THE JERSEY DEVIL
The legend of the Jersey Devil dates back to about 1735, by most accounts, in Leeds Point, New Jersey. A Mrs. Leeds, the story goes, upon discovering that she was pregnant for an unlucky thirteenth time said that the child might just as well be a devil. Folklore says that this prophecy came true, and that Mrs. Leeds gave birth to a horrific creature with a horse's head and bats wings. Ever since, the legend goes, the creature has been haunting the pine barrens of New Jersey.
No one takes the legend seriously, of course, but the Jersey Devil has been blamed over the years for a number of mysterious livestock deaths and eerie cries in the darkness. And the first sighting in the 20th century occurred in 1909 when a Pennsylvania postmaster allegedly saw the glowing monster flying over the Delaware river. Less than a month later, the flying creature was spotted by a policeman in Burlington, New Jersey. A few days later, a woman in Philadelphia claimed to have seen a similar monster in her backyard. And that evening it was seen by two more police officers in Salem, New Jersey, and the next night by a fisherman. Note their collective descriptions compared to chupacabras:
- a ram-like head with curled horns
- long, thin wings (other accounts reported short wings)
- four short legs, the hind ones being longer than the forelegs
- walks on its back legs and holds up two short front legs with paws on them
- glowing eyes
- a head like a dog and face like a horse
- alligator-like skin
- able to breathe fire
- about three feet high (some described it as much larger)
- hoof-like feet
- one witness described it as looking like a winged kangaroo
- another called in monkey-like
There are distinct differences in the descriptions, but there are also many interesting similarities.
Although the Jersey Devil is alleged to have been seen over the years, none are taken as seriously by researchers as the 1909 sightings.
GARGOYLES AND GRIFFINS
Most of us are familiar with gargoyles only as silent and still (if scary) stone carvings perched high on cathedrals and ancient castles. And griffins are the mythological creatures having the body of a lion and the head and wings of an eagle. Stuff and nonsense, according to any skeptic. But, believe it or not, there have been eyewitness accounts of bizarre creatures that were likened to gargoyles and griffins. And it's hard to dismiss the comparisons to chupacabras. In fact, one witness described chupacabras as being a "gargoylesque creature."
Apart from mythology, the legend of real griffins dates back to at least the 11th century when Britain's King Charles II allegedly gave a griffin as a gift to his mistress. Another griffin was said to be captured by a scientist who traveled with the great explorer Captain Cook in the 18th century.
These accounts are not considered to be true, yet there is a more modern report that may be worth noting. In 1985, an Englishman named Kevin Chippendale spotted an unknown creature flying near the rooftop of an apartment building. He described it as looking like "a dog with wings" and "having a long muzzle and four legs with what looked like paws." Being of the British culture, he likened it to a griffin - in fact, the creature has become known as the Brentford Griffin. But we have to wonder if the very same sighting had taken place in Puerto Rico or Chile what the witnesses would call it.
And gargoyles might not be just stone carvings or lovable Disney characters. In an article for Unknown magazine entitled "We Saw a Gargoyle," Ron Bogacki recounts how he and several other young adults met face to face with a gargoylesque creature. The encounter took place in 1981 in an Elmhurst, Illinois park. Hanging out on a summer night around the park's gothic mausoleum, the four teenagers were awestruck by an incredible creature sitting atop the mausoleum's stone wall. They described is as being large - perhaps 9 feet tall, if standing - with dark gray leathery skin, a muscular body with strong arms, golden horns on its head, huge wings and a long curling tail. They were close enough to have smelled its breath, which they described as "full of the stench of decay and sulfur." It soon flapped its wings, flew straight upward and disappeared.
The description given isn't much like the usual chupacabras, but it's difficult to disregard the depictions of the chupa as also being gargoyle-like. If what these teens saw in the park was a "goatsucker," it was the mother of all chupacabras.
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