Stories of the Jersey Devil’s exploits range from petty vandalism to assisted suicide and murder (allegedly). The creature’s supernatural abilities also change according to who is telling the story. Most stories agree that the creature can disappear, some say it can change form and even imitate people.
What is a bit murky, is how or why the victims are chosen by the Jersey Devil. These motivations change depending on the the devil’s origin story. The theory that comes from the Christian interpretation is that the Jersey Devil is an emissary for Lucifer, and its job is to corrupt people who could otherwise have a positive effect on their community. The Jersey Devil looks for able communicators and people with natural charisma, then seeks out a character flaw to exploit.
A story that lends some credibility to this theory, is of a well known entrepreneur and philanthropist. This woman, who wishes to remain anonymous, started out as a friendly and bright little girl. Her parents became concerned when the youngster’s imaginary friend “Sam” began telling her stories that were unsettling to their sensibilities. They figured she learned the vulgar expressions in school, and that the imaginary friend was a way for her to ask her parents about the subject matter without fear of punishment.
The girl’s father, who sometimes worked nights as an emergency room doctor, was home one afternoon and saw his daughter speaking to someone in the back of their backyard by the wood line. He slowly snuck up on his daughter in order to get a look at her “imaginary friend”. He walked up to the trees and jumped out, hoping to see her speaking to nothing. What he saw was a small, strange creature, that the man later described as a “feral dog with wild hair and a large snout”. The creature supposedly disappeared right away into the woods.
Thankfully the daughter turned back to look at her father and did not see the creature before it disappeared. When the young girl’s father asked her to describe Sam’s appearance, she told him Sam was a nice looking man who was always smiling.
The little girl thankfully was left alone by the creature after this incident. An artist created this portrayal based on the description of the creature given by the girl’s father.