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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, 1932, Downingtown, Pennsylvania, USA, John McCandless, Harry Eppenheimer:

Brief summary of the event and follow-up:

This story was published and republished in books on "mysterious creatures" or on the "Bigfoot", and in a "skeptical" catalog in the following terms:

In the country north of Downingtown, Pennsylvania, USA, on January 21, 1932, John McCandless heard moans and, looking for the source, met a beastly, hairy or dirty looking humanoid on all fours. Others reported seeing it, but the research was unsuccessful.

In fact, the story was published on January 23, 1932 in the press, from an INS news agency newsflash that said people to the Pine Belt in the Downingtown area were either excited or amused, by the story of a "monster" reported in their area.

A gardener of Swarthmore, John McCandless, reported about a monstrous creature roaming freely in the area of the creek road in the forested area near Downingtown.

He had described the creature as "resembling a man, acting like a man and covered with long hair, in the afternoon of December 21, 1932. The creature had made "strange moans," said McCandless. A 10-year-old boy, Harry Eppenheimer, living near where McCandless said he saw the "devil", said he also saw this strange man or beast on the morning of January 22, 1932.

Some of the reasonable inhabitants feared that a madman was hiding in the woods. Others reported that strange moans were common in the area and that they were came from wailing deer. Others laughed saying that "It's the Jersey Devil" (a so-called creature that had been talked about a lot in the past years; which in fact corresponded to various hoaxes and misinterpretations).

Basic information table:

Case number: URECAT-001651
Date of event: January 21, 1932
Earliest report of event: January 23, 1932
Delay of report: Hours, 1 day.
Witness reported via: Reported to the Press.
First alleged record by: News agency INS.
First certain record by: News agency INS.
First alleged record type: News agency.
First certain record type: News agency.
This file created on: August 17, 2018
This file last updated on: August 17, 2018
Country of event: USA
State/Department: Pennsylvania
Type of location: Creek road in Pine Belt near Downingtown.
Lighting conditions: Day
UFO observed: No
UFO arrival observed: N/A
UFO departure observed: N/A
UFO/Entity Relation: None
Witnesses numbers: 1 or 2
Witnesses ages: Adult, child.
Witnesses types: Gardener, child.
Photograph(s): No.
Witnesses drawing: No.
Witnesses-approved drawing: No.
Number of entities: 1
Type of entities: Human
Entities height: Not reported.
Entities outfit type: Not reported.
Entities outfit color: Not reported.
Entities skin color: Not reported. Covered of hair or dirt.
Entities body: Not reported. A man covered of dirt or hair.
Entities head: Not reported.
Entities eyes: Not reported.
Entities mouth: Not reported.
Entities nose: Not reported.
Entities feet: Not reported.
Entities arms: Not reported.
Entities fingers: Not reported.
Entities fingers number: Not reported.
Entities hair: Covered of hair or dirt.
Entities voice: May have made strange moaning.
Entities actions: Was there.
Entities/witness interactions: None.
Witness(es) reactions: Observed, went.
Witness(es) feelings: Not reported.
Witness(es) interpretation: Not reported.
Explanation category: Probable misinterpretation, tramp or man man. Not UFO-related.
Explanation certainty: High.

Narratives:

[Ref. sn1:] "SHAMOCKIN NEWS-DISPATCH" NEWSPAPER:

MONSTER CAUSE OF EXCITEMENT IN NEW JERSEY<

Residents in Vicinity of Pine Belt Are Much Exorcized Over Strange Creature Which is roaming the Woods

PHILADELPHIA, Jan 23 (INS) -- Residents of the Pine Belt region in the vicinity of Downingtown laughed today over reports of "a Jersey madman" is loose in the district.

"It's the Jersey devil," commented one scoffer. "It's a deer," said another.

Anyhow there is little credence given the highly excited report of John McCandless, Swarthmore gardener, that a monstrous creature is at large in the timbered creek road district near Downingtown.

The gardener espied the "devil", which he described as "looking like a man, acting like a man, and covered with long hair", Wednesday afternoon. The strange creature emitted weird moans, said McCandless. Harry Eppenheimer, 10, living near the spot, where the Swarthmore man said he saw the "devil", claims he saw the strange man or beast yesterday morning.

Some of the more excitable persons in the section fear a madman may be hiding in the woods.

Those believing the "monster" is a deer also assert the queer moans heard by McCandless was just a deer wailing. "That cry is as familiar to us as the honks of a horn is to you city fellows," said one of the doubting residents.

The original "Jersey devil", was the brainchild of a former operator of the old Dime Museum in Philadelphia. He took a kangaroo, painted it with red and white stripes and attached a pair of wings. Then it was turned loose in the south Jersey pines and promptly recaptured, brought in Philadelphia and ballyhooed as "The Jersey Devil", the museum operator collected hundreds of dollars from curious spectators.

[Ref. sn1:] "DELAWARE COUNTY DAILY TIMES" NEWSPAPER:

SCOFF AT REPORT OF "JERSEY DEVIL"

Residents of Downingtown Say Swarthmore Man Only Saw a Deer

Residents of the Pine Belt region in the vicinity of Downingtown laughed today over reports of "a Jersey madman" is loose in the district.

"It's the Jersey devil," commented one scoffer. "It's a deer," said another.

Anyhow there is little credence given the highly excited report of John McCandless, Swarthmore gardener, that a monstrous creature is at large in the timbered creek road district near Downingtown.

The gardener espied the "devil", which he described as "looking like a man, acting like a man, and covered with long hair", Wednesday afternoon. The strange creature emitted weird moans, said McCandless. Harry Eppenheimer, 10, living near the spot, where the Swarthmore man said he saw the "devil", claims he saw the strange man or beast yesterday morning.

Some of the more excitable persons in the section fear a madman may be hiding in the woods.

Those believing the "monster" is a deer also assert the queer moans heard by McCandless was just a deer wailing. "That cry is as familiar to us as the honks of a horn is to you city fellows," said one of the doubting residents.

The original "Jersey devil", was the brainchild of a former operator of the old Dime Museum in Philadelphia. He took a kangaroo, painted it with red and white stripes and attached a pair of wings. Then it was turned loose in the south Jersey pines and promptly recaptured, brought in Philadelphia and ballyhooed as "The Jersey Devil", the museum operator collected thousands of dollars from curious spectators.

[Ref. cm1:] CURTIS D. MACDOUGALL:

The devil ["Jersey Devil"] appeared again in 1926 and 1930. Its last appearance was on January 21, 1932.

"...to John McCandless of Swarthmore, PA, the experience was a terrifying one. Five miles north of Downingtown he was attracted by mysterious moans and observed in the brush a hideous form, half-man, half-beast, on all fours and covered with dirt or hair. McCandless and a score of friends hunted with pistols and guns for a week, as other persons of the vicinity, mostly small children and farmers' wives, said that they, too, had seen the monster."

[Ref. jc1:] JEROME CLARK:

Jerome Clark indicated that in January 1932, in a country area north of Downingtown, Pennsylvania, John McCandless heard a moaning sound in a bush. He told a reporter that the source of the moaning was a "hideous form, half-man, half beast, on all fours and covered with dirt of hair". Soon afterward, other people told of encounters with the creature; which evaded armed search parties.

[Ref. pr1:] PETER ROGERSON:

January 21 1932.

DOWINGTOWN (PENNSYLVANIA : USA)

In an area some 8km north of here, John McCandless heard a moaning sound heard a moaning sound [sic] and encountered a bestial looking humanoid, covered in hair or mud on all fours. Others reported seeing the thing but searches were fruitless.

Clark and Coleman 1978 p65

Points to consider:

It seems to me that this story has nothing to do with UFOs. What was seen was probably a simple tramp, or a madman. There is no reason to think that it must have been an extraterrestrial, a "bigfoot", and the connection with the "Jersey Devil" is purely circumstantial. The original description is that it was "like a man, acting like a man".

It is remarkable how all subsequent sources, whether "skeptical" or not, have suppressed any indication of the skepticism of the time, and any indication of explanation, making the affair more "strange" than it had been.

For information on "Jersey Devil" cases in my catalog, see the cases in Pennsylvania and New Jersey for the year 1909 in the USA part of this catalogue.

List of issues:

Id: Topic: Severity: Date noted: Raised by: Noted by: Description: Proposal: Status:
-

Evaluation:

Probable misinterpretation, tramp or man man. 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 August 17, 2018 Creation, [sn1], [dc1], [cm1], [pr1].
1.0 Patrick Gross August 17, 2018 First published.

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This page was last updated on August 17, 2018.