When you board a commercial jet you don’t want to know too much about your pilot.

You want to see them as an aviation expert at the top of their class not as the guy who barely passed flying lessons. You don’t want to see them as humans with flaws, like arguing with his wife the night before being bad at math or using words like regardless.

Same thing for people driving cars and trucks within inches of your fender at 70 mph on the Garden State Parkway. You don’t want to know just how dumb they are.

So what if I told you that guy you’re trusting with 4,000 pounds at 70 mph right beside you is someone who swears the Jersey Devil exists?

Getty Images / ThinkStock
Getty Images / ThinkStock

What is the Jersey Devil?

According to a Fairleigh Dickinson University poll it’s true. 16% of New Jerseyans believe the Pine Barrens legend and that the Jersey Devil exists.

Now let’s break down just how stupid this is.

They believe a legend that says Mother Leeds was a put-upon wife and mother of a deadbeat husband who already had twelve kids with him when she found out she was pregnant. In her despair and frustration she screamed to the heavens “May this one be the devil!” thus cursing the unborn child.

Legend has it that when the baby came, according to WeirdNJ.com, it “sprouted horns from the top of its head and talon-like claws tore through the tips of its fingers. Leathery bat-like wings unfurled from its back, and hair and feathers sprouted all over the child’s body. Its eyes began glowing bright red as they grew larger in the monster’s gnarled and snarling face."

Then the carnage began.

“The creature savagely attacked its mother, killing her, then turned its attention to the rest of the horrified onlookers who witnessed its tempestuous transformation. It flew at them, clawing and biting, voicing unearthly shrieks the entire time. It tore the midwives limb from limb, maiming some and killing others."

Philidelphia Bulletin, Jan. 1909
Philidelphia Bulletin, Jan. 1909

As any demon baby will do, it then flew up and out of the home through the chimney and disappeared to the night. It was forever to stalk the good people of New Jersey.

Nearly 1 in 6 believe this. Which is scary.

Think about this. The year was 1735. In the 1700s the typical mother had 8 to 10 children. It wasn’t considered a burden then as many lived on farms and children were put to work. They were an asset. Also, because of disease and lack of modern medicine, typically children died, and having 8 to 10 kids usually meant raising 5 or 6.

So 13 kids was not nearly as outrageous as it would be today. Also, it’s no coincidence that Mother Leeds wasn’t at her breaking point until the 13th child. The earliest evidence of 13 being considered unlucky is first found after the Middle Ages in Europe. Triskaidekaphobia was already well-established by 1735.

It’s just a scary story folks. An urban legend. Not different from the Loch Ness monster or Big Foot. To the 1 in 6 of you dumb enough to believe in this, I ask you to stay home on Election Day and for the love of all things holy, drive the back roads. You can have fun looking for your friend.

LOOK: Which movies were filmed in New Jersey?

Stacker compiled a list of movies filmed in New Jersey using data from Movie Locations, with additional information about each film collected from IMDb.

Gallery Credit: Stacker

A shopper's paradise in a quaint NJ town

Gallery Credit: Dennis Malloy

Opinions expressed in the post above are those of New Jersey 101.5 talk show host Jeff Deminski only.

You can now listen to Deminski & Doyle — On Demand! Hear New Jersey’s favorite afternoon radio show any day of the week. Download the Deminski & Doyle show wherever you get podcasts, on our free app, or listen right now.

Report a correction 👈 | 👉 Contact our newsroom

More From New Jersey 101.5 FM