The folklore explains on a legendary creature believe to have inhabited the Pine Barrens in southern parts of New Jersey. The creature is illustrated to have a horse-like head and bat-like wings, a common description of a kangaroo resemblance. It has been reported to be fast in its movements and emitting loud unusual screams. However, there are several criticisms of this narrative which many people claim there is no concrete evidence to support that it once existed. The paper therein aims at highlighting the skepticism in the paper and a criticism that was outlaid in contrast to this narrative.
First, the story highlights that Mother Leeds gave birth to her thirteenth child who exhibited unreal characteristics of a new-born baby. According to Mother Leeds statement, “Oh let this one be a devil!” The child’s general appearance of a horse-like head with bat wings is skeptical. The theory further illustrates that the new-born creature yelped menacingly and flew out through the chimney and disappeared into the dark (Regal, 2013). The knowledge provided by the theory concerning this creature is impossible as a newborn creature cannot immediately get into vigorous actions since it has to go through certain training from its parent, who unfortunately happens to be human. It is skeptical since it is impossible for a normal human being to give birth to a demonic creature.
Daniel Leeds started publishing his almanac that was unpleasing to all his readers. It is skeptical that he predicted the movement of the heavens since it did not go well with the Quaker theology. He published a book called The Temple of Wisdom which consisted of paraphrased sections of other author’s works. The book consisted of angels, magic, as well as the behavior of devils. Most of his content consisted of the drawings from a German mystic called Jacob Boehme, whose writings were considered of the nature of sin and redemption. All this is skeptical since it is not known whether the angels and devils ever existed, therefore, Leeds talking about the devil’s behaviors had many people doubt the trueness of his book.
Upon Leeds retirement, his son Titan Leeds took over and redesigned the masthead to include the Leeds family crest that consisted of three figures on a shield. The dragon-like structure had a fearsome face with bat-like wings that was an imminent description of the Jersey Devil. It is skeptical, however, that Titan Leeds embraced the demonic creature being that it was highly criticized as it instilled fear and suffering to the society. Titan Leeds found himself involved in a fatal feud since a printer, Benjamin Franklin, joined the almanac game and rivaled him. Through astrological techniques, Franklin predicted that Titan Leeds would die on October 17th of the current year. It is skeptical since it is impossible to predict a person’s death (Regal, 2013). Leeds took it seriously and stated that Franklin “has manifest himself a fool and a liar” for his antics. Franklin replied by stating that “he had received much abuse from the ghost of Titan Leeds”. He went on to state that the words were not Titan Leeds words, but instead, they were Titan Leeds ghost. His statement shows how he converses with the dead and this is skeptical since it is impossible for a living human being to converse with the dead.
Several criticisms have, however, been raised concerning the Jersey Devil story. For instance, mother Leeds found she was pregnant for the thirteenth time and the events that led to the creation of the monster is not explained. The fact that creature exhibited the look of a kangaroo with a head like a goat and bat-like wings has been criticized since it is not possible for a normal human being to give birth to a demon. The Devil has been referred to as a legend but the books and websites that are devoted to the devil have no reliable of factual evidence of the existence of the devil. Newspaper reviews and broadside from the colonial New Jersey also give no reference to a Leeds devil or anything of the sort. Reports of the devil being killed by the creature, a woman witnessing his dog being killed by it and the attempts by a clergyman to cast out the creature have no aiding documentation. The story is also criticized for the whereabouts of the eight children that Daniel Leeds and one of his wives Dorothy Young gave birth to are not explained in the story. Many questions will, therefore, be asked as to why only Titan Leeds was considered.
In summary, it is noticed that the Jersey Devil’s story is seen as a mythical story since all the past events that were recorded were antagonized by people since no concrete evidenced existed to support it. It is, therefore, clear that the story purposed to embarrass a loyal family that had already been accused of devil worshipping and that the demonic creature in the enemy’s eyes was a reasonable evolution for the Leeds family.
Regal, Brian. 2013. 37th ed., 2018, pp. 1-4, https://www.csicop.org/si/show/the_jersey_devil_the_real_story. Accessed 20 Mar 2018.
Regal, Brian. The Jersey Devil: The Real Story. 37th ed., 2013, pp. 1-4, Accessed 20 Mar 2018.