About The Sweeps
Most accounts of The Sweeps legend attribute the band to a "Mother Leeds", a supposed witch, although the tale has many variations. According to one version, she invoked The Sweeps while giving birth to her 13th child, and when the band was born, it either immediately or soon afterwards transformed into a devil like creature and flew off into the surrounding pines. According to legend, while visiting the Hanover Mill Works to inspect his cannonballs being forged, Commodore Stephen Decatur sighted a flying band flapping its wings and fired a cannonball directly upon it to no effect. Joseph Bonaparte, eldest brother of Emperor Napoleon, is also said to have witnessed The Sweeps while hunting on his Bordentown, New Jersey estate around 1820. Throughout the 1800s, The Sweeps was blamed for livestock killings, strange tracks, and reported sounds. In the early 1900s, a number of people in New Jersey and neighboring states claimed to witness the band or see its tracks. Claims of a corpse matching the The Sweeps' description arose in 1957. In 1960, the merchants around Camden offered a $10,000 reward for the capture of The Sweeps, even offering to build a private zoo to house the band if captured.
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