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Devil's Footprints?


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Ian Topham's picture
Ian Topham
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Recently we passed the anniversary of the Devil's Footprints being discovered in Devon (8th February 1855).  It just so happens that there was a heavy snow fall again this year and a farmer in Devon awoke to strange foot prints on his land, which he tells me also has a chapel that predates the 13th century.  He was kind enough to send the only two photographs he took of the footprints.  Can anyone help identify these tracks?

Quote:

Last weekend we had snow at our farm in Devon, around the back of the house we found strange footprints, whatever it was had two legs, the print was two toes and a heel, with no print inbetween so no pad. So must have been a really arched foot. The size was a UK size 7, same as mine! the footprints led upto a gate and then the next print was the other side of the gate just took it in its stride. The prints were all around our farm and also by Tamar Lake which borders our farm, any suggestions? Iam baffled and intrigued, I have a few photos as proof.

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Red Don
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There is no reason to draw

There is no reason to draw comparisons to the original Devil’s Footprints case Ian. The fact they both happened on 8th February is a co-incidence surely. The very nature of footprints in snow requires it to have been snowing and hence probably being sometime in winter. The chances of it being the same date may not be as large as it seems.

The prints in the photographs don’t look like those recorded in 1855. Also just because they both occurred in Devon is again just co-incidence. If anything these similarities may point to it being a hoax…..which knowing you you’ve already been considering.

If it is a creature though and not a hoax……I have no idea what it could be….unless it’s some kind of Emu or something. Just because there is an old chapel nearby does not mean the devil is involved in anyway. The original foot prints were probably so called due to them being similar to a hoof and this is how demonic feet are often portrayed and not because there was evidence that it was the devil himself.

Mysteryshopper
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Ian Topham's picture
Ian Topham
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That may not be a bad idea

That may not be a bad idea if they are fabricated Mysteryshopper.  The farmer says only he and his wife saw them an did not mention footprints alongside the tracks, those on the pictures are his after following them.

Mauro
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Could be pretty much

Could be pretty much everything, from a hopping bird to a particular walking stick.
Problem is, as is usual with tracks in the snow, that they have been distorted beyond recognizition.

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"Louhi spoke in riddled tones of three things to achieve: find and catch the Devil's Moose and bring it here to me. Seize the Stallion born of Fire, harness the Golden Horse. He captured and bound the Moose, he tamed the Golden Horse. Still there remained one final task: hunt for the Bird from the Stream of Death"

-Kalevala, Rune XIII-


Red Don's picture
Red Don
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The tracks look deep

The tracks look deep compared to the foot prints beside them.  Not sure it could be hopping bird Mauro but I agree that snow tracks can become distorted. 

Ian Topham's picture
Ian Topham
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I should be clear that the

I should be clear that the farmer himself did not make any claims as to what these could be and therefore was not trying to pass them off as something.  He was just interested in whether we can help identify what they could be as they were on his land.

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Agricola
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 Very hard to tell anything

 Very hard to tell anything without seeing several shots of the trail in the second image. The first image doesn't really show much of use, except a size comparisson at most. The 'hoof prints' don't even follow one after the other in the first few prints, but then go into a straight line in the background. Secondly, the first hoof print (in 2nd image) has one mark first, then the two marks above it, the next foot print then appears to be two marks first and then the single mark above it i.e. one step going one way, then one backwards! Hope that makes sense. Beyond this the marks are indistinguishable, though appear to perhaps loop around at the top of the photo and move back into the foreground.

I think, based on the two images it would be reasonable to say inconclusive without further images or a more detailed description. 

To me it either looks like some natural activity (thawing, drips, etc) - the snow does seem to be quite thin on the ground, or that the person walking had a stick or something which caused the marks, or possibly even that a three legged rabbit or hare may be responsible.

Certainly any comparissons to the original Devil's footprints would be wild speculation. They occurred on the same days over a hundred years apart, and in the same county, but even so this is quite speculative unless they occured at the exact same/similar time or in the exact same/similar location.

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Daniel Parkinson
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footprints

Just managed to get a proper look at these, I am pretty sure they are rabbit tracks - rabbits leave this distinctive two tracks and one track. The longer tracks are the hind legs, the fore legs often fall into the same spot leaving the impression of 1 track. I have tracked rabbits a long time ago when I was in a Ray Mears phase. It's probably a bit late but to be sure it would have been worth following them to check for any rabbit droppings and burrows nearby.
here is a link www.turbophoto.com/Rabbit-Tracks-in-the-Snow-24010.php 
I think the ones posted have thawed a little making them bigger and less easy to identify.

(Yes Ian I know I should have checked this sooner! it managed to pass me by completely)
Of course I could be wrong, but I was oddly enough explaining similar tracks during a walk in the last snow fall about a week ago, they ended in a typical rabbit run through vegitation and a small hill were the burrows were.

Ian Topham's picture
Ian Topham
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Looks good to me Dan.  I

Looks good to me Dan.  I think I'll go hunt me some critters.

 

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Urisk
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Yep

Dan, that would have been my guess too. Not through tracking them, but through being inundated with the little blighters all winter, stripping the apple trees of their bark and all manner of destruction!

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