Do you believe in The Jersey Devil?

Throughout hundreds of years of recorded history - with stories dating back to 1735 - it is also known as The Leeds Devil.

Or, a third iteration from local author V. Scott Macom, who wrote in his novel, The Devil Leeds.

Is it real, or, do you believe that The Jersey Devil is just old folklore … simply tall tales that parents would tell their children during bedtime readings?

The story begins in the 18th-Century in the Pine Barrens of Atlantic County, New Jersey … allegedly with the birth of a 13th child to a woman known as Mother Leeds.

As the legend goes, Mrs. Leeds cursed the baby as the devil’s own. The baby supposedly morphed into a winged phantasm, said to have killed a midwife and flew up the chimney and is said to have lived in The Pine Barrens ever since.

According to the legend, the baby was born as a normal human child, but soon transformed into a creature with the head of a goat, cloven hooves, glowing red eyes, a forked tail, and bat-like wings.

It allegedly ran off to live in isolation of the Pine Barrens, where some say that it’s blood-curdling shrieks can still be heard to this day.

I’ve interviewed local author Macom several times about The Jersey Devil. Macom is a lawyer, who has done a great deal of original research into The Jersey Devil.

Macom is a serious man. He believes in the existence of The Jersey Devil. He’s not alone.

When I’ve opened up our “Hurley in the Morning” - WPG Talk Radio 95.5 on-air phone lines, at least 1/2 of our callers have confirmed that they believe in The Jersey Devil.

During our live interviews, Macom said he first heard about the Jersey Devil on a YMCA camping trip at Camp Ockanickon in Medford Lakes, New Jersey.

“The camp counselors said if we left camp after dark, we’d be eaten by the Jersey Devil,” he said. “Did I believe them? Hell yeah. I was 12 years old,”said Macom.

In his novel, it became impossible for Macom to specifically describe The Jersey Devil, because there have been so many different eyewitness descriptions.

Macom suggested that The Jersey Devil has shape-shifting capabilities … as a plausible reason why many different descriptions have been offered.

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“In the book, I just leave it up to imagination, except for two blood red eyes that stare at you from the woods,” Macom said. “Let your imagination fill in the rest. The gap between what we think is real and what is real is what scares us. It’s the unknown, like the Jersey Devil,” said Macom.

V. Scott Macom - Facebook

Macom has written the following narrative about what he calls Devil Leeds.

Don't believe in monsters? In the southern portion of the State of New Jersey lies the desolate forest region known as the Pine Barrens.

Dense woods, dark, stagnant pools of brown cedar water, oozing with leeches, and mossy ground fill an area forgotten from the rest of the world.

Something horrible and evil exists in this place. That something, the half man - half beast, cast to the devil at its birth, was what the native Lenni Lenape Indians called Amangamek.

It is known today as the Jersey Devil. If you think the legend of the Jersey Devil is is just another campfire story, then do this.

Drive down Jimmy Leeds road in Galloway Township on a dark moonless night to its birthplace in Leeds Point. Park in that desolate corner of the Barrens and let the dust settle.

Acclimate your eyes to the pitch black and listen. All at once you know that you are not alone.

Your skin will crawl from the misty chill that hangs in the air like a spider's web across your face.

The sickening presence of evil blankets your being. You’ll feel as if something is watching you from inside the cloister of the dark understory of the woods. It is.

Your heart pounds as unexplained sounds and heavy footsteps circle your position.

You catch brief glimpses of its blazing red eyes that poke through the small holes in the forest as it moshes through the woods.

The rotten smell of death hangs about you in the air like a thick smog. Suddenly, its ear-numbing shriek breaks the dead silence of the night. It crashes through the trees. It is too late to run, writes Macom.

It goes against every fiber of my being and every sense of reason and logic that I possess to admit this … But, for reasons that I cannot justify … I believe that there is a Jersey Devil.

Do you believe in The Jersey Devil?

SOURCE: V. Scott Macom, author of his novel, “Devil Leeds.”

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