Frequent encounters with the Jersey Devil over the past two centuries have left a detailed portrait: a seven-foot-tall creature with a reptilian body, large bat-like wings, the head of a horse, arms with claws, and long, spindly legs ending in hooves. Its eyes are often described as bright red and glowing like embers.
According to the legend, the Jersey Devil was the 13th, and unwanted, child of an impoverished colonial-era South Jersey woman (Mother Leeds), who bequeathed it to Satan while it was still in her womb. The result of her rash pronouncement flew up the chimney immediately after birth and has haunted the sparsely-populated Pine Barrens ever since.
Regardless of its origins, the Jersey Devil has been seen by dozens of credible witnesses, including police officers and other professionals with nothing to gain from a run-in with a monster. The Devil's piercing screams and cloven hoof prints are worrisome reminders of its continued presence, as are the occasional torn-apart carcasses of unlucky dogs.
The pine forests of southern New Jersey
Navy Commodore Stephen Decatur reportedly fired a cannon ball through the Jersey Devil, making a large hole in it, but the creature was unharmed and simply flew away.
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The Ripley's museum on the Boardwalk in Atlantic City claims to have the Jersey Devil's skeleton, but it must be a fake, as the Devil continues to be routinely sighted.