In the rich and vibrant folklore of the storied lands of South Jersey, the most fascinating creature of all is the fabled Jersey Devil. Now, thanks to a citizen journalist in correspondence with NJ.com (motto: “True Jersey”), the mystery is solved. At long last, we have proof: The Jersey Devil is real.
...“If that wasn’t enough, then it spread out leathery wings and flew off over the golf course.”
Black said he grabbed his cell phone and snapped off a few photos, but only one came out.
Art by Tara Jacoby.
You can clearly see wings on the creatures back and horns on its head. Its feet are cloven and the fur is dark brown.
And it’s obviously off the ground.
I don’t see any wires or string holding it up like a piñata.
While it would appear that Mr. Black has provided us with incontrovertible evidence of the Jersey Devil’s existence, one expert remains skeptical: Gawker Media Deputy Art Director Tara Jacoby. According to Jacoby, “The Jersey Devil is a tall, bird-like creature. Everybody knows that.”
And here is Jacoby’s own rendering of what we all know to be true:
As evidence for her claim, Jacoby cited childhood friend Matt Kerestesy, who recounted for Gawker his gruesome encounter with South Jersey’s Son of Perdition:
When I was a kid we came home just after dusk. When we stepped out of the car we heard a horrible screeching scream, unlike anything I’ve ever heard before or since. It was loud, shrill and high-pitch and sent a shiver down my spine. When I looked towards the sound I saw a creature run across our yard at an incredibly fast pace, much faster than a dog or human could possibly run. The light being cast off the back porch only lit up a portion of the yard. I could only make out the lower half of the creature but it had long, bird-like legs, like an ostrich. Unfortunately, that’s all I could make out before it went into the woods. We referred to is as the bird creature from then on, not making an association to the Jersey Devil at all.
When I was in college my parents gave me a book about the Jersey Devil, can’t remember what it was called. It had every known account of devil sightings to date. Roughly 75% of them were very similar to what I saw and heard. The screeching and bird-like legs were common in descriptions, although I didn’t see the rest of the body that many other descriptions had (goat head, bat wings, etc.). So from then on I realized that the “bird creature” and whatever people described as the Jersey Devil were the same thing.
Maybe an emu escaped from a zoo or something like that but whatever I saw (and heard) fits many of the descriptions dating back to come of the earliest sightings. I haven’t been in the woods behind my parent’s house after dark since that day and that was about 25 years ago.
Regardless of the winged demon’s appearance, one thing is for certain—the Jersey Devil is real. And it is waiting.