In a scene that could have come straight out of True Detective, a British woman was greeted with a ghastly midsummer’s surprise when she discovered a sheep that had been savagely mutilated and then dragged around a field so that its blood marked out a spiral shape on the grass.
The female farmer, who owns the sheep that was killed on the June 21 summer solstice, told a local newspaper that another of her animals was mutilated two months ago on the night of a full moon.
At the time, she put the April 18 killing down to an animal or a dog attack. “I didn’t think much of it, apart from being very annoyed at losing a lamb,” she told the Western Morning News.
“Now, however, when I look back in my diary I see it was the full moon. It all seems to follow a pattern.”
John Stowers, of the Deer Initiative, examined the remains of the ewe. “There has been a lot of cruelty cases around the area. Horses have been slashed and a goat had its hooves removed. Whoever is doing this is simply cruel. It is horrendous,” he told the paper.
Dartmoor—one of the remotest and wildest stretches of land in the whole of England—has a long and dark reputation when it comes to animal cruelty and Satanism.
In 2013, a Dartmoor pony was found in a scorched circle, suggesting it had been surrounded by a ring of fire. It had been brutally mutilated; its tongue and eyes were cut out, and its genitals and right ear had been sliced off. A year before that, a horse was found with its right eye gouged out, teeth removed and genitals hacked off after a full moon.
At the time the police said there was “a strong possibility” that the horse had been the victim of a Satanic ritual.
In 2006, in one of the very worst incidents uncovered in the region, which is famous for the dense fog that often smothers the landscape, around 100 sheep were found slaughtered with their tongues, eyes and sexual organs removed.
Clues as to the identity of the demented sheep killer are thin on the ground. However, there is reason to believe that he or she may be partial to a biscuit when plotting ovine murder most foul; a couple of days before the farmer encountered her midsummer’s nightmare, she found a mysterious biscuit wrapper in the field.
“It is not somewhere that litter just blows into,” she said. “It may have been someone looking over the gate at the livestock before coming back. I remember it because it was quite distinctive—a digestive wafer wrapper… I threw it away.”