The Mystery of the Devil’s Footprints

Dear friends of Training Centre Raya London,

We’re enthusiastic about diving into our next topic because it not only assists you in your academic endeavors but also provides intriguing insights into British history. Join us as we explore this engaging narrative together, ensuring that the learning experience is both smooth and enjoyable.

Today, we’ll recount the mysterious emergence of footprints during the night of February 8th, extending into February 9th, in the year of 1885. The footprints emerged within the deep snow, leaving behind a bewildering trail.

What made these footprints particularly baffling was their resemblance to single-row hoof prints. These impressions, resembling horseshoe marks, stretched across a distance of 60 to 160 kilometers in the East and South Devon areas, near the Exe Estuary. Reports of these mysterious footprints surfaced from approximately 30 different locations. Each footprint measured approximately 10 centimeters in height and 8 centimeters in width, featuring only an outline, with the snow in the middle remaining undisturbed. The tracks were spaced between 20 and 40 centimeters apart and were predominantly arranged in a single row. Speculation ran wild as to which creature could possibly leave such distinctive imprints. Suggestions ranged from donkeys to jumping mice and other potential animals, yet none seemed to offer a satisfactory explanation. Adding to the mystery was the fact that the footprints did not merely skirt around houses, walls, and other obstacles; rather, they continued directly over them. There were prints found in enclosed courtyards, on rooftops, and along narrow walls, further deepening the intrigue surrounding their origin.

The tracks left on the snow sparked widespread conversation, igniting superstitions and chilling tales. They were discussed even from the pulpit in churches and made their way into newspapers in distant lands like Australia. Unsurprisingly, driven by people’s fears, the horseshoe-shaped footprints were swiftly linked to none other than Satan himself.

In the 1850s, the Devonshire Scientific and Literary Association, known for researching various aspects of the Devon area, published a request for evidence regarding the phenomenon known as the “Footsteps of Satan,” as these tracks had come to be called. In response, they received a collection of documents from Reverend H. T. Ellacombe, the vicar of Clyst St. George parish. These documents included letters from his friends and colleagues detailing the phenomenon, as well as an unpublished draft of an essay intended for a local newspaper. The vicar himself had conducted and documented personal investigations into the matter. Over a century later, Welsh writer and historian Mike Dash compiled this material and published a story about the “Satan’s Footsteps” phenomenon in the British supernatural journal Fortean Studies in 1994.

Afterwards, numerous individuals examined the Devon case, proposing different hypotheses. Some dismissed the phenomenon as merely a product of human imagination and a fascination with spooky stories, while others looked for more ordinary explanations. These theories included the possibility of an accidental release of an experimental balloon from a nearby harbor, potentially trailing a chain with mooring lines attached. Other suggestions implicated animals such as a badger, a jumping mouse, or even a kangaroo that might have escaped from a private zoo as potential sources of the tracks.

The most recent case of similar tracks found near Girvan, Scotland, dates back to 2013. However, it’s widely considered to have been an April Fool’s joke.

We’re curious to hear about any mysterious stories that have captured your imagination and left you intrigued! Whether they’re tales you’ve come across or personal experiences, we’d love to hear them. Please share your stories with us on the Facebook page of Training Centre Raya – London.

See you soon!


Author: Iveta Radeva

Image: medium.com

Training Centre Raya London is a new and fastly developing English Language School specialized in teaching English as a second language. Founded in 2015 we are small enough to provide a personal service, but large enough to have very good facilities and resources for the students to learn English in UK.