By Janet and Frank M.
Recapped by Jessica@rutgersrarities.com
On Friday, September 9th, 1966, at approximately 11:00 PM in an old quarry site in Edison, a young couple had a terrifying experience with a creature that has been the official “state demon” since 1939 – the one & only Jersey Devil.
Janet and Frank M. were parked in their car in the “basin” or lowest portion of the former Edison Quarry, which is located next to the Kin-buc landfill that overlooks the Raritan River on the Edison/East Brunswick border. Janet and Frank were sitting & talking, with their car parked facing the exit out to the road and the quarry cliff side directly behind them, when they suddenly heard a “very loud, galloping sound from behind” and turned to look out the rear window at the noise. What they saw then was described as a “large horse-like creature, with hooves” that “glowed with a green transparent light” and rapidly flew down into the quarry floor and dropped down by the couple’s parked car. When it got close enough that they both could hear the creature’s incredibly loud, heavy panting/snorting noises and breathing, Frank and Janet both screamed, then Frank promptly stepped on the gas and drove as fast as he could out of the quarry. “The scariest thing about this creature was that I could see right through it” Janet recalled, “It was right at the side car window, I could see the cliff right through its body, and I remember being amazed that I could see the cliff ledge and sky so clearly through the creature’s body”. Both Janet and Frank stressed the loudness of the galloping noises, the horse-like appearance of this creature and also the incredible speed with which the creature suddenly “dropped” down upon them. “This creature was not a bear or deer or anything that I could ever explain”, Frank continued ,“with the glow around the creature’s body, I’d say that it was approximately horse-sized in actual body but the light it projected spread as wide and high as the side of a house”. After speeding out of the quarry to the road, the couple noticed that the creature disappeared as suddenly as it had appeared. Frank and Janet circled the area from the road above the quarry but saw no sign or traces of the creature’s passing. “I’m certain that it wasn’t after us” Janet noted, “because if it wanted us, it could have easily gotten us- it was that fast”.
The couple did not report the incident to the police and felt wary about even re-telling the incident to family and friends. “It sounded so crazy, but we both saw the same thing, we know what we saw and yet we doubted that anyone would believe us” the couple continued. The couple never even thought of their encounter as a “Jersey Devil” sighting until about 25 years later when their son, Kenny, showed them the book, The Jersey Devil by James F. McCloy and Ray Miller Jr. about the legendary creature that has purportedly haunted New Jersey for over 250 years. When Janet began to look at some of the pictures, she knew that both her and Frank were not the only people to have ever had an encounter with this creature… “As soon as I saw the one picture, the painting with the creature rising out of the mist and water, I knew that was exactly what we had seen”. Frank also felt that this painting was an accurate physical depiction, especially as it captured the “glowing bony, horsy type of head and hooves the creature that we saw had”.
Janet and Frank believe that this picture best encapsulates their experience with a strange creature.
After the Rutgers Rarities team met with Frank & Janet and heard their fascinating encounter first-hand, we proceeded to try and find out if anyone else encountered a similar creature or had an experience with something unexplainable in that location. What we found was that most of the reported Jersey Devil encounters happen in the South Jersey, namely near the Pine Barrens. However, there were a series of sightings in the 1960’s that have been compiled by the New Jersey Devil Hunters on their website, that include a similar experience of a couple encountering a flying creature late at night while sitting in their car in 1961 in the Pine Barrens. There were also reported sightings of a flying horse-like creature in 1960, 1963, 1966 and 1969. Most of the sightings mention a screaming or shrieking noise. What Janet and Frank heard in their encounter was described as a “very, very loud heavy breathing- the exhaling was actually like loud wheezing” but there is also a sighting that occurred in Manahawkin in 1973 by several couples that again mention a creature with glowing eyes “swooping down” on their cars and even brushing the windshield with its wings. What the RR Team finds interesting is that the 1973 account and even most of the 1960’s accounts take place near water just as Frank and Janet’s experience did. The painting that Janet and Frank felt so strongly captured the essence of their experience also shows the creature arising from a pool or pond. Could there be a link between the Jersey Devil and bodies of water? The “Blue Hole” is a very deep pool located in nearby Monroe Township, that is infamous for purportedly being bottomless and also for being a reputed Jersey Devil hangout, with many sightings reported along its shores. It is even nicknamed “the Devil’s Bathtub” as according to local legend, the Jersey Devil can be found bathing there at night. Could this creature be a natural water dweller of some sort that has feeding habits that are based on aquatic life? The RR Team would like to pursue this theory as the Raritan does seem to be the home base of many unusual occurrences in the area and Frank & Janet’s account took place within walking distance of the Raritan’s outlet…
Another important element of Frank and Janet’s story is the transparency and glowing properties of the creature they encountered. In McCloy and Miller’s book they cite an account by an E.W. Minster, in 1909 who described the creature he saw as follows:
As I got up I heard an eerie, almost supernatural sound from the direction of the river. I looked out upon the Delaware and saw flying diagonally across what appeared to be a large crane, but which was emitting a glow like a firefly.
Its head resembled that of a ram, with curled horns, and its long thick neck was thrust forward in flight. It had long thin wings and short legs, the front legs shorter than the hind. Again it uttered its mournful and awful call–a combination of a squawk and a whistle, the beginning very high.
Both Frank and Janet have read this account and feel that like their experience shares similarities with Minster’s story, especially the part about “glowing like a firefly”. Janet also called the RR team’s attention to the fact that Edison had a Jersey Devil sighting reported in the recent times; according to Wikipedia, a pizza delivery boy reported encountering a glowing horse-like creature while working late one night in 1991 in Edison township. In addition to providing the Team with the facts that they were able to dig up about the Jersey Devil in the library and online, Janet and Frank also gave us pictures of the site of their encounter as they recently revisited the spot in the daytime with their son, a visit that they had put off for nearly 30 years as they were openly “afraid and nervous about ever returning and seeing that thing again”. The pictures were fascinating to the Team as the cliff ledge where the couple said the Devil flew down from was huge and steep, and obviously no natural creature such as a deer or horse could possibly make a jump of those proportions. Clearly Frank and Janet saw an aerial creature that glowed, was transparent, had incredible speed and breathed loudly. In many ways their sighting is a “classic” Jersey Devil encounter as the elements of looking horse-like, but being aerial and possessing the ability to swoop quickly are common factors in nearly every sighting ever reported. The level of detail that both Janet and Frank could recall was amazing and signified that their experience was a deeply profound and disturbing occurrence that left its mark in their minds forever. The RR Team was thoroughly convinced of the couple’s sincerity and we are honored to be able to share this story on our site with the hope that we may perhaps gain other accounts or similar reports from anybody else who might have seen something like this in the area.
The RR team was motivated by this story to pursue their own investigation of the former quarry site and thanks to Janet’s thorough detailing of the location, we were able to find the site with ease. Our investigation, which includes a sighting of a strange looking creature and some eerie lights noted across the water is posted on the site and while it certainly pales in comparison with Janet & Franks’ experience, we are certain that this particular area is the home of something very odd- the place has a distinct bizarre, eerie feel.
The Rutgers Rarities team would like to extend our warmest thanks to Janet & Frank for sharing their account with us and being so conscientious and patient with our amateurish, but sincere efforts to capture the full essence of their incredible experience. Janet did a lot of research to aid us in writing up this account and we are very, very appreciative of her efforts. We would also like to thank their son Kenny, who has gone out of his way to assist the RR team with this and other investigations of the unusual around Rutgers. Thank you again Kenny, Frank & Janet!