As you all know both Miss Print and I are in the midst of our Synchronized Reading of Imaginary Girls written by author Nova Ren Suma.
Imaginary Girls is a book about a lot of things. It’s about two sisters and the unbreakable bond they share. It’s about the local legend of the town that once was and has been washed over by a dark body of water. It’s about what happens when the lines between fact and fiction are blurred.
That’s why today, I’l be talking about local legends. But not just any legends, legends based in my home state of New Jersey. If you’re from New Jersey you already know that this state has it’s fill of local legends – from the Devil’s Tree in Martinsville to Thirteen Bumps Road in Watchung. I could easily talk about any number of them, but today I’m going to talk about what I think is probably the most famous of NJ’s local legends — The Jersey Devil.
As legend has is, the Jersey Devil was birthed by a woman in 1735. When Mrs. Leeds – an early settler of the Pine Barrens (which is located in South Jersey if anyone is interested. You’ll know it the minute you drive past in on the Parkway) – was pregnant with her third child. During her pregnancy, she stated that “this one would be the Devil” as if cursing herself. When she finally gave birth one stormy night, she found that she didn’t birth a baby but rather a devil creature — with the head of a goat, wings of an oversized bat, and hooves of a horse. Upon his birth, the Devil fled but not before killing anything or anyone in it’s wake – taking cover in the shrouded woods of the Pine Barrens.
For that point on there have been countless sightings of the Jersey Devil – who supposedly still haunts the Pine Barrens to this very day.
I thought I saw the Jersey Devil myself once, on a late night drive home from Atlantic City. Driving from Atlantic City, I was bound to pass by the Pine Barrens. I was with my two close friends – one of which was sleeping in the back seat of the car the other was wide awake keeping me company on the hour plus drive. We’re driving, and talking, and singing along to all of our favorite songs as friends do, when I swear to you, I saw two red shining orbs peering out of the wooded brush to the right of the road. These orbs could very well have been two roadside reflectors, but at the moment passing those glowing red orbs I swore it was the Jersey Devil himself!
There is a ton of information about the Jersey Devil all over the web. If you want to find out more about this specific local legend, check out some of these websites:
So readers, what do you think of the Jersey Devil? Think he’s real, or just a legend to scare the locals? I’d love to hear your thoughts, and your own local legends.
Since this is part of the Synchronized Reading feature, all of you should head over to Miss Print’s blog and check out her review of Imaginary Girls. You will not be disappointed! My review will post tomorrow, and Emma’s local legend will follow on Thursday. So, stay tuned!