USC Digital Folklore Archives / Posts Tagged ‘beast’
Legends
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Beast of Bray Road – Legend

Piece: 

“Okay, uhm aight so first thing is the beast of Bray road, sooo it takes place in Elkhorn, Wisconsin, on bray road, and they say that the road is cursed and haunted, and that a strange wolf like creature roams the area, and if you go there at night with ill intent, you’ll see him and it will try to attack you but it only shows itself to bad people. The first sighting was in the 1930’s but there have also been sightings reported in the 1980’s and 1990’s”

 

Background information: The informant is a close friend of mine from back home. (Wisconsin) He lives in the town adjacent to Elkhorn, Wisconsin, so he is very familiar with the area.

Context: This legend is usually shared during bonfires. Being from Elkhorn myself, people like to bring this up in order to frighten those who are extremely scared of local beasts. The informant shared that he’s heard of this legend multiple times as a kid.

Background Information: I was browsing my phone last semester when I stumbled upon a facebook post that a friend from back home had shared. I clicked on the article and found out that there was a new Netflix documentary on the Beast of Bray road. A Netflix documentary. For those not familiar with Elkhorn, it’s a super small town in the middle of nowhere. A city folk would chuckle at its population size of only 9,000. I didn’t know much about Bray road until I decided to look it up on google maps. Turns out, Bray road is 3 minutes away from where I live. I’ve actually driven on bray road before, not knowing of the “beast” that resided in it. I never saw the beast, but then again, I’ve only been on the road during the daytime.

general

The Jersey Devil

This piece was collected from my friend who grew up in New Jersey. To her, it wasn’t a very important part of her life, but it was well-known where she was from because it’s one of the most popular pieces of folklore from New Jersey.

This is how she explained it to me:

“I’m from New Jersey, and there’s a southern part of the state called the Pine Barrens, it’s filled with trees, it’s a very forest-y area. And for years and years it’s been said that there’s the Jersey Devil that lives in the pine barrens, hence the name the New Jersey Devils, the hockey team… there’s ben songs written about it…stories written about it. There are lot of versions of what it actually is. Some say it’s an actual devil or it’s more like a beast, like an animal. It’s kind of like a yeti or something, to this day people still say they see when they go to the pine barrens. I think I learned about it honestly in school when we learned about New Jersey myths, I’m pretty sure it was mentioned, and the only way is just through word of mouth”

Even though the Jersey Devil is very popular, there’s still not a consensus on what it looks like (or even what it is exactly) So, the legend can be interpreted differently by each person. However, it has been incorporated into things like sports teams, where it might become less folkloric because it would be portrayed in a certain way and would probably be trademarked. Also, the informant described it as a New Jersey myth, however, it would more accurately be categorized as a local legend or folk belief.

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