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New York Folklore Quarterly, Vol. III, No. 2, Summer 1947

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NEW YORK FOLKLORE QUARTERLY
Vol. III, No. 2, Summer, 1947

THE JERSEY DEVIL AND OTHER LEGENDS OF THE JERSEY SHORE
Henry Charlton Beck

IT IS always a source of amazement to me when someone turns up who admits a total ignorance of The Jersey Devil, New Jersey’s most celebrated—and most maligned—phantom of the shore. I grew up in an area of New Jersey where The Jersey Devil was accepted as very real and usually blamed for everything strange that happened. If a farmer discovered peculiar footprints in his dooryard, if someone heard weird cries hooted down a country chimney, or if a petty theft lacked a customary explanation, The Jersey Devil was always given the newspaper headlines as the culprit responsible.

As a result, the Jersey Devil became almost exclusively associated with newspapermen who rarely checked their imagination or who, for lack of any real news on a dull day, dreamed up a highly colorful tale. It was not until I came upon people along the New Jersey Coast who spoke with reverence of Leeds’s Devil, mostly associated with an almost forgotten village of pre-Revolutionary days, that I realized suddenly that once, truly enough, there was a Jersey Devil. ...


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