Friday, August 3, 2018

Post 1: Camping with the Jersey Devil

Growing up in South Jersey,  we all knew the tales of the Jersey Devil. We learned about the Jersey Devil at the same time that we learned about other Urban Legends like people stealing kidneys and selling them on the black market or alligators living in the sewers in NYC. They taught us more of the historical side of the stories, including the experiences of people who lived in the Pine Barrens. There didn’t seem to be much focus on the “devil” or the curse of the 13th child. I always thought it was strange that when my family would drive through the Pine Barrens on our way to the airport, we would see many homes with tall fences and walls built around their property. I asked my parents why people would have such high fences and walls and they would just tell me that the people want their privacy.

I wasn’t quite satisfied with their answer and knew that I would have to do my own research to find out more. I rented books from the library and read newspaper articles that had been archived, but nothing was really giving me any solid answers. I forgot about it for a few years until the bookstore I worked at started carrying the Weird NJ Magazine. When breezing through it I found an article about the Jersey Devil. I shared it with friends of mine and being the thrill-seeking teenagers we were, we decided to camp out in the woods of the Pine Barrens. We packed up our bags with flashlights, threw our tent and bags into the back of my friends jeep and hit the road.

We decided to leave with enough time to set up our camp well before the sun went down. We thought that there was no way that we would see anything before the sun went down because the Boogeyman only came out at night, so the Jersey Devil had to be the same. From the moment we stepped out of the jeep the air felt strange and we all had an eerie feeling that we were being watched. We heard branches and leaves crackling in a few different directions as we set up camp but we blamed the deer for spooking us. Once the sun went down we got chilly and squeezed into our sleeping bags in our tent, this was when things got weird. The crackling sounds we heard earlier turned into footsteps and we kept hearing what we swore sounded like growls and snarling. We were frozen with fear as the footsteps got closer. Out of nowhere, we heard a woman’s blood curdling scream in the distance and whatever was outside of our tent let out a call that sounded like a mix between and dog’s howl and a dragon’s roar. We were all in tears holding each other, thinking that this is how our lives would end. Then, whatever was outside of our tent started what sounded like a gallop towards the direction of the woman’s scream. We didn’t hear any other screams or noises at all for the rest of the night.

My friends and I didn’t sleep at all that night and stayed in our tent until the sun was up. I had never been so scared in my life until this night in the woods.  It was a very quiet drive home and since then we have never talked about that night with each other again. I am weary of the woods and definitely don’t go into the woods at night anymore. I’m not sure what was outside of our tent that night but as far as I am concerned we escaped the grip of the Jersey Devil who was carefully plotting our deaths.


  1. This blog was amazing to read. I was always fascinated with the jersey devil and its crazy to read about a experience like the one you had. The sounds you heard were right in line with many other sighting of the jersey devil . that women scream must have been terrifying.

  2. Jessica,
    Thank your for sharing your first hand account with the legendary Jersey Devil. Your post was an absolute joy to read. I, myself being a south Jersey native as well, grew up with the story of the cursed Leeds child as well. As a child who grew up in a very wooded area of Mays Landing, I spent quite a significant amount of time wandering around the nearby woods that I reside in. Frequently on my nightly walks the woods would be abundant with various noises. I could distinguish many noises as being various animals, insects, neighbors, the movement of the trees, wind, a street light blowing out, ect. However, there were times were even I found myself wondering, "What was that?!" while walking around the woods at night. Needless to say, I been spooked a few times by these noises. Your camping trip accounts, reminded me of the eerie noises I would hear knowing we living the Jersey Devil's domain. I been to Leeds point as well because my grandmother, whom I always lived with, took my family there. It was rather interesting to see the house and little shop full of Jersey devil things. My grandmother used to tell my cousins and I the story of the Jersey Devil so we wouldn't go walking around at night (It didn't stop me though). Again I would like to thank you for sharing your story of terror.
    -Kyle Payran