Season 1

1x04 The Jersey Devil

Air date: 10-08-93
Writer: Chris Carter
Director: Joe Napoliano
Editor: Stephen Mark
Director of Photography: John S. Bartley, C.S.C.
Documented Phenomenon: Jersey Devil legend, Wild Man, Modern Neanderthal

Episode summary / Points to consider / Production analysis

A car drives on a road at twilight in New Jersey, 1947 headed for Atlantic City. A family is singing "Bingo". The car has a flat and they pull over. The man is changing the tire when his flashlight falls away from him. When he goes to retrieve the flashlight, something stalks him. He walks up to the car and asks his wife a question. Something grabs him and the man is pulled out of sight. She screams, jumps out of the car and shouts for her husband.

A search party with dogs go looking for the man later that night. The party heads down a forest slope and finds something at dawn. They find the man with his leg eaten off. One of the men throws up, then, another part of the search party shouts for them. The party with state troopers corner something in a cave. They can hear it moving towards them and they fire an endless round of ammunition into the cave.

At FBI Headquarters, present day, Scully heads to her office where Mulder is glancing at a porn magazine. He explains sheepishly that the reading material is legitimate: the woman in the photo claims to have been abducted by aliens and held in an anti gravity chamber. Scully teases him. Scully tells him about a body being found in the New Jersey woods yesterday. The body had it's arm and shoulder eaten off by a human, just outside of Atlantic City, this gets Mulder's interest. He asks if there was a mobster connection and Scully tells him no, it involved a homeless man and there seems to have been no motive. He's interested as he goes to his file drawer he pulls out an X-File and asks if Scully has ever heard of the Jersey Devil. She has, and describes it as a beast that attacks cars. As Mulder walks out of the office, he tells her to read about the case from 1947. She presses him to fill her in while she follows him through the offices. He explains that cops cornered and shot a large naked man in the woods. An autopsy revealed human flesh and bone in the naked man's intestine -- A beast man. Scully considers it nothing more than a folk tale, a myth. Mulder disagrees with her as he signs out for a car.

They head for Atlantic City and visit the morgue. The coroner insists that the body wasn't eaten by an animal and tells the agents it was found by a park ranger. Scully reads the body tag. The name is Roger Crockett. She notes that his blood-alcohol level was high. Detective Tomson walks in and Scully introduces them. The detective is puzzled. He doesn't recall request assistance from the FBI. Mulder explains that they are not there in a official capacity and states that Scully is there to take a look as a medical doctor. Hostile, Tomson asks them to leave, pointing out it is a local matter. Scully reminds Mulder that they should leave. As they leave, Scully points out the detective was perfectly in his rights, the FBI has no jurisdiction on the matter.

Mulder suggests they rent a hotel room and spend some time in Atlantic City. Scully tells him that she has to be back in DC, as she has her godson's birthday party to attend. Mulder decides to stay and poke around the area, he wants to make a weekend of it. Scully is frustrated and dumbfounded by his decision.

Mulder uses a phonebook in a crowded casino, he finds the number for the park's services and calls them. A ranger drives him to the area where the body was found. The ranger has been doing the job for thirty years and has seen a lot of strange things. Mulder comments about the man being homeless as the ranger mentions most homeless avoid the Jersey woods. The ranger mentions thinking he saw a large man about four years earlier. The man seemed to smell the ranger and ran off quickly like an animal. Ranger Brouilett also mentions seeing a half eaten Rabbit once with what looked like a human tooth in the carcass. The ranger is reluctant to suggest that there's a connection between the homeless man and the man beast legend. Yet the ranger admits he never comes out to the forest anymore without his weapon. Mulder asks and is told that it is a mile-and-a-half into town from the woods. Mulder asks the Ranger to call him if he thinks of anything. Then Mulder wanders down a trail into the forest.

Scully is at her godson's birthday. She comforts a boy who hits his head while her friend is trying to keep the party in order. Scully's friend compliments her about how well she manages the children. Ellie suggests that Dana would be a great mother and brings up that she should find herself a man. Ellie then asks about Mulder. Dana replies that Mulder is a jerk who's obsessed with his work.

Back in New Jersey, Mulder is walking in the forest. Something is stalking him. At the end of the godson's party, a man arrives for one of the boys. Ellie hints that the man is divorced.

At the outskirts of Atlantic City, Mulder enters a homeless district. He asks if anyone knew Roger Crockett. A man approaches him. Mulder explains he's from the FBI and the man guides Mulder to show him something. The homeless man asks for payment for the info and Mulder obliges. The homeless man then goes into a bag and pulls out a drawing of a beast person. He says he's seen it in the city streets. Everyone in the district is afraid and the police know but won't do anything. Mulder decides to stay around the homeless shelters for the night and gives the man the keys to his hotel room.

Late that night, Mulder is in a blanket trying to stay awake when he hears a sound. He moves quietly behind a walkway for a better view and sees something moving. He then moves towards it. He hears animal-like breathing and grunts. Then the creature seems to be able to smell Mulder's presence. It jumps a fence and Mulder pursues it. The beast runs along a walkway and Mulder has to go in another direction to reach it. Police cars arrive for no reason and the creature vanishes. The Police won't listen to what Mulder tells them and he is detained at the station. Detective Tomson appears in the holding room, accusing him of obstructing an investigation and threatening going to the local DA. Mulder counters that the detective is withholding evidence, ignoring statements given about something stalking the Atlantic City streets. Mulder makes the accusation that this is being done to keep the tourist business thriving. Detective Tomson is trying to bluff and Mulder calls him on it by showing the drawing of the beast man. Mulder warns that a tourist will be a future victim.

Scully arrives at work in the headquarters office and answers Mulder's incoming calls. Mulder is still being detained. He tells her what he saw. She arrives and releases him and they talk in a restaurant. She's not willing to sell the idea of what Mulder saw to the bureau. She has to get back to Washington, she tells him, because she has a date. With a trace of jealousy, Mulder asks if she can cancel. She retorts that she'd like to have a life. Sheepishly he replies that he has a life, trying to assure her.

She takes him to the University of Maryland to Professor Diamond. The professor explains that every culture has had a myth about a wild man, then Mulder inquires about a cultural diagram on the class room wall. The professor explains that the introduction of man onto each continent has destroyed other species in the process by killing other species in order to survive. The professor was Scully's teacher. Mulder suggests the possibility of something evolving � or devolving, as it were � into the food chain above us. The professor argues it won't happen. Barring the introduction of an alien life form, we will remain the rulers of the earth. Mulder suggests what if by a fluke of nature, a human is born who reverts to his animal instincts -- a carnivorous Neanderthal. He points out cases of men who were raised in the wilderness by animals, yet the professor points out that cannibalism is rare -- even among lower mammals. The professor points out it's highly unlikely that such a thing could survive in the woods of New Jersey, yet it would be an amazing discovery, the professor adds.

Back in his office, Mulder looks through various photos of 'wild men'. Scully is bored with her dinner date. He asks about what case she's working on and she can't tell him, so he changes the subject to the topic of estate planning and taxation.

At Mulder's office, he is called by Ranger Peter Brouillet, the man he spoke with before. The ranger has found a dead male out in the woods with a missing tooth that could be the Jersey Devil. The body had been out there for six months and had just been turned over to the coroner's office. Scully is paged by Mulder. She excuses herself and answers the call, Mulder has hit upon an idea: maybe it isn't a beast man they are hunting but a beast woman.

They head back to the Atlantic City coroner's office with Professor Diamond. There's no body logged at the office. Mulder suspects that the police are trying to sweep this case under. Publicity about a wild man on the streets of Atlantic City would hurt tourism. The body found was a male and Mulder places odds that there was a mate.

They go to the homeless district with the professor and ranger Brouillet, who is armed with a dart gun. They search the area and enter a warehouse just as a Jersey Police car arrives. Professor Diamond notices something and calls them over. He's found a rag with blood. He postulates she could be bringing her killing to the warehouse or could be injured. A swat team has arrived at the area where Mulder and Scully are searching on an upper level walk way. Mulder speculates that men are nothing more than beasts with big brains. The police and the swat team enter the warehouse. Detective Tomson finds Professor Diamond and the ranger and ask where is Mulder. While the agents are trying to avoid the detective, separating, Mulder hears a sound, sees something outside and chases it. Scully finds him and follows close behind. He follows it into a furnace room. The beast woman attacks and knocks him down. However, she seems as curious about him as he is about her.

Scully follows close behind into the furnace room. That startles the beast woman and she strikes at Mulder, gashing him before she runs away. Scully finds him and he tells her the beast woman sensed he wasn't a threat.

While Mulder is being treated by an ambulance with Professor Diamond present, Scully is calling the bureau and the US Assistant DA, trying to get federal jurisdiction on the case. The professor asks how old the woman was while Mulder is distracted; the Atlantic city crime unit makes claims that they are endangering a murder investigation. The ranger walks up and tells them the beast woman has been cornered. The Jersey swat team is attacked as the woman escapes and heads into the woods. Mulder, Scully, Professor Diamond and the ranger drive into the woods, in pursuit before the Jersey police can find this woman.

The four of them follow and find the beast woman heading toward a creek. The Ranger fires his dart gun and hits her. The beast woman pulls the dart out and continues to run. They run across a bridge when they hear two gun shots. Mulder and Scully follow to find the police huddled around. An officer has been injured. The beast woman was trying to bury herself with leaves when she was shot. Mulder confronts Tomson and asks why he had to kill her. The detective replies for the same reason you kill a wild animal. Scully has him ease off as they leave. The Ranger is disgusted by the detective's action.

A week later in Washington, Mulder re-files the Jersey Devil case, Scully enters their office with a medical exam report. The "beast" woman was believed to be about thirty years old and fragments of human bone were found in her digestive tract. Doctor Diamond was allowed to do an exam and found nothing to suggest prehistoric bone structure. The male body that was found was examined as well. He was around forty years old. Mulder speculates there would have been offspring and Scully confirms that there was evidence the woman had given birth. Mulder is excited about the news and had already made an appointment with an ethno biologist at the Smithsonian. Frustrated, Scully tells him to take some time off when there's a phone call for her. It's the man she had gone on a date with, Rob. He asks her to go to the theatre with him. Mulder requisitions for a car when Scully walks up besides him and tells Mulder she's not interested in seeing Rob again. She is going with him to the Smithsonian. He teases her about having a life.

Meanwhile in the Jersey forest, a father and son are walking while the father talks about the Jersey Devil legend. The boy swears he sees something. As they walk away, a wild boy crawls out of a hole, curiously.

Episode Summary / Points to consider / Production analysis

  • The incident from 1947 that is sighted by Mulder seems to have been a liberty taken by Chris Carter; of all known documented examples of the Jersey Devil legend, most of the dates extend from the early nineteen hundreds. There were multiple accounts of sightings in 1909. The last claimed sightings were from the early nineteen thirties. In 1974, Jeremiah J. Sullivan from the publication New York Folklore Quarterly regarded the Jersey Devil as one of the few unexplored incidents of mass hysteria connected with folklore in American History.
  • One minor inconsistency with the writing, has to do with the lack of explanation over if there would be scattered tribes of wild men hiding in the New Jersey woods, Unless the wild man, woman and child were the last of their kind. Still, for modern Neanderthal's to have such adaptive skills, to keep so well hidden, it is difficult to accept the notion that there wouldn't be other small wild men tribes hidden.
  • One has to wonder about two points - most inner city community slums are almost always located in the heart of a city, not near the heavily wooded outskirts of a city. Unless, of course, the geography of Atlantic City is vastly different. In addition, wouldn't Mulder's hotel bill be astronomical after his generous surrender of the keys to the homeless person? (Kudos to Autumn Tysko's insights.)
  • While the theme of conspiracies are already becoming well established in the Mythology, this idea is often also played out on a smaller scale in many episodes where local community leaders have knowledge of potential threats, yet due to self interest or financial gain, try to obstruct the truth from being known to the public.
  • Another gap in story logic: why would Mulder be arrested on a Friday, spend a weekend in jail and not contact Scully until Monday? Did he not have her home phone number? Was it an act of consideration on his part, to allow her the weekend free?
  • This is the first episode to make explicit Mulder's predilection for adult magazines. He is caught by Scully reading a copy of "Hanky Panky". Robin England
  • A classic Scully comment or 'scullyism' is her retort at the end of the episode: "Keep that up Mulder and I'll hurt you like that beast woman".

Episode Summary / Points to consider / Production analysis

This is the first non-mythology episode written by Chris Carter, and a good example of a trend that would remain consistent with the series, taking a established urban legend and interpreting it in a plausible way that differs from the known urban legend. While the episode plays with wild men legends such as the Yeren legends of China, the actual legend of the Jersey Devil is very different from how it's presented. Chris Carter wanted to explore the idea of a missing link, an evolutionary throwback. The episode explores the kind of social life Scully is giving up by staying devoted to her work. It is also a another example of tale told skillfully through implication. The Exterior Vacant buildings where the female hunts for food was filmed around Block Station Street, where shots for the Restaurant and PD Parking lot were filmed as well. The shots of the Interior Townhouse, the Restaurant and Rob's office were filmed around Angus Drive in Vancouver. The New Jersey woods were filmed in North Vancouver, again at Seymour Demonstration Forest.

Since the series was filmed in Vancouver and no where near Atlantic City, the shots of Mulder in the Atlantic City casinos was done with David Duchovny filmed in front of a blue screen. Stock footage of the Atlantic City casinos was matted in later on in post production. Blue screen is a technical process that is commonly done for any number of reasons and regularly used in feature films. What is also of note is John Bartley�s lighting -- especially the warehouse scene where the feral woman is backlit with the rotating fan and blue light.

The actress that played the beast woman did have to run around naked on the shoot. For certain scenes she had to wear a flesh-colored cod piece or her hair was used to cover her breasts. Bob Goodwin was required to shoot some pick-up shots of the beast woman in the forest area of the Greater Vancouver Regional District. He had brought his two young sons along (both of whom were quite keen to see a naked woman on set), until the forest ranger refused to allow the boys into the park because of liability insurance regulations. The boys had to wait in the parking lot, though Goodwin was rather alarmed to hear from the ranger that a mountain lion had been spotted nearby only a half hour before. While the episode is rather mild, it also demonstrates that the producers would be willing to push the envelope with the Fox Censors. Some X-Philes do not regard this episode very highly in their opinions, feeling the plot line is rather thin. Matt Allair / Robin England

Actor Gregory Sierra is most known for playing Dec. Sgt, Chano Amenguale on Barney Miller. Mr. Sierra has had an illustrious career in both feature films and television. His feature work includes John Carpenter's Vampires, Hot Shots! Part Deux, Deep Cover and earlier work in The Prisoner Of Zenda, The Towering Inferno, Papillion and Beneath The Planet Of The Apes. His television appearances include Ellen, Walker, Texas Ranger, Murder, She Wrote, Dr. Quinn, Medicine Woman, Star Trek; Deep Space Nine, The Fresh Prince of Bel Air, MacGyver, Growing Pains, Magnum, P.I., Miami Vice, Hill Street Blues, Quincy and The Greatest American Hero. Mr. Sierra also appeared regularly on Sanford and Son. His other seventies work includes Gunsmoke, Police Story, McCloud, All in The Family, Kung Fu and Mission: Impossible.

Actor Michael MacRae who plays Ranger Peter Brouilett has a varied career in television and in some features. He appeared in Battlefield Earth in 2000. His first significant feature was Coma in 1978. Mr. MacRae is currently a television series regular on The Division. He appeared on another X-Files episode in the fifth season, The Pine Bluff Variant. Other television appearances include JAG, Seven Days, The Outer Limits, NYPD Blue, The Commish, MacGyver, Scarecrow and Ms. King, Moonlighting, Magnum, P.I., Hill Street Blues, CHiPs, Knight Rider and such seventies shows as The Dukes Of Hazzard, Barnaby Jones and Starsky and Hutch.

Actress Claire Stansfield who played The Jersey Devil / Wild woman has appeared in a variety of work. Her feature work includes Red Shoe Dairies 5; Weekend Pass as well as appearing in Oliver Stone's The Doors. Television appearances include a regular appearance on Xena; Warrior Princess, as well as Frasier, Cybill, The Flash and Twin Peaks. In 1999 Mrs. Stansfield gave an interview where she commented on her experience with working on the episode. Mrs. Stansfield got the role through the recommendation of David Duchovny to Chris Carter. Mr. Duchovny and Claire Stansfield had worked on an oil company commercial that was directed by David's brother Danny, who is known as a director of commercials. They remained casual friends, practicing Yoga and Duchovny even taught her how to play baseball and basketball. In recounting her experience she commented: * "I had a great time. I really like to get into the character that I play and that was a really fun one. [I did] research 'cause when you become an animal, your different senses become heightened. And I was like watching my dog and going to the zoo and watching animals. Their sense of smell and sound is much more heightened. They go by their sense of smell. It's more instinctual then we are as human beings, I think."

Mrs. Stansfield also commented that a Vancouver stripper was hired as her body double, mostly to do stunt work such as the leap over the fence. The stripper was never used, but walked around on the set for two weeks in nothing but a G-string, much to the pleasure of the male members of the cast and crew.

Wayne Tippit is another actor who has had an illustrious career. He started his career as an assistant director in such low budget horror films as The Horror Of Party Beach before he moved into acting. Recent feature work includes Nurse Betty, Dancer, Texas Pop. 81, JFK and Taps. Television movies include The Ernest Green Story, Dark Shadows, and Line of Fire: The Morris Dees Story. Other television appearances include Chicago Hope, Diagnosis Murder, Dark Skies, Seinfeld, Matlock, Murder, She Wrote, Murphy Brown, Wiseguy, Baywatch, Quantum Leap and such seventies series as The Rockford Files, The Bob Newhart Show and Barnaby Jones.

* Quote source: http://www.bitchofrome.com/Pages/stansfield_interview.html

Episode synopsis and notes: Matt Allair
Additional production notes: Robin J. England
Page Editor: XScribe

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