Cloven Hoofprints: Devil's Footprints


"Devil's Footprints"

"It appears on Thursday night last, there was a very heavy snowfall in the neighbourhood of Exeter and the South of Devon. On the following morning the inhabitants of the above towns were surprised at discovering the footmarks of some strange and mysterious animal endowed with the power of ubiquity, as the footprints were to be seen in all kinds of unaccountable places – on the tops of houses and narrow walls, in gardens and court-yards, enclosed by high walls and pailings, as well in open fields." (from newspaper clipping)

Unexplained cloven footprints have shown up in some isolated and barren regions and in unusual climbs for any creature. Let's take a look at some of these notorious puzzlers - 

LINK: Yet another unexplained set of “Devil’s Footprints” was found in 1945 near Everberg, Belgium. On January 10 of that year, a curious set of bizarre prints was found etched into the snow on a hill behind a place called the Chateau de Morveau. The hoof-like prints measured 2.5 inches long by 1.5 wide, and were composed of a series of a pair of two prints 9 inches apart that then formed a perfect single-file line of tracks spaced 12 to 15 inches apart, as if whatever had made them had been hopping along. The tracks wandered for several miles across the hillside, forest, fields, and a stream, and strangely they went right over some deep snowdrifts yet there was no sign of an animal’s body sinking within the snow, only those odd footprints perched atop the frozen white...."


"Dark Was the Night" is a movie that dealt with this subject matter in a most chilling manner. This very well-acted and thought out movie pulls the tension in what seems like a potential real-life scenario. 

(LINK) Among the high mountains of that elevated district where Glenorchy, Glenlyon and Glenochay are contiguous, there have been met with several times, during this and also the former winter, upon the snow, the tracks of an animal seemingly unknown at present in Scotland. The print of the foot in every respect is an exact resemblance of that of a foal of considerable size, with this small difference perhaps, that the sole seems a little longer or not so round; but, as no one has had the good fortune as yet to have obtained a glimpse of this creature, nothing more can be said of its shape or dimensions; only it has been remarked, from the depth to which the feet sunk in the snow, that it must be a beast of considerable size; it has been observed also, that its walk is not like that of the generality of quadrupeds, but that it is more like the bounding or limping of a hare when not scared or pursued. It is not in one locality only that its tracks have been met with, but through a range of at least twelve miles...
— The Times, 14 March 1840, p. 1.

Theories abound as to what creates these cloven prints. Of course, the most likely are wildlife that have cloven hooves, as well as some smaller animals that hop when they move, creating rear feet landing cloven-looking prints.

LINK: 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.'

What is walking the ground with cloven hooves, upon rooftops and locations they shouldn't exist? 

The mystery continues....