Halloween is next month, in advance, it made me want to revisit a story that we wrote about a year ago.

Do you believe in the Jersey Devil?

Throughout hundreds of years of recorded history - with stories dating back to 1735 - it is also known as The Leeds Devil.

Now, there is a third iteration from local author V. Scott Macom, who has written his novel, The Devil Leeds.

Is it real, or, do you believe that The Jersey Devil is just old folklore ... simply tall tales that parents would tell their children during bedtime readings?

The story begins in the 18th-century in the Pine Barrens of Atlantic County, New Jersey, allegedly with the birth of a 13th child to a woman known as Mother Leeds.

As the legend goes, Mrs. Leeds cursed the baby as the devil's own. The baby supposedly morphed into a winged phantasm said to have killed a midwife and flew up the chimney and is said to have lived in the Pine Barrens ever since.

According to the legend, the baby was born as a normal human child, but soon transformed into a creature with the head of a goat, cloven hooves, glowing red eyes, a
forked tail, and bat-like wings.

It allegedly ran off to live in isolation of the Pine Barrens, where some say that its blood-curdling shrieks can still be heard to this day.

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I've interviewed local author Macom several times about The Jersey Devil. Macom is a lawyer, who has done a great deal of original research into The Jersey Devil. Macom is a serious man. He believes in the existence of the Jersey Devil. He's not alone.

When I've opened up our "Hurley in the Morning" - WPG Talk Radio 95.5 on-air phone lines over the years, at least 1/2 of our callers have confirmed that they believe in The Jersey Devil.

During our live interviews, Macom said he first heard about the Jersey Devil on a YMCA camping trip at Camp Ockanickon in Medford Lakes, New Jersey.

“The camp counselors said if we left camp after dark, we'd be eaten by the Jersey Devil," he said. "Did I believe them? Hell yeah. I was 12 years old," said Macom.

In his novel, it became impossible for Macom to specifically describe The Jersey Devil, because there have been so many different eyewitness descriptions. Macom suggested that The Jersey Devil has shape-shifting capabilities … as a plausible reason why many
different descriptions have been offered.

V. Scott Macom
V. Scott Macom

"In the book, I just leave it up to [the] imagination, except for two blood red eyes that stare at you from the woods, Macom said. "Let your imagination fill in the rest. The gap between what we think is real and what is real is what scares us. It's the unknown, like the Jersey Devil," said Macom.

If you’re a disbeliever, Macom says:

“It is known today as the Jersey Devil. If you think the legend of the Jersey Devil is just another campfire story, then do this.

“Drive down Jimmy Leeds road in Galloway Township on a dark moonless night to its birthplace in Leeds Point. Park in that desolate corner of the Barrens and let the
dust settles,” writes Macom.

It goes against every fiber of my being and every sense of reason and logic that I possess to admit this, but, for reasons that I cannot justify I believe that there is a Jersey Devil.

Do you believe in The Jersey Devil?

SOURCE: V. Scott Macom, author of his novel, Devil Leeds.

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