I’m fascinated by the Pine Barrens and have been since I first learned about the place years ago. This huge expanse of forest smothers a large chunk of southern New Jersey and, within it, all manner of unnerving stories reside. Even the very name conjures up feelings of terror: endless trees amid which to become lost, enclosed isolation, a land still not fully tamed by human hands.
Of course, the main legend associated with this area is that of the Jersey Devil. Over the quarter-millennium that it has been reported, more than two thousand people have supposedly seen it. It has intimidated communities; caused havoc; and even snatched livestock, large dogs and children (according to some sources). It’s been blamed for all sorts of things: from crop failure to river pollution. It’s even been hailed as a harbinger of war. It has killed things.
People have speculated for years about whether the Devil is a cryptid, a supernatural creature, a hoax or simply a story that has been passed down for centuries and despite a raft of sightings we don’t seem to be any closer to a thoroughly definitive answer.
Frankly, it’s no surprise that the Devil defies nomenclature as almost everything about it, from its origin to its description, varies from report to report. There are those that say the Devil is simply a story—a legend passed down by orators and writers, distorted and twisted by enthusiasm. Others ask how it can be a work of fiction when it has “terrorised towns and caused factories and schools to close down”.
But as you can explore, not all sources are to be trusted.
Towards the end of 2015, I wrote a couple of articles about the Devil, each with a slightly different theme, so if you’re interested click the links below and read away!
The Jersey Devil and the Big Problem with Paranormal Authors—Hayley Stevens’ Blog
Trouble with the Jersey Devil—Unexplained Mysteries.com
For more research into real-life cases please check out my ebooks.