In the suburbs near Cleveland strange footprints began appearing in the snow of the winter season. Inexplicably shaped liked tear-dropped hooves, the prints and accompanying creature apparently walked up to several buildings before stammering through balconies only to continue its path. Was this the same creature that terrorized the small town of Devonshire, England over one hundred and forty years ago?
The small Ohio town was enveloped by snowfall of at least eight inches on January 23, 2000 when the strange tracks began to appear. The tracks themselves ranged from ¾ to 1½ inches wide. Due to distortion in the snow, a consistent measurement could not be taken. The average stride of the creature appeared to go up to roughly four feet as the creature walked up to buildings and up to various balconies. Although in most areas the prints appeared to be of the hoof variety, various spots where the creature went up embankments in the snow revealed U shaped prints.
Due to the strange placement of many of the prints- including through balcony railings and under low laying trees, the possibility of the trail being man made was ruled out early. In some instances circle tracks appeared parallel to the creatures tracks and in other places the tracks disappeared suddenly.
The case itself resembles the Devonshire Devil Footprints report to such an amazing degree that it appears the same hoofed creature made both prints. In both instances the creature was able to travel through small openings, such as balconies, and under objects no man could fit under.
Local resident Deborah was sent into a frenzy trying to explain the bizarre phenomenon. After using several rolls of film to capture the tracks, Deborah was able to get several opinions on the tracks- including those of a local naturalist.
The general opinion was that a rabbit was able to create the tracks- and the tracks of the Devonshire case. The snow itself was wet, dense and heavy, often times mixed with freezing rain which combined with great depth means the prints were most likely formed from a hopping rabbit as it searched for food. Natural drift allowed the prints to become similar in size and hoof shaped. The rabbit’s distinguishing marks- such as claws and the animals’ basic body outline- were hidden due to the degradation in snow quality. The ability of the devil to disappear in midfield can easily be explained by drift.
The parallel circles which followed the tracks in some places were most likely dogs and cats as they tracked the rabbit. The devil’s seemingly four-foot stride can be accounted for by the rabbit’s ability to leap the distance. Since the creature is small, it could easily fit beneath and between objects, giving the impression of something supernatural.
As with the Devonshire Devil’s Footprints, the combination of rabbit behavior, thaw, drift and snow quality can create a monster. It can be now be concluded that both the Deborah’s Devil and the Devil’s Footprints cases are closed.
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