Who or what is the little devil that keeps appearing in Virginia? Monkeys? Or Satan himself?
The story begins in the small town of Crewe, Virginia in May or June 1968. Bob was only a young child but remembers the incident well. “My mother was giving birth and my dad had sent use to wash our hands on the front porch and this child-like creature stepped up on the porch and scared me to death. I tried to tell my brother who was also on the porch but he never saw this thing. I could not speak to tell my brother and I believe that this thing was doing something to us to keep us from talking to each other. The creature had pinkish red skin, big shiny eyes and a mouth. I don’t remember seeing a nose, if so it was very small. It’s feet were small like hoofs and I called it the devil. I moved just like lighting, very fast.”
Bob reported the sighting to his Father shortly before his death ten years later, but his father wouldn’t accept his son’s sighting. As with most paranormal experiences, it’s something that Bob cannot forget and still 36 years later he has not changed his story or his belief in what happened that fateful day.
While investigating Bob’s sighting, I discovered a now defunct website called “The Spheres of Influence” edited by a “Chris C” who began the website after witnessing the Red Devil himself. The website also mentioned recent sightings of the Virginian Red Devil as well as revealing that it is known by other names such as “Trollic” and “Moon Worshipper”.
In May 1992 one witness (“CM”) wrote that after high school, a friend and the witness decided to visit a local nature trail. They arrived at the trail at around 4:30pm and while walking they witnessed the creature. The witness describes the devil as being around two to three feet tall and covered in red fur. Suddenly it let out a piercing laugh and at which point the witness’s friend freaked out and ran back to the path.
The red devil chased his friend for about ten to twenty feet before running off into the woods with the same shrill laugh.
Another sighting occurred a month later – “JP” was driving Red Hills Road, Horntown VA when he decided to turn around and backed up into a little side road. His truck scraped the road and he opened the door to investigate the damage. A noise was heard in the bushes, causing JP to retreat back to his truck thinking it was a dangerous animal. As JP looked through the truck’s back window the devil slowly stepped out the bushes, first revealing his hands and then fully appearing with a large grin.
“The only way I can really describe the creature is a three or four foot satyr. He had red hair all over his body and had the legs of an animal (hooves like a horse or a goat) so, I did the only logical thing anyone would do, I put the truck in gear and took off like crazy.”
In 1995 a husband and wife sighting occurred in 1995 when they were parked at Red Hills they noticed a little creature staring into the car, as soon as they saw it, the devil turned round and ran into the woods.
A sighting occurred in April 1997 (which was also known in the UK as a month of increased UFO activity) – “JS” was on a country back road when he saw a “little thing”. It looked like a white dog until it stood up on two legs and walked into the woods. A radio broadcast from WROX-FM seemed to confirm that another witness had seen the same creature. The man claimed to first witness the creature when he was a child and has researched it since.
On a warm, damp night in June 1997 “BCM” witnessed a figure about three feet tall. “It had a “podgy” stomach with white fur. Its legs were very angled and its head was rather pointed with deep set eyes that seemed dark, and its face blended in with its fur. It had rather thin arms with hands that looked as though they had claws. It stood there for a few seconds, but when I jumped it scared it away. It turned and bounded or galloped off on four legs.” The sighting took place at Chandler’s Crest on Chincoteague.
In August 1997 a sighting was submitted by an anonymous visitor who reported that a neighbour’s boyfriend had witnessed the devil many years ago when he was a teenager, ten years previously.
He described it as “they had brownish hair on them from what he could see in the dark; they had bare human like faces and were murmuring to themselves and laughing.” The sighting took place in Lynchberg VA.
Based on the few sightings of the red devil, here is how the sightings breakdown.
If the creature is singular, then when it appeared in 1968, it was a definite red in colour, while nearly thirty years later it is twice reported as being white in colour. (Although five years earlier CM and JP both report encounters with a red creature).
It’s most consistent features are that it is between three and four feet in height and covered in fur with hoofed feet. Twice it has “laughed” during sightings. So what could be causing these sightings? If we take in to consideration, misidentification and hoaxing – are we looking for a folkloric explanation?
I cannot find references in Native America folklore to “Moon-Worshippers” but it seems that the red devil could actually be linked to the “Geow-lud-mo-sis-eg”.
Associated with the Maliseet Nation of New Brunswick, they are magical little beings who appear at certain times and places in the Native American community. They are said to represent an omen, good or bad but tend to be directly associated with the global trickster theme. The Geow-lud-mo-sis-eg do their thing by playing pranks and tricks on people. They would often do their tricks in the middle of the night just to make a person’s hair stand on end. Little tricks like thumping on the side of your camp or canoe, braiding horse manes, tying up clothes on the clothes line, or a stone thrown into the still waters where you are quietly fishing might be the types of tricks the Tricksters would play on people. Little games such as these would be the harmless variety of mischievous activities that could be expected of the Tricksters.
They, like the Healers, can be appeased with a small gift of tobacco placed on the ground near or where the pranks are taking place. The tricks will then stop immediately after the giving of the tobacco.
Among the Maliseet people, the Geow-lud-mo-sis-eg are often seen beside or near water places like river banks, marshy grounds, brook sides or lakeshores.
Some people who fear the Geow-lud-mo-sis-eg and fall victim to tricks or pranks can become very fearful or openly shaken when the little creatures make their appearance to them and many times unpleasant events result. But others have experienced personal healings, good health and good fortune following their contact.
The Geow-lud-mo-sis-eg are the equivalent to what the “Brownies” are to the English, and yet there is not a description of the Geow-lud-mo-sis-eg to compare the Red Devil with them.
It is also interesting to note that the Red Devil’s description does sound European in nature. The same description could be used for European trickster types such as Robin Goodfellow, The Satyr, Puck and the Pagan God, Pan. All of which have the same themes and objectives which are similar in that of the Red Devil. It would be interesting to see where the original settlers in this Virginian area originated and if they have strong English or European backgrounds.
My own personal conclusion is that the ‘Red Devil’ fits within the same category as Spring Heeled Jack – a trickster that often defies explanation but continues to be seen regularly but is likely to have a human explanation. However, our world without the Virginian Red Devils and Spring Heeled Jacks would be a far less interesting one.