Today’s “Most Read” story on NJ.com’s page is about a ridiculous so-called sighting of the Jersey Devil. The story is even trending on Facebook now as several more news outlets have picked it up. The original story came through an email to Paranormal Corner columnist Kelly Roncase, a paranormal investigator. Her columns are breezy and pro-belief without much critical thinking, this one is no different. As with the Lizard Man latest sighting, this is another successful attempt to play a prank on the local news outlet and get some attention (and a good laugh).
According to the email Roncase received, Dave Black was driving home when he saw what he thought was a llama near the road in Galloway, New Jersey. Then he said it spread leathery wings and flew over the golf course. He snapped some pictures but only one came out.
He shared the picture with NJ.com. Fakety fake fake goat with wings. Laugh out loud fake. The object is too stiff to be alive and clearly not a real creature. Also we can tell the silly-shaped and small-sized wings aren’t moving since the shutter speed was low in this light and movement would have resulted in a blur. For this alone we can call fake. Besides, there is no animal that looks like this for real, the Jersey Devil is a myth, although popular. But, as such media outlets will do, they play it straight as they can and ask for YOUR opinion. Several people have given their opinion that they can neither believe this is anything more than a stupid hoax and that the NJ.com gave it any attention.
The NJ.com story was later updated to include a video. The video came from the Weird NJ site who report THEY received the video from a person named Emily Martin who said she captured it on Old Port Republic Rd in Leeds Point. Leeds Point and Galloway are historic locations associated with the devil legend. So, it’s quite convenient that that’s where they showed up. The creature is still around 200 years later? Uh-uh. This appears to be an orchestrated hoax. I wonder if they watched True Monsters on HISTORY on Friday?
Neither outlet that received these fantastic claims appeared to do ANY investigation. They just posted the crazy stories accompanied by the eyewitnesses baseless assurances that they swear they aren’t lying or hoaxing. OK…
The video is HILARIOUS! It appears to be a plush animal with battery operated wings. The wings are clearly not propelling the animal that has stiff and stuffed legs. It does not appear to be the same prop from the still photo, though they look remarkably similar and the setting is exactly the same. The video creature is more stocky and plump. Yes, I have wasted time looking at this nonsense.
Back in the summer, a similar scenario occurred in Bishopville, South Carolina when an email accompanied by a photo was sent to the local news claiming a sighting of the infamous local monster, Lizard Man. A video of the creature then appeared shortly afterwards. The story was a hit. People got a good laugh. Whenever I state how dumb these things are, many people react by saying one of two extremes – first, that I should lighten up and take a joke. OH I KNOW THIS IS A JOKE. But there REALLY ARE people who think there are biologically impossible mystery monsters that are out there. That’s the second typical response – from people who say they have experienced it themselves and are convinced. No amount of logical dissection of the claim will matter to them. That’s the way the world is.
Pick up a copy of the upcoming Fortean Times for a new investigative report on the Bishopvill Lizard Man of Scape Ore Swamp from Benjamin Radford with additional content from yours truly. As for the Jersey Devil, it’s a nice tourist ploy for Halloween. The woods are scary enough these days, I’ll pass on belief in mythical creatures. It’s a shame that the media can’t seem to help promoting such preposterous tales with a straight face.
It’s going to be a long, face-palming October!