Legend has it that there was once a woman named Mrs. Leeds who lived along the south shore of New Jersey. This woman had 12 children and a husband who was a deadbeat drunk, so she dreaded the prospect of having any more kids. This woman promised that, should she have another child, it would be a devil. Sure enough this woman soon gave birth to a hideous monster. Some stories claim she managed to keep her little bundle of evil hidden away in an isolated house until the devil grew large enough to escape. Another legend has it that the Devil fled by scurrying up Mrs. Leeds’ chimney.
The Jersey Devil, or Leed’s Devil as it is sometimes known, now roams the beaches and the forests of the South Jersey Shore, haunting those who dare to live or visit there. People have reported seeing large cloven hoof prints and hearing piercing screams at night. Surely these must be signs of the Jersey Devil?
- Leeming, David Adams, and Jake Page. Myths, Legends, and Folktales of America: An Anthology. New York: Oxford University Press, 2000.