The Jersey Devil may be a figment, but it’s an admirably hard-working one. Since 1840 the creature has been haunting the southern Pine Barrens, killing livestock, leaving strange tracks, flying, barking, attacking trolleys, eating chickens, biting dogs, and generally expressing a vituperative disapproval of Garden State settlement.
Its appearance matches its disposition. This drawing was made for the Philadelphia Evening Bulletin in 1909, but eyewitnesses have also reported a ram’s head, a long neck, thin wings, short legs, thick black hair, a monkey’s arms and hands, a dog’s face, split hooves, a foot-long tail, and “the general appearance of a kangaroo.”
Laugh if you will, but don’t underestimate it: To date the Devil has been shot, electrocuted, and hosed by the West Collingswood fire department, but sightings have continued through 1991, when a pizza deliveryman encountered a white horselike creature in Edison. Watch your back.