Jersey Devil Research Paper

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Audrey Shearon World and regional geography 10/20/14 Local Folklore Growing in in the Delmarva region, there are many stories that will be heard growing up. Children hear whispers of the wild panthers that were released from the zoo and now stalk the inhabitants of Delaware, they have been told about the gates to hell that are located in the woods of Pennsylvania but no folktales are as ingrained in the culture of this region as that of the Jersey Devil. The jersey devil is a flying beast that was first seen during colonial times and whose legend continues to permeate our society even to this day. The first supposed sighting of the Jersey devil was in 1808. While visiting the Hanover Mill Works to inspect his cannonballs being forged, Commodore…show more content…
It had a long neck, wings about two feet long, and its back legs were like those of a crane, and it had horse's hooves. It walked on its back legs and held up two short front legs with paws on them. It didn't use the front legs at all while we were watching. My wife and I were scared, I tell you, but I managed to open the window and say, 'Shoo', and it turned around barked at me, and flew away” Since then, there have been many supposed sightings, all of which take place right before a major catastrophe in American history. There have been tales of jersey sightings right before Pearl Harbor, the start of the Vietnam War, and even before the terrorist attack of 9/11. It is thought by some fringe groups that the Jersey devil is a harbinger of catastrophe and death. Although there are many stories of the origins of the jersey devil, the most popular one is that the jersey devil is the child of a witch and of the devil himself. It is said that there was a woman named Deborah Smith who emigrated from England in the 1700s to marry a Mr. Leeds. She had twelve children and, upon finding out that she was pregnant stated “this one will be a devil.” Her prediction came true and she gave birth to a devil. Others say that the child was born normal and quickly changed form after birth. The legend varies. Some say that the child was quickly renounced by its mother and flew away right after birth. It…show more content…
Her mother found a Celtic relic in her room and disowned her because of it. Her mother feared for the reputation of her family and as much as possible to distance herself from what appeared to be satanic objects found in her room. Deborah’s Aunt Brigid, an old midwife, stole her away and sent her by boat to New Jersey. There she married a Quaker and was free to practice herbal medicine and to worship Celtic spirits. She became a midwife and was known as Mother Leeds. The New Jersey Historical Society believes that the true story of the jersey devil is based off of the fear of the unknown. Puritan societies say Mother Leeds as a witch because of her practices with foreign herbs and medicines. When she gave birth to a child with a deformity, it was considered to be proof of her dealings with the devil. Though it is believed that she took care of her son until his death, there is no mention of a 13th son in her husbands

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