‘The Jersey Devil’ by My Brother-in-Law

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I was revisiting my brother-in-law’s book today: bittersweet, because Ray is in a bad way and needs our prayers; and his co-author, Jim McCloy, has passed on. Published in 1976, with a new edition in 2016, this is sort of the definitive work on New Jersey’s most famous (or infamous) piece of folklore; and there are some 75,000 copies in print.

And y’know something? This is a very good book! They had a lot of fun researching it, chasing down people and their stories all over the Pine Barrens. It’s well-written, an easy read, and full of wonderful illustrations and photos. Years later they wrote a sequel, Phantom of the Pines–because there are always new stories and sightings of the Jersey Devil. He could fill another volume today, if only he were well enough to do it.

I think the book will live on after him. He never did achieve his dream of being a published novelist, but The Jersey Devil has staying power. It’s still out there on amazon.com, and it’s the kind of book you’ll want to read again from time to time.

For him and Jim it was a labor of love; and it shows.

11 comments on “‘The Jersey Devil’ by My Brother-in-Law

  1. I so remember the stories about the Jersey Devil and how scared I was about it. We travelled to Jersey quite a bit living where we did in Philadelphia. We lived in Kensington and could get to Jersey quickly via the Tacony-Palmyra bridge. In the summer we went “down the shore.” And Mom, Jersey girl by birth, often would get a hankering for Jersey tomatoes. And that’s when I would be thinking of the Jersey Devil stories I knew. We’d stop by some stall in an area that was kind of country-like with trees all around the clearing. I’d keep an eye watching the tree line for the possibility of spotting the Devil. I’ll have to read your brother-in-law’s book. And I’ll be sure to say a prayer for him.

  2. It’s always hard to watch someone we love when they have health problems. It’s one of those things which we can only leave to our Creator. Things will be made right in the restitution.

    1. I’m pretty certain that they all stem from that time you went out to fetch the newspaper before you’d had your morning coffee. 🙂

    2. Wasn’t the Jersey Devil an unwanted and cursed child who turned into the dreaded creature because of the curse?

    3. That’s one of many stories of its origin. The story has it that this was the 13th child of Mother Shourdes, who already had 12 and didn’t want another one; and when she was told she was going to, she said, “Then let it be a devil!”

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