Guarding Trsat Castle / Rijeka, Croatia / May 2005
This sculpture in Rijeka, Croatia reminded us of our very own Jersey Devil. The legend starts in the Jersey Pine Barrens in the 1700s when "Mother Leeds" gave birth to her 13th child (when she found she was pregnant with her 13th she said, "Devil can take the next one."; and he did). Most accounts say the Jersey Devil has the body of a man with a horse-like head, hoofed hind legs, giant bat wings, and a long pointed tail like a devil. Many first-person sightings have been recorded (including one in 1870 by a Long Beach fisherman who said he saw the Jersey Devil serenading a mermaid).
You can investigate for yourself. The Pinelands Preservation Alliance regularly conducts Jersey Devil Hunts that start in Wharton State Forest with a campfire and some old-time music (to calm the nerves), then heads off by the light of the moon to search the woods.
Maybe you'll find the Hoodle-Doodle Bird (another name for the Jersey Devil) gorging itself on the fruit of the pines: cranberries.