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Inhuman Hands – Spirit, Myth or Prank?



I think I must have been around the age of ten, when my dad first recounted a terrifying experience he had whilst playing on the street with friends, as a child. The story had the air of eeriness and mystery to it, and the tale quickly glued itself into my mind, feeding my imagination over the years.

It happened back in London, in the early 1950’s. My dad, Roger, met up with some friends during school holidays, and would often mess about in town, wondering about, buying magazines, exchanging sweets. It was during one particular day that he was in town, far from home, and began to feel the urge to use the toilet. Taking the long walk back home to take a pee didn’t seem so enticing, so he headed over to the nearest public toilet whilst his friends waited outside.

I’m guessing it was much like any other public toilet – smelly, dirty, walls coated in colourful graffiti. My dad stepped in to what he presumed to be an empty toilet: all of the cubicle doors appeared to be open, from what he recalls.He stepped inside one. Without being graphic – my dad used the toilet. Whilst he was in there, he heard someone close one of the toilet doors next to him. Unperturbed – after all, why shouldn’t someone else come in and use the facility? – my dad flushed, let himself out, and began washing his hands at the sink.

It was whilst he was doing this that he felt something grab his ankle from behind. He spun around, startled, and looked down. What he saw frightened him: It was an extremely large hand, the skin looked almost grey, and there was hair across the back of the hand. It was reaching out, from beneath the locked cubicle door, and gabbing firmly the back of my dad’s ankle and leg, trying to pull him.

Unnerved and shocked, he shook his leg free of the large, inhuman looking hand, and ran from the toilets, terrified. He fled past his friends, saying he needed to go home. He never returned to that particular area again. He never forgot the episode.

My dad, all those years later, never did feel able to explain away the experience. Of course, time can distort memory, and certainly in childhood, one’s imagination can flee to places of unreality in the blink of an eye. Yet my dad feels absolutely certain about what he saw – and attests strongly to the realistic appearance of the devilish hand that tried to grab him.

When I was told this tale, I was captivated: I am someone who has been fascinated by weird and dark tales over the years. Anything from hauntings, to urban legends to conspiracy theories interested me. Knowing my dad to be of a more sceptical nature, I trusted he wasn’t enhancing any of the account, and was telling me his experience to the best of his ability and with the finest details that his memory could muster.

It was something I never forgot myself. It was when I was a bit older, that I started hearing more about occurrences like this. Apparently, a being known as “Hairy Hands” has made somewhat a name for itself/himself in the UK.

Most of the account springs from Devon, in a place called Dartmoor. Miles of fields and long stretches of roads make up most of what is known as Dartmoor – it is quiet, except for the lounging wildlife strewn across the greenery. It is desolate, far from busy towns.


There have been reports over the years of people who have been driving their vehicle across this countryside and finding a pair of disembodied hairy hands appear before them, only to take control of the steering wheel. Due to the loss of control, it was reported that cars would veer off the road and drivers were shaken up from the ensuing road accident. Whilst sceptics said it was likely due to people driving on unfamiliar roads, those who say they witnessed the hands stuck by their story. Many of these incidents occurred in the early twentieth century.

Not only in the UK have odd occurrences with creepy hands been recounted. In Akasaka Weekly Mansion, Tokyo, Japan, there have been many accounts of people who, whilst in bed at night, have seen and felt disembodied hands reaching out and touching/grabbing them. The appearance of these seem to differ, from account to account, though all I have read about seem to attest to the fact that the hands are disembodied.

Whilst treading the boards across the internet, I stumbled on quite a number of accounts involving large, hairy hands, or disembodied hands. Many of these are attributed to legend and myth, whilst some, adding their accounts to blogs and discussion forums, attest with great seriousness to the witnessing of this eerie being.

No one, myself or my dad included, can explain away exactly what happened that day when the large, hairy hand grabbed him. Was it an inhuman being, trying to hurt him? Was it a sick adult trying to mess about with an impressionable young boy? Or something entirely different? The answer can be speculated upon, but never known with certainty.

I will always remember this. As I grew older, my unease at using public toilets probably stemmed from my dad’s tale! Being someone utterly drawn to such weird stories, it’s been an interesting one to share with others as I’ve grown older.

I would love to hear from you if you have experienced anything like it, no matter what age, country, background. Have you ever seen or heard of the legendary hand, that stalks people? If so, get in touch: fionadodwell1982@hotmail.co.uk

Thanks for reading.


One response

  1. Reblogged this on FIONA DODWELL and commented:

    Remembering a spooky tale my Dad recounted to me as a child…


    September 24, 2014 at 7:48 pm

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