The Devil’s Footprints

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A Brief History

In the night of February 8-9, 1855, the fresh snow of Devon, England was marked with mysterious, bipedal, cloven-hoofed tracks often referred to as “The Devil’s Footprints.” (Please click on the link for a very informative video.)

Digging Deeper

From the Illustrated London News, 1855

From the Illustrated London News, 1855

The tracks were especially unusual in nature in that they were said to have stretched for 40 to 100 miles over the south-western tip of England and to have gone right over tall objects such as buildings and haystacks rather than going around them.  Mostly in a straight line, the prints were about 4 inches long by 3 inches wide, with a stride of only 8 to 16 inches and did not resemble those of any known animal.

Critics today say the distance covered was well over what person or animal could walk overnight, and that the next day, people would not have been able to walk the entire length of the track, bringing doubt as to the actual reported length of the trail.  Theories about the source of the tracks include unlikely candidates such as badgers, hopping mice, kangaroos (what?) and even a hot air balloon that was trailing a shackle as it made its low altitude journey. (Presumably not owning up to the event because of windows broken by the shackle and other damage.)

Some critics even call the event a hoax, while others refer to mass hysteria where people saw all sorts of animal tracks and conflated them into one big set of mystery marks.  Still, even critics must admit the mystery has never been solved.  

Other instances of mysterious tracks have been reported throughout the world at various times but none as extensive as the Devon tracks which were mostly forgotten until documents mentioned resurfaced in the 1950s.

In more recent news, the idea of the footprints was used in the 2014 film Dark was the Night about an American town that experiences evil supernatural activity when a logging company begins to work in the local woods.

Who or what do you think created the tracks in Devon, England? 

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Historical Evidence

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About Author

Major Dan

Major Dan is a retired veteran of the United States Marine Corps. He served during the Cold War and has traveled to many countries around the world. Prior to his military service, he graduated from Cleveland State University, having majored in sociology. Following his military service, he worked as a police officer eventually earning the rank of captain prior to his retirement.