Throwback Thursday: Halloween Hoaxes and the Jersey Devil

Photo by Dave Black

Photo by Dave Black

In October of 2015, a man named Dave Black was driving home from his job as a security guard in Atlantic City when he claimed to see what he at first took to be a llama crossing the street--until it flew off of the road in front of him.

"I was just driving past the golf course in Galloway on Route 9 and had to shake my head a few times when I thought I saw a llama," Black wrote in an email to paranormal investigator Kelly Roncace featured on nj.com.  "If that wasn't enough, then it spread out leathery wings and flew off over the golf course." 

Black said that he took a few pictures of the creature with his cell phone, but only one came out.  Skeptics were quick to note that it was odd Martin only captured one good picture, and that the object's wings showed no blurring in the photograph--a sign that they were not flapping, as one would expect a creature's wings to do in flight.

Black's photograph was widely denounced as a hoax, although he was insistent that he had not faked anything.

"Yes, I swear it's not Photoshopped or a staged thing," Black said. "People have said it's fake, but it's not. I'm honestly just looking for an explanation for what I saw."

Despite Black's vehement defense of the experience, few were fooled by the photo, and later that month when a video came out purporting to show the same creature, people were convinced that it was all simply a Halloween prank.

Emily Martin claimed to have stopped on the side of the road to film the flying object in her video.

β€œI realize this sounds crazy but I saw a red animal with a long neck and horns. I swear on my mother’s grave, this is not a joke. I pulled over to take a video and as I started filming it got on its hind legs and flew away. I am an middle school teacher but moonlight tutoring algebra for high school students. Was driving home from an appointment on Old Port Republic Rd in Leeds Point when I took this video. So excited, had to share with someone. I searched online and a few others have similar stories. Channel 12 posted a photo online of it," she said.

The supposed creature was immediately dismissed as a hoax, citing the unnatural stiffness of its body in flight and the almost bored reaction of Martin as she filmed it.

Some have speculated that Black and Martin were working together, but the models used in each instance are different enough where that need not be the case, and no link between the two was ever proven.  It seems more likely that Black's picture merely inspired Martin to create her video, if anything, although there is no way to know for certain.

Tobias WaylandComment