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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, MOUNT HOLLY, NEW JERSEY, USA, JOB SHINN:

Brief summary of the event and follow-up:

A "Jersey Devil" book reports that on January 21, 1909, in Mount Holly, New Jersey, USA, one Job Shinn said the creature en saw had a "horse's head, long hind legs with claws, and big wings." It stood erect and walked on the hind legs and "left tracks all over the yard."

Basic information table:

Case number: URECAT-001522
Date of event: January 21, 1909
Earliest report of event: January 22, 1909
Delay of report: Day, days, weeks?
Witness reported via: Not known.
First alleged record by: Not known. Newspaper?
First certain record by: "Jersey Devil" book.
First alleged record type: Not known. Newspaper?
First certain record type: "Jersey Devil" book.
This file created on: April 14, 2013
This file last updated on: April 14, 2013
Country of event: USA
State/Department: New Jersey
Type of location: Yard.
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.
Witnesses types: Not reported. Man.
Photograph(s): No.
Witnesses drawing: No.
Witnesses-approved drawing: No.
Number of entities: 1
Type of entities: Winged animal
Entities height: Large
Entities outfit type: Not reported or none.
Entities outfit color: Not reported or N/A.
Entities skin color: Not reported.
Entities body: Not reported. Long hind legs, large wings.
Entities head: Not reported. Horse's head.
Entities eyes: Not reported.
Entities mouth: Not reported.
Entities nose: Not reported.
Entities feet: Not reported. Long legs with claws.
Entities arms: Large wings.
Entities fingers: Not reported.
Entities fingers number: Not reported.
Entities hair: Not reported.
Entities voice: None heard.
Entities actions: Walked erect on hind legs.
Entities/witness interactions: None.
Witness(es) reactions: Observed.
Witness(es) feelings: Not reported.
Witness(es) interpretation: Not reported.
Explanation category: Probable confusion, bird, sandhill crane. Not UFO-related.
Explanation certainty: High.

Narratives:

[Ref. mm1:] JAMES MCCLOY AND RAY MILLER:

The authors say that on January 21, 1909, in Mount Holly, Job Shinn said it had a "horse's head, long hind legs with claws, and big wings."

It stood erect and walked on the hind legs and "left tracks all over the yard."

[Ref. dh1:] "NEW JERSEY DEVILS HUNTERS":

Thurs. 1/21

Mount Holly, NJ

[...] Job Shinn said it had "a horse-like head, long hind legs with claws, and big wings." He said it walked like a man and left tracks everywhere.

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 witness actually describes a large bird, with long legs, large wings, so it could have been the sandhill crane, the candidate bird that explains a good number of the "Jersey Devil" stories.

Nothing is said of the traces. The "horse head" comparison may have been induced by other previous stories reported in the press, or a manner to say that the face was long.

We have no UFO, no aliens, nothing evil, nothing "paranormal" whatsoever, in this story.

This may be why many authors did not mention this sighting. It sounds much to "ordinary"...

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.

List of issues:

Id: Topic: Severity: Date noted: Raised by: Noted by: Description: Proposal: Status:
1 Data Severe April 14, 2013 Patrick Gross Patrick Gross Primary source not available and not referenced. Help needed. Opened.
2 Ufology Severe April 14, 2013 Patrick Gross Patrick Gross No sign of investigation or checking. Help needed. Opened.
3 Ufology Severe April 14, 2013 Patrick Gross Patrick Gross Very short report. Help needed. Opened.
4 Ufology Severe April 14, 2013 Patrick Gross Patrick Gross Single witness case - but similar report in the same city and same day. Help needed. Opened.
5 Ufology Severe April 14, 2013 Patrick Gross Patrick Gross Case with no strangeness. Help needed. Opened.

Evaluation:

Probable 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 14, 2013 Creation, [mm1], [dh1].
1.0 Patrick Gross April 14, 2013 First published.

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This page was last updated on April 14, 2013