Archive for the ‘Stories’ Category

We’ve taken a look at the origin of the Jersey Devil legend in part 1, and explored some of the vast number of sightings people have claimed over the years in part 2. With such a huge number of reported encounters, often by large groups of people rather than individuals, surely there must be something behind it. But what?

The most mundane explanations go straight back to the original legend. We know, for example, that in 1735 a woman by the name of Leeds did live in the region in question. She is known to have had a large number of children, perhaps as many as twelve or thirteen – it wasn’t that uncommon at the time. Given her likely age after bearing so many children, it’s possible that she had reached a point close to menopause, where birth defects occur at a greater rate and pregnancies are higher risk.

It’s not unreasonable to hypothesize that last child could have been born deformed – and at the time, deformed children were thought to be the spawn of the devil. It wasn’t uncommon for one to be locked away or hidden in a small room to avoid public scorn or – even worse – the mother being accused of witchcraft. Such a child could have been exposed to the public at some point, and the legend is born.

But as reasonable and likely as that sounds, it can’t explain the years of encounters and sightings that have continued right up to modern day. Needless to say, there have been as many explanations suggested as there have been encounters with the creature.

Biologists and Zoologists have suggested that people might have been seeing a species of bird that was once indigenous to the New Jersey area – the Sandhill Crane. It regularly stands 40 − 48 inches tall, has a wingspan of up to seven feet, and its call is a loud (and some say unnatural-sounding) screech. But land development has driven the Sandhill Crane south and out of the region, and the crane is an herbivore whereas the Jersey Devil has been known to attack animals and steal livestock. Not to mention the fact that the rest of the Devil’s description really doesn’t exactly fit…

Others have suggested that the Jersey Devil might be (or be related to) the Hammer Headed Fruit Bat (Hypsignathus Monstrosus). While there is a striking resemblance to the description of the Jersey Devil, none are known to exist in the wild in America (they’re native to Africa), and the bat in question rarely grows more than eleven inches tall – which is large for a bat, but not near the reported size of the Jersey Devil.

One particularly wild theory suggests that the Jersey Devil is actually a ‘survival’ – that is, an animal which has survived past the commonly accepted point of extinction, like the coelacanth. In this case, people have suggested that the Jersey Devil might be a group of pterodactyls that have survived throughout the years. Needless to say the physical details are only a rough fit at best, and it seems extremely unlikely that such a survival could have occurred.

But there are even wilder theories. It has been suggested that the Jersey Devil could be the descendant of another creature of legend – the dragon. Both creatures are said to have long necks, wings, and the ability to fly; and in some encounters with the Jersey Devil, it has been said to breathe fire like a dragon. But dragons are, of course, purely mythical. Aren’t they? The Native American tribes of the region did call the area “Popuessing,” which translates to “place of the dragon.”

There are, of course, a large number of supernatural theories about the Jersey Devil. Some people have asked why the Jersey Devil has to be a creature that can be explained by scientific means. Couldn’t it truly be a supernatural entity? After all, it has survived for so long; been shot without taking harm; its tracks have been followed to and through places that no natural creature of its size could have passed through; its tracks have been reported to change size mid-stride, and even to change shape; and it has eluded every attempt at capture.

Needless to say, that’s going to be a hard theory to prove or disprove.

Coming back around from the supernatural, cryptozoologists have put forth two ‘real world’ explanations that many Jersey Devil researchers support.

First, the Jersey Devil could be a hybrid animal of some sort (like a mule, for example). There are two problems with this theory: hybrids tend to be sterile, so reproduction (and thus an ongoing population) is unlikely without intervention; and what creatures could be mated that would produce that unlikely combination of features?

Second, cryptozoologists have suggested – as they have for many unexplained creatures – that it might simply be a previously undiscovered and unidentified form of animal life. New animals are discovered daily somewhere in the world – it’s small-minded to believe that we know every type of creature that inhabits the Earth. Perhaps there is a creature native to the Pine Barrens that lives nowhere else on the planet and has never been captured or killed by humans. Still, with more than seven million people living in the state of New Jersey, it seems unlikely that such a creature could have gone unseen (and uncaptured and unkilled) for this long. Unlikely, but not impossible.

Maybe it’s one or more (or all) of the above. To date, we just don’t know. Obviously, some explanations are more likely than others. Whatever the Jersey Devil is, one thing about it is undeniable: it has made an indelible impact on popular American culture.

Check the original post: Classic Cryptid: The Truth Behind The Legend of the Jersey Devil

The Jersey Devil has built up a vast collection of encounter reports since its first appearance in the 1700s. All of them come from the area in and around the New Jersey Pine Barrens, and the majority of them by reliable witnesses. Following are some of the most notable recorded run-ins with the creature:

  • In 1819, at the behest of President James Monroe, Commodore Stephen Decatur was visiting the Hannover Mill works to inspect the quality of his cannonballs as they were being forged. While there, he reported that he sighted a flying creature matching the Jersey Devil’s description, and that he fired at and hit it with a cannonball…to no effect. Work that was done on Decatur’s house in Washington, D.C. in 2007-2008 turned up papers suggesting that this encounter might have been something more than chance – he was definitely in New Jersey at the time testing the quality of the cannonballs produced by Batsto and Hannover, but was evidently accompanied by Dr. James Killian, a famous paranormalist and cryptid hunter of the time. Stories collected from throughout New Jersey and southeastern Pennsylvania have the two men in pursuit of the creature for some months.
  • The writings of Joseph Bonaparte, the eldest brother of Emperor Napoleon, indicate that he saw and fired upon a creature matching the Jersey Devil’s description while hunting on his Bordentown estate in 1820. Like Decatur’s encounter, shooting at the creature had no effect.
  • In 1840, the Jersey Devil was blamed for several livestock killings; similar attacks were reported again in 1841, accompanied by strange tracks and “unearthly” screams. There were similar reports again in 1859 and a flurry of sightings in 1873, followed by a report of it terrifying children in 1887. Again, as in Decatur’s encounter, there are reports of people shooting at it to no effect.
  • On July 27th, 1937, a creature matching the description of the Jersey Devil was seen by many of the residents of Downington, Pennsylvania.
  • In 1960, unusual tracks were found and accompanied by loud shrieking heard near Mays Landing. That same year, merchants around Camden offered a $10,000 reward for the capture of the Jersey Devil, saying that they would even build a private zoo to house it if it could be brought in alive.
  • In 1990, several soldiers from Fort Dix reported witnessing a strange creature matching the Jersey Devil’s description while on maneuvers.
  • In 2007, a creature with a horse’s head and bat like wings was reported to walk in front of a couple of hikers in Wharton State Forest. The following January 21st (2008), a man in Eldora heard a strange screech and saw a creature matching the Jersey Devil’s description perched on top of his chicken coop. He said that the large winged creature flew off after being startled by his cell phone ringing.
  • In 2008, the New York Times was given no less than ten reports of encounters with the Jersey Devil by a group local to the Pine Barrens that collected them.

The list of sightings is seemingly endless, and only continues to grow to this day. But by far the most spectacular event associated with the Jersey Devil is the so-called “Phenomenal Week” of January 16th – 23rd, 1909. During those days, sightings of the Jersey Devil were reported by thousands of people in the area surrounding the Pine Barrens, including:

  • Dozens of people sighted the creature flying over Woodbury on the 16th. On the 17th and 18th, strange and seemingly impossible tracks were found in Burlington, NJ; Bristol, PA; and several other towns. The tracks were said to appear and disappear at random, sometimes even appearing in the snow on top of houses or passing beneath and through impossibly low or small spaces.
  • On the 19th, Nelson Evans and his wife, of Gloucester, reportedly saw the creature outside their windows at 2:30 AM and provided a detailed description of it: “It was about three feet and a half high, with a head like a collie dog and a face like a horse. It had a long neck, wings about two feet long, and its back legs were like those of a crane, and it had horse’s hooves. It walked on its back legs and held up two short front legs with paws on them. It didn’t use the front legs at all while we were watching.”
  • The same day, two Gloucester hunters tracked the creature’s trail for twenty miles. It appeared to “jump” fences and squeeze under eight-inch gaps. Similar trails were reported in several other towns the same day.
  • On the 20th, Haddonfield and Collingswood formed posses to find the devil. Both groups reportedly watch the creature fly towards Moorestown, where it was reported being seen by at least two more people.
  • On the 21st, the creature attacked a trolley car in Haddon Heights, but was chased off, resulting in trolley cars in several nearby towns beginning to maintain armed guards. Several poultry farmers found their chickens dead that day, and the devil was reported to collide with an electric rail in Clayton without being affected. A telegraph worker near Atlantic City claimed to have shot the devil, only to watch it limp off into the woods – it was apparently unfazed, as it continued rampaging through Philadelphia, PA and West Collingswood, NJ. In West Collingswood, the devil seemed poised to attack nearby people and was supposedly hosed by the local fire department to chase it off. It reemerged in Camden to injure a dog; the first reported attack on a living creature.

There were a few more sightings on the 22nd, but the damage had been done – widespread newspaper coverage had led to a panic throughout the Delaware Valley, resulting in a number of school and business closings.

It can’t be denied that people have been seeing something in and around the Pine Barrens over the past 275 years or so. But what, exactly, is it that they’ve been seeing? In the next part, we’ll explore some of the theories people have put forth to explain what the Jersey Devil might be.

Back to Part One

Go to Part Three

Original story credits: Josh Sanofsky by Week in Weird

Almost everyone who lives in the northeastern United States has heard of the Jersey Devil once or twice. It’s one of the most famous early American legends, and one of the most often investigated and sought-after cryptids; the earliest reported encounters with it date back as far as the late 1700s or early 1800s. And as with many legends, there are almost as many different versions of the creature’s origins as there have been sightings of it.

The most common version of the legend goes a little something like this: In the 1700s, a woman named Deborah Smith emigrated from England to marry a Mr. Leeds, and went to live in the area of New Jersey now known as the Pine Barrens. When the story of the Jersey Devil truly begins, Mrs. Leeds had given birth to twelve children, and had discovered that she was about to give birth to her thirteenth.

Some versions of the story say that when she learned that she was pregnant with her thirteenth child, she reacted with fury and disgust, crying out “I hope it’s a devil!” or “May it be a devil!” Other variations say that she invoked the devil during the particularly difficult and painful labor that followed. Be that as it may, when the child was born it was either immediately known to be unnatural by its appearance – being born with horns on a horse-like head, wings and a tail – or shortly after its birth changed into a devil-like creature. Again, these differences depend on the version.

There are even versions of the versions. One says that rather than cursing the child herself or calling on the devil during the birth, the child’s devilish nature was the result of a family curse, though it doesn’t mention which side of the family. Still another version mentions that the creature visited Mrs. Leeds every day; she would stand at her door and tell it to leave, until finally it relented and never returned.

Some stories say it was the sixth child, or the eight, tenth, twelfth or thirteenth. Some say it was born normal, others deformed. Some say the mother immediately drove it out of the house, while others say she confined it to the cellar or attic.

Another popular alteration of the legend says that a Mrs. Shrouds of Leeds Point, New Jersey, made a wish that if she ever had another child, she wanted it to be a devil. Her next child was born misshapen and deformed (though not necessarily unnatural). She kept it hidden in the house so curious neighbors wouldn’t be able to see him. Finally, one evening the child flapped its arms – which turned into wings – and escaped up the chimney, never to be seen by the family again.

Burlington, New Jersey claims (as do a few other locations) to be the birthplace of the Jersey Devil. They say that in 1735, Mother Leeds was in labor on a stormy night with her friends and family gathered around her. Rumors said that she was a witch, and that the child’s father might even be the devil himself. When the cursed child wasborn, it appeared to be perfectly normal, then in front of the eyes of the room, changed from a normal baby into a creature with hooves, a horses’ head, bat wings and a forked tail. It proceeded to beat everyone present, then flew up the chimney. It circled the village before heading toward the pines, and commenced to harry the town until a clergyman banished the creature for 100 years in 1740.

In every version of the story, there are some consistent details. The name “Leeds” enters into many of them, either as a location or the name of the cursed family. Most agree on the final appearance of the creature as it left its birthplace.

There is also, potentially, some historical precedent for the story. One historian discovered that a Daniel Leeds owned land in Great Egg Harbor, New Jersey, in 1699, and that his family lived in Leeds Point. He also discovered that a Samuel Shrouds came to Little Egg Harbor in 1735, and lived across the river from the house of Mother Leeds. The Leeds and Shrouds names appear in many versions of the legend.

Another professor found that a “devil” was mentioned in historical and religious writings from the Burlington area as early as 1735. He noted that the name “Burlington” was used to refer an area of New Jersey from the city of Burlington to the Atlantic Ocean, which encompasses Leeds Point and several other locations associated with the legend.

It’s worth noting that the Pine Barrens itself is a fascinating region of heavily forested land. The area’s soil is sandy, acidic and nutrient poor, which led to sparse settlement as it was poor farming land. In spite of this, the uncommon conditions there enable the Pine Barrens to support a diverse spectrum of unusual plant life, including orchids, carnivorous plants (such as the Venus Flytrap), and a rare pygmy variant of the Pitch Pine, amongst others. Even before the birth of the Jersey Devil, the Lenni Lenape Native American tribes of the region referred to the area as “Popuessing,” meaning “place of the dragon.”

All of these details have to have come from somewhere, and that somewhere would be the huge body of encounters people have had with the creature over the past 275-odd years.

Go to Part Two

SEASON ONE – Episode List

Posted: July 9, 2015 in recap, Report, Stories

The Hunting is an American-Brazilian-French-Spanish fan-based supernatural drama Roleplaying Game series, created by Duncan Salazar, that follows best friends Beatrice “B.A” Anderson and Ashley “Hendrix” Hendricks, as they travel through United States trying to find the monster that killed Hendrix’s brother (as seen on Episode 1). The series is a fan-mande SPINOFF straight from the Supernatural series (created by Eric Kripke, no copyright infringement intented), and borrows heavily from that show’s mythology, introducing new elements to the new series.

So far, their main adversaries were witches, demons, ghosts, and the Big Bad Wolf, the target of their investigation.
The series premiered on March 10, 2011 on the website The Hunting. The first season was developed in 20-episode format, and was roleplayed for over 4 years. The Season 1 finale took place on July, 9, 2015.

The Episode List for Season One it is as follows. The map show the route taken by the main characters:

 

The route for Season 1. Names of places are next to the episodes' titles.

The route for Season 1. Names of places are next to the episodes’ titles.

1 – The Night of the Wolf (Washington, DC)
2 – Last Rites (Earls)
3 – Coming of Age (Roanoke)
4 – Let Me Go (Lawsonville)
5 – A Can of Troubles (Bear Branch)
6 – Oh, Georgia (Atlanta)
7 – Jackson (Jackson, Mississipi)
8 – Three Little Witches, Part 1 (Louisiana)
9 – Zombie Night, Part 2 (Louisiana)
10 – Winchesters AKA The Tarantino Episode, Part 3 (Louisiana)
11 – Alligator Man (Baton Rouge)
12 – I Miss Alabama Already (Alexandria)
13 – That Girl is Strange (Orange)
14 – Sloutching Towards Her, Part 1 (Jasper)
15 – Two Become One (Milan)
16 – Daniel Spitz, MIA (Nacogdoches)
17 – The Hag of Carthage (Carthage)
18 – Remember… (Natchez)
19 – The Wolf Hunt, Parte 1 (Swiftwater)
20 – The Wolf in Me, Parte 2 [Season Finale] (Money, Mississipi)

The Soundtrack for Season 1

The Soundtrack for Season 1

Season Two is already in the works. All cast has been already confirmed, and some new faces will come to play. Stay tuned.
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The Mark of Cain

The Mark of Cain

When God judged Cain for the murder of Abel he became fearful for his life. The Bible speaks of God putting a mark on Cain to protect him from others.

And the Lord said to him, Therefore, whoever kills Cain, vengeance shall be taken on him sevenfold. And the Lord set a mark on Cain, lest anyone finding him should kill him (Genesis 4:15).

God’s mark of protection on Cain was to help provide for his safety. However, it did not prevent Cain from being attacked or murdered. The mark merely warned that anyone who killed Cain would himself suffer a worse death.

Large Population

The fact that God had to put a mark on Cain suggests that the population was large enough that Cain needed to be singled out for protection. The text does not tell us what the mark was or that it was passed down to succeeding generations. As to what was the mark of Cain there have been a number of suggestions.

Not Necessarily On His Person

Certain Bible commentators have argued that the mark was merely a sign of confirmation that Cain would be protected from others. We are not told what sign God gave him, but whatever it was it calmed his fears for his life.

The phrase set a mark upon Cain (King James Version) does not necessarily mean that there was some mark upon his person. The phrase more likely means a sign for him. This could mean that God gave some sign to appear for Cain’s reassurance. Thus the idea of mark may mean some type of token or pledge. There are two other instances in the Old Testament where God gave similar signs to confirm His Word (Judges 6:36-40) and Elisha (2 Kings 2:9-12).

Appointed A Sign

The Revised Version translates the phrase appointed a sign for Cain. This indicates that whenever someone approached Cain some sign was given to deter that person from attacking. Though we are not told what this sign was, it protected Cain from those who wished to harm him.

Physical Sign

Others have argued that the mark was something physical. This would either be on his person or something that was with him. Possible solutions include: a dog to provide direction for Cain, a physical mark on his forehead, horns, or a brightly colored coat. One of the horrible suggestions that has been made is that Cain was marked with black skin. There is absolutely no basis whatsoever for accepting this terrible interpretation.

mark_of_cain_by_nikitajuice-d5tkzho

Not Told

None of these proposed solutions to the mark of Cain can be proven or disproven – we are simply not told what it was.

Mark On The Forehead

The prophet Ezekiel was told to put a mark on the foreheads of certain people.

And the Lord said to him, Go through the midst of the city, through the midst of Jerusalem, a put a mark on the foreheads of men who sigh and cry over all the abominations that are down within it (Ezekiel 9:4).

Scripture also tells us that in the future, God will mark His people for protection. For example, in the Book of Revelation we have an episode where people have a mark placed upon them. A special group of people, the 144,000, receives a mark from God that guarantees their protection. The Lord commanded:

Do not harm the earth, the sea, or the trees till we have sealed the servants of our God on their foreheads (Revelation 7:3).

Those not having the mark of God were not protected from the coming judgments.

Mark Of The Beast

In the Book of Revelation we also find the mark of the beast. Satan always counterfeits the things of God. As God marked the 144,000 as a special people to be protected, Satan will mark all those who worship him with his name and number on their right hand and forehead. As is true with the mark placed on the 144,000 by God, the mark here speaks of ownership.

And he causes all, both small and great, rich and poor, free and slave, to receive a mark on their right hand or on their foreheads (Revelation 13:16).


Both of these marks were for the purpose of keeping the people safe who received the mark. Therefore we can conclude that the mark of Cain fits other portions of Scripture where a mark is given as a sign of protection.

From God To Nod!

After his judgment, Cain went out from the presence of the Lord and built a city in the land of Nod. The exact location of Nod seems to be unknown to the readers of Genesis. It is described as being east of Eden. This is another geographical reference away from the Garden. As humankind goes further east, they go further from God’s presence.

Successful Materially, Not Spiritually

Thus this part of humanity, cut off from God’s presence, organized and built the first city. From the simple pastoral and agricultural life humankind now created urban society with all its complications. Cain’s city developed music and metallurgy. The mention of metal working at that very early period causes a problem because it occurs long before the historical bronze and iron ages. It is possible that the knowledge of metallurgy was wiped out in the Flood of Noah. The techniques discovered and employed in this time were then rediscovered at a later period.
Though this community was successful in material matters, their spiritual life continued to be far away from God’s presence.

Paradise lost...

Paradise lost…


Summary

The mark of Cain was to help keep him from being physically harmed while he was a stranger and a vagabond. It did not guarantee his safety, it only promised a worse fate for those who harmed him. We cannot be certain whether the mark was an actual physical sign or something else. Marking humanity is something we find in the Book of Revelation. God marks his people with a sign on their forehead. The Antichrist also marks his people with a sign on their forehead and right hand. In both instances, the marks indicated ownership and protection.

Posted: 10/14/2014 8:41 am EDT Updated: 10/14/2014 8:46 am EDT
HAUNTED HOUSE

Let’s call a spade a spade: October is the spookiest month of the year. From scary Halloween costumes to creepy Jack-O-Lanterns staring at us from front porches, ghosts, whether you believe in them or not, are always on the back of your mind.

And for us, when the stairs are a little too creaky or a huge gust of wind blows the front door open, we definitely start believing our house is haunted. So we decided to call in John E.L. Tenney, one of the world’s leading paranormal investigators in the world and the star of Destination America’s new TV show, ‘Ghost Stalkers’ to debunk and confirm the biggest myths.

Here are some of the most common misconceptions — and truths — he comes across regularly.

1. You’ve felt someone tap on your shoulder when no one is there.

shoulder

TRUE: Tenney told us that “the truer nature of hauntings is that they are far more subtle and vary greatly.” So if you feel like someone tapped your shoulder in an empty room or house, you just might be in the presence of a haunted spirit.

2. Your furniture is constantly rearranging itself.

FALSE: According to Tenney, “there are no ‘hard and fast’ rules” when it comes to figuring out if a house is haunted or not, but there are certain things that will not occur, like a pet speaking multiple language or a box springs suddenly hovering three feet off the floor.

3. People have died in your house.

FALSE: “People believe that a death or tragic occurrence in a home means their house is haunted, but not even this has been a reliable indicator that strange manifestations must take place,” Tenney explained. “Most homes have seen death or tragedy in some way and, indeed, they do not have what people call ‘hauntings’.”

4. You hear strange sounds more commonly during certain seasons.

outside thermometer

FALSE: In some of Tenney’s cases, certain residents of “haunted” houses have reported weird noses that Tenney attributes to a change in temperature. He explained that wood, steel and other materials shrinking or expanding might be causing that bump in the night, especially during the fall and spring seasons.

5. You suddenly smell the perfume of a loved one.

TRUE: Just like something tapping on your shoulder when no one is home, Tenney said that the presence of a possible haunting experience “is as simple as smelling the perfume of a loved one who has passed away.”

6. You’ve had a frightening experience in an attic, basement, crawl space or closet.

attic

FALSE: “Reports of frightening experiences taking place in a home are also mostly based around confining and dark locations such as attics, basements/crawl spaces, and closets,” said Tenney. “This can be attributed to our own human psychological fear of dark and constrictive spaces.”

To further ease our minds, Tenney also said that a “quick look back through my files over the last 27 years shows that close to 98% of the cases I’ve investigated have had normal, if not readily noticeable, explanations.” Though that doesn’t completely ensure that we won’t run into a spirit at some point, we’ll keep this list handy just in case.

 

To read more, please go to http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2014/10/14/how-to-tell-if-your-house-is-haunted_n_5965458.html?ncid=fcbklnkushpmg00000063

As posted on 9GAG

 

Our take on that: one should not make fun of these stories. THEY ALL are always based on real facts.

Forget Sleeping. These 15 Real Ghost Stories Are Going To Keep You Up Tonight.