Monday, April 5, 2010

Sheep-Mutilations & Sacrifice

Britain's respected newspaper, the Telegraph, has today reported on the discovery of a number of sheep found hideously mutilated in fields in the English county of Shropshire.

It's clear from reading the article - which can be found at this link - that the attacks are being firmly blamed on extraterrestrial visitors. Indeed, reading the article provokes imagery of the notorious "cattle-mutilations" that have for years been reported across the United States and which have also been blamed on bug-eyed aliens.

So, are extraterrestrial butchers now focusing their sights on the ancient county of Shropshire? Well, they might be; however, I urge a word or two of caution. This is not the first time that mutilated sheep have been found in Shropshire under very weird circumstances.

In my 2007 book, Man-Monkey: In Search of the British Bigfoot, I wrote about one particularly notorious sheep-mutilation event that occurred in this very same county back in 1989. The source of the story was a man named Rob Lea, who I interviewed in the summer of 2000.

Rob told me that as a direct result of a macabre incident that had occurred in 1989 on a Newport, Shropshire-based farm that was owned by his family at the time, he had developed a deep and personal interest in stories of animal mutilation.

It was in the latter part of August 1989, recalled Rob, when his father had arisen early one morning to find five of his sheep slaughtered under highly unusual and shocking circumstances: laid out in a circle, all five had had their throats cut, with several of their major organs piled high in the middle of the circle. Thoughts of devil-worship inevitably flooded through his father’s frantic mind, said Rob.

Unsurprisingly, the family quickly telephoned the local police, who promptly came out with surprising speed and filed a report, and quietly urged the family not to give the incident too much publicity under any circumstances. No answers were ever forthcoming, however, and the eerie event was never repeated.

During the course of the interview, Rob surprised me with a true ace that he had been hiding up his sleeve all of this time. He smiled, reached below the table, and produced a black briefcase which he duly placed on to the table-top. From within the confines of a large, padded envelope, Rob pulled out seven, 6 x 4, 35mm, color-photographs that graphically displayed the scene of utter carnage at his family’s farm more than a decade earlier.

In other words, and if nothing else, that part of the story could at least be firmly validated. But that was only the very beginning of things – as I had strongly suspected it might be as soon as Rob told his unusual tale to me.

Rob continued, and admitted to me that when he first began digging into the animal mutilation mystery he was, for a mercifully short while at least, an adherent of the theory that dastardly extraterrestrials just might be at work. As time progressed, however, Rob found that, in many ways, something far more disturbing than alien visitations was afoot.

By the late 1990s, said Rob, he had quietly and carefully traveled the length and breadth of the British Isles in hot pursuit of the answers to the puzzle, and had inadvertently stumbled upon a sinister group of people based near the city of Bristol – that Rob had grandly dubbed "The Cult of the Moon-Beast" – that, he asserted to me, were using slaughtered farm animals and even pets in ancient rites and archaic rituals.

The purpose of those same rites and rituals, said Rob continuing, was to use the sacrificed unfortunates as a means of conjuring up monstrous entities from some vile netherworld, and that would then be dispatched to commit God-knows-what atrocities on behalf of their masters in the Cult of the Moon-Beast.

The story told to me by Rob was a long and convoluted one, and much of it is way beyond the scope of this blog post and has more to do with Bigfoot in Britain than anything else; however, the story can be found in full in my Man-Monkey book. But, unusual killings of sheep by occultists are common-place in Britain.

In October 2005, for example, farmer Daniel Alford of Sampford Spiney, near Tavistock, Devon , made a shocking discovery on the wilds of Dartmoor: namely, six sheep, horrifically slaughtered, with their eyeballs removed and their necks viciously broken. More sinister is the fact that the corpses of the animals had been deliberately laid out, in the form of what was undoubtedly a Pagan symbol, near a series of ancient standing-stones.

Alford was convinced that this was the dark and horrific work of occultists; primarily because this was not the first occasion upon which he had made such a gruesome find. In January 2005, Alford had stumbled upon five sheep, killed in a similar fashion and spread out in a circle, only half a mile away. Interestingly, on both occasions the animal attacks had occurred at the height of a full moon.

Alford said at the time: “This was a sacrifice – they had their necks broken. Initially, when you think of sacrifices you think sharp knives and slit throats. That wasn’t the case here. If they had killed them and taken them, I would have accepted it more. Just to outright kill them and leave them is just a waste.”

And as Alford perceptively and rightly noted: “You wouldn’t just get kids catching sheep like that. Someone’s got to know what they’re on about.” Alford was not wrong: somebody most definitely did know what they were doing, and the attacks were only destined to continue.

Equally of significance is the fact that, in 2006, yet more unsettling sacrifices of sheep on Dartmoor occurred, again near Tavistock, and specifically on moorland at a location called Pork Hill. Once again, the necks of the animals had been broken, and their eyes had been taken. This time, however, there was another disturbing development: the tongues of the animals had also been removed.

Royal Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (RSPCA) Inspector Becky Wadey commented: “These sheep must have been rounded up on the open moor by whoever carried out this barbaric attack. That would have required a number of people and potentially been quite a spectacle. The bodies were found on open, exposed ground very close to the road, so somebody must have seen something, even if they did not realise at the time that it was suspicious.”

The fact that occultists - and in Shropshire, no less - have been engaged in the sacrifice of sheep for years does not rule out the possibility that ET might really have a taste for lamb. But - even though anomalous aerial lights have been seen in the vicinity of some of the killings in Shropshire - we should not forget that undeniable history of attacks of a very down-to-earth, but no less unsavory, nature have carried out by occultists in this very same county.

In my view, there are some genuinely anomalous animal mutilations. But we don't necessarily have to look to outer-space for the answers. The old traditions of witchcraft, the occult and sacrificial rites may have far more to do with such matters than anything that ET could ever conjure-up.


Paul Robinson said...

Has anything ever crossed your path to suggest that these kinds of mutilations have been going on for a lot longer than the basic 1947-and-onwards lore would suggest?

Nick Redfern said...

Hey Paul: depends on how you define mutes. If we're talking about potential links to UFOs, that's a relatively recent phenomenon.

However, ritual sacrifice of animals, with blood and organ removal has been going on for centuries and even longer.

Plus, there's things like the Staffordshir-based story of George Edalji and things like that which make it difficult to ascertain what's going on, for how long, and for what purposes.

Originally coming from only a 10-minute drive from where Edalji lived, means I have a lot of info on this case, but if you aren't aware of it, here's a summary:

Paul Robinson said...

Cheers for that! It would be interesting to know if there was any other paranormal activity going on at the same time.

I remember reading Man-Money and thinking it a definite cross-over with some UFO entity sightings... complete with mind upload stuff.

Of course, no one would really have noticed things such as how precise the cuts were made back then.

Other such obvious cross-over would, of course, be the Mowing Devil, and Spring Heeled Jack. We will never know who got the interpretations closer to the truth.

Nick Redfern said...


Another example: on one of my expeditions to Puerto Rico in search of the Chupacabras (specifically the 2005 trip), we heard stories of occult groups that were sacrificing farm animals, and specifically using a Chupacabras cover-story to hide and camouflage their tracks. This came from our guide on that trek, Orlando Pla.

Paul Robinson said...

Yup... this is all very strange. And it also begs a couple of questions...

1. Which came first... the truth or the cover excuse?

2. Did people in the past bring too little knowledge to their views of what was happening, and/or do we occasionally bring too much?

Nick Redfern said...

It's very difficult to say - there could be several things going on. I think there's often a tendency in UFO research (in particular) to say it's "either/or". In other words, if someone finds a mutilated animal, people scream "It's due to aliens!" But, there may well be more than one answer - in fact, there could be several, and none of them actually connected to each other.

Paul Robinson said...

Agreed! We are supposed to be truth-seekers... something we can't do if we're not looking for the truth to begin with.

I for one have absolutely no idea of what all of this amounts to. It would be completely irrational to pin it on one thing that just happens to bob to the top of my world-view.

Nick Redfern said...

Whether one phenomenon at work or several, "something" is going on...

Neil A said...

Interesting stuff Nick. It's a shame there were no images of the sheep kills. Birds such as crows will remove eyes from any animal, and there is no figure as to how many sheep are killed over the course of several days. There have been numerous reports in the past that a large, exotic cat may have caused the damage to the shoulder of a sheep, and certainly a large cat would lap at the blood and innards, leaving a very tidy kill.

I certainly believe that some kind of government/military operation could be clandestinely, and yet for some unknown reason, using the sheep for tests etc. In the USA it's believed, as you know, that black helicopters are used silnetly to pluck cattle and dissect them over ground which may have been contaminated or nuclear tested.

I'm not of the opinion that aliens are responsible for anything, we just like to blame them when we have no other solution ;-)

Nick Redfern said...


Agree with pretty much exactly what you said. Thanks for the comments!

Gummerfan said...

So, several sheep suspiciciously slain and slashed in Shropshire?

Nick Redfern said...

There's loads of weird sheep killings in the UK - the ones I mentioned are just a handful. There's at least 6 or 7 on-file with British authorities from Devonshire alone from the mid-2000s, all suggestive of ritual killings.

Red Pill Junkie said...

Have English farmers tried to utilize modern technology to find more about whose responsible for the death of their cattle?

Things like the game-trail cameras deer hunters (and now cryptozoologists) in America are fond of; or maybe some sort of GPS radio collar put in one or several of the sheep. I know this would cost money, but I'm guessing the prospect of losing more livestock would spur cattle-owners to pursue whatever avenues they could find to secure their livelihood.

I also think this whole mute biz is pretty heterodox. There could be many parties doing them for their own personal agenda. Like this very interesting theory discussed at the Paracast recently, suggesting the US & British governments might be trying to conduct a covert survey on the food chain in search of possible prion contamination —is lamb consumed more than beef in the UK?

Nick Redfern said...


There could indeed (and probably are) several reasons for the mutes. I definitely think that the whole "mad-cow" angle is a vaild one, and related to government concern about emerging viruses in the food-chain.

And defnitely occult/sacrifical aspects.

I seriously doubt the UFO angle, however; which I think has been utilized as a convenient cover.

Not sure to what extent farmers may have been monitoring or consumption of beef vs lamb, but I'm going to do some more digging...

Anonymous said...

The problem here with catching these attackers is that Dartmoor is huge, and at night a person is effectively invisible, especially if they keep their face and hands covered and wear drab clothing. Car drivers at night are amazingly unobservant and can be relied upon not to see anything outside the beam of their headlights; a cyclist is much more observant and a man on horseback not only has his senses but also those of the horse to rely upon, but these days only cars would be common.

So, if you're investigating these sorts of mutilations, look for somewhere that a landrover could pull off the road far enough that it wouldn't be seen, preferably on hard standing so it wouldn't get bogged, and not down a track that a gamekeeper or farmer might use to patrol along. The people doing this are almost certainly going to want to blend into the local scenery; they'll be using landrovers or 4-traks to get about, not more expensive vehicles like rangerovers or chelsea tractor-like vehicles, and they'll probably know the areas that they operate in quite well. Some may even be farmers themselves; about the only way to round up sheep on a hill easily is with a dog or two.

The one group of people I would want to talk to urgently are the Army. Dartmoor is used as an army training area, and the training NCOs and officers are always intelligent and observant people, and unlikely to be initiates of a cult. Better yet, Army personnel are quite likely to be out an about on a night and will certainly have access to some extremely good night vision equipment that we civilians can only dream about. About the best NV kit I own is a Bresser digital NV device, based around a Sony CCTV sensor. This is effective, but needs an infrared light source to be truly effective on a dark night and this tends to be a bit of a give away.

There is however a ray of hope here, too. You say that this cult likes to operate on the night of the full moon. This could be a religious thing, but it is also likely to be practical in that a full moon gives a passable light to work by. This would be to your advantage, since on the night of a bright full moon you don't even need night vision kit to see activity; 7x50 binoculars will do the trick nicely.

Nick Redfern said...

Cheers for the comments and ideas. I also wonder if might be worth contacting the RSPCA. They definitely investigated the Devon cases officially. Maybe their files might tell us more...

borky said...

'ello, Mr. Redferniis.

There is of course something that ties sheep/cattle mutilations, etc., to un/identified flying objects, paranormal lifeforms, tulpas, demons, black magic, giant hairy men - yetis, as well as Redferns - etc.

Tibetan Buddhism, for instance - viz accounts of the life of Milarepa - is ripped to the t*ts with such things, particularly entities who buy themselves seasons tickets to cross over from their dimension for the express purpose of ritually slaughtering farmers' livestock in order to dine on certain tiny but select - sh*ttiest - aspects of the animals corpses. (I just went to raid our kid's Buddhist book collection for further info but I can't find the volumes concerned).

Now there're some who say, almost racistly, oh, those're just the accounts of know nothing primitive peoples who don't know any better.

But I say that's a load of b*ll*cks!

I once went strawberry picking down Dorset way with a bunch of mates, and being creatures from the concrete jungle that is Liverpool, we were horrified to discover though the farmer'd laid on marvellous open air cooking facilities, every cup of tea we made became instantly filled with gazillions of air born spiders.

The thought of going without food was bad enough - but an existence of sheer tealessness was our very definition of Hell.

We started the day genuinely thinking we were go'n'o die of thirst - we ended the day guzzling spider tea by the gallon load.

In fact, to this day, whenever I make a cup of tea, while I'm happy for the convenience of being able to dunk a teabag in the water, I find myself wondering why I can't buy boxes of spiders so I can dunk a few of them in too...?

The point of that story being this idea of primitive people like us Scousers and Norfokkerunians runnin' round goin', "Ooh, alli-umba, alli-umba, me thinky spiders in tea really demons!" is a load of presquidged teabags!

Those guys back in Milarepa's day not only couldn't afford to make such mistakes, but like me with spider tea, they were capable of adjusting to the most extreme of circumstances.

In which case, maybe what they had to deal with're still making the cross over to this day.


Anonymous said...

A better way of looking at this might be to ask the police if they've any records of reports of unusual vehicles in the general vicinity of the mutes in the last fortnight or so. Country folk tend to all know each other and to know each other's cars as well, to the extent that were I to try driving around the area of the mutes in the company of Mr Redfern here, we'd be spotted and commented on rather quickly since neither of us looks local, my car isn't the sort of thing you'd expect to see out in the countryside (not either a big 4x4 or a small run-about, and those are the two common types of cars in country areas), and the locals wouldn't know who we were.

Similarly a vehicle with dog cages in the back will always attract attention since it might be the vehicle of a poacher or similar, as will anyone who isn't obviously just a walker.

Someone has to have seen something in the vicinity of the mutes in the lead-up to the incidents; the logistics of actually carrying out the attack are too great for them to be done without attracting notice. Whoever did this has to have been able to round up sheep ahead of time (ergo he has at least one trained sheepdog; not a cheap item by any means and not easy to keep in training either), has to know where the target sheep would be ahead of time, and has to know the place well enough to be able to tuck a vehicle away off the road where it won't be seen, won't get stuck at the scene of the crime, and won't leave obvious traces.

The scene therefore has to have been scouted ahead of time; a map will tell you a fair amount, but it won't tell you if the farm dogs down the road are easily roused, it won't show you where your landie can be driven over a verge and into concealment, it won't show you what the soil type is and whether it'd show tracks or not, and it won't show where the sheep habitually sleep on a night and you cannot find any of these things out right before you're committing the crime, no matter how bright the moon. Moreover there are going to have been a lot of places that looked OK for a spot of sacrifice to the Elder Gods (or whatever excuse this twerp is using), but which weren't suitable for all sorts of reasons.

So, someone absolutely has to have seen the culprit scouting around, even if they don't realise it.

Nick Redfern said...


I was actually thinking of using FOIA to see if anything might surface from the police on the sheep-mutes.

A considerable number of papers have surfaced via FOIA from the police on big-cat sightings in Britain, so may be worth a try.

Nick Redfern said...


You may find Chris O'Brien's latest book -- Stalking The Tricksters -- of interest, as it has a whole chapter on cattle-mutes and occult/trickster connections.

Scott said...

The details of this are a bit vague, but this is possibily a sheep mutilation in Perthshire, Scotland from a couple of weeks ago:

Nick Redfern said...

Hey Scott
Many thanks for this, which I hadn't seen. I'll do a bit more digging into the story.