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The Mysterious Teleportation of Jacob Mutton - Bodmin Moor, Cornwall 1687

Updated on October 11, 2015
Brian Langston profile image

Brian Langston is a retired Assistant Chief Constable now living in Southern France where he writes on crime, mysteries and the paranormal.

Detail from an C18th engraving by Hogarth
Detail from an C18th engraving by Hogarth
Mysterious Bodmin Moor
Mysterious Bodmin Moor | Source

A Forgotten Mystery

Lying in a dusty corner of the historic reading room of the British Museum sits a long- forgotten single sheet pamphlet telling the incredible tale of how a young man in North Cornwall during the late 17th century was mysteriously teleported 30 miles from his home by an unknown force.

Reading it though a 21st century lens, the story sounds remarkably like an early account of alien abduction although of course such phenomena had not then been identified and the language simply did not exist to describe the experience he underwent.

The reader is left yearning for more information about this astonishing event or the opportunity to question the victim for greater detail but we are left with a short factual account of a very extraordinary event which took place in a lonely spot near Bodmin Moor over 300 years ago, about which we must draw our own conclusions

Cardinham Church, Cornwall
Cardinham Church, Cornwall | Source

Incredible Abduction

Jacob Mutton was a young servant employed by William Hicks, the Rector of Cardinham in Cornwall. He was held in high regard as an honest and hard working young man. On Sunday 8th May 1687 at around 8pm Jacob retired upstairs to bed in the Rectory at a place on Bodmin Moor called Park. Already in bed was another young lad with whom he shared the room. As Jacob began to undress he heard a strange noise which he described as a ‘hollow voice’ saying “So Hoe, So Hoe, So Hoe”. Listening intently he realised the voice was coming from the adjacent room. He went into the room next door to investigate the strange sounds. He again heard the same voice coming from the direction of the window and so walked across the room and looked outside but could see nothing. The last thing he remembers is holding onto a metal bar in front of the window and then... he disappears!

Jacob Mutton's 30 mile teleportation across Cornwall
Jacob Mutton's 30 mile teleportation across Cornwall
Bude-Stratton Village, Cornwall
Bude-Stratton Village, Cornwall | Source
Camelford Cornwall
Camelford Cornwall | Source

Bewildered and Dazed 30 Miles from Home

Early the next morning a cross bar is found on the ground 17 feet below the window but there is no sign of Jacob. Simultaneously Jacob is found lying unconscious in a narrow country lane by a group of travellers on their way to a country market.

As he regains consciousness, they find him mystified and confused and in completely unfamiliar surroundings. He is still clutching the iron bar as he staggers to his feet and asks where on earth he is. Jacob is in utter disbelief when the travellers tell him is 4 miles outside Stratton near the Cornish town of Bude. This was 30 miles from his home as the crow flies, and a place Jacob had never been in his life.

They take the dazed and bewildered Jacob into their care and he goes with them to Stratton Fair where after regaining his composure ,they set him on the road to Camelford about 20 miles from where he was found. After spending Monday night in Camelford, he continued to walk back towards home arriving back at the Rectory in Cardinham on Tuesday morning.


A Tall Man?

Jacob was unharmed but his demeanour had changed. From a brisk and cheerful young fellow, he was subdued and melancholic. Although he had only a vague recollection of his disappearance. He told them that ‘a tall man’ had taken him over ‘hedges and brakes, without weariness or hurt’ he could not remember who held the iron bar or how it came to be in his hand or what became of his strange companion.

Unanswered Questions

There the story ends..... The brevity of the account is both fascinating and frustrating and leaves so many unanswered questions.

  • Who was Jacob Mutton and what became of him?
  • Is it relevant that the incident took place on the mysterious Bodmin Moor- a place closely associated with strange happenings which have spawned legends across the centuries?
  • Who was the mysterious stranger who took Jacob?
  • Does his account suggest they were flying over ‘hedges and breaks’?
  • Where exactly was the scene of the disappearance?
  • What was his room-mate doing at the time and what did he witness?
  • Does the Rectory still exist or if not where was it?
  • What was the significance of Jacob’s deposition site- why was he left there?
  • Was his melancholy a permanent condition after his experience or a temporary effect of shock?
  • Did the experience change him in any other ways?

Further Investigation

Whether this incident is linked to extra-terrestrial abduction, astral projection, Spring-heeled Jack or a mental imbalance remains uncertain.

This extraordinary account has however only recently been unearthed after being lost for centuries and surely warrants further local enquiry in an attempt to discover the truth about the remarkable and mysterious teleportation of Jacob Mutton.

More Like This?

If you have enjoyed this Hub and would like to see more like it, I would be delighted to welcome you as a follower of the mysterious, spooky or just plain weird!

For a more recent and controversial case of human teleportation from Victorian London see;

© 2015 Brian Langston


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    • Brian Langston profile image

      Brian Langston 2 years ago from Languedoc Roussillon

      Hi Alex...interesting surname!...If you ping me an email on I'll give you the details I have.

    • profile image

      Alex Langstone 2 years ago

      Hi, interesting account. Can you give me the full details of the manuscript that you mention, held in the British Library, please? I live in Bodmin and would like to investigate further.

    • Brian Langston profile image

      Brian Langston 2 years ago from Languedoc Roussillon

      Thanks Poly- Quick off the mark again! Yes it's quite a puzzle and who was 'The Tall Man'? Why didn't they question Jacob properly!

    • Pollyanna Jones profile image

      Pollyanna Jones 2 years ago from United Kingdom

      What a mystery! If he'd have walked at a regular pace of 4MPH, 32 miles would be covered in 8 hours. But I can't see how this would have been likely, so sleepwalking wouldn't be a plausible theory to explain this one. Great article, Brian!