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Jersey Shore, United States
In case any of my friends or family members actually read this Blog, please consider all Names, Characters, Places and Incidents to be the product of the author's imagination and any resemblance to actual persons, living or dead, events or locales are entirely COINCIDENTAL...Muaaah!! Now, really, about me: I bring the crazy wherever I go, so I've been told...I make fun of myself more than anyone else ever could. I hate: the awkward silence in elevators, watches with no numbers, picky eaters, Cancer and legalism. I love: coffee, stalking Hugh Jackman, my Spanx, COMMENTS, sarcasm and writing: Middle Grade, NA, YA Paranormal and Urban Fantasy.

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Saturday, April 11, 2015

A-Z Challenge letter J is for The Jersey Devil

For my A-Z theme this year, I decided to take you on a tour of my home state, New Jersey. We've visited some cities, historic places of interest, a couple of my favorite restaurants and I even listed a bunch of famous Jersey residents. For my letter J post, I am going to tell you all about a famous NJ legend: The Jersey Devil.


There are many pictures of what The Jersey Devil is supposed to
look like, this version appeared years ago in a local newspaper
as a bit of a farse
I first heard the tale when I moved down to south Jersey. I asked around, in the interest of writing this post, and learned that most people here found out about the Jersey Devil as kids, in the same general way I did.  My introduction to the legend was when I took my youngest daughter to a Girl Scout "night hike" through the Pinelands.** The tale of the Jersey Devil was told around a camp fire while roasting marshmallows and making s'mores. There are a couple of variations, like any old tale that's been weaved, but the legend as I heard it goes a little something like this:

This is a picture of the Leeds House which spurned this tale to life.

In 1735, a Pines resident known as Mother Leeds found herself pregnant for the thirteenth time. Mother Leeds was poverty stricken; her husband was a drunkard who made few efforts to provide for his wife and twelve children. Reaching the point of absolute exasperation upon learning of her thirteenth child, she raised her hands to the heavens and proclaimed “Let this one be a devil!”

Mother Leeds went into labor a few months later, on a stormy night, no longer mindful of the curse she had uttered previously regarding the unborn child. Her children and husband huddled together in one room of their Leeds Point home while local midwives gathered to deliver the baby in another. By all accounts the birth went routinely, and the thirteenth Leeds child was a seemingly normal baby boy.

Within minutes however, Mother Leeds’s unholy wish of months before began to come to fruition. The baby started to change, right before her very eyes. Within moments it transformed from a beautiful newborn baby into a hideous creature unlike anything the world had ever seen. The wailing infant began growing at an incredible rate. It sprouted horns from the top of its head and talon-like claws tore through the tips of its fingers. Leathery bat-like wings unfurled from its back, and hair and feathers sprouted all over the child’s body. Its eyes began glowing bright red as they grew larger in the monster’s gnarled and snarling face. The creature savagely attacked its own mother, killing her, then turned its attention to the rest of the horrified onlookers who witnessed its transformation. It flew at them, clawing and biting, voicing unearthly shrieks the entire time. It tore the midwives limb from limb, maiming some and killing others. Legend has it you can still hear the Jersey Devil shrieking in the Pines, seeking flesh to devour. 

Crreeeepy, right? Freaked me out, and I was an adult when I first heard this! Believe it or not, many, many, South Jersey residents have sworn to actually seeing the Jersey Devil or hearing it's screams. Thankfully, the only glimpse of Jersey Devil I've seen has been on the ice!!
The New Jersey Devil hockey team got it's name from this  very legend.
This is the kind of devil I enjoy running into...
**Do not attempt this at home. It was so dark on that stupid night hike I couldn't see a freaking thing, I was scared out of my mind because of the creepy Jersey Devil story and the bugs in the Pinelands are ginormous and bite hard enough to draw blood. They look like no other insects you have ever seen in your entire life!! PLUS, there is absolutely no where to pee that's safe. The ten year  old Girl Scouts I was with were teasing me for being such a wuss, but I didn't care. I refused to go in the front of the troop and I certainly wasn't going to be in the back, walking through those  woods! Nope, this Bird and her little chickadee marched right in the middle, cause I ain't beat. I've seen scary movies. And marching in the woods in the middle of the night with a Girl Scout troop talking about the devil is the way they ALL start!!! Am I right? 

37 comments:

  1. I'd rather see the hockey team.
    The X-Files even had an episode based on the Jersey Devil.

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    1. Me too Alex. I am a fan of hockey, the devil, not so much!!

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  2. Reading the story in the light of day, no problem! But yes, definitely not one for the middle of the night in the woods LOL! x

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    1. I have no idea who's cruel idea it was to start telling these type of scary stories around a camp fire at night, but it certainly wasn't mine!!

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  3. Wow, that's pretty creepy. And gruesome. Also, further proof that infants are the devil. :)

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    1. So gross and wicked. I really hate that I know this story. I wanted to forget it the second I was irst told it, but unfortunately there is no "delete" button in my mind. I have such a crazy imagination to begin with, I don't need this in my head rolling around, LOL.

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  4. ROTFLMAO at your Girl Scout Story. Been there and done that. Hiking with a bunch of ten year olds is scary enough, let alone at night and with a jersey Devil on the lose!

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    1. I really truly hate camping. There is no part of it that's fun for me. Especially when it's dark and buggy and super creepy stories are swirling in my brain. Funny how the Girl Scouts are all tougher than I am. I think it's because they don't know enough to be afraid of anything yet. Ha. Glad to hear I'm not alone in my aversion to the woods.

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  5. Yes, I can definitely see how this would be a campfire tale told by the adults deliberately to freak out the kids!

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    1. It's cruel and unusual punishment. I wanted to cry and run away and I'm an adult. Thank God my kid is made of much tougher stock than me (she takes after my husband for sure) She consoled and reassured me, instead of the other way around. Ha

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  6. Wow, quite a story. Hubs lived in Jersey--will have to ask if he's heard of the NJ devil.I will not honor him with a capital letter D.

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    1. Yes, you are right, I should not have honored him with a capital d. I really hate that this story is still shared in such a way as to scare kids (and adults). If your husband came from Northern New Jersey, he may not be aware of the legend, at all. I know I certainly wasn't aware of it until I moved to the southern portion of the state.

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  7. LOL with when you heard the story for the first time; seems all areas have something like a tale similar :) When we lived in San Diego area, before the area got built with houses, there was an area known as Proctor Valley. It had the Proctor Valley monster that was supposed to attack people that were out there in their cars (good place to go to make out if you were a teenager). Maybe this one was to instill terror into young girls not to go out to Proctor Valley; maybe the Jersey Devil was so that people would use birth control after so many children :)

    betty

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    1. Yes- people do love their creepy tales. And yes, there is some speculation that this was a story circulated by the large God-fearing Quake population that was living in the Pine Barrens at the time. I am not sure about the validity of that theory though. There are many other versions of this story that indicate it may have been a way to scare people into not going out in the woods alone, at night.

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    2. that was meant to be Quaker. Sorry for typo

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  8. It is totally how horror movies start! You're a brave woman. I'll stick with the hockey team. :)

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    1. I am such a chicken. Walking through the woods in the day time is a stretch for me. Had I known they were going to throw in the scary devil story- I would not have marched on. I wanted to run screaming the first time I caught sight of the "trail" we were supposed to go down.

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  9. Any baby growing at an incredible rate would be terrifying. Imagine just a regular huge baby with a giant diaper to change. :) Interesting post and fabulous concept for A to Z!

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    1. LOL Tonya. As a mom to three girls, only one year apart, I have changed my share of diapers over the years. The thought of a giant diaper is a nightmare, for sure.

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  10. There's a video game based on the Jersey Devil for the original Playstation, it's pretty bad

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    1. Wow that's interesting. I never knew that there was a video game based on the Jersey devil. How frightening!!

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  11. Funny, I’ve lived in NJ all of my life, well Northern and Central for most of it. I moved down to the Jersey shore 13 years ago and that’s the first time I heard about the JD. Devil or no devil, I’m pretty sure I would never attempt a night hike thru the pinelands!

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    1. I was born in North Jersey and my parents came from there too. It wasn't until I moved to the southern part of the state, close to 12 years ago that I learned this legend. My parents knew nothing of it until I moved down here and I started screaming about it to them after my trek into the woods that night with my daughter's Girl Scout troop. Now, I see that there have been tv shows, video games and even a few movies that mention this legend. Crazy!!

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  12. I hate those campfire stories, told right before a bathroom run. Don't deal well with scary movies, either.

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    1. Not my cup of tea either Susan. Had I known beforehand that's what was to come, I never would have volunteered to go!! As it is they bribed me with the promise of s'mores to get me to go on that stupid hike in the first place. I'd rather microwave them at home than go through that again!! LOL

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  13. Oh my! Those are some pretty vivid descriptions. I had heard of the Jersey Devil before, but I didn't know the full story. It's interesting how each area has its resident evil person. In Middle Tennessee, it's the Bell Witch.

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    1. The Bell Witch sounds alarming. I seriously am not a fan of scary stories. See my comment to Susan above....they bribed me with the promise of s'mores to get me to go on that stupid hike in the first place. OTherwise, I never would have gone.

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  14. Oh, wow, this is such a creepy legend, for sure. Thank goodness I live nowhere near NJ; wouldn't want to risk running into the Jersey Devil! XD

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    1. Hi Heather. On a recent trip to Cali, my best friend's husband started to ask me about the legend. I wondered how in the world he caught wind of it, all the way out there. He said he heard about it on tv. I couldn't believe that this story has been so widely circulated. Creeepy!

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  15. I'm from MA and a hockey fan, but I had NO IDEA there was a legend associated with the Jersey Devil. How crazy scary to tell that to children hiking in the woods! It does indeed answer some questions about where horror movies come from.

    You can find me here:
    ClarabelleRant

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    1. Who knew? I certainlydidn't and I was born in NJ. I always wondered why they named our hockey team after the dang devil. Even the mascot is creepy to me!! It's crazy.

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  16. Creepy story, but your night hike sounds ten times worse!!

    Annalisa, writing A-Z vignettes, at Wake Up, Eat, Write, Sleep

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    1. Oh Annalisa it was madness. What the heck was I thinking? You should have heard the GS teasing me. They even started to taunt me by picking up small stones and throwing them to the side of me on the path, just to see my reaction. I am that much of a chicken. NEVER again.

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    2. I shouldn't laugh, but throwing stones was inspired :-)

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  17. I had no idea that's where the name came from! Creepy for sure.

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    1. I hate even talking about it but it's too bizarre to not mention in my tour around this crazy state.

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