Awesome or Off-Putting is a weekly delve into cryptozoology, ufology, aliens, medical marvels, scientific wonders, secret societies, government conspiracies, cults, ghosts, EVPs, myths, ancient artifacts, religion, strange facts, odd sightings or just the plain unexplainable.
This week: Cryptozoology/Odd Sightings
Cryptozoology has a stuffed-full menu of weird creatures that have had dozens of sightings all over the world. The Jersey Devil has got to be one of the best known, but it seems it's sightings don't happen quite as much as others in its great big monster family. Once though, almost a hundred years ago, a whole bunch of firemen hosed one right off a roof.
Then it attacked a dog and got shot at by police. Quite an experience from all we've read.
Bigfoot, modern-day cavemen, frog people and the Clutchbone – they're all members of the monster family, most with historical sightings as well as modern ones. The Jersey Devil is on that list too. Wikipedia sheds some light on the matter:
"The Jersey Devil, sometimes called the Leeds Devil, is a legendary creature or cryptid said to inhabit the Pine Barrens in southern New Jersey. The creature is often described as a flying biped with hooves, but there are many variations."
What we believe may be the most intriguing encounter with the beast involves a time it meandered onto the roof of a local fire chief's home. Two men out for a walk saw it up there and apparently reported it to the fire department. In the book Phantom of the Pines: More Tales of the Jersey Devil, author James F. McCloy gives us more detail:
"Soon the fire department arrived and turned the hose on the Devil. At first it fled the water by running down the street about one hundred and fifty feet. Then it turned, and to the panic of its tormentors charged at them. Sticks, stones, and other missiles had no effect on the rampant Devil, as it bore down upon the frightened crowd. Fortunately for them, the creature suddenly spread its wings and soared over them, disappearing into the night."
The Devil then flew off and attacked a dog in a woman's backyard. Said woman heard the commotion and freed her pet with a swinging broom stick. This encounter ended with two policemen trigger pulling in the direction of the monster, but to no effect. Once again it disappeared into the night.
One thing that sets the Jersey Devil apart from other 'mystical' creatures is that some people claim to know where it lives. Once again we turn to Wikipedia for details:
"An important piece of the Jersey Devil legend concerns its supposed home at the Blue Hole located near Winslow, New Jersey. According to popular folklore, the blue hole is not only bottomless but also acts as one of the many gateways to Hell. The water in the hole is abnormally cold, even during the summer months, averaging only 58 degrees Fahrenheit year-round. In addition, the hole is said to have a whirlpool effect on any person who enters it."
Physical descriptions of the creature very from small and ape-ish to giraffe-like. It seems in most cases it's agreed the creature has wings, but that seems to be the only constant. It seems to run away from people without too much effort, so don't lose sleep over all this if you live in southern New Jersey, but just the same, if you're going out at night, be sure to check the skies.
JERSEYANA; Once Upon a Time, the New Jersey Devil Meant More Than Hockey – The New York Times