One of the most storied sites in all of southern New Jersey is a mysterious body of water known as the Blue Hole. Located deep in the Pine Barrens of Winslow, on the border of Camden and Gloucester Counties, this small but legendary pool is said to not only be bottomless, but also a frequent pit stop of the Jersey Devil.
A number of legends exist: that it is bottomless with powerful currents, that the water is freezing cold year-round, and that the Jersey Devil is active in the area.
New Jersey has probably spawned the most well known cryptozological, paranormal oddity of the century, the Jersey Devil. The Beast, a creature not scientifically proven to exist, has terrorized the population of New Jersey for over 270 years. But in the back woods , hiding in the remote crevices of the Pine Barrens, there awaits a less well known but equally mysterious legend, the Blue Hole.
Located deep in the Pine Barrens of Winslow Township, NJ, lies a circular, perfectly crystal clear body of water(weird, as all sources of water in the Pine Barrens are tea colored). This small but legendary pool is not only said to be bottomless but a frequent pit stop of the Jersey Devil, his personal portal to Hell, they say. Still as glass, the water looks inviting, especially on a hot summer day. Yet locals warn their children to stay away and whatever they do, don't swim in it. Tales of unexplained whirpools and mysterious drownings have long been part of the pools lore. For those who were lucky enough to get away have claimed they felt an icy hand pulling them down into the chilly depths.
After people became afraid of it, the blue hole was largely abandoned. Perhaps farmers and families in the area warned children against going to the Blue Hole because the Jersey Devil lived there, and it would hurt or steal them. Locals still go to the area and use it as a party spot. There are many other 'blue holes' in the immediate vicinity, as well as quicksand and other seasonal ponds and lakes that form from springs seeping from high water table levels. What can not be so easily explained is the color of the lake compared to other brackish waters in the vicinit
The area around the pool is eerily silent. No animals can be heard and no life, no fish or vegetation, seem to exist at all inside it. The pool always maintains an icy chill, 58 degrees to be exact, depsite the high temps in the summer months. It is said it is bottomless directly in the center and the walls, or outer rim, are made of a fine sand, sometimes referred to as sugar sand, which locals liken to quicksand.
According to unconfirmed reports, several people have drowned or otherwise died in this lake for unknown reasons-there bodies found floating on the top of the water with scratch marks embedded into their legs and ankles. One victim, imparticuliar, was found with a broken neck and a gapping black hole where their eye should have been. Is this the work of the devil or an insane occultist? Who knows but its creepy thats for sure.
Suspecting this lake to be a favorite lurking place of the creature, locals used to set traps for it, and there are photographs of these in existence. As for another mysterious quality, some less reputable sources say that the bottom of the blue hole is a porthole to another realm. Witness have testified through out the years to seeing an elusive, unknown creature, similiar to the physical description of the Jersey Devil, entering and exciting the pool at night. Reports of weird sounds, eerie lights, and ghosts have been reported as well.
The Jersey Devil is a legendary creature or cryptid said to inhabit the Pine Barrens of Southern New Jersey, United States. The creature is often described as a flying biped with hooves, but there are many different variations. The most common description is that of a kangaroo-like creature with the head of a goat, leathery bat-like wings, horns, small arms with clawed hands, cloven hooves and a forked tail. It has been reported to move quickly and often is described as emitting a "blood-curdling scream."
There are many possible origins of the Jersey Devil legend. The earliest legends date back to Native American folklore. The Lenni Lenape tribes called the area around Pine Barrens "Popuessing", meaning "place of the dragon" Swedish explorers later named it "Drake Kill", "drake" being a word for dragon, and "kill" meaning channel or arm of the sea (river, stream, etc.)
The most accepted origin of the story, as far as New Jerseyans are concerned, started with Mother Leeds and is as follows:
"It was said that Mother Leeds had 12 children and, after finding she was pregnant for the 13th time, stated that this one would be the Devil. In 1735, Mother Leeds was in labor on a stormy night. Gathered around her were her friends. Mother Leeds was supposedly a witch and the child's father was the Devil himself. The child was born normal, but then changed form. It changed from a normal baby to a creature with hooves, a goat's head, bat wings and a forked tail. It growled and screamed, then killed the midwife before flying up the chimney. It circled the villages and headed toward the pines. In 1740 a clergy exorcised the demon for 100 years and it wasn't seen again until 1890."
"Mother Leeds" has been identified by some as Deborah Leeds. This identification may have gained credence from the fact that Deborah Leeds' husband, Japhet Leeds, named twelve children in the will he wrote in 1736, which is compatible with the legend of the Jersey Devil being the thirteenth child born by Mother Leeds. Deborah and Japhet Leeds also lived in the Leeds Point section of what is now Atlantic County, New Jersey, which is the area commonly said to be the location of the Jersey Devil story.
There have been many sightings and occurrences allegedly involving the Jersey Devil.
According to legend, while visiting the Hanover Mill Works to inspect his cannonballs being forged, Commodore Stephen Decatur sighted a flying creature flapping its wings and fired a cannonball directly upon it to no effect.
Joseph Bonaparte, eldest brother of Emperor Napoleon, is also said to have witnessed the Jersey Devil while hunting on his Bordentown estate around 1820. In 1840, the devil was blamed for several livestock killings. Similar attacks were reported in 1841, accompanied by tracks and screams.
Claims of a corpse matching the Leeds Devil's description arose in Greenwich in December 1925. A local farmer shot an unidentified animal as it attempted to steal his chickens. Afterward, he claimed that none of 100 people he showed it to could identify it. On July 27, 1937 an unknown animal "with red eyes" seen by residents of Downingtown, Pennsylvania was compared to the Jersey Devil by a reporter for the Pennsylvania Bulletin. In 1951, a group of Gibbstown, New Jersey boys claimed to have seen a 'monster' matching the Devil's description. and claims of a corpse matching the Jersey Devil's description arose in 1957. In 1960, tracks and noises heard near Mays Landing were claimed to be from the Jersey Devil.During the same year the merchants around Camden offered a $10,000 reward for the capture of the Jersey Devil, even offering to build a private zoo to house the creature if captured.
During the week of January 16 through 23, 1909, newspapers of the time published hundreds of claimed encounters with the Jersey Devil from all over the state. Among alleged encounters publicized that week were claims the creature "attacked" a trolley car in Haddon Heights and a social club in Camden. Police in Camden and Bristol, Pennsylvania supposedly fired on the creature to no effect. Other reports initially concerned unidentified footprints in the snow, but soon sightings of creatures resembling the Jersey Devil were being reported throughout South Jersey and as far away as Delaware. The widespread newspaper coverage led to a panic throughout the Delaware Valley prompting a number of schools to close and workers to stay home. During this period, it is rumored that the Philadelphia Zoo posted a $10,000 reward for the creature's capture. The offer prompted a variety of hoaxes, including a kangaroo with artificial wings.