Any creature that's been around as long as THE JERSEY
DEVIL, is bound to have been seen many times. From the
1730's to the present there have been thousands of recorded
sightings and not just in New Jersey. Creatures believed to
be Jersey's famous demon have been spotted in Pennsylvania,
Delaware, New York, Maryland, California (!?), Texas (!!??)
and even Canada.
Many of these sightings amount to nothing more than someone
waking up in the morning and finding strange footprints in
the fresh snow, or mysterious sounds heard off in the
marshes at night. Some are more frightening. There are many
reports of people witnessing the devil devouring their
livestock. Occasionally, someone will claim to have been
chased down some lonely dirt road by the monster. So let's
look at some of the more famous cases.
According to legend, Commodore Stephen Decatur (the famous
American naval hero), saw the creature while at the Hanover
iron works in 1803. He supposedly fired a cannonball
straight through it with no effect at all.
Joseph Bonaparte, former king of Spain and brother of
Napoleon, Who lived in Bordentown, saw the devil when he
was hunting in the pine barrens.
In 1840, the monster went on a rampage, eating livestock
throughout the pine barrens.
Many people reported sightings of the devil flying up and
down the coast in 1860 and 1861.
In Atlantic city, in 1870, the creature was seen swimming
in the ocean with a mermaid. This is not the first time it
has been linked to other supernatural beings, it is often
observed with the headless ghost of a pirate, or the ghost
of a beautiful girl on the beach.
In 1917, a strange creature is killed and put on display,
it is said to be the Jersey devil. Years later, the hoaxer
In 1920 the citizens of Barnegat are chased through the
streets by a demonic creature resembling a flying horse.
Later that same year, in Salem, a posse drove the devil
into a tree, but it evaded capture.
In Swedesboro, in 1925, the body of the Jersey devil is
found in a tree. No explanation is given as to what the
thing was or where it went after the report.
A man claimed in 1927 that the devil approached him on the
banks of the Mullica river, near Batsto, then ran off into
The Jersey devil is seen by two men blasting the tops off
of trees (presumably with it's fiery breath?) near Erial,
In Vancouver, British Columbia, 1941, the body of a strange
creature, described as a "sea serpent", washed ashore. Once
again, it is thought to be the Jersey devil.
In 1944, Walter Edge, former governor of New Jersey, United
States senator and ambassador to France, claims that he
believed the stories about the devil as a child, and was
frightened of it.
A mysterious carcass is found in 1957, destroyed in a
forest fire near Hampton Furnace. The remains were of
bones, fur, feathers and claws, causing people to suspect
that the Jersey devil was dead (again!).
At the Glassboro fish and wildlife management area, in
1965, police were called out to investigate strange noises,
they fire into the woods (duh!), but nothing is discovered.
In 1968-1970, a Howell township resident reports that the
devil repeatedly came onto his property, and he had even
shot at it.
In Mercer county, a woman claimed, in 1970 (?), that the
Jersey devil had attacked her child, pulling hair out of
The Jersey devil is seen throughout Texas in 1976. This
prompts a mock-battle between Texas and New Jersey over the
ownership of the devil. Jersey politicians jokingly
threaten to invade Texas if they do not return the creature
to it's home state.
Later that year, apparently after the beast had been
returned by the evil Texans, some guy in Jackson Mills
claims that the devil follows him home every night after
In 1977 a woman picking blueberries in the pines said the
creature was following her as she went, taking the berries
out of the boxes she left them in.
In Penn's Grove that same year, a large, hairy creature
grabbed hold of a woman's car door and ran along side the
car as she sped away.
In 1981, a Canadian newspaper quoted the Mayor of Bass
River, NJ as saying that the Jersey devil was breeding with
the women of that town. The citizens, in an outrage, demand
the mayor's resignation.
In the fall of 1984 woodcutters walk off a job in
Chatsworth, claiming that the devil was lurking in the
woods, and his screams were so loud they could hear them
above the chain saws.
In 1993 a woman in Winslow Township said that the devil
frequently visited her property.
A motorist claimed that the Jersey devil flew over his car,
in Sayerville, in 1996.
Also, in one amazing example of the beast's fury, one man's
entire livestock in his outdoor shed (including 31 ducks, a
few cats, geese, etc.) were mutilated. Whats more.. teo
Dobermans, dogs fully capable of defending themselves, were
found torn to shreds.
In one of teh most recent stories I've heard, a boy was out
hiking in the woods when he stopped to have a snack on a
fallen tree. Soon he heard what sounded like a deer
walking through a line of brush. He stood and walked
around the brush quietly to see what looked like a orangish
brown leg, crooked like a horses's leg, from around the
other end of the line of bushes (back around where he had
sat for a snack) and long red hair dragging the ground like
someone's who had been lost in the woods for years and
hadn't cut it. He was confused for a moment at the sight
and then heard a boyish giggling.. confusion turned to
horror and he turned to run. He didn't look back, but
traveled back there a few days later to get his pack and
things he left. The snacks were gone and nearby was a red
lock of hair caught on a tree. He supposedly keeps it in a
fireproof box at his home these days.
A PORTENT OF DISASTER:
Many people claim that the Jersey devil's appearances are
signs of wars or disasters. Sightings increased drastically
before the out-break of every war the United states was
involved in, since the revolution. Some believe that it is
trying to warn us about these events.
The beast seems to be particularly active just before
shipwrecks as well. There were many sightings shortly
before the crash of the Hindenburg, And it was also
observed the morning of Dec. 7, 1941, just before the
bombing of Pearl Harbor.
A BUSY WEEK FOR THE DEVIL:
One of the most amazing events in Jersey devil lore would
have to be the chaos and panic that ensued the week of
January 16-23, 1909. During this time, it had managed to
put the entire Delaware valley in an uproar. People hid in
their houses, schools and factories were closed and armed
posses roamed the streets of dozens of towns, all because
of the Jersey devil. Now we'll take a quick look at the
events of that week.
SATURDAY 16/ SUNDAY 17: Late at night someone sees a
creature they believe is the Jersey devil in Woodbury, then
several people claim to have seen it in Bristol, PA. A
Bristol police officer describes the beast as a giant
winged creature that hopped around and made awful
screeching sounds. Another Bristol resident then saw it
flying across the Delaware river. He describes it as having
a ram-like head with curled horns, a long neck, thin wings
and four legs, the front pair shorter than the back.
The next morning there were many strange hoof-prints
throughout the town. It crossed over to Burlington, where
it was seen and heard by residents, and left the same
mysterious prints in the snow.
MONDAY 18: Burlington residents are puzzled by the rash of
hoof-prints and people are relating stories about the
monster they had seen Saturday night and Sunday morning.
The tracks left by the nocturnal visitor defied rational
explanation, being on top of barns, but not on the ground
around them, or going straight through fences. Farmers set
traps, and there are some who begin to hunt for the
creature, though dogs refused to follow the trails.
TUESDAY 19: NJ Mr. and Mrs. Nelson Evans were visited by
the Jersey Devil at approximately 2:30 am. This is one of
the most vivid and well described sightings ever. Mr. Evans
was awakened by strange noises. The couple stared out
their bedroom window to watch the Jersey Devil standing on
the roof of their shed for a full ten minutes. Mr. Evans
gave the following description: "It was about three 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 two feet
long, and its back legs were like those of a crane, and it
had horse's hooves. it walked on its 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
The next morning a trail of strange cloven hoof prints were
found and two professional hunters tracked the prints for
over 20 miles. For one animal to travel 20 miles in the
span of one night (rather about 2:30 am to sunrise)is
virtually unheard of. Some theorized a hoax (though the
surrounding snow was undisturbed if someone was going along
planting the tracks) or a series of animals created the
trail. The strange trail leaped fences, squeezed through
small holes in sheer walls, went over roofs and through the
middle of streets.
WEDNESDAY 20: Early Wednesday morning it is seen in
Pemberton, Haddonfield and Burlington, where a policeman
described it as a "jabberwocky" with eyes like burning
coals. Haddonfield residents begin hunting the creature. A
man in Moorestown chases the devil into a gravel pit, where
In Springside, a trolley car driver sees a beast resembling
a kangaroo with wings dart across the trolley tracks. A
plaster mold is made from Jersey devil tracks left in
There are reports that the Jersey devil was also seen in
Delaware, Maryland, Canada, and even California!
THURSDAY 21: The creature went on a rampage throughout the
Delaware valley terrifying hundreds of people and leaving
tracks in many towns. The Black Hawk Social Club put a
hasty end to their meeting that night, as one member looked
out the window and saw the devil looking back in at him!
The members fled in fear, but one man tried to attack the
visitor with a club (a social club?). The devil escaped
A trolley full of passengers observed the beast on the
tracks in Haddon Heights, until it finally flew off,
circling overhead and hissing violently.
The devil then went north to Ewing and Trenton, where a man
was confronted by the monster. Again, it hissed then flew
away. Foot prints were found the next morning, on the
ground, on roofs and window ledges. Many people remain
indoors out of fear. Trolleys in Trenton and New Brunswick
came equipped with armed guards.
Many farmers reported that their chickens were slaughtered
during the night. The devil is seen in Mount Holly, Clayton
and Pennsylvania. It was believed that the beast may have
been killed, when it caused an explosion on the railroad
tracks near Clayton, but no remains were found.
Near Pleasantville, a lineman saw the creature hanging from
a telegraph pole, and fired a shot at it. He had struck the
beast's wing, and it fell to the ground. The devil shrieked
hideously, and ran off into the pines, dragging it's
The devil was no worse for wear though, as it was next seen
by several people flying over Philadelphia, shooting flames
out of it's mouth (I guess that guy with the gun really
pissed it off).
FRIDAY 22: The devil returned home Thursday night and was
seen all over south Jersey. Friday night people heard
hooves on their roofs in Camden. A policeman observes the
creature drinking from a horse trough in front of the local
By Friday morning, most of south Jersey is in a panic,
people refuse to leave their homes even in broad daylight.
Schools are closed, theater performances cancelled, and
many factories shut down because the workers were hiding at
There is a report that at 7 pm the beast had been captured
in a barn in Morrisville, PA. When authorities investigate,
they found that the devil had escaped again. A Woodbury
policeman observes the devil flying over head. Then the
creature terrorizes Salem.
Then, as suddenly as they had started, the sightings
stopped. The Jersey devil returned to the solitude of its
home in the pines.
There were many explanations given to what had happened
that week. Some said it was all a hoax, some believed it
was mass-hysteria. Still others think that there may have
been something that all those people saw, but it was not a
demon. More likely, a bird or some other rarely seen, large
animal, that was migrating through the area. However, none
of these theories can explain what was seen that week, and
those who witnessed it swear that it could only have been
the Jersey devil.