Paranormal activity uncovered

The 'Witch’s Stone’ at Putts Corner.

The 'Witch’s Stone’ at Putts Corner. - Credit: Archant

Tales of the supernatural and paranormal are unearthed in a new book.

The Black Dog, Uplyme, which owes its name to a spectral canine.

The Black Dog, Uplyme, which owes its name to a spectral canine. - Credit: Archant

Strange bumps in the night, legends of pixies and mermaids, and spontaneous combustion in Devon are explored in a new book investigating the area’s mysterious secrets.

Paranormal Devon, which has been written by Daniel Codd, has unearthed plenty of strange tales of the supernatural and paranormal including stories of the black dog of Uplyme and the witch’s stone at Putts Corner.

“The book was initially inspired by a fundamental fascination with everything that is strange, out-of-the-ordinary, mysterious and paranormal. In short, everything that gets reported or noticed by the average person - but for which there is not an adequate or immediate explanation,” says Daniel. “I’m also intrigued by the thought that folklore and urban legends, both old and new, might have a basis in some kind of fact.”

He added: “I’ve been collecting people’s stories of ghosts, mysteries and snippets of folklore for years, and in 2007 was lucky enough to have a volume on Lincolnshire mysteries published. Since then it’s become almost a full-time occupation.”

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In writing the book David familiarised himself with the county’s history and spent time looking at archived material, legends, old stories and talking to people,”

Ottery St Mary’s Pixie Day, mermaids spotted in Exmouth and a skeletal ‘cadaver effigy’ which resides in St Andrews Church, Feniton, also feature in the book.The 40-year-old said: “I’ve always wanted to explore Devon’s mysterious secrets. My previous book to this concerned Lancashire, the southern half of which is very urban; so Devon seemed quite appealing after that, with its spectacular natural landscape.

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“But apart from that Devon stands out as having a number of ‘classic’ ghostly stories, not to mention the legends of pixies, that I thought it would be rewarding to get to the bottom of. “Also, although I’m not a Devonian myself I have a number of friends in Devon who were good enough to suggest that a book on county mysteries might make a fascinating read, and I hope that’s turned out to be the case. I certainly loved every moment spent in the county during the course of my research. Some of the things I’ve experienced, such as trekking out to see Childe’s Tomb on Dartmoor, in the pouring rain, with a guide and a dog, I’ll not forget in a hurry.

Daniel said: “The umbrella term ‘paranormal’ means that the book covers all aspects of the mysterious. There is a chronology of ghostly mysteries that begins with the earliest folklore and brings us up to date with modern ghost stories.

“Some of the stories are so odd, however, that they move away from a ‘traditional’ ghost story and take the reader into the realms of the Devil, witches, pixies and fantastical beings like werewolves and sea creatures. There are also stories of UFO encounters, strange beings, spiritualism, spontaneous combustion and invisible attackers.

“Herald readers might be interested in the stories of self-moving stones in the vicinity, or the legend of Court Hall at Sidbury. There were also reports of a woman who spontaneously combusted in 1970s Sidmouth. There have even been stories of mermaids off Exmouth.”

l Paranormal Devon is available from all good bookshops and online retailers, priced £12.99.

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