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  • Writer's pictureS. N. Linn

The Hairy Hands of Dartmoor: The Eeriest Paranormal Legend of Devon

Updated: Jan 1


A pair of haunting Hairy Hands

This week, I’d like to introduce you to spooky “The Hairy Hands of Dartmoor”. It’s a paranormal legend of Dartmoor area from England, linked to a road called B3212, specifically the stretch that connects the bridges named Postbridge and Two Bridges.


According to local legend, motorists and cyclists traveling through the area are harassed by a pair of hairy hands. The ghostly hands take control of the steering wheels of cars or the handlebars of motorcycles, forcing them off the road. Some accounts mentioned the sensation of invisible hands gripping the controls instead.


When you search for information about this topic on the Internet, you’ll often come across the following anecdotes.


The first and often regarded as the earliest reported encounter with hairy hands involved the fatal accident of E. H. Helby, who worked as the medical officer at Dartmoor Prison. In June 1921, Helby was riding his motorcycle, with his two daughters in the side car, along B3212 road when he lost control of his ride. He died from the accident but his daughters survived and allegedly recounted that their father told them to get off the bike while he was struggling to steer the motorcycle.


Not long after this event, another incident occurred involving a coach losing control, which led to several passengers being injured.


In the same year, an army officer (whose name was not mentioned) was injured when his motorcycle veered off the road. He recounted that a pair of hairy hands gripped his own to the handlebars and forced his motorcycle to swerve. His story quickly became headline news, starting with The Daily Mail, and the legend of the hairy hands became known nationwide.


In the book titled “Supernatural Dartmoor” authored by Michael Williams, there is a story shared by journalist Rufus Endle. While driving near Postbridge in his car, he claimed to have fought off a pair of ghostly hands attempting to take control of the steering wheels to avoid a crash. Interestingly, he requested that Williams share his story only after his death to avoid potential ridicule.


And that’s not all. It appears that these hands would also attack stationary vehicles. In 1924, a woman who was camping in a trailer with her husband near the road had a chilling encounter with the hairy hands. She woke up in the night and witnessed a large, hairy hand crawling on the trailer window,seemingly trying to get inside. The hand allegedly disappeared when she made the sign of the cross.


In 1962, while visiting Dartmoor, Florence Warwick had a strange experience. Along the infamous road, she stopped her car to look at a map and claimed to have seen a pair of huge, hairy hands pressed against the windscreen.


Having described these anecdotal stories, it’s worth mentioning that they are not solid and verifiable accounts. In my opinion, legends like the Hairy Hands of Dartmoor often serve as cautionary tales for drivers, encouraging them to focus on the road safety.


Interestingly, similar urban legends exist in other cultures. For example, “Asount” from Myanmar, as mentioned in my book “Ghosts, Spirits, Monsters and Paranormal Entities from Asian Folktales and Mythology (Book 1)”, features ghosts enslaved to act as guardian spirits for significant places or items of great value and importance. These ghosts are said to cause traffic accidents, leading to fatalities, so that the spirits of the victims can replace their posts. Many such urban legends associated with road accidents can be found in Asian cultures, and it’s fascinating to discover that such beliefs are universal.


Do you know any spooky legends from your hometown that you'd like to share? Write to me.

 

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About the writer:

S. N. Linn is a blogger and author of books on folklore, legends, and heart-pounding ghost stories and paranormal adventures. You can find more of her work on her website: www.snlinn.com


Copyrighted by Su Nandar Linn

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