At first glance, Russ Juelg looks like a shy man, but once he started to speak about a subject he obviously loves, he became animated and his eyes sparkled a bit more with each humorous tale he told. From personal experience, I know that this gentleman is a veritable wealth of knowledge, but this was the first time I heard him speak; it was an honor to be part of the audience.
This gifted gentleman first explained the "logical" explanation of JD: long before the white man arrived here, the Lenni Lenape Indian worshipped "Mising", the caretaker of animals. Often, the tribe would dress in costume, with headdresses, feather capes and other ornamentation; and perform tribal dances to pay homage to Mising.
When the settlers arrived in the Pines, they abused the land, taking down trees for firewood, building materials, and for charcoal to heat the iron furnaces. The Lenni Lenape obviously did not take kindly to this, as it was destroying not just their home but the homes of animals. Curiously, sightings of strange beings with "wings" and "horns" began. Reports came from several areas of stranged winged creatures cavorting on the rooftops .
In January 1909, so many sightings were reported that many people actually would not go to work or let their children go to school. Posses were formed to try to find the Jersey Devil, to no avail. Then one day, the sightings stopped.
Since then, according to Russ, there have been numerous sightings from time to time, in what seems like clusters. Russ told a story of three young men he met out near the Batona Camp. Their car had gotten stuck in sand and they began to walk down the sand road. Soon darkness fell, and they began to hear footsteps and sounds, soft whistle-like noises at first, then the sounds became louder, and turned into howling; and the sound of the footsteps were getting closer and closer... so they lit a bonfire in the middle of the road to keep whatever it was at bay. That's where Russell found them!
Russ' finale was a song entitled, "I'm the Devil from Leeds", sung by Russ on banjo, and accompanied by Milt Kennedy on guitar.
Russell told the group that he wants to find the Jersey Devil. He actually takes groups out deep into the Pine Barrens to search for him.
Are you a believer?
Do you want to help Russ find the elusive JD? Then sign
up for a hunt!
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