Given the significant number of farm animals reared and slaughtered for their meat in England, it’s surprising that we don’t have more ghostly animals wandering around.
If you consider that most farm animals are actually reared outdoors then maybe this is an area we have overlooked when investigating? And have you ever believed a slaughterhouse or old barn might be haunted?
We often assume castles and abandoned asylums might have the most paranormal activity but have you ever felt that the spectral eyes seen in woods or moorlands might actually just be… a ghostly sheep haunting the place where it was happiest?
A little research by CLAIRE BARRAND has revealed a few ghost farm animals spotted in and around England…
Ghost Goose, Melsonby, North Yorkshire
The ghost of a goose has been witnessed many times in the small community of Melsonby in North Yorkshire. Years ago, a farmer was driving his horse and cart along one of the lanes when his horse spooked and bolted. Terrified the farmer struggled to regain control of the animal and when he finally did he noticed as the horse slowed from its gallop that a white goose was traveling at the same high speed they were. As they passed a churchyard, the bird turned and disappeared through some locked gates. Since that early report, there have been many other witnesses to the strange ghost.
Chicken Ghost, Highgate Pond, London
The bizarre tale of the Highgate chicken goes back to 1626! It is said that Sir Francis Bacon was driving in his horse-drawn carriage through Pond Square in London with his friend Dr. Witherbone. They were discussing possible theories behind methods of food preservation other than the most commonly used back then which was salt. They decided to test the hypothesis of chilling food to preserve it, and they bought a chicken from a farm in Highgate, killed it plucked it and packed it in snow then put it in a large sack with more snow. Unfortunately, Bacon caught pneumonia from the cold and died shortly afterward. Strangely the ghost of the plucked chicken has been seen running around Pond Square ever since with notable sightings recorded during the second world war when air raid wardens tried to catch it only for it to vanish, and as recent as 1970 when it scared a couple who were enjoying a romantic moment in a doorway!
Dartmoor Ghost Pigs
In Merritt Hill, a ghostly sow and her litter of piglets is seen on the way to Cator Gate where is said the poor creatures were starving hungry and had gone looking for food in the form of a dead horse carcass that lay there once.
The Dun Cow of Warwick
At Warwick Castle a gigantic angry bovine beast haunts the grounds, appearing traditionally just before a family member dies. In the Castle’s early history, a member of the family slaughtered the cow and ever since its appearance has been a grim warning of impending death.
Blandford Forum Sheep, Dorset
In the Dorset town of Blandford Forum, traditionally a place for annual sheep fairs and market a herd of headless sheep are reported to sometime appear as a manifestation on Sheep Market Hill. In the same area interestingly, there are reports of a pack of Shuck (Classified as a cryptid) in some local woods. The phantom dogs are heard yelping at night, and some say they have seen a headless shuck possibly unconnected to the pack.
Headless Animals in Essex
On the road between Latchingdon and Southminster a decapitated calf was often seen before World War Two, but strangely has not been sighted since. And in Layer Marney Churchyard a headless chicken has been known to appear and run blindly around the gravestones startling unsuspecting mourners placing flowers on the graves of loved ones and surprising people sat in peaceful contemplation.