Monster Monday: Hairy Hands

We all know about vampires and werewolves, or at least we think we do. The legends and myths that inspired these monsters are sometimes surprisingly different, but no less chilling. In this series of posts, Monster Monday, we’ll investigate the monsters that have informed our modern notions, as well as some lesser known monsters. Today, we talk about the Hairy Hands.

The Beardown Man monolith and the often bleak landscape of Dartmoor
The Beardown Man monolith and the bleak landscape of Dartmoor

The legend of the Hairy Hands began in the early part of the twentieth century on a lonely stretch of road in Dartmoor, England. After an unusual number of motor vehicle accidents in the area, a story emerged of a pair of ghostly hands that grabbed the handlebars of motorcycles or the steering wheels of cars and jerked violently so that vehicles ran off the road. These incidents usually occurred at night.

In another incident, a woman camping on the moor woke up to find a hairy hand trying to gain access to her camper. It retreated after she made the sign of the Cross.

There is no known origin of the legend, though some attribute it to the ghost of an unknown man who died in an automobile accident on the road. Others say it is the ghost of an escaped prisoner from Dartmoor Prison who died on the moor, because the first victim was a doctor who worked at the prison. Of course, the locals say that it’s simply people who are unfamiliar with the narrow country road at night where there are no lights on the moor.

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