ALLEGED: Jersey Devil Caught — 100 Years Ago

jersey_devil.jpgINQUIRER: One hundred years ago, thousands of people believed. “WHAT-IS-IT VISITS ALL SOUTH JERSEY” declared the front page of The Inquirer on Jan. 21, 1909 — above a photograph of “actual proof-prints of the strange creature.” “Hooflike tracks” could be seen in the snow “in practically every block in Burlington city” — including rooftops — throwing “this section into a state bordering on panic.” Even dogs were scared. “Hounds put on the trail refused to follow the tracks, and, with bristling hair and the picture of terror, ran home,” the article stated. Armed with shotguns, a party of young farmers near Jacksonville in Springfield Township followed the tracks for almost four miles — when they “mysteriously disappeared.” The tracks, not the farmers. A Gloucester man said the creature had wings two-and-a-half-feet long, four legs, a neck like a crane, a head like a collie and a horse’s face. Two Maple Shade men agreed with the doglike head, but said it had long black hair and feet and hands like a monkey. Some folks called the creature “the Flying Death.” Not that any people died. Though some chickens and pets reportedly did. Then, on Jan. 22, men with nets bagged the “docile” creature not in South Jersey, but in “the wilds of Fairmount Park,” according to a Jan. 23 Inquirer story. MORE

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