A centuries-old legend apparently lives in the Pine Barrens in South New Jersey. Described as having hooves for feet, a horse body, bat wings and goat's head, this bizarre creature has been sighted and talked about for hundreds of years.
The origins of the devil are unclear, but many cite the 13th child of Mother Leeds. She was an apparent witch and the father was said to be the devil himself. After giving birth, legend says the baby transformed into a winged monster and flew up the chimney, where it escaped to the Pines.
Reported sightings have occurred since then, hundreds of them being in January of 1909. Newspapers published stories of the creature which created panic and intrigue among local residents.
The sightings continue to this day. Recently a New Jersey resident, Dave Black, said he took a photo which shows a winged, goat-like creature. Skeptics are not convinced, saying it’s simply a stuffed animal with wings pasted on. Other supposed pictures have surfaced of the devil, from game cams to footprints in the snow.
However, many locals believe the Jersey Devil to be nothing more than a hoax, or folklore that has survived for years. New Jersey has embraced the Devil as a tourist attraction, a local icon, and has even inspired the name of their NHL franchise, The New Jersey Devils.
Sightings and stories of the Jersey Devil continue and the legend grows, which may be more important than the existence of the creature itself.