Girard’s tale of the Jersey Devil

By Staff Writer
April 7, 2005

Shane Evans

The puzzling and terrifying American myth of the New Jersey Pine Barrens and the stories surrounding the Jersey Devil have captivated adults and children for more than two hundred years of history. Geoffrey Girard, award winning fiction writer and son of Dr. Jolyon Girard, has captured the spirit of sightings, folklore and events through fourteen chapters of fictional tales in his new book “Tales of the Jersey Devil.”

“Geoffrey did all of the fiction writing and I took care of the historical accuracies,” Dr. Girard, history and political science professor, said. With the help of Girard’s excellence in history and Jared Barber as the illustrator of the book, Geoffrey Girard has captured the legend of the Jersey Devil from birth and up into the Jersey Devil Club of today. Tales of the Jersey Devil begin with his birth in 1735 where he was the thirteenth child of the Leeds family. The sightings and folklore continue throughout the years with various sighting of the Jersey Devil or Leeds Devil watching near the house where he was born. Geoffrey Girard’s “Tales of the Jersey Devil” goes through the years from the story of Daniel Leeds to the fossil site in 1978.

“My wife and I actually went out to the Pine Barrens,” said Dr. Girard. The legend of the Jersey Devil goes that he was born as the thirteenth child to the Leeds family. The rumors supposedly were that either Mother Leeds herself dabbled in dark arts or that she was cursed by a gypsy. The legend continues to go on and say that the child was supposed to look like Lucifer himself. The child was born and looked like a normal human baby but then the child began to transform into a creature that had the face of a horse and a long serpent’s tail.

Oral folklore and many stories surrounding the mere-than-myth Jersey Devil have been keeping children awake on dark nights and fascinating believers alike. This American legend is even believed to be more than a myth just like the Loch Ness monster. Whether the stories are true or not, there’s one thing for sure. New Jersey isn’t just about the shore and malls, it’s about a location that’s hundreds of miles long called the Pine Barrens, that holds the dwelling place of the Jersey Devil. Geoffrey Girard’s book “Tales of the Jersey Devil” is now on sale in Cabrini’s bookstore and at online bookstores.

Posted to the web by Shane Evans

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