Posted by: Loren Coleman on May 5th, 2010
Here comes the Jersey Devil, version 2010.
Get ready for questions about photos like the one above, for the mainstream media has turned their eyes to the Jersey Devil.
AOL’s Lee Speigel seems to have leapt into his work with gusto. Hot on the heels of his recent story on the Loch Ness Monsters, he’s back with an article about the Jersey Devil.
Jersey Devil: Horrific Fantasy or Genetic Mutant?
By Lee Speigel
It prowls desolate, forested parts of southern New Jersey, killing livestock, leaving behind odd footprints and filling the night air with chilling sounds.
At least that’s how legend and folklore describe the creature known as the Jersey Devil. (Not to be confused, by the way, with the New Jersey Devils, the professional hockey franchise named after the legendary creature.)
At the Paranormal Museum in Asbury Park, N.J., a recently opened exhibit features a variety of artifacts, including reproductions of a Jersey Devil skull, drawings and relics.
Museum owner Kathy Kelly says the story most associated with the Jersey Devil involved a woman who, in the 1700s, prayed for her 13th child to be born a devil. “Shortly after the child was born,” says Kelly, “he transformed into a creature that was twice the size of a full-grown man, with cloven feet, wings and talons for hands, and he killed the midwife and then flew off into the Pinelands, where he has terrorized people ever since,” according to the story.
The Pinelands area of New Jersey, according to the National Park Service, was established in 1978 as the country’s first national reserve, covering more than a million acres of farms, forests and wetlands — a perfect environment for an unknown animal to hide in.
Archaeologist Paula Perrault has seen alleged Jersey Devil skulls with both straight and curved horns, and says the Pinelands has a history of “genetic malformations, even in mammals, serpents and humans. A lot of the portrayals in any culture seem to define evil as a serpent crossed with something else — it’s never just a serpent.”
Some animals of this Garden State location have been found with abnormalities, including odd colorations, extra appendages and even lizards with extra heads….
For the rest of the article, see here.
It should be noted that Kathy Kelly is quoted elsewhere in this article, as noting there are two schools of thought about the creature: “You have the kind of paranormal, supernatural idea, which suggests that this is actually the son of the devil. And the other possibility is that this is some sort of mutated animal that has not yet been identified by science.”
Well, that is simplistic, at best. The Jersey Devil is an umbrella term in New Jersey for any cryptid, for pranks, for hoaxes, and for folkloric elements of various tales.
There are probably a dozen schools of thought on what the “Jersey Devil” is because the target is always shifting, every pun intended.
Coming soon, as shown at top, the book Monsters of New Jersey by Loren Coleman and Bruce G. Hallenbeck will be published in time for Halloween 2010, from Stackpole Books.