Jersey Devil Alternate Origin

PassingThru

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I've been reading this forum for years but just decided to get off my rear end and join in tonight after a good, if short, hike in the Pines today. I read in several places over the years that Estell Manor also laid claim to being the birthplace of the Jersey Devil besides Leeds Point. The first time I heard this was from a girl I dated from Estell Manor in the 70's. No details I should mention, just a story. I think it was mentioned in Absegami Yesteryear and possibly the more recent Jersey Devil mass market books. Does anyone know where this story originated? I've never seen any reference to the original sources even though the books seemed to stop just short of an official quotation. Unfortunately, it seems the writers of these "quotes" passed on recently. I was hoping someone might have seen something about Estell Manor/Mays Landing area in an older source.
 

Boyd

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No idea of the original source but it is mentioned on page 212 of "South Jersey Towns" by William McMahon (ISBN 0-8135-0718-9) but it's Estelville and not Estell Manor.

Both Estelville and Leeds Point in Atlantic County claim him. In an effort to reach a friendly compromise, those who know about such things say the devil was born in Estelville and then flew out the window and across the county to the swamps surrounding Leeds Point...
___________

According to the legend, Mrs. Leeds of Estelville, finding that she was expecting her thirteenth child, in anger shouted, "I hope its a devil".

As a resident of Estell Manor, all I can say is that this nonsense isn't something I want my town to be famous for. :jd:
 
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Spung-Man

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As a resident of Estell Manor, all I can say is that this nonsense isn't something I want my town to be famous for

Boyd, many natives to the Pines like myself, even those from Estell Manor, have long considered considered Oakville, a "suburb" of Estellville, to be the true birthplace of the Jersey Devil. The open property has long returned to woodland. You should be honored for the distinction. Folklore is not a byproduct of ignorant, uneducated, and superstitious Pineys, but a remnant of a well-honed art form related to oral tradition. Jersey Devil tales are the Walt Disney of the olden Pine Barrens - if you will. Please respect that culture that you moved in to.

S-M
 
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PassingThru

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I appreciate the replies which clear up the source of the alternate birth location in my mind. I just want to say that my dear "ex" had told me more detailed information about the exact supposed location in Estell Manor according to those locals of HS age anyway. I'd prefer not to disclose because A) I'd hate to see the place overrun with sightseers and B) also because the place really isn't even there anymore. The road was paved some years ago and I am sure that the Jersey Devil threw his hooves up and moved on to more remote areas since then. That aside, it was a pretty weird location late at night in the 70's. Thank you all again for the replies! Excellent info!
 
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manumuskin

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I know of an abandoned hunting club in the woods west of Estelle Manor though still in the township proper.Maybe he was born there??? Actually the Devil stories to serve a function.They keep the woods empty after dark for the most part and the partyers can generally be scared off with a few inhuman shrieks. I quit that crap years ago.This devil is too old to out run the ones that don't run from the shrieks now.
 
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Gee ! All I remember is:

Deep in the Jersey Barrens
Outside the town of Leeds
There lived a lonesome wider----
No one to tend her needs.

So: One All Hallows Eve'nin
When the moon was pale an' white
She cried: " I'd let ol' Scratch himself
Come share my charms tonight !:

(Yes, there is more, but I'll just leave you with this injunction:)

Keep to the middle of the trail,friend
When the moon is pale and white-
And build up the fire at the ol' campsite----
The Devil walks tonight !
 

woodjin

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Interesting link Gabe. However, I don't think this theory is any more, or less plausible that some other theories. As for documented references to the Leeds Devil? I think the author could have done more research on this particular aspect of his claim. W.F Mayer published an article in 1858 depicting the wide spread fear and belief in the Jersey Devil in the pine barrens of the period. I believe there are other documentations as well. I think the earliest sighting was 1740, and was documented in a journal...Vance Larner I think.

Jeff
 
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Jeff, thanks for the info. It's been too long since I read McCloy's books.

Which alternate theories do you regard as equally plausible as the Titan Leeds hypothesis?
 

Ben Ruset

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Gabe, thanks for posting that article. It's a good sounding argument.

Interesting, though, to hear how intolerant those Philadelphia Quakers were, considering that many of themselves were victims of religious intolerance up in New England.
 
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Gabe, thanks for posting that article. It's a good sounding argument.

Interesting, though, to hear how intolerant those Philadelphia Quakers were, considering that many of themselves were victims of religious intolerance up in New England.

Yeah, I like this hypothesis, as it gives the tale some sort of tangible, historical basis.

Traditional Quakers were rather Puritanical in code. While they were more theologically "liberal" than the Calvinistic Puritans, they were nonetheless very strict in their devotion to what they believed to be pure Christianity. No room for astrology, according to the ol' Quakers! As you know, they even refrained from using the conventional names of the days and months, since those names were Pagan in origin. I don't see any hypocrisy on part of the Quakers in this respect, however, since they sought only the freedom to worship as they saw fit.
 

Ben Ruset

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Well, it's interesting to see how much Quaker philosophy has changed in the last 200-someodd years. I'd have figured that Leed's Quaker peers would have been too busy getting drunk to care much about his almanac. :)
 

woodjin

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Jeff, thanks for the info. It's been too long since I read McCloy's books.

Which alternate theories do you regard as equally plausible as the Titan Leeds hypothesis?

The theory that the Jersey Devil is a region specific boogyman...created with the purpose of controlling careless wandering amoung children. This would have been far more important in an area like the pine barrens than more urban areas. The inclusion of a popular and common name in the area (Leeds) would have added credence to the tale.

Also the theory of a deformed child being the impetus of the legend should be considered seriously (in my opinion).

Furthermore, I think the isolation of the community and the unique physical environment of the pine barrens may have played a very important role in the longevity of the legend outside the core of the barrens.

On the other hand. Maybe Mother Leeds actually gave birth to a demon. That would explain everything quite neatly. Yeah, I'm going to go with the later.

Jeff
 

Jason Bladzinski

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Gabe, thanks for posting that article. It's a good sounding argument.

Interesting, though, to hear how intolerant those Philadelphia Quakers were, considering that many of themselves were victims of religious intolerance up in New England.
It is an interesting article. However, it doesn't explain events far older that feature the Jersey Devil or a creature similar to it. The Lenape Indians had a name for the barrens that goes something like " the place of the dragon." Clearly there is evidence that there may be an entity that was older than the events if the article. The article fails to explain what exactly people were seeing during phenom week as well.
 

Ben Ruset

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It is an interesting article. However, it doesn't explain events far older that feature the Jersey Devil or a creature similar to it. The Lenape Indians had a name for the barrens that goes something like " the place of the dragon." Clearly there is evidence that there may be an entity that was older than the events if the article. The article fails to explain what exactly people were seeing during phenom week as well.

I have never actually heard about any Lenape connection to the JD.

The vast majority of the "sightings" in phenom week were footprints, and the descriptions of what the beast supposedly looked like differed wildly. I would consider none of those "sightings" to be credible.
 
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