories say Deborah was a Quaker, others say she was a witch. In researching this opposition, I found that in the early days, the Puritans accused the Quakers of being witches. They were persecuted and hung along with many other groups of people.

There have been over the last 250 years, many things that have happened that were very strange in the Pine Barrens that cannot be explained. In the 1700's, there were animal mutilations. There were strange foot prints and unrecognizable sounds. There were many sightings of the Jersey Devil as well. Determining what exactly was seen is still a mystery. It has even been said that in the 1700's after residents were very frightened about the Jersey Devil, they had a priest perform an exorcism to banish it for 100 years from the Pine Barrens. This apparently didn't work as the Jersey Devil returned before the 100 years ban. In the 1970's some young boys heard something and saw a red eyed creature. There are lots of stories of strange things happening from noises to footprints, but to date, there is no true evidence that leads to the truth of the Jersey Devil. He remains at large or remains to be seen again, as well as recorded as evidence. Truly, this is one of the big mysteries of Jersey.