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Dark Destinations > Locations - L > Leeds Point, New Jersey


 
Leeds Point, New Jersey Other destinations within a
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Availability: Open to the Public
Filed Under: Mysterious Creatures > Jersey Devil
Television Locations > Real Scary Stories
Television Locations > Scariest Places on Earth
Added By: TheCabinet
Added On: October 11, 2007 - 10:21 PM UTC
Last Modified: October 11, 2007 - 10:21 PM UTC
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Address
Leeds Point, Galloway, NJ, USA (Leeds Point, New Jersey)
 
Information
Birthplace of the Jersey Devil
Leeds Point, New Jersey is considered by many to be ground zero for those interested in the Jersey Devil - the famous legend believed to live in the Pine Barrens near the area. It has that reputation for a very good reason. While other cities make the same claim, the majority of people seem to believe that Leeds Point is the birthplace of the Jersey Devil.

Tracing the Legend
One of the most interesting aspects of the legend of the Jersey Devil is that, unlike similar "monsters" spotted throughout the United States, there are no records or accounts of the creature existing in the stories and myths of the Native American tribes in the area. Instead, tales of the Jersey Devil did not appear until the arrival of European settlers in the area. Even more intriguing is the fact that most of these tales say that the creature was even born to one of these settlers.

Giving Birth to a Devil
There are several different legends as to the birth of the Jersey Devil. Even the mother who was alleged to have given birth to the creature is cause for confusion. Some stories list the family's name as Shourds, while others say Leeds. In fact, the being is also known as the Leeds Devil, either after the family or the place it was born (here in Leeds Point). A local historian further caused confusion when they found that families by both names lived directly across from one another in the area around Leeds Point. Ruins of both houses are still in the general area and have attracted various would-be "Devil hunters," with the most popular destination being the Shourds House. Rather than cause more confusion, this article will stick with the more commonly used name of Leeds.

The birth of the Jersey Devil was said to have happened in the 18th Century, with some sources even specifically naming 1735 as the year of its birth. The most common version has a woman by the name of Deborah Leeds migrating to the area from England and marrying into the Leeds family. After already giving birth to 12 children, she was very unhappy to find herself pregnant with a 13th child. So when the delivery turned difficult and painful, and in a very emotional moment, she cried out, "May the devil take this one." Much to her horror, when the baby emerged, it appeared she had been granted her wish. The newborn baby was said to have the head of a horse, wings of a bat, torso of a man, legs of a goat (complete with cloven hoofs), and the tail of a serpent.

Other variations have the woman being cursed by locals after falling in love with a British soldier in the midst of the American Revolution. Yet others say the curse was placed on the Leeds woman by a local clergyman who had failed in his attempts to convert the woman from her Quaker ways. Some stories even say the woman was so unhappy in her marriage and situation that she when she found out she was pregnant with her 13th child, she defiantly cried out, "May it be a devil." Finally, some claim that the child was simply the result of an affair the woman had with the Devil himself.

After the birth, the Jersey Devil was said to immediately kill and devour the midwife who performed the delivery and then fly through the chimney and into the New Jersey night, while letting out a bloodcurdling shriek. Other variations even had the beast devouring the entire family before its departure, but seeing how there are descendants of both the Shourds and Leeds families to this day, it appears that there was in fact a limit on the all-you-can-eat buffet. One final version has the Leeds woman hiding the child away from society, while caring for and feeding it until her death. At that point, the Jersey Devil took to the Pine Barrens, where it is still being sighted to this day.

Leeds Point Today
This small town lies on the outskirts of Smithville, New Jersey just a short distance from Atlantic City. Several people come to the area to explore the ruins of the "Shourds House" just outside of town and hunt for the Jersey Devil. As mentioned earlier, there are actually two different ruins of houses said to be the birthplace of the monster. However, both sites are on private property and not open to the general public. Regardless, there are still reported sightings of the Jersey Devil in the area being reported to this day. If you plan to visit, you should check with local authorities to find out what areas are open to the public.
 
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Related Sites
Land of the Devil
A site dedicated to the legends and sightings of the Jersey Devil, believed to be living in the Pine Barrens of New Jersey.
The New Jersey Historical Society: Legend of the New Jersey Devil
A page from the New Jersey Historical Society dedicated to the legend of New Jersey's infamous Jersey Devil.
The Jersey Devil (Fact or Fiction)
A page dedicated to the history and locations associated with the Jersey Devil from the official town page of Elk Township, New Jersey.
 
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See Also on TheCabinet.com
Dark Destinations in the News (10/29/07)
Dark Destinations in the News (10/18/07)
Blog: Hunting the Jersey Devil (09/08/08)
Blog: The Dark Destinations Top 50 for Spring 2009 (05/24/09)
 
Available from Amazon.com
The Jersey Devil
Tales Of The Jersey Devil
Phantom of the Pines: More Tales of the Jersey Devil
Pine Barrens Legends, Lore and Lies
Haunted Jersey Shore: Ghosts And Strange Phenomena of the Garden State Coast (Haunted)
Weird N.J.: Your Travel Guide to New Jersey's Local Legends and Best Kept Secrets (Weird)
Mysterious America: The Ultimate Guide to the Nation's Weirdest Wonders, Strangest Spots, and Creepiest Creatures
Haunted Hikes: Spine-Tingling Tales and Trails from North America's National Parks
Spirits, Fairies, Leprechauns, and Goblins: An Encyclopedia
Haunted America
Monsters: Evil Beings, Mythical Beasts, and All Manner of Imaginary Terrors
 
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The above content is for informational purposes only. Before making any travel arrangements, it is highly recommended that you contact those in charge of the property to check for updated availability and hours of operation. While we do our best to keep this information updated, we cannot guarantee that it is completely valid and up to date. Any destination marked "Closed to the Public" is marked that for a reason and we discourage any visits or attempts to gain access to that facility. Similarly, take note of any "Travel Advisory" that may be associated with a destination. Finally, treat any location and its local residents with respect. Any vandalism and/or unruly behavior is completely despicable and only ruins the experience for future visitors.

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