The Hairy Hands Legend of Dartmoor
Monday 26th, July 2021
Not far from Dartmoor prison in the United Kingdom there is a town known as Postbridge which is the setting for a strange legend, the legend of hairy hands or invisible hands as has been the case on a couple of reports. These disembodied hands try to force a vehicle off the road known as B3212.

The story of the hairy hands, as it's known, has had many reports over the years. Since approximately 1910 travelers of B3212 have reported strange cases which usually result in a vehicle crashing along the road between Postbridge and Two Bridges.

Most reported cases the driver and occupants of the vehicle survive the crash. In 1921 the story of the paranormal hands was simply a local story known by inhabitants of towns surrounding the stretch of the B3212. One of the more widely known cases was of the medical officer of Dartmoor prison, Dr. E.H. Helby was killed in a crash when he lost control of his bike, in the side car were two young children of the Dartmoor prisons governor, the two children survived the crash. It was reported that just before the crash the children saw Dr. Helby struggle with an unseen force to control the bike and Dr. Helby is also reported to have told the children to jump just before the crash.

In 1921 on the 26th of August an army Captain reported that a pair of invisible hands forced his motorcycle off the road. The Captain stated, "It was not my fault. Believe it or not, something drove me off the road. A pair of hairy hands closed over mine. I felt them as plainly as ever I felt anything in my life - large, muscular, hairy hands. I fought them for all I was worth, but they were too strong for me. They forced the machine into the turf at the edge of the road, and I knew no more till I came to myself, lying a few feet away on my face on the turf.". This was the story that catapulted the legend of the hairy hands outside the limits of the local areas and it went nationwide with several newspapers picking up the story.

A few weeks after Helby's passing another incident occurred where a coach driver lost control, several passengers were injured in this crash after being thrown out of their seats.

There has been a case reported that didn't involve a moving vehicle. Theo Brown and her husband were asleep in their caravan in 1924 when they woke and reported to see a hairy hand crawl along the outside of the caravan window, Theo stated, "I knew there was some power very seriously menacing us near, and I must act very swiftly. As I looked up to the little window at the end of the caravan, I saw something moving, and as I stared, I saw it was the fingers and palm of a very large hand with many hairs on the joints and back of it, clawing up and up to the top of the window, which was a little open. I knew it wished to do harm to my husband sleeping below. I knew that the owner of the hand hated us and wished harm, and I knew it was no ordinary hand, and that no blow or shot would have any power over it. Almost unconsciously I made the Sign of the Cross and I prayed very much that we might be kept safe. At once the hand slowly sank down out of sight and I knew the danger was gone. I did say a thankful prayer and fell at once into a peaceful sleep. We stayed in that spot for several weeks but I never felt the evil influence again near the caravan. But, I did not feel happy in some places not far off and would not for anything have walked alone on the moor at night or on the Tor above our caravan". Theo Brown is also the author of the 1982 book 'Devon Ghosts'.

There is another story that some say lends more credibility to the hairy hands legend and that was a report told by journalist Rufus Endle, the story is documented in Michael Williams 2003 book, 'Supernatural Dartmoor'. In this case while driving near Postbridge "a pair of hands gripped the driving wheel and I had to fight for control", avoiding a crash the hands are reported to have disappeared as suddenly as they initially appeared. Rufus requested that Williams didn't publish the story until after Rufus's passing out of fear of ridicule.

As well as these reports there was a more recent report posted on a web site, it went like, "I live on the road that goes toward Princetown but I have heard it happen to people elsewhere in Devon… My uncle was working for a builder late on a site when he got held up and came home a different way and had to go down that same road. He was driving a small van and said it was very dark & first he felt like the van was being followed or someone was watching him and just felt spooked anyway then he thinks he saw someone on the side of the road but he knew no one was there. When he went further down the road he felt his van grabbed like by a force and he could not keep the steering wheel straight so he was going to go into the side of the road. He is a builder and a big strong man not a weakling and was trying to turn the wheel as hard as he could but no way. Then he felt something ON the wheel and looked down - as his eyes were just on the road till then - and saw a pair of large hands covered in hair on the wheel grabbing it and pushing the other way. His van went up on the verge and banged hard onto the grass moor and almost wound up hitting a tree but stopped. Just then the hands disappeared but he was really scared and lucky someone came up the road a few minutes later behind him in another car stopped to see he was alright as he was up on the bank so had clearly come off the road - and he was alright but was in shock. My uncle still swears blind that this happened to him and he is not someone who admits to things like this. That was 20 years ago, but he did not know about the story of hairy hands till he was told about it."