AOL News has reported that the Paranormal Museum in Asbury Park, N.J., has recently opened exhibit features a variety of artifacts chronicling both the “real” and “unreal” history of New Jersey’s most notorious cryptid – the Jersey Devil.

Said to prowl the desolate, forested regions of southern New Jersey’s Pine Barrens — the country’s first national reserve, covering more than a million acres of farms, forests and wetlands — the JERSEY DEVIL is a bizarre, bat winged, cloven hoofed HYBRID-BEAST that is known for killing livestock, leaving behind odd footprints and filling the night air with chilling sounds.

Museum owner Kathy Kelly says the story most associated with the Jersey Devil involved a woman who, in the 1700s, prayed for her 13th child to be born a devil. According to Kelly:

“Shortly after the child was born he transformed into a creature that was twice the size of a full-grown man, with cloven feet, wings and talons for hands, and he killed the midwife and then flew off into the Pinelands, where he has terrorized people ever since.”

Archaeologist Paula Perrault has seen alleged Jersey Devil skulls with both straight and curved horns, and says the Pinelands has a history of genetic malformations, even in mammals, serpents and humans.

Some animals of this Garden State location have been found with abnormalities, including odd colorations, extra appendages and even lizards with extra heads. From an archaeological perspective, Perrault speculates that there is some kind of mineral deposit in the area, made up of heavy metal that could be one thing that might cause genetic differences.

Later this year, Perrault plans to trace the various trails along New Jersey’s Route 30, where rumor has it there are petroglyphs, which depict an unusual creature which may be the Jersey Devil himself. Angus Gillespie, a professor of American studies at Rutgers University in New Jersey, described the rock carvings, which are said to date back thousands of years:

“Supposedly there are many petroglyphs, and some of them lost over time, where Native Americans depicted an entity that has reptilian features… there may or may not be a Jersey Devil creature, but from a folkloristic standpoint, it’s a fact that the story exists — this story has been in oral circulation in south Jersey ever since 1735.”

The Jersey Devil, according to local lore, has haunted a wilderness area in southern New Jersey for nearly 250 years, making it possibly the oldest reported “monster” in America. Kelly, says there are two schools of thought about the creature:

“You have the kind of paranormal, supernatural idea, which suggests that this is actually the son of the devil. And the other possibility is that this is some sort of mutated animal that has not yet been identified by science.”

Here’s hoping we find out someday.