Wednesday, February 10, 2016

The Jersey Devil: A Review

Published by The Middle Atlantic Press in 1976.
With well over 60,000 copies in print in a myriad number of editions, James F. McCloy's and Ray Miller, Jr's work on New Jersey's most famous bogey is the predominate study on the Jersey Devil.

Starting with the conflicting tales of the Jersey Devil's origin, the core of the book is the third chapter with a detailed description of the events of January16-23, 1909 when New Jersey and the surrounding area erupted with dozens of Jersey Devil sightings.

Though a number of sightings could be attributed to hoaxes or hysteria, the authors have provided maps showing the majority of sightings follow a logical, linear path. Whatever it was that terrified the citizenry that week, leaving footprints and dead and wounded livestock and pets in its wake, it was certainly real.

A number of skeptics claim the creature people claimed to be the Jersey Devil was actually a Sandhill crane (Grus canadensis), but that takes too great a step of faith. New Jersey is not included in the proper range of the bird and it winters far south from the areas in which the sightings took place. Though the size and general shape of the Sandhill crane does mimic the size and shape of the Devil as reported by eye witnesses, why did none of the witnesses use the phrase "a large bird" in any of the reports? With all the people that saw the creature, you would think somebody would recognize a large bird and as the Great Blue Heron is native to New Jersey, they had a similar example for comparison.

Some people think the witnesses mistook this bird for a monster.
I do not claim to know what it was the good people of New Jersey saw that week, but to claim they mistook a bird for a creature out of a fever dream is incredibly insulting. If anyone is interested in what I believe is the only realistic explanation of high strangeness, I would encourage the reader to study the works of the late John Keel and his theory of "ultraterrestrials."

Note: On August 5, 2010, I started logging the books I read to completion; The Jersey Devil is #222 on the list.

1 comment:

  1. I love that book, it's a great example of local folklore done right. I really ought to read it again.