Hooves, wings and high-pitched screams… The Jersey Devil has reportedly been seen thousands of times, lurking in and around a forest called the Pine Barrens. How much of its existence is rumor, and how much is reality?
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This is an unofficial transcript meant for reference. Accuracy is not guaranteed.
If you live in new jersey- and even if you don't chances, are that you ve heard of the Jersey Devil to most, it's a made up monster. That became an unexpected symbol of state pride. It's got wings and red beady eyes and a high pitched scream. To put it simply, it's ridiculous, but if you travel down to the woods of South New Jersey,
or a lot of people, will tell you that the Jersey Devil is real. People have been talking about it since, before the first colonist, even settled in New Jersey, there have been thousands of sightings over hundreds of years to those who have seen it. The devil is more than a folk tail it. Something to be very afraid of. This is supernatural apart cast original and I'm your host Ashley flowers, every Wednesday I'll take a deep died into real unexplained occurrences to try and figure out the truth. This week we're looking at the Jersey Devil, you can find all episodes of supernatural and all other Parkhurst originals for free on Spotify. And if you like, your hearing rate
out on Facebook and Instagram at park asked and Twitter at Park Ass Network, the Jersey Devil started as a story of folk tailed told drew generations, but somehow
became real and it remains
well, at least to a surprising amount of people even today. So exactly what is happening in New Jersey, it all started with the pine barons.
These woods. Take up about a million acres in New Jersey between the Delaware River and the Atlantic Ocean are incredibly dense in
places. The trees are so thick that sunlight, barely filters in when you walk through the Pine barons, something just doesn't feel right, there's a sense of dread hanging over the place. The first people who lived there, the LE, not Bay tribe, believed a powerful spirit lived in the woods they called it
it was said by some to be a deer like creature with long dragon like wings, it wasn't evil, but it was something to be respected. When
English colonists arrived in the sixteen hundreds. They thought the le. Not they were just superstitious beam.
Right into the pine barons and set up iron forges paper. Mills and glass factories. Villain
they were eventually pushed out entirely and by the mid eighteenth century,
the colonial industry in the pine barons collapsed as well. People were leaving the pine bear
in droves, the ones who stayed became known as the pennies and pretty soon they started, seeing the same spirit as the one that they had told them about. A creature with the head
of a horse hoves and claws, and the long body of a serpent the pines called it. The leads devil.
The earliest sightings of elites devil are hard to confirm. It seems that the pennies believed in this thing very strongly and even occasionally sought, but nobody had documented it.
Person who is supposed to have seen it is Joseph Bonaparte, the brother,
Napoleon he moved to New Jersey after he was exiled from Europe and he said to him
the devil, while hunting in the eighteen thirties, but as far as anyone,
in the cities was concerned, the devil was a piece of superstitious hokum and only the backwards com
we dwelling Pineys believed in it. So most of reports when ignored in the eighteen nineties
couple of sightings made actual papers
train engineer claimed to have seen the Devil attack his train in eighteen. Ninety three: six years later, a Philadelphia businessman claimed he was awakened by screens and then sold
double fly passed his window, then in
nineteen nine during one insane week. In January, the devil was seen every single day by hundreds of people.
All over the Delaware Valley it starts
On Saturday January sixteenth that night three different people in Bristol Pennsylvania just across the Delaware River, from New Jersey
a strange animal they ve never seen before it has wings and it stands on its hind legs. Has this high pitched scream the next morning the people Bristol Fine, strange of prince all over the snow in their backyard? The tracks trail off disappear,
for hundreds of feet or so and then appear again by Monday in Burlington, New Jersey on the other side of the river people are seeing the same thing. Their backyards are covered in hoof, prints that that seemed to come from a two legged animal and it does the same thing. It like trails off start
up again, then, on Tuesday, a man and Gloucester City looks out his window in the middle of the night and sees a week
Animal standing on the roof of his shed by Wednesday Search party start to form. In just one day. The devil appears to a policeman, a reverend and station agent. One man goes after it, but the devil jumps into a gravel pit and vanishes as the week goes on. Fear and panic build until by the end of the week. Schools are closed and people refused to go to work interesting. We people
descriptions of this thing very some say that it looks like it has antlers. Some say that it has three toes some say that its back legs look like those of a crane and some say that it just looks like a jabber walk, which I don't love. You know that is, but I had to look it up and is actually there
fictional creature from the guy who created the Alice in Wonderland Series. But one thing is clear: whatever this thing is: they've never laid eyes on it before two police, even winded up trying to corner it and when it takes off into
the sky they open fire woman, chases it away before can eat her dog, though she was a little lake that have already taken a bite when it's all over upwards of a thousand people in for
print states, including Delaware in Maryland, either saw the double or its hoofprints all in one week and then just like that. It's gone
since phenomenal weak. As its known, the devil has never been cited on such a large scale, but it dies, keep getting seed accounts differ a little bit,
but they all more or less the same description in nineteen
Seventy nine, a woman driving through the pine, bearing sees what looks like a minute your horse run out in front of her car, but have has these
glowing yellow eyes in the
eighty. Two teenage boys see tall hairy animal that screams at that in December,
Ninety. Ninety five, a driver sees a tall animal with horns. A tail and wings cross the parkway in front of her car. The last reported citing was in two thousand and fifteen
when a man driving by a golf course saw what looked like a
under the treaties as it took flight into the sky. He snapped
a photo with his cell phone. The resulting photo I mean, is also
little hard to believe, but it still passed around as the first solid evidence of the devil's existence. Clearly, some
strange, is going on something we can entirely discount either the people,
of southern New Jersey are all in the throes of a multi generational, mass delusion or there
really is something strange living in those woods. Let's dig into the theories when we return
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We may not live in an age when monsters and fantastic creatures seem plausible, but in this case we can't discount the sightings some
thing is going on,
and on this show, I considered our job to look at the possibilities. Is there something,
living in the woods that we've never discovered before. To answer this, we need to turn to a branch of science known as cryptozoology the study of animals who haven't yet been proven to exist in recent years. There's been a flood of interest in these animals, which
called crypt it like Bigfoot, yet eighty Bhamo Snow Man. What makes them fascinating is that we have some evidence to prove that their real, for example, a photograph of a footprint home video of a blurry figure. Eyewitness accounts, but there is not enough.
To make a scientific queen every once in a while equipped it actually does get discovered. For years a giant squid was said to live in the depths of the ocean, then. Finally, in two thousand six one was captured on
video other animals that we now know to exist started out as cryptic like the giant panda B, o copy and the Commodo dragon. But sometime
the fearsome animal we've heard about turns out to be a bit of a letdown case in point. The giant man beast
that were said to be roaming around Africa. They turned out to be mountain girl ass. Some scientists say that we ve only discovered about fourteen percent of all species on earth. So it's not ridiculous. To think that cryptic might
real, but it can't be proven until scientists actually get their hands on a specimen. That's the only thing that can prove once and for all that encrypted is real, but most of the time with a cryptic we don't
that we only have like an eyewitness account and unfortunately, those don't count for much. According to paleontologist Donald Prothero, author of abominable
science I witnessed sightings mean next to nothing were easily fool
by tricky lighting or our own emotions or even our subconscious. In the case of the Jersey,
Eyewitness accounts are almost all we have. Besides one
Laurie photo taken in low light at a golf course, there are no photographs of the Jersey, Devil and, most of the time, it's
in late at night, by drivers on dark roads who may or may not have had a couple of drinks. Here's the other problem when you're tracking, a monster you also have to take biology into account, could something that stands at least four feet if not six feet tall.
Be able to fly Benjamin Radford, who spent years investigating the Chupacabra, says no, it's wings for one
would need to be much much larger than the siting suggests it to actually become airborne. It's just not biologically possible. Otherwise, some believe that, what's
people are seeing in New Jersey is actually a sand hill crane it walks on two legs is tall, has a high pitched scream and has an impressive wingspan
So it's possible that on a moonless night, its height and wings, can
look like a monsters, especially to people who again may about a few drinks. But there is one problem with this theory, while the Sand Hill Crane does each small animals like snakes and
since it's not known for going after dogs. The Jersey Devil, though, has shown a definite taste for pets. At least if were able to
leave the episode from nineteen o nine when it took a bite of someone's dog. The other theory is that the reason the jury
devil is so unique. Is that it's actually a pre historic animal, some
that shouldn't still be alive, but is it not unheard of a prehistoric fish called the coelacanth long considered extinct
was discovered to be alive and well in nineteen thirty eight. Now this hasn't been proven, but some people claim to see Tara Dactyls flying over parts of,
U S. Every single year there have even been sightings of them over Griffith Park, in LOS Angeles. If you're curious about this just go to Youtube, you'll find videos, and from a distance I mean some kind of convincing,
Interesting Lee, Brian Regal, author of the secret history of the Jersey, Devil claims that the creature called Tarsus pterodactyl may have. We
in New Jersey eleven thousand years ago, but this doesn't quite explain the devil's horns or their faces. Terodactyles had had long sharp, which which doesn't the
description of the devil and there have been no remains of Tarsus pterodactyl actually found in New Jersey. Yet anyway. The other
obvious issue with the devil: being a real animal is the age. How could the same creature live for two hundred three hundred years? Now there are some animals like the boat
had whale and the Red Sea. Urchin that lived to be two hundred there is even a mollusk
in the ocean, Co Haug that can live for four hundred years, but something this size with wings and hers. I mean it
totally unlikely. Now I guess it's always possible that there
more than one jersey, devil and people are saying, maybe offspring of the same species. But if the devil's were reproducing
I would imagine that there will be more sightings of them. Ass time went on and not less, but in this sphere
of leaving no stone unturned. Let's look at where the story of the Jersey Devil comes from.
The basic legend, goes something like this. In seventeen thirty five deep in the pine barons,
a woman named mother leads found out that she was having a thirteenth child. She wasn't happy
so she said out loud. Let this one b, the devil
but when mother leads gave birth, it's a beautiful baby boy. Her curse seem to have not taken shape. Then the baby starts to change his feet, turn into her
he sprouts a tail and grows wings and his face takes on the shape of a horse. It goes up
its own mother and then its brothers and sisters, and then it attacks the midwives until it finally flies up the chimney and disappears into the woods now,
there is no record of someone named mother leads living in the area at the time the legend started, but there,
was a man named Daniel leads and Daniel leads was not very
popular. To put it nicely. Daniel was a Quaker who settled in Burlington. In one thousand, six hundred and eighty seven, he published New Jersey's first almanac called the leads almanac. Now the quakers
not approved. They thought there was way too much. Astrology is forecasting and they put out a call for the leads almanac to be destroyed, so Daniel, published another almanac, and then a book that explained the theory.
Religion and the origin of the universe. Again there like a lot
astrology. In this and again, the quakers are pissed, so in response leads begins to publish Anti Quaker pamphlets. He also sides with the british monarchy. Now the Queen
is really take offence and soon one of them accuses Daniel leads of working with the devil. When Daniel dies his son tightened, takes over the almanac, he begins, putting the leads family crest on the cover, which happens to be that of a dragon. Like figures,
finally tighten gets into a war of words with a young publishers named Benjamin Franklin. Working with Philadelphia Franklin begins publishing, arrival almanac in one thousand seven hundred and thirty three. He can't resist making little digs at the Leeds Almanac Keith
and predicts the death of Titan leads down to the day and minute using astrology. That was meant to be funny, but tighten leads, didn't find it amusing at all
The mud slinging went on from there and it continued for the rest of their lives later.
A legend sprang up in the very area Daniel leads lived, it was about an actual monster called the leads. Devil sounds like silent
Quakers feelings about Daniel leads may have seemed into the cultural consciousness. But, as we mentioned at the beginning, the devil is.
Also similar to the le. Not they believes about the Spirit in the woods was the devil.
And really created out of thin air just to make fun of the leads family, or was this the Quakers own version of an order?
gin story for the shadowy, fearful thing that lived in the woods will consider the possibilities when we come back now that the days are getting shorter. It's the perfect time to spend Chile night, exploring hunt a killers layer,
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It doesn't explain why people are still seeing this thing and ninety ninety five there has to be something else at work here and one possibility is mass hysteria,
hysteria is a condition in which someone suffers physical symptoms despite there being no real illness or biological cause. Mass motor hysteria is a subset that affects a whole community of people all at once. It usually builds up in response to an ongoing stress.
Situation like a strict school or repressive form of government. Suddenly,
we'll start to show strange symptoms, crying ticks even fainting. One of the most famous examples is the dancing plague of fifteen eighteen. During a couple of months in the city of Strasbourg, France, more than four hundred people begin dancing uncontrollably unable to stop until they died from heart attacks or exhaustion, even though the dancing plague still baffles historians, some attributed to a collective anxiety about religion. There is a strong belief in Strasbourg at the time and if any one offended one of the saints, the saint would inflict a plague of dancing
Then the fact that the people started dancing on their own and couldn't stop with possibly their way of dealing with that fear. According to Robber Bartholomew, who wrote a book on mass hysteria, the condition usually strikes a small insular group that is considered to have little social power Bartholomew considered the Jersey, double sightings to be a specific type of hysteria called collect,
delusion this happens when there's a community wide threat. That's not actually real but plausible enough to believe people get excited and concerned things. I wouldn't have
acted attention before are suddenly seen as dangerous, it's possible that what people were real
seeing in nineteen o nine or just ordinary bird,
or animals, but because of rumours and fear, and administrative old leginn that was just unique to that community. Everything looked me
menacing than it really was. Also the community that experienced them
sightings in nineteen o nine was exactly the type that most prone to hysteria. The area was undergoing,
rapid change, and we have an insular society. That was the object of ridicule. The pennies it seems like the rumours about the Jersey Devil being at large room
some kind of saturation point in nineteen o nine and then suddenly exploded into a collective delusion amassed illusion. Also
in reoccur in multiple episodes, overtime, which would explain why
hundred years later, people are still claiming to see it. Let's face it. Sometimes New Jersey can be a state that gets picked on, but this could be the key to the entire jersey, double phenomenon living in a state that sometimes gets made fun of
make people living there subconsciously more susceptible to a made up threat I mean, or it could make that threat a point of cultural pride. Something like a monster can give a community a sense of shared purpose and novelty that sets it apart from
say Connecticut and in the age of the internet, rumors can spread quickly and go viral. Mass delusions can take place even across large distances. Take the chupacabra, for instance. This is a small hairless creature, said to kill livestock by some
in their blood. It was first spotted in Puerto Rico, in nineteen. Ninety five and sightings of the creature quickly spread through Mexico in Latin America and into the American South West. It was what some people considered the first viral monster when people began finding the dead bodies of scary, looking hairless animals in time.
This New Mexico, an author named Benjamin Radford, decided to investigate he spent five years. Looking into the story, but while he was working DNA,
Testing on these dead animals reveal that they were actually just dogs in Kyoto, with a type of skin disorder called mange. Still Radford pressed on, he looked at the bodies of the animals that were said to be victims of the tube macabre, but again they were found to be the victims of dogs, coyotes even raccoons. Finally, Radford tracked down the woman who spotted the very first Tupac opera in Puerto Rico,
It turned out that shortly before this sheet seen the nineteen ninety five horror movie species the monster in species just happened to look.
Extremely similar to a Cuba? Cobra coincidence, Bradford didn't think so neither do I. He thought
It was very likely that the memory of the monster lodged itself into this woman subconscious and that she saw it when she looked out the window. The folk tales about the leads devil could have taken root in people
machinations in the same way and its
worth, noting that in recent years there have been at least two movies about the
Josie Devil and an episode of the x files. However, it got there, it seems that the Jersey Devil is embedded in the cultural imagination for good. So is the jersey double real? Maybe
is not the right question to ask. Maybe what matters is that the devil is real enough to the people who have seen it and that beer shouldn't be discounted completely, were all hard wired to be on the lookout for potential threats. All the time fear is the
to protect us. Even when we dont consciously realise there is danger on the horizon, even when it doesn't seem rational. So if everyone who goes near the pine barons feels that seem got fear, maybe there's a reason. Something is in those woods. Is it a red eyed, weaned monster hard to say, but talk to people in South New Jersey,
and I'll. Tell you trust your instincts. The devil is alive and well, and it's always watching thanks for listening
I'll be back next week with another episode you can find all episodes of supernatural and all other park has to regional for free on Spotify Spotify has all your favorite, music and pod cast all in one place. There make
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Transcript generated on 2020-11-18.