The haunted road is the little travelled B3212 near Two Bridges. To this day, it remains one of the most mysterious places in England, and has been the scene for one of the most frightening hauntings in Dartmoor. The hauntings have been named "the phantom hairy hands" and the entity has repeatedly tried and managed to push people of the road.
According to the story surrounding them, the Hairy Hands are a pair of disembodied hands that appear suddenly, grab at the steering wheel of a moving car or the handlebars of a motorcycle, and then force the victim off the road. In some cases the hands are described as being invisible.
Since around 1910, drivers and cyclists have reported suffering unusual accidents between Postbridge and Two Bridges. In many cases, the victims reported that their vehicle had jolted or swerved violently and steered off the side of the road, as if something had taken hold of the wheels and wrenched it out of their control.
Of all the spirits, entities and creatures that are said to inhabit the county of Devon, none are so openly hostile towards people as the Hairy Hands. Picture this; you're driving the narrow moors lane near Postbridge and Princetown, its dark, cold and a typical moors night.
All of a sudden the steering wheel or handlebars are grabbed by a gruesome pair of hairy, calloused hands that are inhumanly strong and do their utmost to fight you off the road. That's a story that's been repeated many times since its first suggested incident in June 1921 when a worker at Dartmoor Prison was killed as his motorcycle became uncontrollable and crashed. The tale was related by his children who were riding in the sidecar, all they knew was their father shouting at them to get off the bike and apparently wrestling with the controls.
They jumped clear, he didn't.
In most of the cases, the victims of the frightening phenomenon reported seeing large, hairy, "disembodied hands" manifest out of thin air, firmly grabbing the steering wheel of their vehicles - or the handle-bars of their bikes - and unsurprisingly striking complete terror into their hearts;
something which invariably resulted in them being violently forced off the country road. For a decade or so, the events were considered nothing more than a mild - albeit certainly sinister - curiosity for the superstitious locals of the Dartmoor wilderness.
Then, on the dull, foggy day of August 26 of the same year, a young British Army captain - described by the local media as being "a very experienced rider" - was also thrown into the verge of the very same road, after he too lost control of his motor-cycle. Significantly, and incredibly, the captain stated at the time, in response to media questions:
"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."
In the summer of 1924, the well-known and widely-respected Devonshire folklorist Theo Brown was camping in a trailer, approximately half-a-mile from the road where practically all of the ominous activity was taking place; and, in later life, would detail the particularly nightmarish, and nighttime, encounter that she experienced, and that is directly relevant to the mystery of the Hairy-Hands.
Brown, the author of Devon Ghosts and Family Holidays around Dartmoor, said: "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."
She continued: "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."
Then there was the story told to the writer Michael Williams, author of the book Supernatural Dartmoor, by journalist Rufus Endle, who maintained that while driving near Postbridge on an undetermined date, "a pair of hands gripped the driving wheel and I had to fight for control." Luckily, he managed to avoid crashing the vehicle; the hands, meanwhile, simply vanished into thin air. A concerned Endle requested that the story specifically not be published until after his death.
After the story of the Hairy Hands appeared in the national press, several investigations were carried out into the road. It was eventually determined that the accidents were most likely due to the camber of the road's surface, which reached dangerous levels in places and was duly altered.
According to local sceptics, most of the accidents were caused by people who were unfamiliar with the area driving too fast down narrow country roads with high walled sides, resulting in them either losing control or misjudging the road and running off its edges.
Most variations of the legend of the Hairy Hands do not specify the origins of the hands or attribute to them any specific purpose, other than driving motorists off the road. A few local versions of the story attribute the hands to an unnamed man who died in an accident on the road.