Half a century ago, Belgian Zoologist Bernard Heuvelmans first codified cryptozoology in his book On the Track of Unknown Animals.

The Centre for Fortean Zoology (CFZ) are still on the track, and have been since 1992. But as if chasing unknown animals wasn't enough, we are involved in education, conservation, and good old-fashioned natural history! We already have three journals, the largest cryptozoological publishing house in the world, CFZtv, and the largest cryptozoological conference in the English-speaking world, but in January 2009 someone suggested that we started a daily online magazine! The CFZ bloggo is a collaborative effort by a coalition of members, friends, and supporters of the CFZ, and covers all the subjects with which we deal, with a smattering of music, high strangeness and surreal humour to make up the mix.

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Sunday, March 08, 2009

GUES BLOGGER NIGEL WRIGHT: That Old Devil strikes again

I had intended to have finished off my next blog for the CFZ Bloggo a few days ago, but due to the rather interesting news about new “Devil’s footprints” appearing in North Devon, a few days ago, I have decided to re-write my article. May I, at this early point, add my own comment on this new case. One thing of which I am certain is that I totally agree with Jon when he states that this is NOT a case of the devil actually appearing in our beautiful county! I am sure that there is a perfectly natural explanation for this new appearance, as well as the case from the 19th century.

So, just what did occur in Devon, all those years ago? Well, here are the bare facts of the case; in so much as we know them. On the 8th February 1855 sometime between midnight and 6a.m. mysterious footprints appeared in deep snow, between Littleham village, in East Devon and Totnes, in the South Hams of Devon. These “footprints were cloven-shaped, and seemed to run one in front of another. The distance these prints ran for was truly amazing, as was the objects they seemed to climb over. In one instance they went over a 14ft high wall! Many “explanations” were offered at the time, raging from the just plausible to the downright ridiculous! For instance, someone, who must of suffered from a very over-active imagination, offered the answer that an hot air balloon had trailed a print-making device over the area, on the end of a rope, at night!. Fine flying indeed!

What is not so well known is that this is not the first of this type of event to have occurred in the UK. Way back, in the year 1205 (19th July to be precise) a series of strange “footprints” appeared during a violent electric storm. So, whatever the cause of these mysterious visitors really is, it appears to happen a lot more often than we thought. Nor is these phenomena restricted to the UK, there are reports of similar events happening all over the known world.

Why is this particular case so interesting to me? Well, I happen to live in Littleham! And the church in the village is where the footprints started from. So this is a case that happened not a mile from my front door. The whole area of East Devon is steeped in cases of extreme weirdness. From waves of UFO activity to black cat sightings and disappearances, and much, much more! But that, as they say, is a completely different story.


Syd said...

"The whole area of East Devon is steeped in cases of extreme weirdness."
Not wishing to cast aspersions, but is it the area that is steeped in cases of extreme weirdness, or is it the people living there who are weird.
Here in Nottinghamshire and surrounding parts of the East Midlands, there is an old adage about the people of Derbyshire, which says "Derbyshire born, Derbyshire bred, Strong in the arm, Weak in the head". This appears to come from the days of lead mining in the area, which had a somewhat unfortunate effect on the mental health of the people. So one may ask if at least some of the Devon weirdness may be caused in a similar way and be due to the minerals and geology of the area effecting the mental wellbeing of the people.

Jon Downes said...

There is actually an almost identical rhyme about Devonshire people:

"Devonshire born,
and Devonshire bred,
Thick in the arm,
and thick in the head"

But as Nigel and I found when we wrote our bgook The Rising of the Moon ten years ago, there are a hell of a lot of strange things reported from the area. However, I have a sneaking suspicion that whenever you scratch the surface of an area, you will find some very weird things..

Tania Poole said...

Hey Jon and Nigel, I read in a book I have that the footprints also happened in 1963, and that a woman in Noss Mayo, while in her bath the night before the prints were found, heard a really awful sound, like a howling outside in the night and had never heard anything like it before. She commented that it was so frightening, that she never wanted to hear it again. Makes me wonder what it was.
Have you heard this tale before?
Did your friend in Woolsery hear anything the night before?