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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, TRENTON, NEW JERSEY, USA, WILLIAM CROMLEY:

Brief summary of the event and follow-up:

"Jersey Devil" literature tells that on January 21, 1909, early morning in Trenton, New Jersey, William Crowley was returning home from his job as doorkeeper at the Trent Theater in Trenton, when his horse shied, panicked.

Cromley jumped out of his buggy and saw "a sight that froze the blood in his veins and caused his hair to stand upright": confronting him, was "a beast of fur and feathers" about the size of an average dog, with the face of a German Shepherd, from which glowered large, sparkling eyes. The monster tucked his feet underneath as it spread its wings and departed.

Basic information table:

Case number: URECAT-001501
Date of event: January 21, 1909
Earliest report of event: 1909?
Delay of report: Day, day?
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 10, 2013
This file last updated on: April 10, 2013
Country of event: USA
State/Department: New Jersey
Type of location: Not reported. Outside.
Lighting conditions: Not reported. Early morning.
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. Man, doorkeeper at the Trent Theater in Trenton.
Photograph(s): No.
Witnesses drawing: No.
Witnesses-approved drawing: No.
Number of entities: 1
Type of entities: Winged animal
Entities height: Not reported
Entities outfit type: None.
Entities outfit color: N/A.
Entities skin color: Not reported.
Entities body: Not reported. Fur and feather animal the size of an average dog.
Entities head: Not reported. Face of a German Shepherd.
Entities eyes: Yes, large, glowing, sparkling.
Entities mouth: Not reported.
Entities nose: Not reported.
Entities feet: Not reported. Tucked underneath body when flew off.
Entities arms: Not reported. Wings.
Entities fingers: Not reported.
Entities fingers number: Not reported.
Entities hair: Furry and feathered.
Entities voice: None heard.
Entities actions: Is there, flies away.
Entities/witness interactions: None.
Witness(es) reactions: Observed, approached.
Witness(es) feelings: Frightened.
Witness(es) interpretation: Not reported.
Explanation category: Probable confusion, bird, owl. Not UFO-related.
Explanation certainty: High.

Narratives:

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

The authors say that on January 21, 1909, early morning in Trenton, New Jersey, William Crowley was returning home from his job as doorkeeper at the Trent Theater in Trenton, when his horse shied, panicked.

Crowley jumped out of his buggy and saw "a sight that froze the blood in his veins and caused his hair to stand upright", as, confronting him, was a beast of fur and feathers about the size of an average dog, with the face of a German shepherd, from which glowered large, sparkling eyes. The monster tucked his feet underneath as it spread its wings and departed.

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

Jan 1/21

Trenton, NJ

William Cromley was returning to his home when his horse began to panic. When Cromley exited his buggy, he saw "a sight that froze the blood in his veins and caused his hair to stand upright." There before him stood a creature described as "a beast of fur and feathers, about the size of an average dog, with the face of a German Shepherd, from which glowered large, sparkling eyes." The creature spread its wings and flew away.

[Ref. gm1:] "JERSEY DEVIL" GOOGLE MAP:

Trenton, NJ January 21, 1909

Mr. William Cromley was traveling home in a horse and buggy when his horse began panicking. Alarmed, he got out of the buggy to see, "A sight that froze the blood in his veins and caused his hair to stand on end." He saw a creature he described as a "beast of fur and feathers, about the size of an average dog, with the face of a German Shepherd, from which glowered large, sparkling eyes." The creatures spread its wings and flew away.

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:

In this case, the description is pretty basic but does suggest it was a bird.

The size, the mention of the glowing eyes, and the legs hidden under the body suggest, rather than a large wading bird, that it could have been an owl. Nothing suggests anything more alien or "paranormal".

In the night, with the glowing yes, in the midst of dozens of reports of a "Devil" in the country, an owl could have been quite a scary thing to encounter.

List of issues:

Id: Topic: Severity: Date noted: Raised by: Noted by: Description: Proposal: Status:
1 Data Severe April 10, 2013 Patrick Gross Patrick Gross Primary source not known and not referenced. Help needed. Opened.
2 Ufology Severe April 10, 2013 Patrick Gross Patrick Gross No sign of investigation or checking. Help needed. Opened.
3 Ufology Severe April 10, 2013 Patrick Gross Patrick Gross Short report with only one witness quoted. Help needed. Opened.
4 Ufology Severe April 10, 2013 Patrick Gross Patrick Gross Single witness case. Help needed. Opened.
5 Ufology Severe April 10, 2013 Patrick Gross Patrick Gross Low strangeness case. Help needed. Opened.

Evaluation:

Probable confusion, bird, owl. 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 10, 2013 Creation, [mm1], [dh1], [gm1].
1.0 Patrick Gross April 10, 2013 First published.

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This page was last updated on April 10, 2013