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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 22, 1909, MIDDLETOWN TOWNSHIP, PENNSYLVANIA, USA, J. VERNON WILLIAMS:

Brief summary of the event and follow-up:

The authors of a reference book on the "Jersey Devil" lore say that on January 22, 1909, at about 2:00 a.m., J. Vernon Williams, Roadmaster for Middletown Township, Delaware County, Pennsylvania, USA, was awakened by dogs barking outside the window.

He looked out and saw the dogs circling a strange animal which they seemed afraid to attack. The creature fled when he opened the window.

Basic information table:

Case number: URECAT-001533
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.
This file created on: July 19, 2013
This file last updated on: July 19, 2013
Country of event: USA
State/Department: Pennsylvania
Type of location: Outside near home.
Lighting conditions: Night
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.
Witnesses types: Not reported. Man, roadmaster.
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.
Entities fingers: Not reported.
Entities fingers number: Not reported.
Entities hair: Not reported.
Entities voice: None reported.
Entities actions: Is there, surrounded by barking dogs that do not dare to attack, fled when witness opened window.
Entities/witness interactions: Fled when witness opened window.
Witness(es) reactions: Observed.
Witness(es) feelings: Not reported.
Witness(es) interpretation: Not reported.
Explanation category: Possible confusion, sandhill crane.
Explanation certainty: Medium.

Narratives:

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

The authors say that on January 22, 1909, at about 2:00 a.m., J. Vernon Williams, Roadmaster for Middletown Township, Delaware County, was awakened by dogs barking outside the window. He looked out and saw the dogs circling a strange animal which they seemed afraid to attack. The creature fled when he opened the window.

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.

There is no description of the creature at all here. But we have no UFO, no aliens, nothing evil, nothing "paranormal" whatsoever.

It might have been, again, the sandhill crane, a bird known to defend itself when cornered. This happened in the night, at an unknown distance, thus probably poor sighting conditions.

"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 19, 2013 Patrick Gross Patrick Gross Primary source not known and not available. Help needed. Opened.
2 Ufology Severe July 19, 2013 Patrick Gross Patrick Gross No description of entity. Help needed. Opened.
3 Ufology Severe July 19, 2013 Patrick Gross Patrick Gross Missing distance of sighting. Help needed. Opened.

Evaluation:

Possible confusion, sandhill crane.

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 July 19, 2013 Creation, [mm1].
1.0 Patrick Gross July 19, 2013 First published.

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This page was last updated on July 19, 2013