Arts & Entertainment

South Plainfield Public Library presents The Jersey Devil with Angus Gillespie

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SOUTH PLAINFIELD, NJ - On Saturday, November 5th at 1pm, the South Plainfield Public Library welcomes Dr. Angus Gillespie, a professor at Rutgers University who will talk about the famous Jersey Devil.  The creature is often described as a flying biped with hooves, but there are many different variations. The common description is that of a kangaroo-like creature with the head of a goat, leathery bat-like wings, horns, small arms with clawed hands, cloven hooves and a forked tail.  As the story goes, in a small community, Leeds Point, at the coastal edge of the Pine Barrens, lived the Leeds family. The year was 1735. Already having given birth twelve times, Mother Leeds was about to deliver for the thirteenth time. Feeling tired and weary of the burden, she cursed the unborn child, wishing she had never married Daniel Leeds. But she took revenge on Mr. Leeds that night when she gave birth to the devil’s child, who now lurks in the Pine Barrens of South Jersey.  Come hear Dr. Gillespie tell the tale of this fearsome and spooky creature.

Gillespie is a professor of American Studies at Rutgers University in New Brunswick.   He is a Fulbright professor and a New York Times best-selling author.  A Yale University graduate, he did his graduate work in folklore at the University of Pennsylvania in Philadelphia.   The author of several books and numerous articles, Dr. Gillespie has a keen interest in the folklore of the Pine Barrens of southern New Jersey.    He has a special interest in the legend of the Jersey Devil.  The story began in the 1730s with a woman named Jane Leeds who had 12 children.  Understandably, she became over-worked and frazzled.  When she found out that she was pregnant with her 13th child, she exclaimed, “I hope it’s not a child; I hope it’s a devil” The legend continues that when the child was born, it immediately transformed itself into a creature with the head of a horse, the wings of a bat, the torso of man, and the feet of a goat.  This program is presented free, but registration is required.  Please register by calling the South Plainfield Public Library at 908-754-7885 or stop by.

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