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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.


Brief summary of the event and follow-up:

The authors of a reference book on the "Jersey Devil" say that on January 22, 1909, at dusk, two young woman, or girls, returning home near Chester, Pennsylvania, USA, heard a strange noise from a stopped train. It frightened them.

The "Jersey Devil" darted out of a boxcar, sailed close by and disappeared.

Basic information table:

Case number: URECAT-001526
Date of event: January 22, 1909
Earliest report of event: 1909?
Delay of report: Days, weeks?
Witness reported via: Not known.
First alleged record by: Not known.
First certain record by: Jersey Devil book McCloy and Miller.
First alleged record type: Not known.
First certain record type: Jersey Devil book McCloy and Miller.
This file created on: July 17, 2013
This file last updated on: July 17, 2013
Country of event: USA
State/Department: Pennsylvania
Type of location: Outside.
Lighting conditions: Not reported. Dusk.
UFO observed: No
UFO arrival observed: N/A
UFO departure observed: N/A
UFO/Entity Relation: None
Witnesses numbers: 2
Witnesses ages: Not reported. Young.
Witnesses types: Not reported. Young women or girls.
Photograph(s): No.
Witnesses drawing: No.
Witnesses-approved drawing: No.
Number of entities: 1
Type of entities: Not reported
Entities height: Not reported
Entities outfit type: Not reported.
Entities outfit color: Not reported.
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: Uncertain.
Entities actions: Came out of stopped boxcar, flew away.
Entities/witness interactions: None.
Witness(es) reactions: Observed.
Witness(es) feelings: Frightened.
Witness(es) interpretation: Not reported.
Explanation category: Probable confusion, bird, sandhill crane or barn owl.
Explanation certainty: Medium.



The authors say that on January 22, 1909, at dusk, two young woman returning home near Chester, Pennsylvania, heard a strange noise from a stopped train. It frightened them.

The Devil darted out of a boxcar, sailed close by and disappeared.


An article says the Jersey Devil exploded out of a boxcar in Chester, PA, terrorizing "a small group of women."


Fri. 1/22

Chester, PA

Two girls heard a noise coming from a stopped train. They watched as the Jersey Devil flew out of an open boxcar and took off into the sky.


The authors say that on January 22, 1909, in Chester, PA, two girls heard a noise coming from a stopped train, and watched the Jersey Devil fly out of an open boxcar and take off in the sky.

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.

The first thing is that there is almost no data at all in the report - see the List of Issues below.

Then, we have no description of the entity at all except that it flies. So it can be just about any bird, the famous sandhill crane, or just an owl. The witness age is not given, but it seems they were young; it was at dusk, so it is not unreasonable to think that the girls were simply frightened by some impressive bird, at a time when everyone claimed there was a "Devil" out there.

There is not enough information to make this explanation a certainty, but there is not a single piece of information that would support the notion that the witnesses 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.

List of issues:

Id: Topic: Severity: Date noted: Raised by: Noted by: Description: Proposal: Status:
1 Data Severe July 17, 2013 Patrick Gross Patrick Gross Primary source not known and missing. Help needed. Opened.
2 Ufology Severe July 17, 2013 Patrick Gross Patrick Gross Witnesses ages not given, women or young girls? Help needed. Opened.
3 Ufology Severe July 17, 2013 Patrick Gross Patrick Gross No description of entity. Help needed. Opened.
4 Ufology Severe July 17, 2013 Patrick Gross Patrick Gross Missing basic data: hour, distance, size, duration... Help needed. Opened.


Probable confusion, bird, sandhill crane or barn owl.

Sources references:

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

Document history:


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

Changes history

Version: Created/Changed By: Date: Change Description:
0.1 Patrick Gross July 17, 2013 Creation, [mm1], [np1], [dh1], [ch1].
1.0 Patrick Gross July 17, 2013 First published.

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This page was last updated on July 17, 2013