Jersey Devil, Defense Against

Published by in Offbeat
14th Oct 2016

A brief explanatory article discussing ways to defend oneself against the Jersey Devil.

Sometimes called the Leeds Devil, this creature may well be something to be included in any listing of hostile, dangerous or potentially dangerous beings. Owing to its supposedly preternatural origins, it also warrants such a spot.

In the year 1735 CE, a woman named Mrs. Leeds, sometimes simply referred to as Mother Leeds, was living in the town of Smithville, New Jersey, USA. She was pregnant with her thirteenth child. Worn out from her hard life of caring for the dozen children she already had, dreading another mouth to feed, Mrs. Leeds called out, “Let this child be a devil!” during her contractions as she gave birth to her thirteenth. Not long after, the midwife was holding Mrs. Leeds’s new baby boy.

It is said that this new baby was perfect and lovely at first. Soon after, though, that changed. The newborn infant began to morph and twist, elongating as he mutated. Some accounts say that his face began to look like the face of a horse. Other reports claim that the infant’s face took on the countenance of a bat. Large leathery bat-like wings sprouted from the baby’s back and his little feet changed into black hooves while black claws grew from his fingers. Uttering a horrific scream, the monster flew up, knocking a hole in the roof, escaping into the night.

This is the most common account of the origin of the Jersey Devil. Other versions of the lore state that Mrs. Leeds had been involved in an affair with Satan and that the monster Mrs. Leeds gave birth to that night was the result of her union with the demon. Still others attribute the creature to a gypsy curse. Some accounts tell us that, before flying away that night, the creature killed and consumed everyone present in the home at the time of its birth.

The year in which Mrs. Leeds gave birth to the monster is a matter of debate. While 1735 CE is the most commonly accepted year, the time has been reported to be as late as 1880 CE