The New Jersey Devil Legend – Fact Through to Theory

The New Jersey Devil Legend - Fact Through to Theory

For the past 260 years the New Jersey Devil legend has gathered pace and become a household name in America. This supposed mythical creature of the New Jersey Pine lands has been spotted by over 2000 witnesses in this time period.

So what is the truth behind the New Jersey devil story and why have there been so many consistent sightings of creature?

Let’s take a closer look…

The New Jersey Devil Monster

This strange entity has been known to terrorize towns and cause businesses to fail and close down – large factories and schools are among it’s victims!

But there’s still those individuals who feel the creature is nothing more than a stupid superstition created through folklore of the Pine Barrens.

new jersey pine barrens

The Martha Furnace in the New Jersey Pine Barrens

It is for these individuals that we have created this report today. We will cover the Jersey Devil’s origin, the sightings of it, and finally, the theories on it. Let’s see if we can change their mind…

The Birth

The New Jersey Devil legend has twisted and changed over the years so pinpointing the exact birth of the creature has proved to be very hard.

The most popular belief is that the creature is the devil child of one Mrs. Shrouds of Leeds Point. She apparently made a pact that if she had one more child she would wish it be a devil of sorts.

I guess you better be careful of what you wish for in life – her next child was hideously deformed!

She had no choice but to keep the child sheltered away from the public so she kept it enclosed in her home and cared for it. One night a terrible storm hit Leeds Point and the devil child became very agitated. All of a sudden it flapped it’s arms and they suddenly produced wings. It flew around the room at an incredible pace before disappearing up the chimney.

The family never set eyes on their twisted child again…


Pre 1909 era sightings of the New Jersey Devil monster are few and far between these days – lost in the history books or warped by rumors and myths.

Luckily there are still a handful of decent, documented sightings that we have been able to get our hands on…

The New Jersey Devil monster

Commodore Stephen Decatur was a naval hero in the early part of the 19th century. Part of his job was to test the weaponry and when he was out in a field testing cannonballs he spotted a large bird crossing the skyline.

On closer inspection the bird turned out to be some sort of humanoid creature with wings. At once he aimed and shot at it hitting it in the midriff – the creature regained it’s flight line and flew off into the distance.

There is also an early report from the brother of Napoleon – Joseph Bonaparte. Joseph was the former king of Spain so he was not known for being an unreliable source.

Joseph was hunting somewhere around the 1816 period near Bordentown in New Jersey and spotted the creature on more than one occasion ( apparently! ).

From 1859 to 1894 there are numerous stories that report the devil carrying off many small animals and children in the area. It got to the point that none of the locals would venture outside their homes after nightfall.

A New Century

With a the arrival of a brave new century people predicted that this silly New Jersey Devil story would be put to rest. After all civilization had moved on and knowledge was now power. The New Jersey Devil legend had a whole six years to rest before returning with a bang…

For some reason over the period of a week in January 1909 the Jersey Devil returned and caused havoc all over South Jersey and Philadelphia.

In this seven day period the New Jersey Devil monster was spotted by just over 1000 witnesses!

New Jersey devil story

It all started off on the Sunday morning when Thack Cozzens came face to face with the creature on a main street in Woodbury. Some time later in the day the creature was again spotted on a canal bank in Bristol, PA. During the process of the day the creature was spotted a few more times and fired upon by lawmen.

The next morning the shaken residents of Bristol found strange hoof prints in the snow where the creature had been spotted.

These sightings carried on for the whole week period covering Burlington, Columbus, Hedding, Kinhora, Rancocas, Gloucester, Collingswood, Moorestown, Clementon and Hainesport.

It was all over New Jersey! As I mentioned earlier many factories in Jersey had to close due to workers simply not turning up – everyone was petrified!

Modern Day

The reports on the New Jersey Devil monster have become more spread out in modern times – I guess people just don’t want to be branded as a nut-job!

There are some very important incidents though that should not be overlooked…

In 1927 a cab driver from Salem stopped his vehicle to handle a flat tire that had been stalling his car’s progress. When he got out of the car he was confronted with a winged creature on the roof of the cab screaming down at him – he quickly vacated the area!

Modern day Jersey Devil Sightings

In 1961 a pair of couples were parked up in a car enjoying the night sky when all of a sudden the car started to shake. When they jumped out of the car they noticed a huge creature on the roof screaming down at them. Much like the cab driver – they all pegged it away as fast as possible!

Intriguing evidence of the New Jersey Devil legend appeared in 1987 when a large German Shepard from Vineland was discovered ripped to shreds. It had been chained up but whatever ‘got him’ had managed to break him from his chains and drag him 25 feet away. Investigators took note of strange tracks and prints that surrounded the dog’s corpse.


Well there are so many it’s hard to know where to begin really!

A lot of people feel that the New Jersey Devil story is based on evil itself. They feel the creature is the essence of evil – the harbinger of war.

Another theory is that the New Jersey Devil monster is not a monster at all – it’s simply a bird that resembles a sand hill crane. This particular bird weighs about 12 lbs., is 4 foot high, and a wingspan of 80 inches.

I have also come across a group online that firmly believe that the Jersey Devil is a group of pterodactyls who have managed to survive throughout the years. It’s thought the group may of been stuck inside caves and a earthquake released them.

And last but not least the dragon (for you Game of Thrones fans out there!). Some believe that dragons were not a myth at all and the Jersey Devil was a direct descendant from them. All myths originate from some sort of truth….don’t they?

What is your opinion on the New Jersey Devil legend?


  1. I spent quite some time in The Garden State back in the 90s and that’s how I first heard about the Jersey Devil. I think the legend is very colorful and interesting in a folklorish kind of way, but I can’t say I actually believe in it. And neither does the average Jersey resident. Still, if you ever been in or close to the Pine Barrens at night it’s a totally different thing. And the mind can play tricks on you, as we all now. I think that’s how the stories of the Jersey Devil came about to begin with. But you never know.

  2. One found footage movie is out there hard to find college kids at a house in the woods partying jersey gets them censorship makes it harder to find

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