1945, January 10: Strange Tracks seen in Belgium

The Legend:

On January 10, 1945, at 10am, Eric Frank Russell was one of a number of people who discovered strange prints in the snow on a hill behind the Chateau de Morveau, near Everberg, Belgium.

        Each print was only 2.5 inches long by 1.5 wide, and formed a single-file line with no left/right variance, as if the creature had been hopping. The prints were in distinct pairs of two prints about nine inches apart; these pairs were then separated from each other by a varying distance of about twelve to fifteen inches apart.

        This odd line of prints was followed by Russell for about a half-mile in a north-westerly direction until they abruptly vanished shortly after entering a tiny wood; Russell then traced them back in the south-easterly direction for about two miles across fields and a stream until he reached a hillside on which they were worn away by windblown snow. The crest of the hill and the side opposite - which was sheltered from the wind - did not have any further tracks in evidence.

        The oddest part of trail was that Russell struggled through snow between two to four feet deep to follow it... but only ever described seeing the prints. Russell stated that "judging by their depth, whatever made them was at least the weight of a good medium-sized creature such as an Airedale;" but if it was an animal walking, signs of its body should have been evident in such deep snow.

        The prints remained visible for two days (thanks to good weather). Russell questioned a number of the locals about it, but they had not seen such a sight before. Sadly, no film was available in the area, so photographs could not be taken of the prints. While Russell speculated the tracks might have somehow been caused by a goat - being that the area was littered with them - he himself didn't find the thought very convincing.

        All in all, Russell couldn't help but compare the tracks he saw to the more famous occurrence of strange tracks that appeared in Devonshire, England, in 1855 - an event commonly now called the "Devil's Footprints" - though in Russell's case the tracks didn't stretch anywhere near as far, nor climb to roofs of houses as the Devonshire prints had.

Under Investigation

        So here's the thing: there are plenty of sources that state Eric Frank Russell printed the claims above in his 1957 book Great World Mysteries... I've even found what is claimed to be an excerpt from the book explaining the details above. However, I personally have not seen Russell's book; and, until I do, I have to consider the account above to be both under investigation and unreliable. I'll get the book soon, and double-check the account.

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