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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 1909, NEWTON, NEW JERSEY, USA, CHARLES ROBBINS AND JOHN EGGERTON:

Brief summary of the event and follow-up:

At least one newspaper reported on January 18, 1909, an observation of the "Jersey Devil" in the neighborhood of Newton, New Jersey, USA.

The article said that there are "two men ready to vouch for it. They are Charles Robbins; who lives near the village cemetery, and John Eggerton; the Baleville village blacksmith. These two men say they saw the creature at a late hour of the night in a lonely place. A whirring and hissing were the first sounds that they heard, according to Robbins. Then away to the southward they saw a black figure loom against the gray sky. Rapidly the figure grew larger, and then suddenly swooped down with a clatter and flap of the wings, landing in a field not forty yards away from them. Paralyzed with fear, the two men fell to the ground and lay there for some moments. Then, with a sound like a railroad train letting off the air brakes, the thing took flight again, flipping its large batlike wings seemingly with great effort. -- (This aerial nondescript is said to have made its appearance in certain parts of this city several years ago. Its last appearance, according to eyewitnesses, was in the vicinity of Spring Park.)"

This report apparently did not make the "Jersey Devil" literature.

Basic information table:

Case number: URECAT-001510
Date of event: January 1909
Earliest report of event: January 18, 1909
Delay of report: Day, days, weeks?
Witness reported via: Not known.
First alleged record by: N/A.
First certain record by: Newspaper.
First alleged record type: N/A.
First certain record type: Newspaper.
This file created on: April 8, 2013
This file last updated on: April 8, 2013
Country of event: USA
State/Department: New Jersey
Type of location: In an isolated place, field.
Lighting conditions: Night
UFO observed: No
UFO arrival observed: N/A
UFO departure observed: N/A
UFO/Entity Relation: None
Witnesses numbers: 2
Witnesses ages: Not reported. Adults.
Witnesses types: Not reported. Two local men, one a blacksmith.
Photograph(s): No.
Witnesses drawing: No.
Witnesses-approved drawing: No.
Number of entities: 1
Type of entities: Winged
Entities height: Not reported
Entities outfit type: Not reported.
Entities outfit color: Not reported or N/A.
Entities skin color: Not reported or not visible.
Entities body: Not reported. Large batlike wings.
Entities head: Not reported.
Entities eyes: Not reported.
Entities mouth: Not reported.
Entities nose: Not reported.
Entities feet: Not reported.
Entities arms: Not reported. Large batlike wings.
Entities fingers: Not reported.
Entities fingers number: Not reported.
Entities hair: Not reported.
Entities voice: Uncertain, hissing.
Entities actions: Lands in field, then flies away.
Entities/witness interactions: None.
Witness(es) reactions: Observed.
Witness(es) feelings: Frightened.
Witness(es) interpretation: Not reported, or "Jersey Devil".
Explanation category: Probable confusion, bird, sandhill crane. Not UFO-related.
Explanation certainty: High.

Narratives:

[Ref. ag1:] "ALEXANDRIA GAZETTE" NEWSPAPER:

Scan

THE "FLYING DEVIL" AGAIN

The South Jersey Flying Devil has appeared in the neighborhood of Newton, and there are two men ready to vouch for it. They are Charles Robbins; who lives near the village cemetery, and John Eggerton; the Baleville village blacksmith. These two men say they saw the creature at a late hour of the night in a lonely place. A whirring and hissing were the first sounds that they heard, according to Robbins. Then away to the southward they saw a black figure loom against the gray sky. Rapidly the figure grew larger, and then suddenly swooped down with a clatter and flap of the wings, landing in a field not forty yards away from them. Paralyzed with fear, the two men fell to the ground and lay there for some moments. Then, with a sound like a railroad train letting off the air brakes, the thing took flight again, flipping its large batlike wings seemingly with great effort. -- (This aerial nondescript is said to have made its appearance in certain parts of this city several years ago. Its last appearance, according to eyewitnesses, was in the vicinity of Spring Park.)

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, for this particular report, the description is quite poor, probably because the observation conditions, at night, were not very good.

All that we have is that the thing was winged and capable of flight, in short, it might have been a large bird such as the sandhill crane.

Note also that the case appears to have been unnoticed in the "Jersey Devil" literature as well as in the UFO literature. Maybe nobody found the newspaper articles, or maybe it was estimated useless to publish about a case which can too easily be explained by an almost ordinary bird.

"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 8, 2013 Patrick Gross Patrick Gross Probable primary source in missing local newspaper. Help needed. Opened.
2 Ufology Severe April 6, 2013 Patrick Gross Patrick Gross No description of entity except it has wings and can fly. Help needed. Opened.
3 Ufology Severe April 8, 2013 Patrick Gross Patrick Gross No sign of investigation or checking. 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 8, 2013 Creation, [ag1].
1.0 Patrick Gross April 8, 2013 First published.

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This page was last updated on April 8, 2013