Throwback Thursday: A Deadly Encounter with the Jersey Devil in 1925

A Greenwich, New Jersey, farmer claimed in 1925 to have killed a mysterious predator that he had caught in the act of trying to steal his chickens.

According to author Nick Redfern, in his book The Monster Book: Creatures, Beasts and Fiends of Nature, an article titled “Dog-Like Beast Ate Seven Chickens Before Shot Killed It—Hundreds Fail to Identify Species” appeared in the Bridgeton Evening News on December 14th, 1925.

“What resembled a ‘Jersey Devil’ as much as anything else was shot and killed near Bacon’s Neck last week and was viewed and even photographed by hundreds over the weekend. No one could name the animal with certainty.

William Hyman, who manages the old Glaspell farm for Barton F. Sharp, was awakened before daybreak by a racket in his chicken coop. He dressed and went out carrying his gun. An animal ran from the coop with a chicken in its mouth. Hyman fired and fur flew but the animal went on.

As long as he was up at 4 a.m., Hyman decided to start work. Soon the chickens called again and he ran to the coop in time to see the same animal leaving with another fowl. He fired again in the semi-darkness but failed to kill. This time he followed the animal into the meadows.

A half mile from the house he caught up with it again and the animal turned and attacked him. He blazed away and it fell. He went to it and it was dead.

About the size of an Airedale dog it has black crinkly hair. On its hind feet it had four webbed toes. It didn’t run like a dog but hopped more like a kangaroo. Its front quarters are higher than its hind, which crouched as it ran, Hyman declared. Its rear teeth are prong like, the upper ones fitting into the center of four prong lower ones. Its eyes are still a bright yellow and its jaw is unlike a dog, wolf or coyote.

There you have the description as given by visitors on the farm yesterday who add that despite the weather, the dead animal is still limber instead of being stiff. It took and apparently ate seven chickens the night it was seen and eventually killed.

Guesses include one which suggests that it might be a dog, long starved and half wild. Others suggest that it is a cross between a dog and a wolf, but most of those who have seen it haven’t any guess to offer. Any one certain of the way a Jersey Devil looks is requested to view the beast and report.”

Tobias WaylandComment