Terror on the Tor
By Mark Ford
09:30 - 20th October 2005
The spectre of occult practices in the West reared its head yesterday as
police investigated a second case of ritual sheep slaughter near an ancient
Pagan altar on an isolated moor.
Six sheep were found with their necks broken and their eyes removed on land
at Moortown near the edge of Dartmoor. Four of their bodies were arranged
in a regular square shape, another two were lying next to a pattern of stones.
In January, seven sheep were found just half-a-mile away in the same eerie
shadow of Vixen Tor. Again their necks were broken, and this time
chillingly arranged in the shape of a heptagram - a seven-pointed star
symbol, linked for centuries with the dark arts and Black Magic rituals.
Now, the Western Daily Press can reveal that police are connecting the
incidents with the presence of an ancient Pagan sacrificial altar, the
stone remains of which are located just to the east of the tor.
"Our understanding is that this place used to be some sort of meeting place
for Pagans," said a spokesman for Devon and Cornwall police.
"To the east of Vixen Tor there is evidence of an ancient stone sacrificial
They added: "We are investigating this as a matter of criminal damage.
"People obviously have their right to practise their religion, but when
that involves damaging, or in this case killing, other people's property,
it becomes a crime." The dead sheep, worth £600, were still warm when they
were found by their owner, farmer Daniel Alford, on Sunday morning.
He has little doubt the shocking incident has its roots in Pagan ritual.
"You hear of all sorts of crazy stuff like that around Dartmoor, it's that
sort of place, people believe in all sorts of strange things," he said
"It is a bit unsettling knowing that someone has been creeping around up
there doing this, but there's not a lot we can do, it's such a vast area.
"There were the four sheep and then 10ft or 15ft away there were another
two, which were laid next to three stones which had been arranged in a
pattern," he said.
"The stones looked like a kind a of gateway, a similar thing that had been
found in January.
"After talking to a few people we established that it was probably
something to do with Janus the Pagan god of January and the beginning of
the New Year and banishing evil spirits.
"What this one is about, I've no idea. It was a full moon."
In this case, the eyes were completely removed from the sheep, and there
were no signs of the messy pecking that could attribute the loss to an
attack by birds.
Police confirmed the animals had their necks quickly broken and there were
no indications of a prolonged struggle or suffering.
It is thought at least two people would have to had to have been involved,
given the sheer physical strength needed for the killing and arranging of
Vixen Tor and the Alford family have gained notoriety recently in a
high-profile right-to-roam row with ramblers, walkers and climbers.
In 2003, the Alfords controversially ended 30 years of permitted access to
the tor on the grounds they could be held liable if there was an accident
Earlier this year, the decision was upheld by an inquiry inspector who
ruled against opening up the land under Countryside and Rights of Way
Last month those demanding access to the tor and the land it stands on
mounted a peaceful protest on the Alfords' land.
Yesterday Daniel Alford said he did not believe the clash over access was
in anyway connected to the disturbing finds.
"I really don't think it is the sort of thing the Thermos flask brigade
would get involved in," he said.
Posted by BrigantesNation
21st October 2005ce
Edited 22nd October 2005ce