The Jersey Devil is a mythical - or perhaps not so mythical - beast that has terrorized the small towns in the vast southern forests of New Jersey for centuries. Legend has it that one Mother Leeds, a Quakeress who was rumored to dabble in the occult, had borne 12 children, and upon finding herself pregnant a thirteenth time, cursed the unborn baby, saying that she hoped it came out a devil. Her wish was reportedly granted, as the newborn emerged with wings and hooves, and laid waste to the room before flying out a window into the woods.
The Jersey Devil is most often seen in the Pine Barrens, a forest preserve of more than a million acres, and rarely strays as far west as the towns and cities along the Delaware River. In the third week of January 1909, though, it was widely reported throughout Burlington, Camden, and Gloucster Counties. Burlington City was visited twice during the spree, on the 17th and 21st of January. The creature's footprints were found in the snow, both on the ground and on housetops.