Jersey Devil was born in the Pinelands

The Jersey Devil was born in the Pine Barrens.

The Pine Barrens or Pines as us Jersey locals like me call them, is about 1 million acres of land covered in Pines. In 1978 Congress passed legislation making the Pinelands National Reserve the nation’s first National Reserve in order to preserve its ecology. Even the United Nations recognized this area as an International Biosphere Reserve. It is forever protected land – protected Pines to be exact.

The Pines was always a great place to visit, from Batsto Village (mid-19th century historic site) to camping at in Wharton State Park to day trips at Bass River for a quick picnic. It is part of my childhood, as are many of the tales and legends that were born in and round the Pines.

The Jersey Devil, Philadelphia Bulletin, January 1909.

The Jersey Devil,
Philadelphia Bulletin, January 1909.

As I was growing up, I was often told of a half boy, half beast that was the Jersey Devil. The 1970’s version, told in the dark in hush whispers around campfires (while camping in the Pines) was that this reddish half creature half boy with one hand for a hook would look for victims who were lost in the Pines. Apparently, he liked teenagers the best, ever since he was hurt by a couple who was parked in a car in the middle of the pine in the dark.

This is just one version of many. The original version of the legend started in 1709 when Mrs. Leeds was expecting her 13th child – I would curse it too after 12 previous children.

Upon birth the child morphed into half dragon with wings and horns. It now prays on humans for the excitement of it all.

There are several drawings of the Jersey Devil, it has made its way into movies, even the X-Files jumped into the action with an episode of The Jersey Devil on Oct 8,1993. There are also several unexplained events over the years that could only have been caused by the Jersey Devil — if you believe in him. Over the last hundred or so years, there have been several sightings of the Jersey Devil. This mystery is so ingrained in the Pines area that even a few weeks ago another photo was taken of the Jersey Devil. Go ahead check it out, the link will open a new window so you can come back here easily and finish reading this fascinating post about the Jersey Devil.

See what I mean, the Jersey Devil still persists in our daily life. I cannot explain the photo it that was taken a few weeks ago, but I have noticed that for some reason the Jersey Devil always seems to make most of his appearances around Halloween and usually the closer to the Pines the more dark and sinister he becomes.

Whether true or not, I can make one accurate premeditation.The Jersey Devil will rise and fly on Halloween night — it’s an oldie, but goody when it comes to our favorite child: the Jersey Devil.

Do you believe the Jersey Devil still lives?

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