Nathan (vovat) wrote,

The Devil and the Deep Blue Hole

I owe you fine people a mythology post, don't I? I'm sure no one cares that I keep my one-per-week schedule as much as I do, but it's a tradition here by now, no? Anyway, I live in the New Jersey Pine Barrens, and I decided to take vilajunkie's advice to do a post on local folklore. Really, I don't KNOW that much local folklore, but everyone has heard of the Jersey Devil, right? The most popular story is that a woman named Leeds (or possibly Shrouds) had already had twelve children, and decided that, if she had another, it would be a devil. Some versions of the tale have the woman involved in witchcraft, and sometimes even credit Satan himself as the father. The child is often described as having cloven hooves, bat-like wings, a forked tail, and a horse's head. Whether he had that form from birth or changed into it shortly afterward is a point of contention among different stories. This cursed birth apparently took place in the eighteenth century, but there might well have been tales of devilish creatures in the Pine Barrens even before that. According to the Wikipedia article, the Lenape name for the area was Popuessing ("place of the dragon"), and the Swedish name Drake Kill (essentially "river of the dragon").

One nearby place where the Devil is thought to hang out is the Blue Hole, a former swimming hole that some hold to be bottomless, and is often said to have been created by a meteorite. I've been near it, but never actually seen it. It's not to be confused with the Great Blue Hole off the coast of Belize, although maybe if it really IS bottomless, the two are connected. {g}
Tags: mythology

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