Birds eye view of the Pine Barrens. Credit: Wikimedia Commons

15. In 1835, The Jersey Devil Met a “Pine Rat”.

Back in the 1800’s, people who lived in the middle of the Pine Barrens were given the nickname “Pine Rats”, because they were often living in huts and cabins in the middle of nowhere, scavenging for supplies whenever they could find it. Today, they’re called “Pineys”, or, like everywhere else in the country, just plain out “rednecks”. The woods were filled with moonshiners, criminals on the lamb, runaway slaves, and men who deserted the draft. Basically- everyone was hiding in the wilderness from something, and it was even more of a reason to give them a rude nickname. Most Pine Rats were superstitious, and told a lot of spooky campfire stories about local legends, especially during the 1800’s. So it was very rare for residents to go out into the woods after dark, for fear of the Jersey Devil.

In an issue of The Atlantic Monthly, a woman named Hannah Butler, who was labeled to be a “pine rat”, was drinking a strong apple cider that was known as “Jersey Lightning”, so she lost her fear at night, and started walking in the forest. Sure enough, the one time she decided to go out, and heard the bloodcurdling screams that became famous for the Jersey Devil. She came face-to-face with the Jersey Devil, and described it as having black fur and hooves. Its face looked like a horse or a goat, but it stood on only two legs, and had large leathery wings.