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The Devilís Footprints, Devon

An incident that has passed into Devon folklore and legend, and that in its time achieved fame further afield, is the strange case of the Devilís footprints which were found after a snowy night in early February 1855.
The prints in the snow were said to be about eight inches to a foot apart, supposedly of a cloven hoof. That latter fact, together with the tracks continuing according to some sources for more than 100 miles, and their never veering around when confronted with sizeable obstacles like walls and haystacks, led the superstitious in Exmouth and Teignmouth , Totnes and Topsham, Dawlish and Torquay to conclude that they were Satanís own footprints.
Over the years various explanations have been put forward for the phenomenon: an escaped kangaroo or jumping rodents (whose stamina would be as fantastic as the satanic explanation); a balloon trailing its tether-lines; and of course hoaxers. Doubts have been cast as to the true length of the trails. But the story gained national coverage in its day; and even now in pubs throughout the county there will be someone able to tell the tale with their own spin on it.

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