Sunday, September 28, 2008

For all readers and friends

Paracrypt Research and Study Group would like to wish to all the muslim readers, visitors and researchers a bless Eid Fitri..

May this coming Eid will brings joy and happy times..

Selamat Hari Raya Aidilfitri, Maaf Zahir dan Batin

Paracrypt Research and Study Group Team

Friday, September 26, 2008

Mythical Beast, Modern-day Monster


The Aborigines Dreamtime stories of creation were full of fantastic and magical beasts; the Bunyip was one of the beasts. In Dreamtime the Bunyip was a spirit, which inhabited river, lakes, swamps, and billabongs (former parts of rivers that were left behind when the course of the river was altered). Like other beasts in Dreamtime, the Bunyip was malevolent towards human beings. The Bunyip would defend it's watery home from all who invaded it, normally devouring the invader. At night the Bunyip was said to go and prey upon women and children. Because the Bunyip was such a threat to the Aborigines of the time whenever its terrifying bellowing cry was heard Aborigines steered clear of any water sources.

To the Aborigines the Bunyip was a beast of many different shapes and sizes. Some Bunyips were covered in feathers; some even had scales like crocodiles. Common features in most Aboriginal drawings of Bunyips are a horse-like tail, flippers, and tusks like the ones found on walruses. Modern Bunyip

The settler's view of the Bunyip varies greatly from that of the Aborigines. Whereas the Dreamtime Bunyip was a fierce man-killer, the more modern view sees them are herbivorous grazing animals. The Aborigine's fear of Bunyip can probably be traced back to a known aquatic man-killer, the saltwater crocodile. Settlers also report two different kinds of Bunyips. The more common of the two has a dog-like face and a long shaggy coat. The second and more rare of the Bunyips is the reported to have a long maned neck, as well as a shaggy coat. As to not create confusion between the two Bunyips; the common Bunyip will be called the Dog-faced Bunyip, and the rarer Bunyip will be called the Long-necked Bunyip.

The Dog-faced Bunyip is commonly thought to inhabit lakes and rivers in New South Wales, Victoria, and Australian Capital Territory. There have also been a few Dog-Faced Bunyip sightings on the off shore island state of Tasmania. Reports of the Long-necked Bunyip have only come from New South Wales. No mystery animals fitting the description of the Bunyip have come from Iran Jaya or Papua New Guinea. Sightings

Most sightings of the Bunyip occurred during the 19th century, with a few sighting in the past century. One morning in November 1821, E.S. Hall saw a Dog-faced Bunyip with jet-black hair in the marsh running into Lake Bathurst South, New South Wales.

In 1847 a young herdsmen saw a Long-necked Bunyip grazing while he was looking for some cows in a flooded area. A local settler, George Hobler, reported the young herdsman's story to the Sydney Morning Herald. According to the report made Hobler:

"It was about as big as a six months' old calf, of a dark brown colour, a long neck, and long pointed head; it had large ears which pricked up when it perceived him (the herdsmen); had a thick mane of hair from the head down the neck, and two large tusks. He turned to run away, and this creature equally alarmed ran off too, and from glance he took at it he describes it as having an awkward shambling gallop; the forequarters of the animal were very large in proportion to the hindquarters, and it had a large tail."

He took two men to the place next morning to look for its track, which they described as broad and square, somewhat like what the spread hand of a man would make in soft muddy ground

In 1852 a Dog-faced Bunyip was observed in Lake Tiberias, Tasmania. It was described as being 4 to 4½ feet long, with a head like a bulldog and black shaggy fur. While rowing across Great Lake, Tasmania, Charles Headlam and a friend almost bumped into a Dog-faced Bunyip. They described it as being about the size of a fully-grown sheepdog, and having two small wing-like flippers. The Bunyip stayed at the top of the water until it swam out of view.

In 1872 three men watched a Dog-faced Bunyip swimming in Midgeon Lagoon, New South Wales for about a half-hour. One of the men gave the following first-hand description to the Wagga Wagga Advertiser: Half as long again as an ordinary retriever dog; the hair all over its body was jet-black and shining, its coat was very long, the hair spreading out on the surface of the water for about 5 inches, and floating loosely as the creature rose and fell by its own motion. I could not detect any tail, and the hair about its head was too long and glossy to admit of my seeing its eyes; the ears were well marked.

In 1886 some horsemen were fording a river near Canberra reported seeing a Dog-faced Bunyip, which was about the size of a dog and had a white coat. They threw stones at the Bunyip until it was out of sight. A similar beast was shot at in New South Wales; it retreated into a lagoon and was said to make a grunting sound. Then in 1890 an expedition by the Melbourne Zoo failed to capture a Bunyip commonly seen in the Euroa district near Victoria. Bernard Heuvelmans reports Bunyip sightings from as recently as 1932 near large hydroelectric dams in Tasmania. The Line Up

Now that we've gone over the different sightings of the Bunyip we must ask ourselves if it truly exists as evidence suggests, then what is it?

It seems that there is one extinct animal out there to explain every cryptid now days. The Bunyip is no exception. Diprotodons were large rhino sized plant eating marsupials, which went extinct about 10,000 years ago. Since nearly everything in Australia is a marsupial, why not the Bunyip? Much like the modern view of the Bunyip, the diprotodon was a grazing animal. Lifestyle wise it has been compared to modern cattle, rhinos, and tapirs.

Officially there is only one known species of diprotodon (Diprotodon australis) and it is unclear if it was a somewhat aquatic animal. Although some researchers believe that if diprotodon did survive then it evolved into something like a marsupial hippo. If this is true then a diprotodon could indeed be a Bunyip. Appearance wise the diprotodon is similar to the Bunyip. It had a face somewhat like that of a dog, as well as a somewhat shaggy coat; both major traits of the Bunyip. So could the Bunyip be a diprotodon? Yes, but first we would have to accept the fact that diprotodons survived and evolved into a hippo-like animal. That alone could be a hard theory to stomach.

Of all the animals that frequent Australia, seals fit the description of the Bunyip the best. Researchers have used the seal to explain the Bunyip in one of two ways. The first of these theories seems the more likely one. This is the theory that seals worked their way into the interior lakes and swamps through rivers. Then people who are not use to seeing seals misidentify them for the Bunyip. The second and more radical of the two theories is that long ago seals did work their way into the interior, but somehow became trapped. Eventually these trapped seals adapted to their freshwater conditions, and fur coats would eventually replace their blubber. If we accept this theory then it could also explain the Bunyip.

As stated earlier the first seal theory does seem the more likely of the two. The fact that most Bunyips are seeing swimming in the water and only their heads are visible strengthens the misidentified seal theory. But it is those few land sightings of Bunyips, which proves that not all sightings are of just seals. The search for the Bunyip's identity continues.

It is thought that most of the sightings of Bunyips from the early parts of the 20th century were of nothing more then fugitives hiding in the swamps and billabongs. The billabongs were a prime area to hide from the long arm of the law, since they are such inhospitable places. Those hiding there were called swaggies, whenever they heard something coming their way they would take cover under the water. Once they thought the coast was clear they would rise up out the water, normally covered in muck and weeds. Anyone who was still around would most certainly be frightened by the whole ordeal and run off. So some Bunyips weren't Bunyips at all just men hiding in the billabongs. Just like the seal theory, not all Bunyip reports can be written off as nothing more than swaggies.


The Bunyip is one of those animals that can't just be written off as myth. The fact that reports of them go back to the Dreamtime stories proves this, the sightings by settlers strengthens it. What we have is a genuine mystery aquatic animal here, or should I say we did. With the lack of reports in recent years it seems the Bunyip may have gone extinct. If this is true then it will be a great tragedy to cryptozoology. Here is a truly magnificent animal that may have gone extinct before its existence was even proven. Until a dedicated researcher comes along, and is willing to waste money and man-hours searching will we discover the truth behind the story of the Bunyip.

Yeti: Abominable Snowman of the Himalayas

A tibetian fortress below the mountains were the Yeti is supposed to roam.

The Himalaya Mountains, the highest range on Earth, have been referred to as the "roof of the world." If that is so, there is a mystery called the Yeti in our attic. In Tibetan the word means "magical creature" and truly it is a seemingly supernatural enigma in the shape of a hairy, biped creature that resembles a giant ape.

The Himalayas lie on the border between India, Nepal, and Tibet (now part of China). They are remote and forbidding. Large stretches around these rough valleys and peaks are uninhabited. The tallest mountain in the world, Everest, 29,028 feet high, lies half in Nepal, half in China. It is from Nepal, though, that most attempts to climb Everest, and the surrounding mountains, are made.

In Katmandu, the capitol of Nepal, a visitor finds himself immersed in the Yeti legend. He is a commercial money maker for the tourist industry (there's even a Hotel named the "Yak and the Yeti") as well as legend, religion and fantasy to some of the Neplaese people.

The first reliable report of the Yeti appeared in 1925 when a Greek photographer, N. A. Tombazi, working as a member of a British geological expedition in the Himalayas, was shown a creature moving in the distance across some lower slopes. The creature was almost a thousand feet away in a narea with an altitude of around 15,000 feet.

"Unquestionably, the figure in outline was exactly like a human being, walking upright and stopping occasionally to uproot or pull at some dwarf rhododendron bushes," said Tombazi, "It showed up dark against the snow and, as far as I could make out wore no clothes."

The creature disappeared before Tombazi could take a photograph and was not seen again. The group was descending, though, and the photographer went out of his way to see the ground were he had spotted the creature. Tombazi found footprints in the snow.

"They were similar in shape to those of a man, but only six to seven inches long by four inches wide at the broadest part of the foot. The marks of five distinct toes and the instep were perfectly clear, but the trace of the heel was indistinct..."

There were 15 prints to be found. Each was one and one half to two feet apart. Then Tombazi lost the trail in thick brush. When the locals were asked to name the beast he'd seen they told him it was a "Kanchenjunga demon." Tombazi didn't think he'd seen a demon, but he couldn't figure out what the creature was either. Perhaps he'd seen a wandering Buddhist or Hindu ascetic or hermit. As the years went by though and other Yeti stories surfaced, Tombazi began to wonder if he'd seen one too.

Yeti reports usually come in the form of tracks found, pelts offered, shapes seen at a distance, or rarely, actual face-to-face encounters with the creatures. Face to face encounters never come with researchers looking for the Yeti, but with locals who stumble into the creature during their daily lives.

Some of the best tracks ever seen were found and photographed by British mountaineers Eric Shipton and Micheal Ward in 1951. They found them on the southwestern slopes of the Menlung Glacier, which lies between Tibet and Nepal, at an altitude of 20,000 feet. Each print was thirteen inches wide and some eighteen inches long. The tracks seemed fresh and Shipton and Ward followed the trail for a mile before it disappeared in hard ice.

Some scientists that viewed the photographs could not identify the tracks as from any known creature. Others, though, felt it was probably the trail of a languar monkey or red bear. They noted the tracks in snow, melted by the sun, can change shape and grow larger. Even so, the bear/monkey theory seems unlikely as both of these animals normally move on all four feet. The tracks were clearly that of a biped.

Shipton's and Ward's reputations argue against a hoax on their part and the remoteness and height of the trail's location argues against them being hoaxed.

Shipton's footprints were not the first or last discovered by climbers among the Himalayas. Even Sir Edmund Hillary and his Sherpa guide, Tenzing Norgay, on their record ascent to the top of Mount Everest, in 1953, found giant foot prints on the way up.

One of the more curious reports of a close encounter with a Yeti occurred in 1938. Captain d'Auvergue, the curator of the Victoria Memorial in Calcutta, India, was traveling the Himalayas by himself when he became snowblind. As he neared death from exposure he was rescued by a nine foot tall Yeti that nursed him back to health until d'Auvergue was able to return home by himself.

In many other stories, though, the Yeti hasn't been so benign. One Sherpa girl, who was tending her yaks, described being surprised by a large ape-like creature with black and brown hair. It started to drag her off, but seemed to be startled by her screams and let her go. It then savagely killed two of her yaks. She escaped with her life and the incident was reported to the police, who found footprints.

Several expeditions have been organized to track down the Yeti, but none have found more than footprints and questionable artifacts like scalps and hides. The London Daily Mail sent an expedition in 1954. American oil men Tom Slick and F. Kirk Johnson financed trips in 1957, 58, and 59. Probably the most well-known expedition went in 1960.

Sir Edmund Hillary, the same man that had first climbed Everest in 1953, lead the 1960 trip in association with Desmond Doig. The expedition was sponsored by the World Book Encyclopedia and was well outfitted with trip-wire cameras, as well as timelapse and infrared photography. Despite a ten-month stay the group failed to find any convincing evidence of the existence of the Yeti. The artifacts they examined, two skins and a scalp, turned out to belong to two blue bears and a serow goat.

At the time Hillary and Doig wrote off the Yeti as legend. Later, though, Doig decided that the expedition hadbeen too big and clumsy. They didn't see a Yeti, he agreed, but nor did they observe such animals like the snow leopard which was known to exist.

After spending thirty years in the Himalayas Doig believes that the Yeti is actually three animals. The first is what the Sherpas call the "dzu teh." Large shaggy animals that often attack cattle. Diog thinks this is probably the Tibetan blue bear. A creature so rare it is known only in the west through a few skins, bones and a skull. The second type, called "thelma," is probably a gibbon (a known type of ape) that Diog thinks may live as far north as Nepal, though it's never been spotted past the Brahmaputra River in India. The third Yeti, "mih teh," is the true abominable snowman of legend. A savage ape, covered with black or red hair that lives at altitudes of up to 20,000 feet.

So far there is no firm evidence to support the existence of the Yeti, but there is no way show that he doesn't exist either. If he indeed lives in the barren, frozen, upper reaches of the Himalayas where few men dare to tread, he may find his refuge safe for a long time to come.

Tuesday, September 9, 2008

THE MYRTLES PLANTATION- Fact behind the haunting



Handprints in the mirrors, footsteps on the stairs, mysterious smells, vanishing objects, death by poison, hangings, murder and gunfire -- the Myrtles Plantation in the West Feliciana town of St. Francisville, Louisiana holds the rather dubious record of hosting more ghostly phenomena than just about any other house in the country. But what could be more dubious than the honor itself -- perhaps some of the questionable history that has been presented to “explain” why the house is so haunted in the first place!

Long perceived as one of the most haunted house in America, the Myrtles attracts an almost endless stream of visitors each year and many of them come in search of ghosts. It is not our purpose here to do anything to discourage these visitors from coming -- or even to discourage them to looking for the ghosts that they can almost certainly find here. The purpose of this article is to question the “facts” as they have been presented by several generations of Myrtles owners and guides -- facts and history that many of them know is blatantly false. We have no wish to try and debunk the ghosts, merely the identities that they have been given over the years. The Myrtles, according to hundreds of people who have encountered the unexplained here, is haunted -- but not for the reasons that we have all been told.

But why go to the trouble to debunk the myths that have been created over the last fifty-some-odd years? Surely, they aren’t hurting anyone, so why bother to expose them as the creation of rich imaginations? To that, we can only say that no dedicated ghost hunter should be afraid to seek the truth. As the history of a house is the most important key to discovering just why it might be haunted in the first place, it seems to be imperative to discover the real history of the site. It has often been recommended to sift through the legends and folklore of the place in a search for a kernel of truth. This is exactly what we did in the article that follows --- we have examined the lore in a search for the truth and have found it. It might not be as glamorous as the legends of the Myrtles Plantation that we have all heard about but it is certainly strange. The real history of the plantation is filled with death, tragedy and despair, leading us to wonder why a fanciful history was created in its place. That question will likely never be answered but many others will.


Since the Myrtles were built by David Bradford in 1794, it has allegedly been the site of the scene of at least 10 murders. In truth, only one person was ever murdered here but as has been stated already, some of the people who have owned the house have never let the truth stand in the way of a good story. But as you will soon see, the plantation has an unusual history that genuinely did occur -- and one that could (and has) left its own real ghosts behind.

David Bradford was born in America to Irish immigrants and was one of five children. In 1777. He purchased a tract of land and a small stone house near Washington County, Pennsylvania. He became a successful attorney, businessman and Deputy Attorney General for the county. His first attempt to marry ended only days before his wedding (nothing is known about this) but he later met and married Elizabeth Porter in 1785 and started a family.

As his family and business grew, Bradford needed a larger home and built a new one in the town of Washington. The house became well known in the region for its size and remarkable craftsmanship, with a mahogany staircase and woodwork imported from England. Many of the items had to be transported from the east coast and over the Pennsylvania mountains at great expense. Bradford would use the parlor of the house as an office, where he would meet with his clients.

Unfortunately, he was not able to enjoy the house for long. In October 1794, he was forced to flee the house, leaving his family behind. Bradford became involved in the infamous Whiskey Rebellion and legend has it that President George Washington placed a price on the man’s head for his role in the affair. The Whiskey Rebellion took place in western Pennsylvania and really began as a series of grievances over high prices and taxes forced on those living along the frontier at that time. The complaints eventually erupted into violence when a mob attacked and burned down the home of a local tax collector. In the months that followed, residents resisted a tax that had been placed on whiskey and while most of the protests were nonviolent, WashingtonBradford left the region on the advice of some of the other principals in the affair.

After leaving Washington, Bradford first went to Pittsburgh. Leaving his family in safety, he traveled down the Ohio River to the Mississippi. He eventually settled near Bayou Sara, near what is now St. Francisville, Louisiana. Bradford was no stranger to this area. He had originally traveled here in 1792 to try and obtain a land grant from Spain. When he returned in 1796, he purchased 600 acres of land and a year later, built a modest, eight-room home that he named “Laurel Grove”. He lived there alone until 1799, when he received a pardon for his role in the Whiskey Rebellion from newly elected President John Adams. He was given the pardon for his assistance in establishing a boundary line, known historically as “Ellicott’s Line” between SpainUnited States.

After receiving the pardon, Bradford returned to Pennsylvania to bring his wife and five children back to Louisiana. He returned again to Pennsylvania in 1801 to try and sell his home but after two years passed with no buyers, he finally agreed to trade the home and property for 230 barrels of flour that were to be delivered to his home in Bayou Sarah. At the time, New Orleans

While living in Bayou Sarah, Bradford occasionally took in students who wanted to study the law. One of them, Clark Woodrooff, not only earned a law degree but he also married his teacher's daughter, Sarah Mathilda.

Clark Woodrooff was born in Litchfield County, Connecticut in August 1791. Having no desire to follow in his father's footsteps as a farmer, he left Connecticut at the age of 19 and sought his fortune on the Mississippi River, ending up in Bayou Sarah. He arrived in 1810, the same year that citizens of the Feliciana parish rose up in revolt against the Spanish garrison at Baton Rouge. They overthrew the Spanish and then set up a new territory with its capital being St. Francisville. The territory extended from the Mississippi River to as far east as the PerdidoRiverMobile.

Still seeking to make his fortune, Woodrooff placed an advertisement in the new St. Francisville newspaper, the Time Piece , in the summer of 1811. He informed the public that "an academy would be opening on the first Monday in September for the reception of students." He planned to offer English, grammar, astronomy, geography, elocution, composition, penmanship and Greek and Latin languages. The academy was apparently short-lived for in 1814, he joined Colonel Hide's cavalry regiment from the Feliciana parish to fight alongside Andrew Jackson at the Battle of New Orleans. When the smoke cleared and the War of 1812 had ended, Woodrooff returned to St. Francisville with the intention of studying law.

He began his studies with Judge David Bradford and soon earned his degree. He also succumbed to the charms of the Bradford daughter, the lovely Sarah Mathilda. Their romance blossomed under the shade of the crape myrtles that reportedly gave the home its lasting name. The young couple was married on November 19, 1817 and for their honeymoon, Woodrooff took his new bride to the Hermitage, the Tennessee home of his friend, Andrew Jackson.

After the death of David Bradford, Woodrooff managed Laurel Grove for his mother-in-law, Elizabeth. He expanded the holdings of the plantation and planted about 650 acres of indigo and cotton. Together, he and Sarah Mathilda had three children, Cornelia Gale, James, and Mary Octavia. Tragically though, their happiness would not last.

On July 21, 1823, Sarah Mathilda died after contacting yellow fever. The disease was spread through a number of epidemics that swept through Louisiana in those days. Hardly a family in the region went untouched by tragedy and despair. Although heartbroken, Woodrooff continued to manage the plantation and to care for his children with help from Elizabeth. But the dark days were not yet over… On July 15, 1824, his only son James, also died from yellow fever and two months later, in September, Cornelia Gale was also felled by the dreaded disease.

Woodrooff's life would never be the same but he managed to purchase the farm outright from his mother-in-law. She was quite elderly by this time and was happy to see the place in good hands. She continued to live at Laurel Grove with her son-in-law and granddaughter Octavia until her death in 1830.

After Elizabeth died, Woodrooff turned his attentions away from farming to the practice of law. He and Octavia moved away from Laurel Grove and he left the plantation under the management of a caretaker. He was appointed to a judge's position over District D in Covington, Louisiana and he served in this capacity until April 1835. On January 1, 1834, he sold Laurel Grove to Ruffin Grey Stirling.

By this time, Woodrooff was living on Rampart Street in New Orleans and had changed the spelling of his last name to "Woodruff". He had also been elected as the president of public works for the city. During this period, Octavia was sent to a finishing school in New Haven, ConnecticutNew Orleans.

In 1840, the Louisiana governor, Isaac Johnson, appointed Woodruff to the newly created office of Auditor of Public Works and he served for one term. Then, at 60 years of age, he retired and moved to Oaklawn to live with Octavia and her husband. He devoted the remainder of his life to the study of chemistry and physics and died on November 25, 1851. He was buried in the GirodStreet Cemetery in New Orleans.

An interesting side note to the story concerns this cemetery. The graveyard fell into great disrepair and was eventually abandoned. In the 1960's, the city hoped to renovate this part of the city and sent out a notice to families that the cemetery was going to be moved to a new location on Canal Street. The bodies that were not claimed were gathered and placed in large drums, then buried in a mass grave under the Hope Mausoleum. Clark Woodruff was one of those who was not claimed. The old Girod Street Cemetery was once located under the present-day site of the New Orleans Superdome.

In 1834, Laurel Grove was purchased by Ruffin Grey Stirling. The Stirling's were a very wealthy family who owned several plantations on both sides of the Mississippi River. On January 1, Ruffin Grey Stirling and his wife, Mary Catherine Cobb, took over the house, land, buildings and all of the slaves that had been bought from Elizabeth Bradford by her son-in-law.

Since the Stirling's were so well thought of in the community, they needed a house that was befitting their social status. They decided to remodel Laurel Grove. Stirling added the broad central hallway of the house and the entire southern section. The walls of the original house were removed and repositioned to create four large rooms that were used as identical ladies and gentlemen's parlors, a formal dining room and a game room. Year-long trips to Europe to purchase fine furnishings resulted in the importation of skilled craftsmen as well. Elaborate plaster cornices were created for many of the rooms, made from a mixture of clay, Spanish moss and cattle hair. On the outside of the house, Stirling added a 107-foot long front gallery that was supported by cast-iron support posts and railings. The original roof of the house was extended to encompass the new addition, copying the existing dormers to maintain a smooth line. The addition had higher ceilings than the original house so the second story floor was raised one foot. The completed project nearby doubled the size of David Bradford's house and in keeping with the renovations, the name of the plantation was officially changed to the "Myrtles".

Four years after the completion of the project, Stirling died on July 17, 1854 of consumption. He left his vast holdings in the care of his wife, Mary Cobb, who most referred to as a remarkable woman. Many other plantation owners stated that she "had the business acumen of a man", which was high praise for a woman in those days, and she managed to run all of she and her husband's farms almost single-handedly, for many years.

In spite of this, the family was often visited by tragedy. Of nine children, only four of them lived to be old enough to marry. The oldest son, Lewis, died in the same year as his father and daughter Sarah Mulford's husband was actually murdered on the front porch of the house after the Civil War. The war itself wreaked on the Myrtles and the Stirling family. Many of the family's personal belongings were looted and destroyed by Federal soldiers and the wealth that they had accumulated was ultimately in worthless Confederate currency. To make matters worse, Mary Cobb had been invested heavily in sugar plantations that had been ravaged by the war. She eventually lost all of her property. She never let the tragedies of the war, and others that followed after, overcome her however and she held onto the Myrtles until her death in August 1880. She is buried next to her husband in a family plot at Grace Church in St. Francisville.

On December 5, 1865, Mary Cobb hired, William Drew Winter, the husband of her daughter, Sarah Mulford, to act as her agent and attorney and to help her manage the plantation lands. As part of the deal, she gave Sarah and William the Myrtles as their home.

William Winter had been born to Captain Samuel Winter and Sarah Bowman on October 28, 1820 in Bath, Maine. Little is known about his life or how he managed to meet Sarah Mulford Stirling. However, they were married on June 3, 1852 at the Myrtles and together; they had six children, Mary, Sarah, Kate, Ruffin, William and Francis. Kate died from typhoid at the age of three. The Winter's first lived at Gantmore plantation, near Clinton, Louisiana and then bought a plantation on the west side of the Mississippi known as Arbroath.

Twelve years after the death of Ruffin Stirling, and after the Civil War, William was named as agent and attorney by Mary Stirling to help her with the remaining lands, including Ingleside, Crescent Park, Botany Bay and the Myrtles. In return, Mary gave William the use of the Myrtles as his home. Times were terrible though and Winter was unable to hold onto it. By December 1867, he was completely bankrupt and the Myrtles was sold by the U.S. Marshal to the New York Warehouse & Security Company on April 15, 1868. Two years late however, on April 23,the property was sold back Mrs. Sarah M. Winter as the heir of her late father, Ruffin G. Stirling. It is unknown just what occurred to cause this reversal of fortune but it seemed as though things were improving for the family once again.

But soon after, tragedy struck the Myrtles once more. According to the January 1871 issue of the Point Coupee Democrat newspaper, Winter was teaching a Sunday School lesson in the gentlemen's parlor of the house when he heard someone approach the house on horseback. After the stranger called out to him and told him that he had some business with him, Winter went out onto the side gallery of the house and was shot. He collapsed onto the porch and died. Those inside of the house, stunned by the sound of gunfire and the retreating horse, hurried outside to find the fallen man. Winter died on January 26, 1871 and was buried the following day at Grace Church. The newspaper reported that a man named E.S. Webber was to stand trial for Winter's murder but no outcome of the case was ever recorded. As far as is known, Winter's killer remains unidentified and unpunished.

Sarah was devastated by the incident and never remarried. She remained at the Myrtles with her mother and brothers until her death in April 1878 at the age of only 44.

After the death of Mary Cobb Stirling in 1880, the Myrtles was purchased by Stephen Stirling, one of her sons. He bought out his brothers but only maintained ownership of the house until March 1886. There are some who say that he squandered what was left of his fortune and lost the plantation in a game of chance but most likely, the place was just too deep in debt for him to hold onto. He sold the Myrtles to Oran D. Brooks, ending his family's ownership. Brooks kept it until January 1889 when, after a series of transfers, it was purchased by Harrison Milton Williams, a Mississippi widower who brought his young son and second wife, Fannie Lintot Haralson, to the house in 1891.

Injured during the Civil War, in which he began service as a 15 year-old Confederate cavalry courier, Williams planted cotton and gained a reputation as a hard-working and industrious man. He and his family, which grew to include his wife and seven children, kept the Myrtles going during the hard times of the post-war South. But tragedy was soon to strike the Myrtles again.

During a storm, the Williams' oldest son, Harry, was trying to gather up some stray cattle and fell into the Mississippi and drowned. Shattered with grief, Harrison and Fannie turned over management of the property to their son Surget Minor Williams, who married a local girl named Jessie Folkes and provided a home at the Myrtles for his spinster sister and maiden aunt Katie. Secretly called "the colonel" behind her back, Katie was a true Southern character. Eccentric and kind, but with a gruff exterior, she kept life interesting at the house for years.

By the 1950's, the property surrounding the house had been divided among the Williams heirs and the house itself was sold to Marjorie Munson, an Oklahoma widow who had been made wealthy by chicken farms. It was at this point, they say, that the ghost stories of the house began. They started innocently enough but soon, what may have been real-life ghostly occurrences took on a "life" of their own. near
mobilized a militia and sends them into suppress the rebellion. Once the protests were brought under control, and the was suffering from a shortage of flour and he thought he could sell the barrels and make back any money that he had lost in the trade. However, until the day that he died in 1817, he never received the shipment of flour. He tried repeatedly for years to settle the debt but it simply never happened. but she returned home to live with her father in 1836. Two years later, she married Colonel Lorenzo Augustus Besancon and moved to his plantation, Oaklawn, five miles north of


There is no question that the most famous ghostly tale of the Myrtles is that of Chloe, the vengeful slave who murdered the wife and two daughters of Clark Woodruff in a fit of jealously and anger. Those who have been reading the article so far have already guessed that there are some serious flaws in this story but for the sake of being complete, we have include the story here as it has long been told by owners and guides at the house.


According to the story, the troubles that led to the haunting began in 1817 when Sarah Mathilda married Clark Woodruff. Sara Matilda had given birth to two daughters and was carrying a third child, when an event took place that still haunts the Myrtles today.

Woodruff, had a reputation in the region for integrity with men and with the law, but was also known for being promiscuous. While his wife was pregnant with their third child, he started an intimate relationship with one of his slaves. This particular girl, whose name was Chloe, was a household servant who, while she hated being forced to give in to Woodruff's sexual demands, realized that if she didn't, she could be sent to work in the fields, which was the most brutal of the slave's work.

Eventually, Woodruff tired of Chloe and chose another girl with whom to carry on. Chloe feared the worst, sure that she was going to be sent to the fields, and she began eavesdropping on the Woodruff family's private conversations, dreading the mention of her name. One day, the Judge caught her at this and ordered that one of her ears be cut off to teach her a lesson and to put her in her place. After that time, she always wore a green turban around her head to hide the ugly scar that the knife had left behind.

What actually happened next is still unclear. Some claim that what occurred was done so that the family would just get sick and then Chloe could nurse them back to health and earn the Judge's gratitude. In this way, she would be safe from ever being returned to the fields. Others say that her motives were not so pure though and that what she did was for one reason only -- revenge!

For whatever reason, Chloe put a small amount of poison into a birthday cake that was made in honor of the Woodruff's oldest daughter. In with the flour and sugar went a handful of crushed oleander flowers. The two children, and Sarah Mathilda, each had slices of the poisoned cake but Woodruff didn't eat any of it. Before the end of the day, all of them were very sick. Chloe patiently attended to their needs, never realizing (if it was an accident) that she had given them too much poison. In a matter of hours, all three of them were dead.

The other slaves, perhaps afraid that their owner would punish them also, dragged Chloe from her room and hanged her from a nearby tree. Her body was later cut down, weighted with rocks and thrown into the river. Woodruff closed off the children's dining room, where the party was held, and never allowed it to be used again as long as he lived. Tragically, his life was cut short a few years later by a murderer. To this day, the room where the children were poisoned has never again been used for dining. It is called the game room today.

Since her death, the ghost of Chloe has been reported at the Myrtles and was even accidentally photographed by a past owner. The plantation still sells picture postcards today with the cloudy image of what is purported to be Chloe standing between two of the buildings. The former slave is thought to be the most frequently encountered ghost at the Myrtles. She has often been seen in her green turban, wandering the place at night. Sometimes the cries of little children accompany her appearances and at other times, those who are sleeping are startled awake by her face, peering at them from the side of the bed.

I am sure that after reading this story, even the most non-discerning readers have discovered a number of errors and problems with the tale. In fact, there are so many errors that it's difficult to know where to begin. However, to start, it's a shame that the character of Clark Woodruff has been so thoroughly damaged over the years with stories about his adulterous affairs with his slaves and claims that he had the ear cut off of one of his lovers. Sadly, these stories have been accepted as fact, even though no evidence whatsoever exists to say that they are true. In fact, history seems to show that Woodruff was very devoted to his wife and in fact, was so distraught over her death that he never remarried.

Before we get to the problem of Chloe's existence, we should also examine the alleged murders of Sarah Mathilda and her two daughters. In this case, the legend has twisted the truth so far that it is unrecognizable. Sarah Mathilda was not murdered. She died tragically from yellow fever (according to historical record) in 1823. Her children, a son and a daughter - not both daughters, died more than a year after she did. They certainly did not die from the result of a poisoned birthday cake. Also, with this legend, Octavia would not have existed at all (her mother was supposed to have been pregnant when murdered) but we know that she lived with her father, got married and lived to a ripe old age. In addition, Woodruff was not killed either. He died peacefully at his daughter and son-in-law's plantation in 1851.

The key to the legend of course, is Chloe, the murderous slave. The problem with this is that as far as we can tell, Chloe never existed at all. Not only did she not murder members of the Woodruff family but it's unlikely that the family ever even had a slave by this name. While living in Louisiana, researcher David Wiseheart's curiosity about the history and haunting of the Myrtles was so great that he spent countless hours tracking down information about the plantation. It would be his disappointment that, while looking through the properties records of the Woodruff family, that he learned that they had not owned a slave, nor was there any record of a slave, by the name of Chloe (or even Cleo, as she appears in some versions of the story).

So who did such a story get started?

In the 1950's, the Myrtles was owned by wealthy widow Marjorie Munson, who began to notice that odd things were occurring in the house, according to local stories. Wondering if perhaps the old mansion might be haunted, she asked around and that's when the legend of "Chloe" got its start. According to the granddaughter of Harrison and Fannie Williams, Lucile Lawrason, her aunts used to talk about the ghost of an old woman who haunted the Myrtles and who wore a green bonnet. They often laughed about it and it became a family story. She was never given a name and in fact, the "ghost" with the green bonnet from the story was described as an older woman, never as a young slave who might have been involved in an affair with the owner of the house. Regardless, someone repeated this story of the Williams' family ghost to Marjorie Munson and she soon penned a song about the ghost of the Myrtles, a woman in a green beret.

As time wore on, the story grew and changed. The Myrtles changed hands several more times and in the 1970's, it was restored again under the ownership of Arlin Dease and Mr. and Mrs. Robert F. Ward. During this period, the story grew even larger and was greatly embellished to include the poison murders and the severed ear. Up until this point though, it was largely just a story that was passed on by word of mouth and it received little attention outside of the area. All of that changed though when James and Frances Kermeen Myers passed through on a riverboat and decided to purchase the Myrtles. The house came furnished with period antiques and enough ghost stories to attract people from all over the country.

Soon, the story of the Myrtles was appearing in magazines and books and receiving a warm reception from ghost enthusiasts, who had no idea that what they were hearing was a badly skewed version of the truth. The house appeared in a November 1980 issue of LIFE magazine but the first book mention that I have been able to find about the house was in Richard Winer's book Houses of Horror. Both of them mentioned the poison deaths of Sarah Mathilda and her daughters.


As time went on and more books and television shows came calling at the Myrtles, the story changed again and this time, took on even more murders. In addition to the deaths of Sarah Mathilda, her daughters and Chloe, it was alleged that as many as six other people had also been killed in the house. One of them, Lewis Stirling, the oldest son of Ruffin Grey Stirling, was claimed to have been stabbed to death in the house over a gambling debt. However, burial records in St. Francisville state that he died at the age of 23 in October 1854 from yellow fever.

According to legend, three Union soldiers were killed in the house after they broke in and attempted to loot the place. They were allegedly shot to death in the gentlemen's parlor, leaving bloodstains on the floor that refused to be wiped away. Once fanciful account has it that years later, after the Myrtles was opened as an inn, a maid was mopping the floor and came to a spot that, no matter how hard she pushed, she was unable to reach. Supposedly, the spot was the same size as a human body and this was said to have been where one of the Union soldiers fell. The strange phenomenon was said to have lasted for a month and has not occurred since. The only problem with this story is that no soldiers were ever killed in the house. There are no records or evidence to say that there were and in fact, surviving family members denied the story was true. If the ghostly incident occurred, then it must have been caused by something else.

Another murder allegedly occurred in 1927, when a caretaker at the house was killed during a robbery. Once again, no record exists of this crime and something as recent as this would have been widely reported. The only event even close to this, which may have spawned this part of the story, occurred when the brother of Fannie Williams, Eddie Haralson, was living in a small house on the property. He was killed while being robbed but this did not occur in the main house, as the story states

The only verifiable murder to occur at the Myrtles was that of William Drew Winter and it differs wildly from the legends that have been told. As described previously, Winter was lured out of the house by a rider, who shot him to death on the side porch. It is here where the stories take a turn for the worse. In the legend, Winter was shot and then mortally wounded, staggered back into the house, passed through the gentlemen's parlor and the ladies parlor and onto the staircase that rises from the central hallway. He then managed to climb just high enough to die in his beloved's arms on exactly the 17th step. It has since been claimed that ghostly footsteps have been heard coming into the house, walking to the stairs and then climbing to the 17th step where they, of course, come to an end.

While dramatic, this event never happened either. Winter was indeed murdered on the front porch by an unknown assailant but after being shot, he immediately fell down and died. His bloody trip through the house never took place --- information that was easily found in historical records.

Valerie Liska

PRSG Online Member

The legend of JERSEY DEVIL

The Jersey Devil, the supposed mythical creature of the New Jersey Pinelands, has haunted New Jersey and the surrounding areas for the past 260 years. This entity has been seen by over 2,000 witnesses over this period. It has terrorized towns and caused factories and schools to close down, yet many people believe that the Jersey Devil is a legend, a mythical beast, that originated from the folklore of the New Jersey Pine Barrens. Others disagree with this point of view. The following text will show there is evidence to support the existence of an animal or supernatural bring known as the Jersey Devil. The evidence consists of the stories of the Jersey Devil's origin, the sightings of it, and finally, the theories on it.

There are many different versions of the birth of the Jersey Devil. One of the most popular legends says a Mrs. Shrouds of Leeds Point, NJ made a wish that if she ever had another child, she want it to be a devil. Her next child was born misshapen and deformed. She sheltered it in the house, so the curious couldn't see him. On stormy night, the child flapped it's arms, which turned into wings, and escaped out the chimney and was never seen by the family again. A Mrs. Bowen of Leeds point said, "The Jersey Devil was born in the Shrouds house at Leeds Point." 1 Another story that also placed the birth at Leeds Point said that a young girl fell in love with a British soldier during the Revolutionary War. The people of Leeds Point cursed her. When she gave birth, she had a devil. Some people believe the birth of the devil was punishment for the mistreatment of a minister by the Leeds folk.

Another story placed the birth in Estelville, NJ. Mrs. Leeds, of Estelville, finding out she was pregnant with her 13th child, shouted,"I hope it's a devil". She got her wish. The child wad born with horns, a tail, wings, and a horse-like head. The creature revisited Mrs. Leeds everyday. She stood at her door and told it to leave. After awhile, the creature got the hint and never returned.

Burlington, NJ, also claims to be the birthplace of the Jersey Devil. In 1735, Mother Leeds was in labor on a stormy night. Gathered around her were her friends. Mother Leeds was supposedly a witch and the child's father was the devil himself. The child was born normal, but then changed form. It changed from a normal baby to a creature with hooves, a horses head, bat wings and a forked tail. It beat everyone present and flew up the chimney. It circled the villages and headed toward the pines. In 1740 a clergy exercised the devil for 100 years and it wasn't seen again until 1890.

There are many other versions of the legend. The legends say it was the 6th, 8th, 10th, 12th, or 13th child, It was born normal or deformed, and the mother confined it to the cellar or the attic. Although there are many discrepancies in all of these stories, there are 3 pieces of evidence that tie all of the legends of the Jersey Devil's origin together.

The first thing that ties the legends together is the name "Leeds". Whether the mothers name was Leeds or the birth place was Leeds Point, all of the stories include the name Leeds. Alfred Heston, the Atlantic County Historian, believes that the devil could be a Leeds or a Shrouds baby. He discovered that a Daniel Leeds opened land in Great Egg Harbor, NJ, in 1699. His family lived in Leeds Point. He also discovered a Samuel Shrouds, Sr. came to Little Egg Harbor, NJ, in 1735 and lived right across the river from the house of Mother Leeds. The 3rd fact ties in the Burlington story with the others stories. Professor Fred MacFadden of Coppin State College, Baltimore, found that a "devil" was mentioned in writings from Burlington as early as 1735. He also indicated that the word Burlington was used to was the word used to names the area from the city of Burlington to the Atlantic Ocean. This means that the name that is now used for the birthplace such as Leeds point or Estelville, could be the same place referred to in the Burlington Legend.

The origins provide some validity to the existence of the Jersey Devil, but the sightings are the most substantial pieces of evidence. The sightings have been divided up into 3 time periods, pre 1909, January 16-23, 1909, and post 1909.

From the pre 1909 era, few documented records of sightings still exist. The ones that do confirm the existence of the devil.

In the early 19th century, Commodore Stephen Decatur, a naval hero, was testing cannon balls on the firing range when he saw a strange creature flying across the sky. He fired and hit the creature but it kept right on flying across the field. Joseph Bonaparte, former king of Spain and brother of Napoleon, saw the Jersey Devil in Bordentown, NJ, between 1816 and 1839 while he was hunting. In 1840-41 many sheep and chickens were killed by a creature with a piercing scream and strange tracks. In 1859-94, the Jersey Devil was seen and numerous times and reportedly carried off anything that moved in Haddonfield, Bridgeton, Smithville, Long Branch, Brigantine, and Leeds Point. W.F. Mayer of New York noticed while visiting the Pine Barrens, most of the locals would not venture out after dark. The devil was sighted by George Saarosy, A prominent business man, at the NJ/NY border. This was the last reported sighting before the turn of the century.

In 1903, Charles Skinner, author of American Myths and Legends, claimed that the legend of the devil had run it's course and that in the new century, NJ would hear no more of the devil. New Jersey rested easy with that thought for 6 years, until the week of January 16-23. 1909. During this week, the devil would leave his tracks all over South Jersey and Philadelphia. He was seen by over 1,000 people. This was his largest appearance ever.

It all started early Sunday morning, January 16, 1909. Thack Cozzens of Woodbury, NJ, saw a flying creature with glowing eyes flying down the street. In Bristol, PA, John Mcowen heard and saw the strange creature on the banks of the canal. Patrol James Sackville fired at the creature as it flew away screaming. E.W. Minister, Postmaster of Bristol, PA, also saw a bird-like creature with a horses head that had a piercing scream. When daylight came, the residents of Bristol found hoof prints in the snow. Two local trappers said they had never seen tracks like those before.

On Monday, the Lowdens of Burlington, NJ, found hoof prints in their yard and around their trash, which was half eaten. Almost every yard in Burlington had these strange hoof prints in them. The prints went up trees, went from roof to roof, disappeared in the middle of the road, and stopped in the middle of open fields. The same tracks were also found in Columbus, Hedding, Kinhora and Rancocas. A hunt was organized to follow the tracks but the dogs wouldn't follow the trail.

On the 19th the Jersey Devil made his longest appearance of the week. At 2:30 am, Mr & Mrs. Nelson Evans of Gloucester were awakened by a strange noise. They watched the devil from their window for 10 minutes. Mr. Evans described the creature they saw:

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

Tuesday afternoon 2 professional hunters tracked the devil for 20 miles in Gloucester. The trail jumped 5 foot fences and went under 8 inch spaces. The hoof prints were found in more parts of South Jersey. A group of observers in Camden, NJ, saw the devil. It barked at them and then took off into the air.

The next day, a Burlington police officer and the Reverend John Pursell of Pemberton saw the Jersey Devil. Rev. Pursell said, "Never saw anything like it before".3 Posses in Haddonfield found tracks that ended abruptly. In Collingswood, NJ, a posse watched the devil fly off toward Moorestown. Near Moorestown, John Smith of Maple Shade saw the devil at the Mount Carmel Cemetery. George Snyder saw the devil right after Mr. Smith and their descriptions were identical. In Riverside, NJ, hoof prints were found on roof tops and also around a dead puppy.

On Thursday, the Jersey Devil was seen by the Black Hawk Social Club. He was also seen by a trolley full of people in Clementon as it circled above them. The witnesses descriptions matched others from the days before. In Trenton, Councilman E.P. Weeden heard the flapping of wings and then found hoof prints outside his door. The prints were also found at the arsenal in Trenton. As the day wore on the Trolleys in Trenton and New Brunswick had armed drivers to ward off attacks. The people in Pitman filled churches. Chickens had been missing all week throughout the Delaware Valley, but when the farmers checked their yards that day, they found their chickens dead, with no marks on them. The West Collingswood Fire Department fired their hose at the devil. The devil retreated at first, but then charged and flew away at the last second.

Later that night, Mrs. Sorbinski of Camden heard a commotion in her yard. She opened the door to see the Jersey Devil standing there with her dog in it's grip. She hit the devil with a broom until it let go of her dog and flew away. She started screaming until her neighbors came over. Two police officers arrived at her house where over 100 people had gathered. The crowd heard a scream coming from Kaigan Hill. The mob ran toward the creature on the hill. The Policed shot at it and the devil flew off into the night. The streets of Camden were empty after this.

On Friday, Camden police officer Louis Strehr saw the Jersey Devil saw the devil drinking from a horses trough. The school in Mt Ephraim was closed because no students came in. Mills and factories in Gloucester and Hainesport had to close because none of the employees came to work. Many New Jersey residents wouldn't leave their houses, even in daylight. Officer Merchant of Blackwood drew a sketch of the creature he saw. His sketch coincided with the descriptions from earlier in the week. Jacob Henderson saw the devil in Salem and described it as having "wings and a tail"4. The devil was only seen once more in 1909 in February.

Since 1909, the Jersey Devil has continued to be sighted by people all over New Jersey. The number of sightings that have been reported to the authorities has dwindled over the years. This could be attributed to the fact that people don't want to be branded as crazy. Even though the number of reported sightings has dropped, there's still a considerable amount of sightings in the post 1909 era.

IN 1927, a cab driver on his way to Salem got a flat tire. He stopped to fix the tire. As he was doing this, creature that stood upright and was covered with hair, landed on the roof of his cab. The creature shook his car violently. He fled the scene, leaving the tire and jack behind. Phillip Smith, who was known as a sober and honest man, saw the devil walking down the street in 1953. The characteristic screams of the Jersey Devil were heard in the woods near Woodstown, NJ, in 1936.

Around 1961, 2 couples were parked in a car in the Pine Barrens. They heard a loud screeching noise outside. Suddenly the roof of the car was smashed in. They fled the scene, but returned later. Again they heard the loud screech. They saw a creature flying along the trees, taking out huge chinks of bark as it went along.

There have been other sightings since 1909, such as the Invasion of Gibbsboro in 1951. The people there saw the devil over a 2 day period. In 1966, a farm was raided and 31 ducks, 3 geese, 4 cats, and 2 dogs were killed. One of the dogs was a large german Shepard which had it's throat ripped out. In 1981, a young couple spotted the devil at Atsion Lake in Atlantic County.

In 1987, in Vineland an aggressive german Shepard was found torn apart and the body gnawed upon. the body was located 25 feet from the chain which had been hooked to him. Around the body were strange tracks that no one could identify.

The sightings and prints are the most substantial evidence that exists. Many of the theories on the Jersey Devil are based upon that evidence. Some theories can be proven invalid, while others seem to provide support for the Jersey Devil's existence.

One theory is that the Jersey Devil is a bird. Mrs. Cassidy of Clayton thought it was an invasion of scrowfoot ducks. The scrowfoot duck is much too small to be mistaken for the devil. Others believe the devil is really a sand hill crane. The crane used to live in South Jersey until it was pushed out by man. The sand hill crane weighs about 12 lbs., is 4 foot high, and a wingspan of 80 inches. It avoids man but if confronted it will fight. It has a loud scream whooping voice that can be heard at a distance. This could account for the screams heard by witnesses. The crane also eats potatoes and corn. This could account for the raids on crops. This theory doesn't explain , however, the killing of live stock. It also doesn't explain why people described the devil as having a horses head, bat wings and tail, all of which the crane doesn't have.

Professor Bralhopf said that" the tracks were made by some prehistoric animal form the Jurassic period"5. He believes the creature survived underground in a cavern. An expert from the Smithsonian Institute had a theory about ancient creatures surviving underground. He said the Jersey Devil was a Pterodactyl. The Academy of Natural Sciences could find no record of any creature, living or extinct, that resembles the Jersey Devil.

Jack E. Boucher, author of Absagami Yesteryear, has a theory in which he believes the devil was a deformed child. He thinks Mrs. Leeds had a disfigured child and kept it locked away in the house. She grew sick and couldn't feed the child anymore. It escaped out of hunger and raided local farms for food. This doesn't take into account the incredible life span of the devil. The child would have been 174 years old in 1909. It also doesn't account for the sightings of the devil flying.

Only a small amount of the sightings and footprints could be hoaxes. The Jersey Devil has been seen by reliable people such as police, government officials, postmasters, businessman, and other people whose "integrity is beyond question."6 As for the hoof prints, even if some were hoaxes, There is still no way to explain most of the tracks, especially the ones on roof tops and tracks that ended abruptly as if the creature took wing.

The last theory is the most controversial one. Many people believe that the Jersey Devil could be the very essence of evil, embodied. It is said that the devil is an "uncanny harbinger of war"7. and appears before any great conflict. The jersey devil was sighted before the start of the Civil War. It was also seen right before the Spanish American War and WW I. In 1939, before the start of WW II, Mount Holly citizens were awakened by the noise of hooves on their roof tops. The Devil was seen on December 7, 1941, right before Pearl Harbor was bombed. He was also seen right before the vietnam War.

The Jersey Devil's habit of being a forerunner to wars could be because of his possible demonic origins. In 1730, Ben Franklin reported a story about a witchcraft trial near Mt Holly, NJ. One of the origin legends say that Mother Leeds was a witch. The devil's birth could have been a result of a witches curse.

Other facts support the supernatural theory are the reports of the death of the devil. When Commodore Decatur fired a cannon ball at the devil, it went through him and he was unaffected.

In 1909, a track walker on the electric railroad saw the devil fly into the wires above the tracks. There was a violent explosion which melted the track 20 feet in both directions. No body was found and the devil was seen later in perfect health. In 1957, the Department of Conservation found a strange corpse in a burned out area of the pines. It was a partial skeleton, feathers, and hind legs of an unidentifiable creature. The devil was thought to be dead, but reappeared when the people of New Jersey thought that this time his death was real. Each time he is reported dead, he returns. Sometimes this year. The Jersey Devil will be 260 years old. It seems the devil is immortal, which a supernatural being would be. Another thing that supports this theory is the incredible distances the devil could fly in a short period of time. No animal could travel as fast as the devil did in 1909 when he was sighted in South Jersey, Philadelphia, and New York through out the week.

None of these theories can give a definitive answer to what the Jersey Devil was or is, but the sightings prove there is something out there. Whether the Jersey devil is a bird or a demon, is still left ot speculation. The people of New Jersey have definitely seen something out there lurking in the Pine Barrens.

By Dave Juliano

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