Interviewer: “Do you know of any folklore about New Jersey?”
Informant: “Umm well yeah I remember this legend about the Jersey Devil that would kidnap kids and also murder people that went near it. Supposedly it lives in the Pine Barrens of south Jersey, which is this like barren land filled with pine trees. A bunch of weird like off-the-grid people live there and junkies go there to do drugs. Anyways, some people have died in that area and people use that as justification for the Jersey Devil being real.”
Interviewer: “So you don’t believe in the Jersey Devil?”
Informant: “No definitely not now, but when I was younger I was scared of it and my parents would use it to scare me into behaving.”
The informant is a 23-year-old USC student from New Jersey. He used to live near the area that is referenced in this legend.
There has been no evidence that the legend is true and there are many legends that share many similarities to the New Jersey Devil. The informant believed that it was mainly a device used by parents to scare their children. This seems likely as many tales are told to children to show them right vs. wrong or to scare them of something in the world. This could certainly be the case for the New Jersey Devil. However, the legend could also be used by the people that live in Barren Pines as device to keep others out. The area is home to some rough folks who may have made up the story to scare off people from visiting.