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Phenomenal Week Sightings

January 16th - 23rd, 1909

Sightings before 1909 Sightings from 1909 - 2000 2001 - Present Sightings

This was a week in New Jersey history when the Jersey Devil was sighted daily throughout the state... people gave detailed descriptions of sightings, footprints were found constantly, and the entire state of New Jersey was in a panic. The sightings weren't confined to New Jersey, either - New York and Pennsylvania got a view of the Leeds Devil as well. Here are several tales from the week of terror.

Sat. 1/16 - Sun. 1/17
Woodbury, NJ
A man was leaving a hotel when he "heard a hissing and something white flew across the street. I saw two spots of phosphorus - the eyes of the beast. There was a white cloud, like escaping steam from an engine. It moved as fast as an auto."
 
 
Bristol, PA
A man named John McOwen was awakened at 2am by the screams of his baby. He began hearing odd noises out in the backyard. The noises "sounded like the scratching of a phonograph before the music begins and yet it also had something of a whistle to it. You know how the factory whistle sounds? Well, it was something like that."
 
    A Police Officer named James Sackville suddenly heard the neighborhood dogs begin to bark and growl uncontrollably. Officer Sackville developed a strange feeling, and instinctively turned around - and there, standing in the shadows, was the Jersey Devil. He said the creature had wings and hopped around, and had the features of some peculiar animal he had never seen before... the voice of the creature was a horrible scream. Sackville began to run towards the creature, who turned and ran in retreat, screaming. Sackville began firing his pistol, and the creature hovered above the ground and then flew off into the dark night sky.
 
    Bristol's postmaster, E. W. Minster, also had an encounter with the beast. He described it as follows: "I awoke about two o'clock in the morning... and finding myself unable to sleep, I arose and wet my head with cold water as a cure for insomnia. As I got up I heard an eerie, almost supernatural sound from the direction of the river... I looked out upon the Delaware and saw flying diagonally across what appeared to be a large crane, but which was emitting a glow like a fire-fly. Its head resembled that of a ram, with curled horns, and its long thick neck was thrust forward in flight. It had long thin wings and short legs, the front legs shorter than the hind. Again, it uttered its mournful and awful call - a combination of a squawk and a whistle, the beginning very high and piercing and ending very low and hoarse..." Bristol residents awoke to find their yards covered with abnormal hoof-prints.
 
 
Burlington, NJ
Joseph Lowden and his family heard "noise, as of some heavy body trampling in the snow in the yard." The creature began circling the house and made an attempt to open the back door, then left. Footprints were seen that night.
 
 
White City, NJ
Two muskrat trappers encountered strange footprints.
 
 
Gloucester City, NJ
James Fleson found eerie footprints in eight different yards, with a trail leading into a local junkyard. Mrs. Shindle found hoofprints in her yard and said "It's a two legged cow with wings."
 
Mon. 1/18
Burlington, NJ
The Lowden family awoke to find tracks from whatever had circled their house the night before. The snow had been packed down around the garbage can, with its contents half eaten and strewn across the ground. Burlington began to enter a state of panic, locking doors and windows, refusing to leave their homes, and staying in shock over night. Practically every backyard in Burlington had been scarred with footprints. The prints were unbelievable- skipping from rooftops to rooftops, randomly vanishing, leading into completely unaccessible areas... the size of the prints varied in each trail as well. Search posses formed, rewards were offered.
 
 
Columbus, Hedding, Kinkora, Rancocas
Footprints were reported. Dogs refused to follow the trails.
 
Tues. 1/19
Gloucester City, NJ
Mr. and Mrs. Nelson Evans were visited by the Jersey Devil at approximately 2:30 am. This is one of the most vivid and well described sightings ever. Mr. Evans was awakened by stranged noises. The couple stared out their bedroom window to watch the Jersey Devil standing on the roof of their shed for a full ten minutes. Mr. Evans gave the following description: "It was about three feet and a half high, with a head like a collie dog and a face like a horse. It had a long neck, wings about two feet long, and its back legs were like those of a crane, and it had horse's hooves. it walked on its back legs and held up two short front legs with paws on them. It didn't use the front legs at all while we were watching. My wife and I were scared, I tell you, but I managed to open the window and say, 'Shoo!' and it turned around, barked at me, and flew away."
 
 
 
Two professional muskrat hunters trailed the Jersey Devil for several miles. The tracks seemed to jump five foot fences and squeeze under eight-inch spaces. One of the men claimed he would never leave his house without bringing his gun.
 
 
Camden, NJ
A young girl fainted when she discovered strange tracks in the snow. The tracks appeared to be deformed, with one foot larger than the other.
 
 
 
A sighting was reported, saying the creature looked "something like a possum, the size of a dog, with a shrill bark, flapping its wings and taking off into the air."
 
 
Swedesboro, NJ
Another sighting, this time claiming that the creature had antlers or horns of some type.
 
 
Glassboro, NJ
Footprints reports came in. The prints had three toes and appeared slightly dog-like.
 
Wed. 1/20
Burlington, NJ
A policeman saw the creature, whose "eyes were like blazing coals." The policeman was sure it was a "Jabberwock."
 
 
Pemberton, NJ
Reverend John Pursell saw the creature, stating he had "never seen anything like it before."
 
 
Haddonfield & Collingswood, NJ
Search parties were created to locate the creature. They discovered strange tracks which always seemed to disappear into thin air. The creature was seen in Collingswood, heading north towards Moorestown.
 
 
Moorestown, NJ
John Smith saw the creature, and chased it until it disappeared into a pit nearby. George Snyder also saw the creature, and the two described it as follows: "It was three feet high... long black hair over its entire body, arms and hands like a monkey, face like a dog, split hooves, and a tail a foot long."
 
 
Springside, NJ
A trolley car operator saw a strange shape cross the tracks and then disappear into the shadows. He said "It looked like a winged kangaroo with a long neck."
 
 
Riverside, NJ
Ubiquitous tracks were made near chicken coops, buildings, and other structures. Joseph Mans found his puppy dead, surrounded by the strange tracks. The tracks appeared to be made by "small horse shoes" and were "everywhere, including the rooftop." Plaster casts were made from these prints.
 
Thurs. 1/21
Camden, NJ
A strange noise was heard at 1am at the Black Hawk Social Club. One of the members heard the noise at the back window, and turned to find the beast staring in through the glass. The club members were immediately gripped with panic. The man attempted to scare the creature, which flew off screaming.
 
 
Haddon Heights, NJ
A trolley passenger sighted the creature through a window at 2 am. The passengers all stared in horror as they watched the Jersey Devil flying near them. When the trolley car stopped, the creature circled above, screaming hissing noises before flying away. The conductor of the trolley, Lewis Boeger, gave this report: "In general appearance it resembled a kangaroo... It has a long neck and from what glimpse I got of its head its features are hideous. It has wings of a fairly good size and of course in the darkness looked black. Its legs are long and somewhat slender and were held in just such a position as a swan's when it is flying. We all tried to get a look at its feet to see what shape they were but the darkness was too great. It looked to be about four feet high."
 
 
Trenton, NJ
William Cromley was returning to his home when his horse began to panic. When Cromley exited his buggy, he saw "a sight that froze the blood in his veins and caused his hair to stand upright." There before him stood a creature described as "a beast of fur and feathers, about the size of an average dog, with the face of a German Shepherd, from which glowered large, sparkling eyes." The creature spread its wings and flew away.
 
 
 
E.P. Weeden, A Trenton councilman, was awakened by the sounds of someone attempting to break into his home. He ran to his windows and heard the sound of wings flapping. When he peered out his window, he saw hoofprints in the snow on his roof. These prints were found all over the town, including at the nearby arsenal.
 
 
Trenton & New Brunswick, NJ
Trolleys in both cities now maintained armed guards in case of a Jersey Devil attack.
 
 
Pitman, NJ
Many poultry farms were missing large amounts of chickens.
 
 
Bridgeton & Millville, NJ
Poultrymen heard screeching cries and awoke to find some of their chickens were dead - without a single mark on them. The farmers all agreed that it was the work of the Jersey Devil.
 
 
Roebling, NJ
Many more tracks were found covering the yard, looking as though an entire herd of creatures had come stampeding through the area overnight.
 
 
Burlington, NJ
A woman heard a noise in the alley near her house at 6 am. Upon investigating, she found a creature with bird-like features and a horse's head. The creature appeared as if it were about to leap. The woman immediately shut the window, and collapsed in fear. She said "for some minutes I was so frightened I was unable to scream. My husband and son had already gone to work, and I was finally able to waken my youngest son, who was asleep upstairs." Although no one saw the creature in the alley again, there were small hoofprints covering the ground. Rumor had it that the mayor of Burlington ordered the police to shoot the creature upon sight.
 
 
Leiperville, PA
A man walking along a highway spotted the creature early in the morning, and claimed that it ran faster than the cars were driving. He described it as having "skin like an alligator, stood on its hind feet and was about six feet tall."
 
 
Mount Holly, NJ
William Cronk saw the creature flying across his yard, saying it looked like a crane. Job Shinn said it had "a horse-like head, long hind legs with claws, and big wings." He said it walked like a man and left tracks everywhere.
 
 
Clayton, NJ
R. L. Campbell falsely claimed that the creature was dead, after a man told him he had watched the creature walk towards an electric railway. The man said that the creature's tail had hit the rail line, and suddenly there was a power surge and an explosion that melted tracks for twenty feet in both directions. They believed this to be the end of the creature, since no remains were found.
 
 
Atlantic City, NJ
A telegraph lineman gave another account of the Jersey Devil being injured. His report was this: "In an isolated spot in the Jersey Pines, about five miles from Pleasantville, at a place known as Beaver Pond, one of the linemen, Howard Campbell, was detailed on a piece of work a little distance from the rest of the men on duty. After walking a little way into the woods, his attention was attracted by something coming down the path toward him. He became so frightened by the unusual appearance of the thing that he straightway made for the nearest telegraph pole. Letting out several yells for help and losing his wits entirely by the time he reached the top of the pole, Campbell threw himself out on the mass of wires between the two poles and was lying there helpless by the time the rest of the gang, including myself, had arrived. Seeing the 'Terror' on the pole, I raised my gun and fired. One shot broke a wing and it fell to the ground, uttering hideous screams; but before anyone could collect his wits the thing was up and off with long strides and a sort of hop, dragging one wing, and then disappearing into the pine thicket. We got ropes and other tackle and helped Campbell down from his precarious position. As nearly as I can describe the terror, it had the head of a horse, the wings of a bat and a tail like a rat's, only longer."
 
 
Philadelphia, PA
Mrs. J. E. White was out in her backyard hanging laundry at approximately 4pm in the afternoon when she noticed something sitting in a corner of her yard. Upon approaching the creature, it arose to six feet tall, with a body covered in scaly skin. White claimed the creature spurted flames from its mouth. White began screaming and collapsed. Her husband ran out just in time to catch a glimpse of the strange, frightening beast. Mr. White grabbed a support pole from the clothesline and swung it at the creature, until the creature finally escaped and flew off. Right after that incident, a driver reported almost hitting the creature as it scrambled across the road. Another man, William Becker, claimed to have thrown stones at the Jersey Devil. Another man said he watched it sitting along the roadside.
 
 
Westville, NJ
Two women at a meeting glanced out the window to see the strange thing sitting on the front lawn in the snow. The women all cancelled their meetings, and called a few men to form a search party to find and destroy it.
 
 
West Collingswood, NJ
Two men had been walking down a road when they saw what they believed at first to be an ostrich sitting on top of a friend's house. The two men called the fire department, who then shot the hose at the Jersey Devil. The water knocked it off the house at first, and it seemed as though it was fleeing, but surprisingly the creature turned and began to charge its tormentors. The crowd began throwing anything they could at it in an attempt to stop it, but nothing seemed to work - the creature barrelled headfirst towards them. Finally, before the creature made any contact with the scared onlookers, he spread his wings and soared over their heads into the dark night sky.
 
 
Camden, NJ
A woman, Mrs. Mary Sorbinski, became the first human to witness a Jersey Devil attack on another living creature. She heard a commotion in her backyard around 7pm, and upon remembering that her dog had been out there, immediately went to see the cause of the noise. She was stricken with shock and terror as she saw her dog in the "vice-like grip" of a "horrible monster!" Mrs. Sorbinski then began to smack at the creature with a broomstick, and it dropped her dog and began screaming its awful high pitched cries. The creature flew right at Mrs. Sorbinski, but at the last second changed direction and flew away. After it had gone, Mrs. Sorbinski carried her injured dog into the house to find that a chunk of its flesh had been ripped out. She became overwhelmed with fear and panic. Within an hour, the house was filled with neighbors, police officers, and others who were curious as to the night's incident. While the crowd had gathered, once more the Jersey Devil made its presence known at the Sorbinski residence by emitting its awful screeches. The police officers on scene attempted to fire at the creature, but to no avail. It eventually flew away. This entire incident caused a state-wide outbreak of panic and fear.
 
Fri. 1/22
Camden, NJ
The creature woke the residents of a house by his hoof steps on their rooftop at 2am.
 
 
 
Policeman Louis Strehr observed an eerie creature drinking water from a horse trough at approximately 4am. He said the creature had "the head and body of a kangaroo, antlers like a deer, and bat wings."
 
 
Mount Ephraim & Gloucester, NJ
The areas were in sheer panic. Schools were closed, offices shut down, and employees called out sick for the day, afraid to step outside and be exposed to the works of the Jersey Devil.
 
 
Chester, PA
Two girls heard a noise coming from a stopped train. They watched as the Jersey Devil flew out of an open boxcar and took off into the sky.
 
 
Morrisville, PA
A report was given that the Jersey Devil had been captured in a man's barn. Upon opening the doors to the barn, they were disappointed to find that the creature had once again vanished.
 
 
Trenton & Woodbury, NJ
The Jersey Devil was seen throughout these areas for brief periods of time.
 
 
Salem, NJ
Jacob Henderson saw a beast with "wings and a tail" walking through an area of town. Henderson's bulldog growled and drove the beast into the woods.
 
Copyright © Laura K. Leuter, The Devil Hunters 2004