The legend of the Jersey Devil is alive and well at the Jersey Shore, and since it’s April Fool’s Day, a police department in Ocean County decided to have a little fun on Facebook.
The Ocean Township Police Department posted a seemingly realistic press release about sightings of an “unknown animal” with “grayish colored hairless skin” that was either “screeching” or “screaming” as it moved through the woods.
Weird NJ describes the infamous Jersey Devil as “without a doubt, New Jersey’s oldest, most enduring, and important pieces of folklore.” The magazine profiles the legend here.
Here is the police department’s press release in its entirety:
Patrolman Michael Cicero and Patrolman Kyle Pimm were dispatched to the Brookville section of Ocean Township following several reports by residents who witnesses a unknown animal running through the wooded area behind their houses. All witness descriptions were similar, describing the unknown animal as being approximately 6’0 in height, with grayish colored hairless skin. One witness observed the animal leap towards the top of the trees before vanishing into the nighttime sky. All witness described the animal as making an extremely loud piercing “screeching” or “screaming” sound as it moved thru the woods.
D/Sgt William Sneddon responded to the scene and located unidentified hoof tracks, in the ground, where the animal was last seen by residents. The tracks were cast by the Detective Bureau. Investigators also located very large broken branches approximately 50 feet above the ground, where the animal was witnessed to have leaped into the darkness. Deep gouges in the tree bark, possibly hoof marks or scrapes were also observed and photographed by Investigators.
A canvass of the neighborhood revealed several additional residents who witnessed unknown sounds during the night. The sounds were described by many as “high pitched screams” followed by a “hissing” sound. Witnesses also indicated that the sounds were very common to the area and were always followed by a foul unknown, unidentifiable smell. One longtime resident of the Brookville area and Pine Barrens dismissed the investigators questions, simply saying, “What those folks seen and heard tonight was the Jersey Devil”.
The Detective Bureau will continue this investigation.