Just below the South African village of Brenton-on-Sea, there’s a beach that looks like something out of a tourism brochure: a tiny, sheltered bay with 50 meters of sandy beach at low tide, backed by 100-meter sea cliffs rising into a blue sky. Right where sand and cliffs meet, there is a low-ceilinged cave carved out of the surrounding stone by pounding waves.
Charles and Linda Helm, along with Guy Thesen, a friend and colleague, came across this coastal gem one day in 2015. They waited for low tide before venturing in. Linda entered first. Not far beyond the cave’s entrance, she spotted a pattern on the ceiling. “I think there’s something up here you’ll want to see,” she said, turning back toward her husband. Protruding from the sloped ceiling—as though pressed down from above—were what looked like human tracks, the kind of foot-sized divots that might be left behind in loose sand.
The trio thought the tracks might be human. But they were without toe impressions, clear heel marks, or distinct edges. Tired after a long day and without the equipment to properly document the finds—or even flashlights—they reluctantly moved on.
Photo: Felipe Correia/Unsplash
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