Imaging the year is 1925 and it is a dark winters night, the sky is clear and the air is cold, a frost is starting to bite at the whitening verge side. You and your partner are driving along the B3212 between Postbridge and Two bridges after visiting friends in Moretonhampstead. This old turnpike road was once known as the ‘Carters Road’ because a man called Carter built it. The car is freezing and to keep out the moorland chill you both have heavy coats and thick gloves. On the left the moon is peering up over Arch tor and the combination of it’s yellowish beams and the dim car headlights a pair of fiery eyes are gleaming in the middle of the road. As you get nearer a brown hunched figure stands transfixed, those blood red eyes just stare deep into your soul. Your partner screams and you grab the brake, the heavy rubber tyres slide across the icy surface. Seconds seem like minutes as the vehicle glides gracefully sidewards along the bumpy road and stops just short of the static monster of the night. Gradually your racing heart slows down and your senses return, and there a red deer, transfixed with fear in the glare of the headlights, stands quivering. Your partner is not sure whether to laugh or cry, the deer regains its wits and gracefully bounds off towards Archerton Bog, the swishing of the icy grass is the only sound that betrays the path of the animal.
If it was not so cold you would take off your gloves and light a cigarette, but there are many miles to go before you sleep so onwards speeds the little car. The headlights pick out the small Cherrybrook Bridge in the distance and you can see the sharp right hand bend leading into it. Knowing the road is icy you gently apply the brakes and select your course, allowing for the hard granite parapet of the bridge. Suddenly and for no reason the car sharply veers to the left hand side of the road, you grip the wheel tighter and notice a pair of severed hands clamped around it. No matter how hard you try to force the car back onto the road the hands stubbornly steer it towards the verge. A sickening jolt announces that the car has just left the road, this is followed by a nerve grating screeching sound as the willow branches scratch along the side of the vehicle. Eventually the car crashes to a halt, steam billows hissing up into the cold night air and there is silence, a stomach churning silence. Nervously you glance at the steering wheel those putrid, ghostly hands have vanished as quickly as they appeared. You check your partner, she is as white as the big moon that is hanging over the moor, the smell of hot oily water and burning rubber flares your nostrils… Congratulations you have just met the ‘Hairy Hands of Dartmoor’!
Some time around the early 1900’s a series of accidents were reported along the stretch of the B3212 road which runs from above Postbridge to Two Bridges. Cyclists said how suddenly the handlebars of their bikes were wrenched out of their hands, forcing the bike into the ditch. Pony and traps were also forced off the road and onto the verge. Drivers of cars and motor coaches were experiencing the same occurrences. In 1921 Dr Helby from Princetown had his motorcycle and side car suddenly forced out of control. His two children were tossed out of the sidecar and sadly the doctor was killed. Not long after this tragic event and Army Officer was injured when his motorcycle was driven off the road, he lived to tell the tale and the one he told was that of muscular, hairy hands clamping over his and forcing the bike into the verge. The Daily Mail soon picked up the story and the ghostly events became headline news. The local authorities sent engineers to investigate and repairs were made to the road. There is a tale that later that year a charabanc carrying some tourists along the B3212 had an unfortunate encounter with the ghostly ‘Hairy Hands‘. Apparently the vehicle was merrily speeding along when suddenly it swerved and shot across to the otherside of the road and mounted a bank. At this point of time seat belts were not compulsory and so several of the passengers were ejected out of the charabanc, one of which was seriously injured. Afterwards the driver reported that a pair of ghastly hairy hands had grabbed the wheel and forced him off the road.
In the 1920’s a woman staying in a caravan parked in the ruins of Powder Mills was woken one night and saw a hairy hand creeping up the window, she made the appropriate sign of the cross and the dismembered limb vanished.
A car was then found upturned in the ditch with its driver dead at the wheel, the cause of the accident was never established. To this present day there are still reports of either spectral hands grabbing the steering wheel or of an evil presence inside the car which in some cases leads to erratic steering.
STOP PRESS ! STOP PRESS ! STOP PRESS
A world exclusive, whilst driving over the Higher Cherrybrook Bridge I saw the ‘Hairy Hands’, (June 8th 2006), I swung the car violently into the car park, grabbed my camera and went back to investigate. There right in front of my eyes were the two black hairy hands swinging on the barbed wire fence – wow!!!!
I put before you the very first photographic evidence of the ghostly ‘hairy hands’ of Dartmoor which I will add, I risked life and limb to get.
As with most things, the danger of putting them in the public domain always risks exposure to the arseholes in life and such is the case with the monkey. Some faceless creep has decided to pinch the ‘hairy hands’ and so you will no longer see him!