GALLOWAY TWP - This marks the 99th anniversary of the Jersey Devil's most infamous spree, where more than a hundred people allegedly spotted him in just one week's time. We followed a group of devil hunters into the Jersey Pine Barrens to see he would make an appearance during this "Phenomenal Week."
Just before dusk, we follow a local research group into the pine barrens to see if we can find the Jersey Devil, starting with a 19th century grave yard. Already, strange things are happening...two cameras with fresh batteries go completely dead.
Next, we move on to the nearby Shourds house, where centuries ago, Mrs. Leeds allegedly gave birth to her 13th child, also known as the Jersey Devil. "This is just another piece of the legend, as far as we're concerned," said Laura Leuter, President of the Devil Hunters, "but it's a place where we've had some strange activity take place."
After snapping some photos, we head deeper into the woods, looking for anything out of the ordinary, like strange tracks. "See this part here, it looks like it had a pointed toe or something," said devil hunter Brian Jude, inspecting the ground.
"This definitely could be a deer," said Leuter, taking photos.
This group of devil hunters feels they may just find something, given this week is famous in Jersey Devil history. Back in 1909, the Jersey Devil was spotted by more than 50 people, sending the state into a state of emergency, as mass hysteria spread throughout the region. "Businesses shut down, people kept their kids home from school," said Leuter, "it basically put everyone in a kind of state of emergency condition."
While no one in this group has ever spotted the Jersey Devil, Brian Jude's father has had two experiences. "It was enough to intrigue me to want to find out more about it," said Jude.
"I'm happy to be out here, it's a thrill," said Dave Morgan, out on his first hunt.
"If we ever come across the Jersey Devil, we would not try to capture it, we would not try to hurt it in any way," said Devil Hunters co-Vice President, Charley Lolio, "we just want to observe it in its natural habitat."
As night falls, it's harder to see what's in the woods around you, and sometimes even right in front of you. "Hey, (gasp) what is that? I don't know what that is," exclaimed members of the group. "There's feathers everywhere, that blood is fresh."
As we stand among the carnage, we realize it could be the work of hunters, or maybe the work of some other kind of hunter...perhaps the Jersey Devil.