In many ways we are very lucky. We get to travel around the world looking for mystery animals, and then write books about our adventures. Of course it isn’t quite as simple as that, because there is a whole slew of mundane administration and stuff, but on the whole doing what we do is a heck of a lot better than having a proper job. We live in Woolsery and we run The Centre for Fortean Zoology – the world’s largest mystery animal research group, and once a year we invite devotees of the weird and wonderful here for the internationally famous Weird Weekend.

We also write a monthly column for The Bideford Post and we decided that it was about time that we introduced Weird Torridgeside to the blogosphere..

Thursday, 5 March 2009

WHEN THE GOING GETS WEIRD: The Devil Went Down to Woolsery

Now, I would like to say, here and now, that if I was standing on the outside looking in, I wouldn't believe this story at all, and I would be convinced that those naughty rapscallions at the CFZ had got a little tipsy in The Farmers Arms last night, and were playing a joke upon the rest of the fortean omniverse.

But, speaking as one of the aforementioned rapscallions, I can assure you that I am not!

Just before ten this morning, when Graham was toddling about the place all on his lonesome (because Graham is the first of the CFZ posse to rise in the morning) the telephone rang, and - being a dutiful fellow - he answered it.

It was a local lady who wondered if we would like to go and have a look at some peculiar footprints in the snow in her garden. Graham finished his coffee, grabbed the cameras and set off.

Despite the slidy nature of the roads (the snow having taken everyone by surprise) it only took him a few minutes to get to his destination, a private house next to a small close called `East Park`. (Yes there is a `South Park in the village, much to the amusement of all and sundry especially Oll and Richard)

In the garden he found a long line of footprints leading across the snowy lawn. As you can see, the only human footprints next to them are Graham's.

I am sure that you are all aware of the legend of the Devil's hoofprints - an occasion in February 1855 when a series of prints of what appeared to be cloven hooves were found in the snow all across South Devon. The superstitious locals believed that they were the work of the Devil and that the hornèd one had paid a personal visit to the county.

Well I don't believe that happened then, and I don't believe that is what happened last night either. There is certainly a perfectly rational zoological explanation for both events but our investigations are at a very early stage. In must be stressed however, that there are no scuff marks in the snow as would happen if a person had walked, and although the marks could have been made by someone on stilts that is highly unlikely.

Our investigations are continuing, and we will bring you more news as we get it...

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