On THis Day - February 8th

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Devonshire_Devil_Prints_1855

The Devil's Hoofprints

On the night of 8th February 1855, after a heavy snowfall, South Devon was the scene of a series of hoof-like marks in the snow. These footprints, most of which measured about four inches long, three inches across, between eight and sixteen inches apart and mostly in a single file, were reported from more than thirty locations across Devon and a couple in Dorset. It was estimated that the total distance of the tracks amounted to between 40 and 100 miles. Houses, rivers, haystacks and other obstacles were travelled straight over, and footprints appeared on the tops of snow-covered roofs and high walls which lay in the footprints' path, as well as leading up to and exiting various drain pipes as small as four inches in diameter.

The area in which the prints appeared extended from Exmouth, up to Topsham, and across the Exe Estuary to Dawlish and Teignmouth. R.H. Busk, in an article published in Notes and Queries during 1890, stated that footprints also appeared further afield, as far south as Totnes and Torquay, and that there were other reports of the prints as far away as Weymouth (Dorset) and even Lincolnshire.

At the time, and later, the phenomenon was attributed to

  • A hot-air balloon trailing its anchor
  • Field Mice
  • Badgers
  • Kangaroos escaped from a local zoo
  • And ....of course.....Aliens

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