Jersey Devil, the child of a curse.. the child of the Devil.
There are many turns on the origin of the Jersey Devil, most of which lead back to Ms Deborah Smith, a Quaker who moved to live with her soon to be husband Mr Leeds. As the story goes Mrs Leeds was giving birth to her 13th child with Mr Leeds and is said to have invoked the Devil whilst in labor, probably in response to the birth being painful. From here there are different variations of the story.
1. The baby grew into a full grown Devil shortly after birth and escaped the house.
2. When Mrs Leeds was pregnant with the child she had damned it and cursed it as a Devil.
3. The Devil baby was a result of a family curse.
4. The child was a born a monster or genetic ‘freak’ and that Mrs Leeds cared for the baby up until her death, after which the creature escaped to the swamps.
The Jersey Devil is described as a winged creature about 3 or 4 feet tall, usually with a long thin neck with a face like a dog or a horse and almost every account describes the Devil to be hoofed. Some reports also claim that the Devil has glowing red eyes and makes a sound similar to a human scream.
As with most tales similar to this one, many believe that the Jersey Devil may actually be an unidentified animal that avoids human contact and believe this to be a rare species as opposed to one singular Devil-beast that has roamed the Pine Barrens for over 500 years.
Sounds good, but is there any proof?
There are many accounts of sightings of the Jersey Devil, the most interesting of which came from a councilman of Trenton who reports being awoken by the sound of wings flapping outside his bedroom window. The following morning he noticed hoof prints in the snow leading from the trees and noticed that the tracks actually lead straight across the roof of his home and off into the trees again.
There is only one account of the Jersey Devil harming another living creature, a dog. The Devil is said to have bitten the dog on the face and ripped off a piece of flesh before the dogs owner managed to distract the beast and escape. Numerous reports tell of the Devil actually being shot by locals only to see it leave the scene apparently uninjured.
No physical evidence or proof has ever been found.