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ScottyMcGeester's avatar

How long has the Jersey Devil legend been around?

Asked by ScottyMcGeester (934 points ) January 2nd, 2014

I’m only asking this becuase I came across a site YEAAARRSSS ago and never bothered to bookmark it for whatever reason, and it “suggested” that the Jersey Devil creature has been around longer than the well-known tale of the Leeds family in 17-whatever.

In the site, I swore I read a line saying that there was a Lenape word for the Pine Barrens, and that word meant “The place of the dragon”. I say “suggested” in quotes because the site itself wasn’t concerned with the Jersey Devil, it made no mention of it and was just about the Pine Barrens. By my understanding, it indirectly suggested that there has been some belief of a dragon-like creature in the Pine Barrens for a long time. I found it really interesting how the Native Americans called it that. I want to verify that what I read was really what I read, or if my memory is just playing games with me. I’ve been searching but just get nothing. I never came across that site again.

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8 Answers

hearkat's avatar

Going from my memory on what I’ve heard from growing up on the northern fringes of the Pine Barrens, I only recall hearing about the demon-spawn being born to pre-revolutionary settlers in the area (which I’m guessing is the “Leeds” family you refer to). My memory isn’t so great, and I never was very superstitious and never paid any heed to the tall tales and legends. I never heard of anyone having any bizarre encounters while out in the woods.

One resource you might find helpful would be www.WeirdNJ.com

hearkat's avatar

I’m finding Native American references to Sint-Holo and Uktena – horned serpent – but nothing that ties into the Pine Barrens.

gailcalled's avatar

This legend was promulgated by the 37th episode of The Sopranos – The Pine Barrens – in which the Russian Valery is shot in the Barrens by Christopher and Paulie Walnuts and left for almost dead.

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Adirondackwannabe's avatar

Great Question. I wasn’t even aware of this legend. A little research referred me to the Lenni Lenapec tribe even before the Leeds family. Nice legend.

El_Cadejo's avatar

Heh I live about 15 minutes from The Shrouds House and that really really shitty movie 13th child was filmed in part in my town :P

glacial's avatar

@uberbatman And let’s not forget this terrible episode of The X-Files. The Jersey Devil has been referenced in pop culture for longer than the Sopranos has been around. Although… the intro to this episode implies the Jersey Devil myth had only been around for 40 years when it aired in 1993. I’m going to guess they got that wrong.

ScottyMcGeester's avatar

@Michelleswift THAT’S IT. POPUESSING. I recall the word now as I see it. Thank you!

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