; Phantoms and Monsters: Pulse of the Paranormal

Tuesday, August 02, 2016

'Jersey Devil' Encounter

Lindsay in Illinois wrote in to tell of her Jersey Devil sighting:

“I currently live in Central Illinois, but I was born and raised in New Jersey, the Pine Barrens. Growing up there, we had all heard stories of encounters with the Jersey Devil.

My grandma had an encounter along with my Dad. Pretty much anyone who has ever lived there knows someone who has claimed to have seen this creature. Now I even have a former boss who staged a prank on his friend that ended up getting reported as a Jersey Devil sighting back in the '70s. He never told his friend it was all a prank so I think that is still an official sighting in the books. Even after hearing all these stories growing up, I was never afraid to come across him. He was always portrayed as a shy, somewhat benign creature. He was never aggressive and he was always visible enough for the person to just catch a glimpse of him. I always felt sorry for him in a way. He always seemed to lead such a lonely existence. Anyhow, I spent my childhood years riding around on my four wheeler in his territory with no more fear of coming across the Jersey Devil then I would coming across a poorly concealed corpse dumped by the mob.

Flash-forward to my teen years, I'm working on a blueberry farm in Horton State Forest with my brother's girlfriend Janice. She didn't have a driver's license at the time so I usually ended up driving her back and forth to work everyday. We usually worked well past dinner time and this particular story took place in the early days of Fall. That evening, as I was dropping her off at her house, it was a few hours after sunset. The farm we worked on was pretty deep in the middle of nowhere and the farm she lived on was even deeper in the middle of nowhere. To get to her house we had to drive through some pretty thick forest on gravel roads with no streetlights. It would freak anyone out, I suppose, but I was used to driving through the dark woods so it was never anything that really bothered me. I got Janice safely to her house, went inside and exchanged some pleasantries with her parents and then shortly made my way home.

I was on the last stretch of road before the main highway that would take me to the end of town. That's when I was overcome with the creepiest feeling. I can't describe it any other way than it just felt like I was being watched. So like the dumb dumb I am, I stopped the car. My doors were locked and I had a big wrench under my seat. I knew how to swing it to make it hurt if I needed to. I'm still in Jersey after all. So I'm sitting there scanning the road ahead of me and I can't really see anything other than the 30 to 40 year old blueberry bushes on either side of the road. If you let blueberry bushes grow wild they'll climb to a pretty astonishing height. With these tall bushes lining the road, I really couldn't see too far into the forest around me. After looking for a few seconds, I popped back into the car and popped it back into gear. I slowly started pulling down the road again. That's when I noticed movement at the top of one of these tall bushes. I stopped the car again and immediately started staring in that direction. Once I focused my eyes, I could clearly see something very large crouching on the top of the one blueberry bush. I couldn't make out any details as far as colors or facial and body details but it was something clearly silhouetted against the bright starry sky. What I could make out was something larger than a man with a head – a huge head, sitting in a half crouch position almost like it was ready to spring from its hind legs. I sat and stared at for what seemed like an eternity. I was baffled how something that big could sit on top of a blueberry bush like that.

As I said before these bushes were old and tall but not very sturdy. They grow almost like a garden hedge so anything couldn't possibly be sitting on top of them without breaking the branches and tearing the bushes all to heck. In my concentration at staring at whatever was in the bushes, I accidentally let my foot slip from the clutch and my car stalled the engine. Such a stupid move. I can honestly tell you I came very close to almost pooping my pants right then and there. This is the wrong move. Right there in any horror movie you don't let your car die in the middle of the woods while some creature is stalking you. Anyway, I think the sound of my car startled it because this thing's head whipped around to stare right at me. Just as it took off in one swift motion and was gone from my sight. As it was taking off, I didn't exactly see any wings on its back but I heard a loud whooshing noise like large wings would make. In addition to hearing this, I could make out some very powerful looking legs that were bent at the knees like a horses legs would be. It used them and the assumed wings on its back to disappear from my sight in a second.

Since the car was now stalled and quiet I could hear a loud screech and whoosh of air above me that grew fainter within seconds. Whatever this thing was, it was fast and it was powerful. I know I weirdly kept talking about these blueberry bushes but I swear they are important to the story. As this creature was taking off from me, those bushes almost bent in half as it jumped off of them and I sat there watching them thrash and sway for quite a few moments after the creature was gone. Whatever was up there was skilled enough to sit on there without breaking the branches but powerful enough to get them crashing around like crazy once it leaped off of them.

Needless to say I freaked the hell out, got the car started, threw it back into gear and swung around the road heading back to the safety of Janice's house all within moments of this thing screeching away from me. I must have looked like a crazy person. When I showed back up at their house, I drove over the railway ties in their driveway, left my driver's side door open and I just barged into these people's house. I started babbling to Janice's dad about what I'd just seen and he calmly told me, I must have just seen the Jersey Devil. He drove with me back to the spot where I'd seen it and it confirmed there was definitely a disturbance in the bushes on that side of the road. He told me that he'd had quite a few sightings of the Jersey Devil on his land before but he had never said anything to his wife or daughters so they wouldn't get freaked out. Needless to say, I let the cat out of the bag on it but he really didn't seem to mind. I think he was happy to have someone else bolster his own sightings on the land.

I've never officially reported this sighting to date but it did earn me a bit of a badge of courage among the locals for being dumb enough to stop and stare at a creature in the dark woods all by myself.”

Source: Darkness Radio - July 25, 2016

Transcribed by Jamie Brian

The Jersey Devil

The Pinelands Horror: The Story of the Jersey Devil

Atlas of Cursed Places: A Travel Guide to Dangerous and Frightful Destinations

The Paranormal Dictionary: A Complete Users Guide to Everything Paranormal