Our world is filled with age-old legends and folklore that continue to fascinate many of us today. Among these mysterious tales are those about unusual footprints found in different parts of the globe. These strange tracks vary in size and shape and look nothing like those made by typical animals. And because of their existence, believers and skeptics in all things paranormal are still debating about their origins. There is much speculation surrounding the identities of the enigmatic and fantastical creatures or beasts that left these foot tracks behind and what had happened in the past for them to do so. Others, of course, insist that there is nothing more to these footprints than being either a hoax or mundane impressions misconstrued by people as something more.
Among the most well-recorded and most popular stories of strange footprints are those believed to have belonged to the Devil himself. The “Devil’s Footprints” are said to be cloven and hoof-like foot tracks of a biped found in the most improbable places. These tracks were the subject of much media speculation at the time of their discovery and many have investigated them and provided rational explanations for their existence. Nevertheless, not everyone has been satisfied with the attempts to dismiss the supernatural elements of the enigmatic “Devil’s Footprints” and they continue to be an unresolved mystery up to now.
Here are six alleged instances that the devil had left his footprints on Earth and where they can be found.
1. “DER TEUFELSTRITT” IN MUNICH’S CATHEDRAL – GERMANY
“Der Teufelstritt” at the Cathedral of Our Lady in Munich, Germany. Also known as the Frauenkirche, this 15th-century church in Munich is currently the seat of the Archbishop of Munich and Freising. The cathedral was constructed in 20 years – between 1468 and 1488 – with renowned architect Jorg von Halspach at the helm. One of the most iconic attractions of the structure is the footprint found near its entrance which is believed to belong to the devil. According to legend, building the cathedral encountered serious some funding problems and in order to finish it, the architect ended up making a deal with the Devil. In exchange for finishing the construction of the church, the Devil required that it must not contain any windows so that no light would find its way into the structure. Once it was completed, the Devil checked to see if Jorg von Halspach kept his promise. However, he later found out that several windows had still been built. In anger, the Devil supposedly stamped his foot against the floor, leaving behind an impression. This black footprint can still be viewed inside the cathedral today and remains a very popular tourist attraction in Munich.
2. THE “CIAMPATE DE DIAVOLO” ON THE ROCCAMONFINA VOLCANO – ITALY
“Ciampate de Diavolo” on the Roccamonfina Volcano in Italy. A set of fossilized footprints have been found near Campania, Italy’s extinct Roccamonfina volcano sometime in the late 18th century. To the locals who discovered the ancient foot tracks, they were evidence that the Devil had surfaced from hell through the volcanos crater and once roamed the Earth. As such, they have dubbed it the “Ciampate del Diavolo” or the Devil’s Footprints. Archaeologists had also taken an interest in these footprints and they also thought that they were of great importance, but not for the same reasons that the locals had in mind. It was determined that the tracks were made around 350,000 years ago by a bipedal hominid, which made it the oldest set of human footprints found outside of Africa until the discovery of the 800,000-year-old Happisburgh footprints in England back in 2013. As for why there was someone walking about so close to the volcano’s crater more than 300,000 years ago that they ended up leaving a mark there, experts can only speculate for now.
3. THE NORTH MANCHESTER MEETING HOUSE – US
The Fossilized Footprint at the North Manchester Meeting House in Maine, United States. Built in 1793, the North Manchester Meeting House is not only made up of a church and a cemetery, it is also home to a semi-famous rock containing an impression of what is believed to be the devil’s footprint. According to legend, a group of construction workers were busy building a new road when they found an unmovable rock. They did everything they could to displace the heavy stone but to no avail. One of the workers, however, decided to appeal to the devil and offered to relinquish his soul in exchange for moving the rock. The following day, the other workers found that the rock had already been moved a few yards away from its original location. Something was also different about the rock: It bore imprints that looked like a human footprint and a cloven hoof. As for the man who sold his soul to the Devil, no one had supposedly seen or heard from him since.
4. THE GREAT DEVON MYSTERY OF 1855 – ENGLAND
The Great Devon Mystery of 1855 in England. Arguably the most popular and widely-publicized case of finding a set of the Devil’s footprints, this particular phenomenon took place in February 1855 somewhere in the East and South Devon of England. Following a heavy snowfall at the time, locals found a long trail of hoof-life foot marks that stretched between 40 and 100 miles. The cloven hoof marks were allegedly the tracks of Satan himself because these footprints appeared even in places where they should not have, including snow-covered roofs and extremely high and narrow walls. Though traces of these footprints purportedly left behind by the Devil are nowhere to be found today, the strange incident was heavily reported in the newspapers during that time. Some dismissed the tracks as impressions made by common animals like ponies while others treated the incident as a hoax. Nevertheless, many still insisted that the footprints did indeed belong to Satan and it’s a mystery that remains largely discussed even after more than a century had already passed since it occurred.
5. THE DEVIL’S TRAMPING GROUND – US
The Devil’s Tramping Ground in North Carolina, United States. This popular camping spot has been the subject of spooky legends and lore, with allegations that a 40-foot circular and barren patch of land in the area is where the Devil supposedly comes to dance. Stories about the small piece of land date all the way back to 1882 and according to these legends, nothing will ever grow there and no animal would ever dare to cross it. Locals also believe that if you leave a heavy object in the center of this barren area of the woods, you will find that the item thrown out of the circle the following day because the Devil wants to make room for his dancing. Some people have also claimed to have seen red glowing eyes appearing in the area and that satanic rituals have taken place there. There are also several alleged cases when people would hear a calm and melodic voice that helped them fall asleep, only to end up waking up several miles away from where the circle is located.
6. 1945 UNEXPLAINED FOOTPRINTS AT CHATEAU DE MORVEAU – BELGIUM
Unexplained Footprints at the Chateau de Morveau near Everberg, Belgium. Discovered in early 1945 on a snow-covered hill behind the chateau, the strange hoof-like tracks the locals found stretched for several miles, crossing forests, fields and even a stream. Some of the footprints were formed even in very deep snowdrifts – between two to four feet – but no visible evidence that any medium-sized animal or creature stepped on the snow could be found. Some locals did not think much of the tracks and believed they were made by a wandering goat, a common creature in the area. Others, however, have realized the footprints’ similarity with the reported case in Devonshire, England almost a hundred years earlier and considered the likelihood that what they found near the Chateau de Morveau may have belonged to the Devil as well.
At present, there is no way to say for certain that these mysterious tracks found in different parts of the world are in anyway related to each other or that they actually belonged to the Devil. It is more likely that these footprints were left behind by common animals or may have been incidentally formed by bizarre meteorological phenomena. They could also be the handiwork of hoaxers who just want to capture the public’s attention and instill a sense of fear in them. In the end, it is very hard to prove that the Devil had anything to do with these footprints. What remains certain is that people will always be enraptured by incidents that could be connected to the supernatural even if such cases could be dismissed by mundane explanations.