Ancient mystery returns as ‘Satan’s hoofprints’ are spotted in Devon back garden

April 5, 2009

A 150-year-old mystery has reared its head after a woman woke to find ‘Satan’s hoofprints’ dotted across freshly fallen snow in her back garden. The single track of cloven-like prints – which appear to have been made by a two-legged creature – precisely resemble footprints recorded in the area in 1855. The phenomenon, which has never been explained, became known as the ‘Devil’s foot prints’ in a local legend.

hoofprints The new tracks appeared in fresh snow in Jill Wade’s back garden on March 5th. Grandmother Jill, 76, of Woolsery, Devon, said: ‘I looked in the garden and it really intrigued me. ‘I couldn’t believe it – the footprints were in the shape of a cloven hoof. There were no other marks at all in the snow.

‘I was quite surprised by it and I hadn’t got a clue what it was, but I thought I would love to know.’

Scientists from the Centre for Fortean Zoology inspected the prints which measure 5ins (13cm) long with a stride of between 11 and 17ins (28 and 43cm). Jonathan Downes, who runs the centre, is investigating whether the footprints could have been left by a hare or rabbits hopping on their hind legs.

‘Thousands of people across the world believe in the paranormal, but so far every single thing we have looked into has turned out to have a natural explanation. I’m sure these will as well.

“‘Do I believe that the Devil comes from the pits of Hell to wander around the gardens of North Devon? Of course not. But if you’re asking if there are things that can’t be explained by modern science, then yes. But human knowledge is expanding all the time. I believe that things that are currently put down to the paranormal will one day be explained by science.”

hoofprints2The original ‘Devil’s footprints’ appeared after a light snowfall on February 8th, 1855, and travelled from Exmouth to Topsham in Devon – even crossing the estuary of the River Exe.

The tracks reportedly continued unbroken for 100 miles – appearing on both sides of 14-foot walls and locked gates. Some villagers blamed the church, who had recently changed the standard prayer book, for letting the devil into their communities. Others blamed animals, pranksters, and even a weather balloon – but the phenomenon, described as the ‘great Devon mystery’, was never explained.



  1. http://www.sciforums.com/showthread.php?t=96688&goto=newpost

    This is an interesting theory..

  2. the devils footprints reminded me of a story i read when i was a child. I d’ont remember the name of the book the story was in but the story (a.k.a) legend, told me and my friend that there was an animal with long legs on one side and tiny legs on the other.
    but the weird thing is, that this creature i just told you about was like half goat and half dragon or something. it said that this animal likes to swim in water and lives in the mountains .
    i found this book at my old school ecole tache in winnipeg MB it was in french .

  3. I dont think its from the devil because why would he walk in a straight line or he could have been half satyr and half angel or whatever

  4. The shape fits that of the clasper of a male giant dragonfly-like entity. The clasper is a horseshoe shape appendage located at the end of it’s tail for grasping the female during mating. If the male giant dragonfly is low on energy in cold weather, then it could hop on it’s tail as opposed to walking on it’s legs to save energy. Strange but true? See here for a photo match; (http://www.sciforums.com/attachment.php?attachmentid=6638&d=1380878914)

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