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The Jersey Devil and the Dog

A New Jersey Legend 

It was a week of pandemonium! In January of 1909, the Jersey Devil emerged from the Pine Barrens and began terrorizing the local communities, both in New Jersey and in Pennsylvania. Devil hunts failed to catch the flying creature, which danced on rooftops, stalked small animals, and frightened the good people of the area with its unexpected appearances in their yards and businesses. The newspapers carried the reports along with sketches of the unusual creature.

Mrs. Sorbinski, a resident of South Camden, followed the stories of the Jersey Devil with skepticism tempered with fear. She wasn’t sure if a creature that resembled a dragon, with a head like a horse, a snake-like body and bat’s wings could possibly exist. It seemed a lot of hokum to her, although several prominent people claimed to have encountered the critter.

Toward the end of the week, Mrs. Sorbinski discovered the truth about the Jersey Devil the hard way. Hearing a commotion in her yard, she hurried outside with a broom in hand. She was concerned for the safety of her dog-and with good reason. The pet, which had been left outside, was in the claws of a beast which resembled a dragon, with a head like a horse, a snake-like body and bat’s wings. It was the Jersey Devil. Mrs. Sorbinski valiantly flailed at the Devil with her broom, trying to make the creature let go of her beloved pet. Upset by the stinging blows of the broom, the strange creature released the dog. Then it flew right at her. Mrs. Sorbinski was terrified. The attack had come so unexpectedly that she had no time to move. At the last second, the Jersey Devil veered away and sailed over the fence.

Relief unfroze her muscles. Grabbing up her dog, Mrs. Sorbinski screamed in panic and shock as she carried her pet indoors and phoned for help. Patrolmen Crouch and Cunningham were dispatched to the house. As they strove to calm Mrs. Sorbinski and the gathered neighbors, the officers heard piercing screeches from the standpipe in Kaighn Hill. The officers ran to the location. Silhouetted against the sky was a large creature which resembled a dragon, with a head like a horse, a snake-like body and bat’s wings. The Jersey Devil was still in town!

The officers emptied their revolvers in vain at the creature, but their bullets did not faze the creature. It stretched up and up into the darkened sky as if it mocked them, ignoring the clamor of the patrolmen and the crowd. Finally, the creature flapped its large wings and flew lazily away into the night.

For two more days, the Jersey Devil continued to plague the area. Then it disappeared as suddenly as it had come. No one knew why it had emerged from the Pine Barrens, or why it so suddenly stopped its foraging. But everyone, especially Mrs. Sorbinski and her dog, was relieved that the Jersey Devil was gone.


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S.E. Schlosser

S.E. Schlosser

S.E. Schlosser is the author of the Spooky Series published by Globe Pequot Press. She has been telling stories since she was a child, when games of “let’s pretend” quickly built themselves into full-length tales acted out with friends. A graduate of both Houghton College and the Institute of Children’s Literature, Sandy received her MLS from Rutgers University while working as a full-time music teacher and a freelance author.