Horrors of the real world – the devil’s footprints

Today we will look at a weird phenomenon that occurred during February 1855 near the Exe Estuary in East and South Devon, England.

On the night of February 8 there was a very heavy snowfall there was a trail found of hoof-like marks that appeared overnight that stretched to a total distance of 40 to 100 miles. The hoof marks were said to be about four inches long and three inches across and were apart eight and sixteen inches from each other. The type of footprint matched none of the known animals feet and thus the legend was born. There are some anonymous sources that said that they also found a similar trail 2-3 days later and the footprints were also found. This garnered a lot of attention and even made it to the news:

It appears on Thursday night last, there was a very heavy snowfall in the neighbourhood of Exeter and the South of Devon. On the following morning the inhabitants of the above towns were surprised at discovering the footmarks of some strange and mysterious animal endowed with the power of ubiquity, as the footprints were to be seen in all kinds of unaccountable places – on the tops of houses and narrow walls, in gardens and court-yards, enclosed by high walls and pailings, as well in open fields.” (Source: Wikipedia)

The villagers became extremely alarmed so they decided to gather a huge arsenal and chase the creature themselves. They followed the trail but when they reached the end they found nothing.

There were a ton of theories that popped up that tried to explain the odd phenomenon. Some people said that it was a kangaroo that managed to escape but the marks did not match those of a kangaroo’s. Others said that it might have been badgers but there was also not enough evidence to support that claim. And of course the more paranoid theories surfaced as well. A lot of people assumed (you probably figured out from the name) that the footprints were made from the devil himself. Now of course this is not a valid explanation of what it could be but it is still a fascinating mystery since the tracks matched none of the local wildlife and an explanation was never found.

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