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Saru

The Devil's Footprints

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I was just having a read of Loonboy's site, and found the article on the "Devil's Footprints", a case in 1855, in which a trail of cloven hoofprints was discovered that went on for over 40 miles in Devon, England. The prints seemed to go straight through solid objects without a break in stride, under gooseberry bushes and over rooftops.

The full story can be found HERE.

I was wondering what everyone's thoughts are on this. There doesn't seem to be anything that can explain how the prints go through solid objects, if it was a hoax, you'd expect other footprints to be present as well.

Are these "The Devil's Footprints", or is there a simpler explanation ?

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Here is a eyewitness drawing of the footprints

post-13-1041513636.jpg

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The exact date that people woke to find the footprints was Friday 9th February 1855.

This account was recorded a few years later by Miss Henrietta Fursdon, from Dawlish:

'The footprints occured in the night, and owing to my father being a vicar he was immediately visited by curates, church wardens and parishoners to ask him his opinion of the prints that were all over Dawlish. They were in a straight line, in the shap[e of a small hoof, but contained in the hoof were the marks of claws. One tracvk especially attracted attention, which went direct from the vicarage to the vestry door; other tracks were found leading straight up to dead walls, and again found on the other side, many were found on the roofs of houses; and in all parts of Dawlish...... I myself remember distinctly seeing the footprints, and my terror as a child of the unknown wild beast that might be lurking about, and the servants would not go out after dark to shut outer doors.'

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I agree Gareth there is no explanation for this and to quote LBs Site

the tracks covered more than forty miles of countryside

If this was a hoax then to cover that amount of distance there would be a footprint or something of the hoaxers. Plus I think that they would find it hard to fake something like that now let a lone in 1855! but hey you never know. unsure.gif

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Althalus, according to my research and to most references to the story, the events transpired between the evening of the 7th Feb and the morning of the 8th Feb. Whether this is actually correct is unclear, as the reporting of the incident followed some days later, and knowing what people are like...

Hence is a probable solution: the story got snowballed (no pun intended) before it reached the press and has exaggerations or additions to the actual events. I guess we'll never really know for sure.

blink.gif

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I got the date from Arthur C Clarke's Mysterious World.

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For a county thats only 69 miles in length by 60, I would say 40 miles of footprints is a hell of a distance (mind the pun) and then to just stop suddenly? dry.gif

"The villagers followed the line through the landscape. It extended through Clyst St.George, Woodbury, Bicton, East Budleigh....etc...In all, the tracks covered more than forty miles of countryside."

A 40 mile trek over house and under bush seems a bit keen to me for the villagers. blink.gif I'd agree with the Loon's probable solution. An interesting read though.

smile.gif

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Posted (edited)

wink.gif Hmmm but there is another twist to the story, it was belived that some villagers were wavering in their faith and this was another way to reinforce the existence of the 'Devil'.

But I'm still trying to find out where I read that dry.gif

Edited by Celticwitch_00

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Hi all - whilst this is a most interesting story, if we believe in Celtic Witches explanation, they why in this modern age of spreading agnosticism, has the devil not returned to leave his mark once more? No I agree, goats can jump walls (although not through them obviously!) and possibly the Vicar just got over zealous about his up coming sermon and put the two together - hence a classic shaggy dog story was born, which over time has passed into legend!

Happy New year by the way! biggrin.gif

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Clearly depicted in the picture provided that the imprints that were made, were made by something on two legs. Simply because you would see a gathering of more imprints if it were a hooved animal walking on four legs. Could they have been made in a similar fashion as those of the forrest ranger who admited to making bigfoot tracks for over 50 years? I think this would be a better starting off point than something like a devil.

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I think you're jumping to conclusions there a tad...

Maybe it had two legs, or maybe just the one.... yikes!!

blink.gif

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Bloated,

I agree that it would be a lot more logical to investigate the possibility that the prints were faked, rather than that they were made by the devil of all things.

The problem is the fact that the prints managed to somehow continue straight through walls, under bushes etc. without a break in stride. A person may have been able to make the prints over 40 miles, but how would be have accomplished those two feats ?

I'd like to think that this was simply a hoax, but there are parts of the story that make me wonder.

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