Is the Jersey Devil Real? How Many NJ Residents Believe in Ghosts?
As if taxes and potholes aren’t spooky enough … are we being haunted?
The Garden State’s own legendary creature, the Jersey Devil, could be more than just a story, and more people are likely to believe in ghosts before they believe in astrology, according to poll results released Friday by Fairleigh Dickinson University.
“The Jersey Devil may have started off as a regional cryptid,” said Dan Cassino, director of the poll. “But at this point, he’s been adopted by the state as a whole.”
In the poll of hundreds of adults, conducted from Oct. 6 to Oct. 14, 1 in 6 respondents said the Jersey Devil is “very” or “somewhat” likely to be real. The majority, 58%, said there’s no way that the monster exists.
Jersey Devil legend
The legend dates back hundreds of years, out of the Pine Barrens. In the most known version of the story, it’s said that a pregnant woman cursed her would-be 13th child, who then turned into a winged, tailed creature that flew into the woods. According to purported sightings, the Jersey Devil has red eyes, and a loud, screeching scream.
Legend has it, the monster calls the Pine Barrens home to this day.
“It’s over a million acres. Nobody really knows everything that’s going on down there, so anything is possible, I guess,” Cassino said.
In the poll, people who live in and around the multi-county Pine Barrens region are less likely than other residents to admit the Jersey Devil may exist.
And younger residents were more likely than older ones to say that the Jersey Devil may be real.
NJ residents more likely to believe in ghosts
While just 16% of New Jerseyans are willing to believe in the Jersey Devil, they’re not completely rejecting the supernatural as a whole, the poll finds.
A much higher 44% of respondents said that some places are “very” or “somewhat” likely to be haunted by ghosts.
At the same time, 20% said astrology — one’s destiny is determined by the position of the stars and planets at one’s birth — is “somewhat” or “very” likely to be real.
In the poll, women were much more likely than men to accept astrology as a real phenomenon, and slightly more likely than men to believe in ghosts.
“Not believing in Bigfoot or the Jersey Devil doesn’t mean giving up on all paranormal beliefs,” Cassino said. “There are lots of otherwise skeptical and scientific people who say that they’ve seen a ghost.”
Cassino noted that polls like this are often criticized by those who say the respondents are just “trolling” the interviewers by saying they believe in anything. To be safe, pollsters also included a question about a paranormal creature that barely anyone has ever heard of — the Flukeman of Newark, a sewer-dwelling monster that appeared on an episode of “The X-Files.”
Only 2 percent of New Jersey residents said the Flukeman is “very likely” to be real. Three percent said the Flukeman is “somewhat likely” to be real.
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