5 May 2010, JellyBean @ 4:38 pm

It prowls desolate, forested parts of southern New Jersey, killing livestock, leaving behind odd footprints and filling the night air with chilling sounds.

At least that’s how legend and folklore describe the creature known as the Jersey Devil. (Not to be confused, by the way, with the New Jersey Devils, the professional hockey franchise named after the legendary creature.)

At the Paranormal Museum in Asbury Park, N.J., a recently opened exhibit features a variety of artifacts, including reproductions of a Jersey Devil skull, drawings and relics.

Museum owner Kathy Kelly says the story most associated with the Jersey Devil involved a woman who, in the 1700s, prayed for her 13th child to be born a devil. “Shortly after the child was born,” says Kelly, “he transformed into a creature that was twice the size of a full-grown man, with cloven feet, wings and talons for hands, and he killed the midwife and then flew off into the Pinelands, where he has terrorized people ever since,” according to the story.

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