This Jersey Devil, also known as the Leeds Devil, is said to inhabit the Pine Barrens of Southern New Jersey, United States. This cryptid is often described as a kangaroo-like creature, with the head of a goat, horns, large wings, clawed hands, a forked tail, and cloven hooves. Reports of this creature generally describe it as a fast moving creature that bellows a “blood-curdling” scream.
The origin of this legendary cryptid dates its existence back to the 1700s. The legend is as follows:
“It was said that Mother Leeds had 12 children and, after finding she was pregnant for the 13th time, stated that this one would be the Devil. In 1735, Mother Leeds was in labor on a stormy night. Gathered around her were her friends. Mother Leeds was supposedly a witch and the child’s father was the Devil himself. The child was born normal, but then changed form. It changed from a normal baby to a creature with hooves, a goat’s head, bat wings and a forked tail. It growled and screamed, then killed the midwife before flying up the chimney. It circled the villages and headed toward the pines. In 1740 a clergy exorcised the demon for 100 years and it wasn’t seen again until 1890.”
“Mother Leeds” has been identified by some as Deborah Leeds, on grounds that Deborah Leeds’ husband, Japhet Leeds, named twelve children in the will he wrote in 1736,which is compatible with the legend. Deborah and Japhet Leeds also lived in the Leeds Point section of what is now Atlantic County, New Jersey, which is commonly the location of the Jersey Devil story.
Claims of sightings have been reported over the years with recent reports of locals spotting the creature in various locations in the Pine Barrens. The truth behind the legend and the existence of this creature are highly debated. Skeptics dispel any notion of the creature’s true nature, and most consider the legend an elaborate tale of the “boogeyman” meant to scare young children. However, with so many reported sightings, the validity of the these reports seem more common place than ever. Is the Jersey Devil real? Is it a hoax? We’ll have an answer some day….