There are at least two Jersey Devils: the variety found in folklore dating at least over the range of years 1735 to 1909, and the Jersey Devil of modern sightings. The Jersey Devil of folklore is a creature that may or may not be vaguely human-shaped. It has hooves, a snake's tail, bat-wings and a head that looks something like a horse. Altogether, except for being hairy in some reports, it roughly resembles a dragon.
In fact, it was described as a dragon by many of the early witnesses.
The Jersey Devil of folklore is also known as the Leeds Devil. Local residents trace its origin to a woman named Leeds, a mistress of a British soldier who was suspected of being a witch. When she gave birth to her thirteenth child, she cursed it. The babe was born a demon-dragon and soon took to terrorizing the populace and eating children.
The Jersey Devil of modern sightings is a bunch of different things. The name has been applied to cryptids that more or less resemble the original Jersey Devil, but it is also applied to nearly every New Jersey cryptid imaginable, such as hairy humanoids that resemble Bigfoot, mystery birds, and even Eastern cougars. One "Jersey Devil" sighting described a hairy humanoid with a deer's head and glowing red eyes. A number of well-publicized but not very convincing hoaxes have managed to confuse the matter even more, scaring researchers away from whatever real Jersey Devil might or might not exist behind the hoopla.
The Jersey Devil is a popular creature in New Jersey, with its image on quite a number of products. It is also popular outside the state. The Jersey Devil is one of those major American monsters that gets mentioned rather frequently in books about the strange, the paranormal and the unexplained. Two fictional movies have been made about the Jersey Devil, The Last Broadcast and 13th Child: Legend of the Jersey Devil.
In cryptozoology, the Jersey Devil is one of those weird creatures that many investigators prefer to ignore because it seems more supernatural than biological. When it is thought to be an undiscovered species of animal, it is generally classified as a living pterodactyl.
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