Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Disturbing Goat Slaying in Stonington

Maine does not have a large body of publicly reported ritualistic animal sacrifice (more often misuse of animal remains is a prank or a protest), but every now and then something weird and disturbing turns up. And then that turns out to just be something random, like a hunter baiting coyotes. Here is the sequence of events:
Slain goat prompts police investigation
By Eric Russell
Friday, April 18, 2008 - Bangor Daily News

STONINGTON, Maine - Hancock County Sheriff’s Department deputies and a local animal control officer are investigating a bizarre case involving a slain goat that they said could be anything from a ritualistic killing to a disturbing prank.

A woman from Stonington called authorities shortly before 8 p.m. Wednesday after her teenage daughter came across the dead animal, according to Deputy Jeffrey McFarland. The girl was walking in a wooded area near an all-terrain vehicle trail off Route 15A.

"It looks like she came across a goat hung in a tree with its belly slashed open," McFarland said Thursday. "The area where it was found is set back a quarter mile in the woods, and it doesn’t appear that there were any houses close by."

Charles Berhalter, the animal control officer for the town of Stonington, investigated Wednesday night and referred the case to the sheriff’s office. Berhalter said it looked to him like a ritualistic killing of some kind.

"I didn’t get too close because it was getting dark, but it was disgusting," he said. "It was cut open and they had taken some of the innards out. The girl that discovered this was upset horribly. Her mother said she was hysterical."
"These things really irk me. I’m 76 years old and I love animals. I don’t know how anyone could do this," Berhalter said. "People in town need to know that this happened."

...McFarland said he knew of only one small farm in the general area, but the sheriff’s office had not received a report of a missing goat as of Thursday evening. Both he and Berhalter said they couldn’t remember a case like this.

Read full article here: [Source]
The authorities didn't mention how deteriorated the body was, but the date hardly seemed likely for a sabbat celebration, and it was a little early for a moon sabbat (the full moon was April 20th). All in all, it seemed like a pretty nasty affair. But then it turned out to be fairly innocuous (by comparison -- in reality it's still pretty creepy):
Goat killing not ritualistic, official says
By Eric Russell
Saturday, April 19, 2008 - Bangor Daily News

STONINGTON, Maine - The mystery of a slain goat that was discovered late Wednesday is over not long after it began.

Charles Berhalter, the town’s animal control officer, confirmed Friday that the animal was not the victim of a sacrificial killing or a disturbing prank as was initially suspected. Instead, he said, a local resident had bought the goat from a farmer in Surry and then hung it up with the intention of catching coyotes.

"I thought for sure when I first saw it [late Wednesday] that it was some kind of ritualistic killing, but I’m sure glad it wasn’t," Berhalter said.
"We have seen some satanic signs and things up here on Route 15, so that’s why I initially thought it could be related," Berhalter said.
Other than the paperwork, he said, the incident is history.

Read full article here: [Source]

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