Tales of the Devil's exploits abound. He has taken on a variety of forms. Because of the Devil: crops have failed, cows stopped giving milk and droughts ensued. He blew the tops off trees and boiled streams. He was blamed for the loss of all livestock. Some believed the Devil appeared every seven years. Others said he foreshadowed disaster and foretold of war.
Prominent citizens or government officials were among many who had witnessed sightings of the creature. They included businessmen, postal officials, and policemen who had seen or heard the creature and saw his tracks left in the snow. This marks the beginning of the change from local folklore to the Devil's presence in regional culture.
Joseph Bonaparte, the brother of Napoleon Bonaparte and former King of Spain, was reported to have seen the Devil. The incident took place in Bordentown, New Jersey while he was game hunting in the nearby woods.
The infamous Captain Kidd is reputed to have buried treasure in Barnegat Bay. Legend has it he beheaded one of his men to guard forever his buried treasure. Accounts claim the headless pirate and the Jersey Devil became friends and were seen in the evenings walking along the Atlantic and in nearby marshlands.
In Clayton, New Jersey, the Devil was chased by a posse to the edge of a wooded area. The Devil fled into the wood. The posse, afraid to pursue him, halted and declared " if you're the Devil, rattle your chains."
The Devil's taste varies. He was seen cavorting at sea with a mermaid in 1870. And he is reputed to have had a ham and egg breakfast with a Republican – Judge French. But the Devil is not known to have specific political leanings.
The Devil's sightings have covered great geographic distances. – from Bridgeton to Haddonfield in 1859; to the New York border in 1899; and from Gloucester City to Trenton in 1909. Until this time, tales of the Devil were passed by word-of-mouth. However, published police and newspaper accounts during a famous week in January of 1909 took the story of the Devil from folk belief to authentic folk legend. Thirty different sightings in a one-week period told of the Devil sailing across the Delaware River to Maryland, Pennsylvania and Delaware. Newspaper articles created a near panic in the region.