The Jersey Devil

The most popular version of the Jersey Devil legend hold that a Deborah Smith from England emigrated to the Pine Barrens in southern New Jersey to marry a Mr. Leeds in the 18th Century. Mr. Leeds being a very vain man wanted many heirs to carry on the family name. This kept the new Mrs. Leeds continually pregnant. After bearing twelve healthy children Mrs. Leeds was dismayed to discovered she was now carrying a thirteenth. She cursed the unborn child and declared she would rather bear the Devil's child than another Leeds. Apparently her wish was granted, when this new child was born with cloven hooves, claws, and a tail. The newborn then preceded to eat the other twelve Leeds children and escape out the chimney to begin its reign of terror.[1] [2] This version's major flaw is that Mother Leeds has descendants that, as of 1998, still lived in Atlantic County New Jersey according to an article on the myth in the New York Times on April 26, 1998 (Section 14NJ, Page 8). There are several other variants of the Leeds tale. Another version of the tale claims that when Mrs. Leeds found out she was pregnant with her 13th, she said that if she were to have one more child, "may it be a devil". [3] The belief that a deformed child was the work of Satan or a curse was still common during the 1700’s.[4]

[from Wikipedia]