; Phantoms and Monsters: Pulse of the Paranormal

Friday, June 16, 2023

PTERODACTYL-LIKE WINGED CRYPTID Observed Near New Jersey's Pine Barrens

A New Jersey eyewitness contacts me in regard to a sighting of a pterodactyl-like winged cryptid that he observed flying above a wooded area near the infamous Pine Barrens.

I received the following information from an eyewitness. Could it be the 'Jersey Devil'?:

"Hey, I stumbled upon your site because I have been searching for what I just saw for like 2 hours and have had no luck. I live in South Jersey in a somewhat wooded area, a very calm and normal small town.

Anyway, today in the car on the way to the store I was looking at the sky. It was about 7 or 8 at night and I saw this strange thing in the sky. It had huge wings like a bat, it was like a dark brown color. There were no feathers at ALL. The body was black, with short or no hair. It had a very slim body and a small tail. The thing about this bat creature was its size. It was bigger than a hawk. And in my town, we always see hawks so I'm used to seeing them. I'm also used to seeing bats. This creature flapped its wings slowly but the bats here usually flap their wings fast? That's the strange part for me. I could've sworn it was pterodactyl! No one believes me! I just need to know what the hell I saw! Please help!"

I contacted the witness for more specific information and received the following:

"Thanks for responding! And I live in Voorhees, New Jersey. 15 minutes from Cherry Hill. Not too far from The Pine Barrens, isn't that where the Jersey Devil is considered to be? And from what I heard, the Jersey Devil has hooves and this creature didn't have any. Maybe I'm wrong. But anyway, this thing flew pretty low and I didn't get to see its face. I know its wings had no feathers or anything. It flew at a fast speed even though its wings were flapping slowly. That's all the details I can get for seeing it before it flew away."

So, what did the witness see? Here are a few tidbits about the Jersey Devil phenomenon:

Supposedly, it prowls desolate, forested parts of southern New Jersey, killing livestock, leaving behind odd footprints, and filling the night air with chilling sounds. At least that's how legend and folklore describe the creature known as the Jersey Devil.

At the Paranormal Museum in Asbury Park, N.J., an exhibit featured a variety of artifacts, including reproductions of a Jersey Devil skull, drawings, and relics. Museum owner Kathy Kelly says the story most associated with the Jersey Devil involved a woman who, in the 1700s, prayed for her 13th child to be born a devil. "Shortly after the child was born," says Kelly, "he transformed into a creature that was twice the size of a full-grown man, with cloven feet, wings, and talons for hands, and he killed the midwife and then flew off into the Pinelands, where he has terrorized people ever since," according to the story.

The Pinelands area of New Jersey, according to the National Park Service, was established in 1978 as the country's first national reserve, covering more than a million acres of farms, forests, and wetlands -- a perfect environment for an unknown animal to hide in.

Archaeologist Paula Perrault has seen alleged Jersey Devil skulls with both straight and curved horns and says the Pinelands have a history of "genetic malformations, even in mammals, serpents and humans. A lot of the portrayals in any culture seem to define evil as a serpent crossed with something else -- it's never just a serpent."

Some animals of this Garden State location have been found with abnormalities, including odd colorations, extra appendages, and even lizards with extra heads.

From an archaeological perspective, Perrault speculates that there is "some kind of mineral deposit in the area, made up of heavy metal that could be one thing that might cause genetic differences."

Perrault has traced the various trails along New Jersey's Route 30, where "supposedly there are many petroglyphs [rock carvings dating back thousands of years], and some of them lost over time, where Native Americans depicted an entity that has reptilian features."

"There may or may not be a Jersey Devil creature," says Angus Gillespie, a professor of American studies at Rutgers University in New Jersey. "But from a folkloristic standpoint, it's a fact that the story exists. This story has been in oral circulation in south Jersey ever since 1735," making it possibly the oldest reported "monster" in America.

Gillespie says many people are reluctant to step forward with their beliefs for fear of ridicule. He cites a 1909 episode of several sightings in the Camden County area.

"Strange tracks were found in the snow, and as a result of these sightings, teams of illustrators and reporters were sent out from various Philadelphia newspapers -- no photographers, just illustrators.

"Apparently, these urbanized city-slicker reporters took a satirical and patronizing attitude and wrote disparagingly of it and illustrated it with cartoon-like characters," Gillespie says. "The New Jersey residents reacted, saying, 'Well if we're going to be ridiculed, we're just not going to talk about it to outsiders.'"

So what exactly are we dealing with here? It kind of depends on a combination of legendary stories, science, and your personal point of view.

Kelly said there are two schools of thought about the creature. "You have the kind of paranormal, supernatural idea, which suggests that this is actually the son of the devil. And the other possibility is that this is some sort of mutated animal that has not yet been identified by science."

Perrault agrees, saying, "I think it's an animal that's been deformed in some way. There's a lot of things we haven't seen -- just because you don't see it doesn't mean it's not there." As she tries to piece together the puzzle of what this particular animal may turn out to be, Perrault doesn't rule out the possibility that it could be an aberration of a quite normal animal.

"From the size, and from the reported physical appearances throughout the ages, I would say it might be a deer, based on the reported skulls, the hooves, and the bone structure," she says.

The archaeologist adds that if the Jersey Devil is, in fact, a family of deformed deer that has terrorized New Jersey citizens for centuries, there's a simple answer to why it's been reported as standing up to 8 feet tall on two legs.

"If you go into the woods and come across deer and startle them, they'll stand up on their back feet and get ready to run, and if you find a deer that's injured, he will paw at you and try to attack you," Perrault says. So if you happen to see a deer in the dark and are frightened by its curved or spiked horns, you may just be misinterpreting something in the shadows or moonlight.

Folklorist Gillespie acknowledges that one of the problems of trying to prove the existence of the Jersey Devil is the lack of any photographic evidence.

"We don't have a photograph, bones, fur, droppings -- there's an absence of hard data," he says. "But the absence of positive proof does not prove the lack of existence of the creature, philosophically. It's just that we may have missed him."



Have you had a sighting or encounter?
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Thanks. Lon

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Have you had a sighting or encounter?
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