Ridiculous Claim of a "Jersey Devil" Sighting
Ridiculous items picked from the news are a bountiful crop. While there is always a degree of media bias involved in the reporting of any news story, some news items stand on their own and are, by any objective measure, ridiculous.
Which takes us to this week’s most ridiculous story of the week. From the website NJ.com, the headline reads: Is the Jersey Devil in Galloway Township? The author received an email from Dave Black, a security guard at an Atlantic City casino. He explains that he was driving home from work a few days earlier when he spotted something he can only perceive as one of two things: his mind playing tricks on him, or he just saw (and took a photo of) the infamous “Jersey Devil”. Here are some of David’s comments as reported:
“I was just driving past the golf course in Galloway on Route 9 and had to shake my head a few times when I thought I saw a llama … If that wasn’t enough, then it spread out leathery wings and flew off over the golf course.”
The Jersey Devil is a cryptid (a nice way of saying a creature which doesn’t exist.) As per Wikipedia:
The Jersey Devil is … said to inhabit the Pine Barrens of Southern New Jersey, United States. 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. It has been reported to move quickly and often is described as emitting a “blood-curdling scream.”
Despite there being no scientific evidence to substantiate the beast, along with a strong understanding on the origin of the myth, it is remarkable that some adults today accept this story as plausible, to any degree.
The two most-likely options when it comes to claims such as Dave Black’s breaks down in to the categories of “fool” and “fraud”.
Fool – has David been tricked in to believing he saw something? Is someone else pulling a prank that David has fallen for? Has David’s brain “fooled” him in to seeing something he’s interpreting as The Jersey Devil?
Fraud – is the photo real? How could it ever be proven? Ambiguous, uncorroborated photographic evidence is the exact equivalent of no photographic evidence at all. Whether a photo is capable of being judged as unmanipulated these days is subject to debate, so any claim which references a single photograph is worthless. Then take in to account the obvious flaws in this particular picture (blurry, heavy shadows, limited detail) and this photo does not pass the sniff test for being evidence of anything genuine. Quite the contrary, as these kinds of features (or lack thereof) have the trappings of photos which have been shown to be deliberately faked.
Regardless, the ridiculousness of both the claim and the reporting of the claim wins for the most ridiculous story of the week.