A relatively modern explanation of the Jersey Devil is that he was a fallen angel. His decision to come to earth in pursuit of human desires and subsequent lying to the boss about it caused him to get stuck on earth in human-ish form.
The story goes that there was an angel. After years of watching the growth of human civilization, he became fascinated with the daily goings-on of the people he would watch. It was like watching a bunch of soap-operas.
This angel was able to travel to earth in order to look out for the people he was tasked with protecting. His last case was a young man, with a relatively average story. The angel knew the time and place where he would be needed on earth. His window was 24 hours. The angel’s task was to make sure that the man made it to a business meeting that would effect the local sovereignty and future of New Jersey.
Another reason this was an important meeting is because there was a certain female person traveling through town during that hour who this man was not supposed to meet. The angel knew this as well.
The business meeting was not a scheduled meeting. The owner of a railroad company, would happen across the man’s small business while traveling through the town. After an hour long conversation, the two men would have come to a very lucrative business plan for the town in Atlantic County where the man resided.
The angel was needed because the man had scheduled plans for that afternoon with his fiancé. They were going to get the man fitted for his wedding suit. Since no man could pull-off canceling that event without dire consequences, the angel was to take the form of the man and go to the fitting while the man made the business deal. In hind-sight the man would have a foggy recollection of the suit-fitting event, and the slight overlap in time would be a minor inconsistency in a very successful marriage while simultaneously putting the power of an important New Jersey business plan into the capable hands of an honest and decent man.
The angel botched the whole thing pretty badly. His fascination with earthly desires quadrupled upon becoming human. He was able to get to the man’s office and change his clock back an hour. This assuring the man an hour to make the deal before having to leave for the fitting with his fiancé.
The angel ended up stopping at a local saloon. He was incredibly inquisitive because saloons and other “morally questionable” places were unable to be seen by the angels from Heaven. Curiosity is a cat-killer.
The saloon just so happened to be the place where a woman who the man was not supposed to meet stopped by. The reason that the man was not to meet this woman was that she was also “morally questionable” but extremely beautiful and enchanting. Since the woman was a temptress she would have encountered the man when he stopped by the saloon for an after work drink before the fitting. The angel was immediately approached by the woman.
Yada yada yada, the angel missed the fitting with the fiancé, who while walking from the clothing store to the man’s office, decided to check the saloon first. She saw the angel, in the form of her husband, talking affectionately with the woman. Infuriated but hoping to be wrong she proceeded to the man’s office and found him there, concluding his deal with the railroad owner.
The angel raced down to the man's office to witness this. He altered his appearance slightly and returned to the bar. He continued his conversation with the woman. The angel saw the man’s fiancé peek back into the door of the saloon. Her husband was standing behind her. The angel removed his hat and made sure she noticed his different form.
The crisis was averted. The wife understood the importance of the business deal and she chalked the rest of it up to paranoia.
From there it is said that the beautiful woman left the angel at the saloon and continued on her way. The angel was cast out of Heaven and forced to remain in New Jersey for eternity. The angel had defied the rules and let self actualization get in the way of his purpose in the universe.
The angel maintained the ability to change his appearance, but over the years his default form turned into a monster. The fallen angel was filled with spite, contempt and envy towards God and all forces for good. The tormented immortal embodies all of humanity's weaknesses and exacerbates the weaknesses of others for his own pleasure.
*For other stories and explanations check out the Jersey Devil section of the Director's Post categories.