New Jersey Devil Sightings

Creatures matching the description of the New Jersey Devil have been spotted for centuries around the New Jersey area.  Many sightings have occurred in the southern section of New Jersey, with some of the most famous taking place right along the Delaware River in the southwestern region of the state. 

Below is a chronological list of recorded New Jersey Devil sightings.

  • [Early 1800s] - Navy veteran Commodore Stephen Decatur was testing cannons when he saw the Jersey Devil. He claimed to have fired a cannon directly at the creature but it went right through it and had no effect.
  • [Approx. 1825] - In Bordentown, NJ former King of Spain (and brother of Napoleon) Joseph Bonaparte spotted the creature while hunting.
  • [1840-1841] - Several farmers reported deaths of animals by an creature whose tracks could not be identified. The creature was said to have a high-pitched scream matching other witness reports of the Jersey Devil.
  • [1859-1894] - Several Jersey Devil sightings in the towns of Bridgeton, Brigantine, Haddonfield, Long Branch, Smithville, and Leeds Point. Several of the witnesses claimed that the creature carried off animals with little effort.
  • [January 16, 1909] - In the very early hours of this day, a man named Thack Cozzens witnessed an unusual creature flying down the street with glowing eyes. Shortly thereafter, citizens in Bristol, PA saw a strange winged creature with the head of a horse. One witness was police officer James Sackville who fired a gun at the creature to no effect. The town Postmaster also saw the creature and heard it release a high-pitched scream. All of this happened before sunrise. When dawn came, several citizens reported strange hoof prints in the snow that could not be identified as any known creature.
  • [January 17, 1909] - The very next day following the previous sightings in Bristol, citizens of nearby Burlington, NJ found similar unidentifiable hoof prints in their yards. One family, the Lowdens, found tracks in their yard leading to their trash, which was partially consumed. More strange than this, the tracks didn't lead anywhere that made sense. Some were found on rooftops, some moving up trees, and some simply stopped suddenly in the middle of streets and fields. Police attempted to track the creature using trained dogs, but every one of the dogs refused to follow the trail.
  • [January 19, 1909] - In Gloucester, NJ Nelson Evans and his wife were awakened at 2:30am by a strange noise. They looked out their window and stood in shock for over 10 minutes watching a creature that Evans would later describe in great detail. "It was about three feet and half high, with a head like a collie dog and a face like a horse. 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." Later that day, professional hunters decided to track the creature, following incomprehensible tracks over and under fences in a way that defied logic. The creature was seen one more time in Camden, NJ where a group of people witnessed the Jersey Devil bark at them and fly away.
  • [January 20, 1909] - A creature matching Nelson Evan's description was seen separately by a police officer, a reverend, and two others in several different towns in New Jersey. Every one of the men described the same creature. Later tracks were found on rooftops and in yards. This time one set of tracks did lead to something - a dead puppy.
  • [January 21, 1909] - A social club and a trolley full of people both saw a creature matching the descriptions of the previous days. A city councilman in Trenton, NJ heard wings flapping outside his window. He opened the door to find strange hoof prints just outside his home. Chickens that had disappeared on several miles worth of farms in the area during this week mysteriously reappeared this day. They were all dead, but had no visible markings indicating how they died. Later that day firemen from the West Collingswood Fire Department encountered the Jersey Devil and promptly fired their hose at it. The Devil began to retreat but then turned around and charged at them. Just as it got dangerously close it suddenly flew off. That night, a Camden woman named Mrs. Sorbinski heard a clamor in her yard. She went outside to see the Devil grabbing her dog. Sorbinski grabbed a broom and beat the Devil with it until it let go and flew away. The woman's screaming and shouting alerted a large crowd of neighbors who called the police and gathered in her yard. When the police arrived the crowd heard a high-pitched scream from a nearby hill and turned to see the strange creature. The crowd rushed the hill as police shot at the creature. It flew off and was not seen again for the rest of the night.
  • [January 22, 1909] - Officer Louis Strehr of the Camden Police Department saw the Jersey Devil drinking water from a horse's trough. A different officer named Merchant from the Blackwood Police Department drew a now-famous sketch of the creature based on the sightings from that week as well as his own sighting of the creature. A man from Salem also saw the creature and described it as having wings and a tail.
  • [February 1909] - One final sighting of the Jersey Devil for several years occurred in February. A worker for the electric railroad saw the Devil fly into a series of electrical wires, followed by an explosion big enough to melt train tracks for several feet in every direction. No body could be found.
  • [1927] - A cab driver fixing a flat tire on his car was startled by the Jersey Devil landing on the roof of his car and shook it violently. The cabbie ran, but later described the creature as being covered with hair and standing upright.
  • [1936] - Several residents of Woodstown, NJ heard unusual high-pitched screams matching the description as the Jersey Devil's coming from the woods nearby.
  • [1951] - In Gibbsboro, NJ several witnesses saw the Jersey Devil over a two-day period.
  • [1953] - A highly respected NJ resident named Phillip Smith witnessed the Jersey Devil walking down a local street.
  • [1957] - Employees from the New Jersey Department of Conservation found a partial animal corpse in the Pine Barrens that could not be identified. Bones, feathers, and the hind legs of an unidentiafable creature were all that were left.
  • [1961] - Two couples took a single car into the Pine Barrens. Suddenly a creature landed heavily on the top of their car, denting the roof in. The couples ran but later returned to the car. They heard a high-pitched scream and looked up to see the Jersey Devil flying past between the trees.
  • [1966] - A farmer in NJ woke to find 40 animals on his farm dead, including his German Shepherd who had its throat ripped out.
  • [1981] - The Jersey Devil was seen by a couple at Atsion Lake in New Jersey.
  • [1987] - Another German Shepherd was killed in Vineland, NJ. It's body was found 25 feet from where it had been chained up. Also at the scene were unusual hoof prints that could not be identified.

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