Historic Cryptid Headline: August 3, 1909
The Bisbee Daily Review
August 3, 1909
“Queer Creature Causes Alarm”
Devil Horse Roams About Frightening People In Vicinity Of Philadelphia.
Search Made By Armed Men
Hunt For Strange Animal That Makes Odd Footprints And Runs Through Deep Snow On Only Two Legs.
Philadelphia – Clearly defined in the crust of the snow, the footprints of a two-legged beast or bird, shod with steel, are creating a tremendous sensation in this city and the South Jersey towns. People who read this narrative may form their own opinions as to the cause of these manifestations.
It was originally intended to treat this subject with a light and scoffing touch; to make merry over the mystery of the “Leed’s Devil” that has transformed scores of towns and hamlets of Camden, Gloucester and Burlington counties, into settlements of timid folk, where women and children fear to walk abroad at night, and armed men make nocturnal searches.
Before noon, however, the telephone wires were hot with messages from persons who had seen the hoofprints. Two men declared they had seen the marks in their own yards in this city. They were William L. Smith and William Heimbold, and their neighbors know them for sober truthful men.
Of course, practical people scoff at these reports, but none has yet offered an explanation that will meet the situation. Then comes Nelson Evans, a paper hanger of Gloucester City, with the declaration that he and his wife saw the “devil” early in the morning as he sat on the roof of their back shed.
White-faced and trembling, Evans entered police headquarters there the other morning and leaned up against the wall.
“I saw it,” he whispered, round-eyed with recollection.
“You did!” exclaimed the chief. “What did it look like?”
“About two o’clock,” said the paper hanger, “my wife and I were aroused by a noise on our shed roof. I went to the window and looked out and then I called her. We saw the strangest beast or bird, I don’t know which, you ever heard of.
It was about three and a half feet high, with a head like a collie dog and a face like a horse. It had a long neck, wings about two feet long, and its back legs were like those of a crane, and it had horse’s hoofs. It walked on its back legs and held up two short front legs with paws on them.
As far as I could tell, the thing seemed to be trying to get into the shed. My wife and I were scared, I tell you, but I managed to open the window and say ‘Shoo!’ and it turned around, barked at me, and then flew away.”
The tracks were first seen after the heavy snowfall, but at first nothing was said about them, as they were believed to be the work of some practical joker. Then it was noticed that the mysterious creature left hoof prints in farm yards and on roofs of buildings as well.
Marks of the beast were found in Gloucester, Mount Holly, Clayton, Woodbury, Wenonah, Mantua, Paulsboro, Lumberton, Ayerstown, Vincetown, Almonessen, Mount Ephraim, and other towns within a radius of twenty miles or more. This nearly upset the theory that it was the work of a joker and the oldest inhabitant got busy.
He remembered that as far back as 1869 that part of South Jersey was visited by a creature that was known as “Leed’s Devil,” because it was supposed to emerge from Leed’s point, on Brigantine beach. The “devil” reappeared in 1874 and 1879 and even as recently as 1904.
Early in the morning there came a report that the monstrosity had crossed the river and was disporting himself in the yards of residents of Sansom street, above Forty-fifth street.
A young man who gave his name as Harry L. Smith, said that in the yard of his home there were marks like the footprints of a two-legged horse.
“Historic Cryptid Headlines” showcases actual articles involving cryptids that were published within United States newspapers back in the 1800’s-1900’s. The articles posted here are written exactly as they appeared during their original publishing date.
-The Pine Barrens Institute