The legend of the Hairy Hands of Dartmoor has terrified locals and motorists since the early 1900s. On this particular desolate and lonely road in the English countryside, countless people passing through have reported chilling encounters.
Holidaymaker Florence Warwick had never heard of the ghostly hands that are supposed to terrify victims on Dartmoor in Devon, England, but she discovered all she would ever want to know when her car broke down on the moor one evening. Florence, aged 28, was driving along the lonely road from Postbridge to Two Bridges after a sightseeing tour. When the car started to judder she pulled over to the side of the road to look at the handbook.
"As I was reading in the failing light, a cold feeling suddenly came over me. I felt as if I was being watched. I looked up and saw a pair of huge, hair hands pressed against the windscreen. I tried to scream, but couldn't, I was frozen with fear." She recalled.
She watched wide-eyed as the disembodied hands that are said to have haunted this desolate place for 60 years began to crawl across the windscreen. "It was horrible, they were just inches away," she said. "After what seemed a lifetime, I heard myself cry out and the hands seemed to vanish."
Florence was so shaken she hardly noticed that her car started first time. By the time she had driven the 20 miles back to Torbay, where she was staying with friends, she began to think she had imagined the whole incident. But then her friends told her the legend of the hands.
The "curse" on the road began to be felt in the early 1920s. Pony traps were overturned, a cyclist felt his handlebars wrenched from his grasp and ran full tilt into a stone wall, horses shied and bolted. A doctor travelling on a motorcycle with two children in the sidecar was nearly killed when the engine literally detached itself from the machine. An Army officer reported an enormous pair of hands covered in long dark hairs taking charge of his steering wheel, covering his own hands.
Things reached a head in 1921 when a newspaper sent investigators to the spot and the local authority had the camber of the road altered. But the hands refused to be deterred. Not long after the road improvement, a young couple was visiting the area with their caravan. As is common on Dartmoor, a heavy fog suddenly fell one evening as they were driving towards Plymouth. Rather than drive on and risk losing their way, the couple decided to park in a lay-by along the Postbridge road. They cooked themselves a snack and settled down to sleep. The woman had only been asleep for a short time when she was awakened by a strange scratching noise that seemed to be coming from outside the caravan. Thinking it might be a dog wandering lost on the moors, she got out of bed to take a look. Suddenly a strange chill came over her and she turned to look at the window above her husband's bunk. There, slowly crawling across the glass, right behind her sleeping husband, was an enormous pair of hairy hands. The woman was too stunned even to cry out, but for some inexplicable reason, as she sat rigid with fear, staring at the gruesome apparition, she made the sign of the cross and then claimed the hands vanished. The incident was the talk of the county, and it gave rise to the inevitable jokes and hoaxes. Soon enough the local police began to ignore reports that came in, attributing many of the sightings to an over-indulgence in the local cider. But in 1960 a fatal accident on the lonely stretch of road raised again the spectre of the hands.
A motorist driving from Plymouth to Chagford was found dead beneath the wreckage of his overturned car. No other car was involved and there seemed to be no reason, other than a fault in the car itself that could have caused the vehicle to career off the road. But when police experts examined the wreckage they could find no mechanical fault in the car. It is a mystery that has never been solved. One hiker enjoying the rugged beauty of the scenery got carried away during his walk and found himself making his way along the road at dusk. Suddenly he was overcome by an inexplicable feeling of panic, he was rooted to the spot, yet he could see no reason for his sense of fear. Minutes later the feeling passed and he carried on his way, puzzling over his strange experience. Only later did he hear the story of the hauntings.
Nobody has been able to explain the strange happenings on this lonely stretch of highway. The only clue to the appearance of the hairy disembodied hands is that in the far distant past a Bronze Age village stood along the once-busy, but now-sinister Dartmoor road.
Let us know your opinions on the Dartmoor hauntings in the comments section below. Now you have read about the Hairy Hands of Dartmoor, make sure you read about the legend of the Black Shuck, Demon Dog.