Following In Whose Footprints?

002In February 1855 a series of mysterious hoofprints terrorized parts of Devon in rural England. The hoofprints extended up to one hundred miles and appeared in one or two nights which meant something mysterious was traveling across the country at a remarkable speed.

Or was it?

I first read this story in third grade, in a pamphlet that was supposed to test our reading comprehension. It tested my credibility too. How quickly did people who lived as far away as one hundred miles from each other in rural communicate? How quickly could they get from one place to another? Where was the evidence? What did these “hoofprints” really look like? None of this information was included.

I wanted to believe. I really wanted to believe. The problem was there was just no evidence.003










Here there is evidence. Footprints have been left in concrete. This wasn’t just a case of someone making a footprint in wet cement either. Someone—or several someones—deliberately added a different type of concrete, a different color, marking out footprints. They don’t go a very long distance but there’s still that lingering question: why?

Here the problem is not lack of evidence but simply lack of answers.





As for those mysterious hoofprints I blame Claude Rains.

Facebook Comments


  1. Ann Koplow

    I enjoy following in your footprints here, Chris.

    1. Christopher Waldrop (Post author)

      I’m happy to provide footprints to follow even though I rarely know where I’m going.

  2. Margot

    Apparently your critical thinking skills were already pretty sharp by the 3rd grade. What an odd story to use on an exam, though. Even for the less critically inclined children, the topic certainly has the potential to be quite distracting.

    That was a fun movie trailer to watch. I’m surprised that they had about the same quality of special effects in 1933 as they did 40 years later.

    Are you going to close out the month with something spectacularly frightening tonight? As I’ve mentioned before, I’m usually awake when your posts arrive in my email, at a little after 1:00 am most nights. I’ve actually been getting spooked very easily lately, which is unusual for me. For example, I had my bedroom window open the other night which—as always—causes the door to rattle if it’s closed. But when it made the door to my bathroom shift around in its hinges it really scared me and made me wish my husband would hurry up and comes upstairs to bed. I decided a few nights ago not to succumb to reading your posts when they’re hot off the press, so to speak. Until November, that is.

    You have certainly made this Halloween a lot more present, and even a little spooky, for me this year. Thank you. It’s been a lot of fun. On second thought, don’t tell us if you’re going to save the scariest for tonight or not. In the spirit of the season I think I can handle one more night of being slightly on edge.

    1. Christopher Waldrop (Post author)

      I think the idea of using that particular story was to give us something interesting to read, and it certainly was, especially during the winter, although it reminded me we didn’t get much snow that year. And if you think the trailer for The Invisible Man is fun the whole movie is really worth watching. It’s not very long but really has a good combination of humor and spookiness and pathos–pretty much what you’d expect from James Whale who also directed the original Frankenstein films.
      As for tonight, no, there won’t be anything scary. Actually in about an hour and a half from now (it’s 10:30am where I am) I plan to finish out the Halloween season with something fun. There’ve been enough scares for the month and I don’t want to add to your rattling doors and hinges with anything else unnerving.
      Or I might just stay up very late tonight and…TURN BACK THE CLOCKS. Halloween night will be an extra hour long. Now that is scary.

  3. waptrick

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