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URECAT - UFO Related Entities Catalog

URECAT is a formal catalog of UFO related entities sightings reports with the goal of providing quality information for accurate studies of the topic. Additional information, corrections and reviews are welcome at patrick.gross@inbox.com, please state if you wish to be credited for your contribution or not. The main page of the URECAT catalog is here.

JANUARY 21, 1909, RIVERTON, NEW JERSEY, USA, MRS. WILLIAM TACKFLING:

Brief summary of the event and follow-up:

On January 22, 1909, at least three newspapers reported that in Riverton, New Jersey, USA, on January 21, 1909, "A posse of our bravest young men set tout to-night to hunt down the 'devil.' It appeared at the home of Mrs. William Tackfling this morning, barked though the window and flew away. Its tracks are everywhere."

Basic information table:

Case number: URECAT-001522
Date of event: January 21, 1909
Earliest report of event: January 22, 1909
Delay of report: Hour, 1 day.
Witness reported via: Not known.
First alleged record by: N/A
First certain record by: Newspaper.
First alleged record type: N/A
First certain record type: Newspaper.
This file created on: April 13, 2013
This file last updated on: April 13, 2013
Country of event: USA
State/Department: New Jersey
Type of location: From inside home through the window.
Lighting conditions: Not reported.
UFO observed: No
UFO arrival observed: N/A
UFO departure observed: N/A
UFO/Entity Relation: None
Witnesses numbers: 1
Witnesses ages: Not reported. Adult or aged.
Witnesses types: Not reported. Woman.
Photograph(s): No.
Witnesses drawing: No.
Witnesses-approved drawing: No.
Number of entities: 1
Type of entities: Winged animal
Entities height:
Entities outfit type: Not reported or none.
Entities outfit color: Not reported or N/A.
Entities skin color: Not reported.
Entities body: Not reported.
Entities head: Not reported.
Entities eyes: Not reported.
Entities mouth: Not reported.
Entities nose: Not reported.
Entities feet: Not reported.
Entities arms: Not reported. Probable wings.
Entities fingers: Not reported.
Entities fingers number: Not reported.
Entities hair: Not reported.
Entities voice: Barked.
Entities actions: Was there, flew away.
Entities/witness interactions: None or barked.
Witness(es) reactions: Observed.
Witness(es) feelings: Not reported..
Witness(es) interpretation: Not reported.
Explanation category: Possible confusion, bird, sandhill crane. Not UFO-related.
Explanation certainty: Medium.

Narratives:

[Ref. ts1:] "THE SUN" NEWSPAPER:

$500 FOR THE LEEDS DEVIL

SHOWMAN SAYS IT'S A VAMPIRE AND HE WANTS IT BACK.

Vampirophobia Spreads From Jersey to Philadelphia, and Mothers Are Keeping the Kids Indoors - Beastie Kills a Bulldog and Steals a Chicken.

Philadelphia, Jan. 21. -- It seems probable that the "Leeds devil," which has had all south Jersey terrorized for four days and which transferred its activity to Philadelphia last night and today, will be captured within a day or two and the real reason for its appearance be made known to a world in which two suckers for the press agent are born everyday.

In the meantime from every town in south Jersey come reports of dogs torn in pieces, bloodcurling encounters and descriptions that fit any prehistoric monster one might pick out. Lots of these come from reputable people who are firmly convinced that they saw what they say they saw.

J. J. Hope, an animal trainer and dealer at 36 North Ninth street, issued a statement this afternoon saying that the strange bird beast is "an Australian vampire devil" which escaped from him ten days ago. He offers $500 reward for its capture.

He gives warning to all who wish to try for the reward that the creature is dangerous. Hope says that no one should attempt the feat unless armed and that a net should be utilized to secure the beastie before it is approached.

"I am very anxious to recover the vampire," he said this afternoon. "There is only one like it in captivity, at that is at the Zoological Garden in Berlin. I purchased the animal in Europe and it arrived in this city ten days ago. I had it in a menagerie at Beach street and Fairmount avenue, and it escpaed from there.

"It can swim as well as fly, and after it had broken out of its cage it swarm across the Delaware. I have no doubt that the animal which has been seen in Jersey is the one I lost. The description given by Nelson Evans and his wife at Gloucester city fits it exactly.

"Scientists are puzzled to give a name to the beast, which is a combination of bat, kangaroo and pony. It is white and belongs to the kangaroo family, for it travels by leaps and has the marsupial pouch under the breast with which the kangaroo is provided.

"You should have seen the havoc caused by the beast's effort to break from its cage. A more ferocious animal I have never seen.

"The beast has the head of a horse, stands nearly 3 feet high and is covered with short, thick fur. On its back are two wings that measure 4 feet, so that when it is flying the stretch of the wings from tip to tip is almost 10 feet."

Mr. Hope backed up his offer of a reward of $500 by inserting an advertisement to that effect on to-day's newspapers.

On the heels of this announcement came a very pronounced attack of vampirophobia in the downtown section about Fifth and Porter street. There the Taggart school was nearly put out of business, and to-night mothers are not allowing their children on the streets.

About 3 o'clock, according to the stories of the children, they saw a big bat hovering over the school. It was five feet long, they said. The children were just leaving. Mary Ellen Carson of 2514 South Marshall street, a six-year-old pupil, told her parents she was chased by it. There are forty men and women who affirm that the thing swooped down among the children, scattered them, then flapped around the street, stole a chicken out of the yard of 2522 South Fifth street and soared away. It flew over League Island, where a lot of Marines fired at it. Then it disappeared into Jersey again.

All these people solemnly swear they saw the "Vampire." In fact if something rather weird is not flying around, the condition of mind of South Jersey and Philadelphia would provide a feast for students of mob hallucination. Here are a few scattered reports from various sections:

RIVERSIDE, N. J., Jan 21. -- John Manz saw his bulldog torn to pieces by the "devil" last night. Manz says he saw a great bird with a horse's face swoop down and kill the dog.

RIVERTON, N. J., Jan 21. -- A posse of our bravest young men set tout to-night to hunt down the "devil." It appeared at the home of Mrs. William Tackfling this morning, barked though the window and flew away. Its tracks are everywhere.

PEMBERTON, N. J., Jan 21. -- The "What-is-it" was seen by two persons in this town. Edward Archer, a conductor of the Pemberton Branch of the Pennsylvania Railroad, says that the creature sprang at him early this morning as he was going out of his barn. It was hiding behind a shed, he says, and he has a confused recollection of a hairy body coming at him. Then he ran as he never ran before. He also declares that the Rev. John Purcel, a clergyman living at Pemberton, saw the "Thing" last night. It was crossing the snow in quick, short leaps and its progress was very rapid. Mr Purcel describes the creature as about three feet long and having a long black hair.

MOUNT HOLLY. N. J. Jan 21. -- William Cronk, a venerable citizen says he saw a large bird flying low across the lawn as he was eating dinner yesterday. The bird flew about two feet from the ground and soared over the fence, turning in the direction of Rancocas Creek. It had long legs and wings with a spread of four feet.

These are only a few of hundreds of similar reports.

[Ref. nb1:] "NEW BRUNSWICK TIMES" NEWSPAPER:

Riverton, N. J., Jan 21. -- A posse of our bravest young men set tout to-night to hunt down the "devil." It appeared at the home of Mrs. William Tackfling this morning, barked though the window and flew away. Its tracks are everywhere.

Note: this article was the same as [ts1] above, and it also appeared in [wp1].

Points to consider:

Before discussing this particular case, I must make some general remarks about what was called the "Jersey Devil".

In Pennsylvania, West Virginia, Maryland, New Jersey, for nearly two centuries at least, some people give reports of encounters with a "creature" whose descriptions suggested that it was some sort of "devil", though in my opinion it was often merely a large bird in migration there, the sandhill crane.

Ufologically, these stories are mostly not considered as related in any way with UFOs or UFO occupants, in my opinion too they should not be part of a catalog of "close encounters of the third kind".

However, some ufologists included such stories in such catalogs, thinking for some reason it does have something to do with the UFO question. Most of the time, they do not include all the Jersey Devil reports, but only a few of them, maybe due to lack of documentation or maybe for some other reason I do not understand.

So I have to include all these stories, because if some source considers, rightly or wrongly, that this a UFO-related, then it is within my scope, not to immediately and arbitrarily disregard their idea, but to evaluate it, and thus to collect the documentation and the comments about it. And therefore, I have to check and document all reported, not just those selected arbitrarily by these ufologists who believed this is UFO material. This is why you cans see I have a file for each Jersey Devil reports, even those that were never included in the ufology literature.

I should note that most stories are fragmentary, often because the sources write about several observations, and what is said about one report is supposed to be implicitly true for the others. I do not do it that way; I publish case files individually and discuss each on its own merits or issues, and offer a specific assessment for each case. But of course, generalities can be said on these reports. As I do not want to disconnect individual reports from these generalities, I make the following notes.

I want to first list the various explanations offered for the "Jersey Devil" - they could apply its late equivalent the West Virginia "Mothman" which was introduced in UFO books the 1960s:

Now let's see this report.

All we know is that "it" barked abd flew. Si it may have been a bird with a long neck, such as the sandhill crane.

We have no UFO, no aliens, nothing evil, nothing "paranormal" whatsoever. Nothing that could kill the idea that the woman may have briefly and poorly seen the scary-looking sandhill at a time when everyone talked about the "Jersey Devil".

There is not enough information to make this explanation a certainty, but there is not a single piece of information that would support she saw a real devil, or an alien, or a pterodactyl, "Bigfoot" or anything extraordinary.

"Sandhill Crane" (Grus canadensis) - pictures above - is a species of big crane living in North America, Canada, and in the extreme northeast of Siberia. Some are resident, some are migratory, passing sometimes indeed by the states where the "Jersey Devil" was reported.

Its wingspan can reach more than 2 meters.

Its sound is described as having to do with a French "r" sound, a frog's squawk and a trumpet tone. Male and female sometimes engage in duets of complex cries.

List of issues:

Id: Topic: Severity: Date noted: Raised by: Noted by: Description: Proposal: Status:
1 Ufology Severe April 13, 2013 Patrick Gross Patrick Gross No sign of investigation or checking. Help needed. Opened.
2 Ufology Severe April 13, 2013 Patrick Gross Patrick Gross Very short report, almost no description. Help needed. Opened.
3 Ufology Severe April 13, 2013 Patrick Gross Patrick Gross Single witness case. Help needed. Opened.
4 Ufology Severe April 13, 2013 Patrick Gross Patrick Gross Sighting conditions not know: duration, distance, lighting? Help needed. Opened.

Evaluation:

Possible confusion, bird, sandhill crane. Not UFO-related.

Sources references:

* = Source I checked.
? = Source I am told about but could not check yet. Help appreciated.

Document history:

Authoring

Main Author: Patrick Gross
Contributors: None
Reviewers: None
Editor: Patrick Gross

Changes history

Version: Created/Changed By: Date: Change Description:
0.1 Patrick Gross April 13, 2013 Creation, [ts1], [nb1], [wp1].
1.0 Patrick Gross April 13, 2013 First published.

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This page was last updated on April 13, 2013