Few creatures of legend are so entrenched in the supernatural as the Jersey Devil. The creature is said not to be merely a heavily deformed animal but an actual interdimensional interloper or demonic denizen from the deep. First reported in 1735, the Jersey Devil has made quite a name for itself in popular culture while still maintaining its position heavily entrenched in legend. But a seldom mentioned fact of the creature’s history is that in 1957 a corpse was discovered that seemed to match its description.
Reports of Jersey Devil Deaths have always been a staple of the story, but in these stories the creature always mysteriously vanishes leaving behind only traces that it was ever there to begin with. Commodore Stephen Decatur, in the late 1800’s actually opened fire on the creature with cannon fire and allegedly even struck it with a cannonball. Different accounts vary on how the creature reacted with some suggesting the cannonball simply passed through it while others say it bounced off when the mysterious monster was struck. Still other accounts suggest the creature was struck down and apparently killed but the body was never found. Though it is certainly dramatic, it is not the only high profile Devil sighting as the brother of Napoleon Bonaparte, Joseph Bonaparte saw the creature later as well while visiting the Pine Barrens of New Jersey. Though he never fired on the creature himself, his account was recorded and remains to this day as one of the most mysterious to come out of the Bonaparte family.
Another high profile account of devil deaths happened shortly after the turn of the century when a railroad worker looked up in the sky and shielded his eyes against the sun just in time to see the massive creature fly down and slam into the electrical wires strung along above the tracks. Cringing at the sight of the massive creature bearing down on the wires, he watched in horror as a massive explosion erupted melting some 40 feet of track around the point of impact. As the railroad worker along with others approached the site of the explosion, they could find no trace of the Jersey Devil. It had apparently simply been vaporized. The legend had finally come to an end with the creature’s fiery death. Or so they thought.
Perhaps the most disturbing and mysterious account of the death of the Jersey Devil came around 1958 when workers from the Department of Conservation discovered a strange burned body they couldn’t identify. The creature was only a partial skeleton, but had massive hind legs, giant wings, and the remnants of what appeared to be burned feathers. Unable to identify the creature, it was temporarily labeled the final resting place of the Jersey Devil. But as the strange years passed, the Jersey Devil would prove once again alive and well, appearing up until now when Jersey Devil reports continue to trickle out from New Jersey’s Pine Barrens. It seems you really can’t keep a good legend down.