The Devil Rides Out at the BBC (updated)

Yesterday, the BBC News ran what, by any measure, is a rather unpleasant local story from Cornwall…

A horse has died after being horrifically mutilated in a field in Cornwall, detectives said.

Devon and Cornwall Police said the tortured animal died from severe injuries to its head and body.

It is thought the stallion may have been sedated before the attack in Stithians. A mare and a foal in the same field were left unharmed.

Owner Dawn Jewell said her horse’s death had left her “devastated and angry”.


Exactly what it might be that prompts some individuals to carry out such wanton acts of cruelty against a defenceless animal is not a subject I personally care to speculate on much beyond a hope that the police manage to catch the bastard responsible and put him (or her) where they deserve to by – in the dock.

Nevertheless, it has to be said that some people are wont to engage in idle and utterly credulous speculation and, unfortunately – the news business being what it is these days – such speculations have become nothing more than grist to the mill for lazy-arsed journalists who clearly cannot be bothered  to go out and find real news stories to report. And so, today, the BBC provides this update to yesterday’s story.

Satanic link to Cornwall horse mutilation investigated

A link between the death of a mutilated horse in Cornwall and a Satanic ritual is being investigated by police.

The two-year-old stallion called Erik was found in a field in Stithians on Monday with horrific injuries to its head and body.

The time and manner of the animal’s death has prompted speculation it may have been a ritualistic killing.

“Obviously that is one line we’re going to pursue – but it isn’t the only line,” Insp Chris Strickland said.

Now I strongly suspect, dear reader, that just like me you’re thinking ‘Oh, for fuck’s sake…’ but trust me, its gets even worse when you move on to the next paragraph of the story…

The officer from Devon and Cornwall Police told BBC News he was aware of discussions on internet forums about the horse’s injuries and said the “horrible” death was being treated extremely seriously.

So the BBC’s ‘satanic link’ turns out to be nothing more, or less, than the credulous maunderings of a bunch of morons on an internet forum, all of which tends to suggest that Insp Strickland’s ‘obviously that is one line [of inquiry’ we’re going to pursue’ comment is more an exercise in humouring the idiot journalist than a serious proposition.

Nevertheless, and just to completely sure, the suggestion seems to be that there may something in the timing of this incident which the resident idiots of the global internet village have found to be significant, and so there is at least some mileage to be gained by checking this out in order just exactly what it is that’s set them to speculating that there’s satanists in them thar fields.

Now. according to the BBC, this incident took place some time between 4pm on Sunday 8th January and Midday on Monday 9th January, dates which have no known ritual significance outside the Roman Catholic system of saint’s days – the 8th is assigned to St Apollinaris the Apologist and the 9th to St Julian and St Basilissa who, somewhat unusually, were a married couple. As for other ‘significant’ events, there was a full moon on the morning of the 9th – at 7.32 am to be precise – and that can often be more than enough to drive the ghosties and ghoulies mob into a frenzy of bullshit, but its still pretty thing gruel onto which to hang a supposed ‘satanic link’, not least because there’s no mention of any other supposedly satanic elements or ritual accoutrements anywhere else in the story.

However, a link at the bottom of the BBC article leads to a story in the ‘Cornwall Community News’, an independent local online ‘news magazine’, which reports:

A horse horribly mutilated in a Cornish field may have been sacrificed by Satanists.

Dawn Jewell’s two-year-old Stallion Erik was horrifically butchered by a ‘psychopath’ who cut out the animals genitalia.

The killer ‘took his time’ to scoop out one of the horse’s eyes, slit his stomach and remove his penis and scrotum completely.

The unfortunate animal was most likely tortured and killed overnight of Saturday January 7th.

To Satanists, January 7th is ‘St Winebalds Day’, a ‘Blood Ritual’ dedicated to animal or human sacrifice.

Although police declined to theorise publicly about the coincidence, a source told the News: “We are seriously considering all options.

Before tackling the story, its worth noting that the Cornwall Community News website is operated by a guy called Mark Roberts who, from his online CV, is a freelance copywriter with a decent, if unspectacular, background in journalism and sub-editing which includes stints as an agency report, a district correspondent for the News of the World, a producer at GMTV and a couple of years as a reported for BBC South West.

Getting back to the sorry itself, there are two main problems with it.

The first and most obvious problem is a discrepancy in the dates.

The BBC puts this incident as having taken place on Sunday 8th or, perhaps Monday 9th.


Devon and Cornwall Police also put the date of this incident as Sunday 8th/Monday 9th

Between about 4pm on Sunday 8th January and midday on Monday 9th January, a stallion was attacked, mutilated and killed in a field in the Stithians area.   A mare and foal were left in the field unharmed.  A vet attended the scene and confirmed that the stallion was deceased.

Police are requesting those in rural areas remain vigilant to anyone acting suspiciously and if they have any concerns contact Devon and Cornwall Police.  Police and the RSPCA are carrying out enquiries in the area & request anyone with any information contact them on telephone number 101 quoting reference GP/12/66.

As did Cornish Community News’s first stab at reporting this story

Cops are asking News readers to help them track down a sadist who horribly mutilated a horse.

The sicko struck some time between Sunday and today, when the wretched animal was found dead.

The Stallion was defenceless in his field in Stithians, not far from a Mare and Foal.

The animals owner was distraught ‘beyond belief’, a police source said.

Sgt Gary Watts of Falmouth police told the News via the social networks: “This was an awful attack.

“It happened in in Stithians near Falmouth.

“Between 1600 hours on Sunday 8th January and midday today, Monday 9th January, a stallion was attacked, mutilated and killed in a field in the Stithians area.

“During the attack the stallion had its genitalia cut off, its eye cut out and teeth removed.

“A mare and foal were left in the field unharmed.”

Sgt Watts explained: “Police and the RSPCA are carrying out enquiries in the area.

Help bring this sicko to justice. If there’s anything you think you can tell the police to help track them down phone 101 quoting reference GP/12/66.”

This was, of course, before any kind of ‘satanic’ angle was attached to the story, at which point CCN began to report* that the incident had taken place on Saturday 7th, January which its claims is a Satanic ‘holiday’ called St Winebald’s Day, which is marked by a ‘blood ritual’ involving an animal or human sacrifice – so there’s a very basic discrepancy in the reported facts which should have been noted by the BBC before it ran with the ‘Satanism’ angle.

*Note – both articles were posted using the same admin account on the CCN website.

And its this reference to St Winebald’s Day that is the second major problem with the article because, as just some basic online research would have revealed – had the BBC journo bothered to do some basic research – the history of St Winebald’s Day as a satanic holiday dates back all of 22-23 years and to a completely fictional ‘special edition’ magazine produced by a California-based fundamentalist Christian group at the height of the ‘Satanic Panic’ of the late 1980’s.

The full story of the the origins of St Winebald’s Day are covered in some detail by Witchvox. However the short version is that the  ‘Satanic’ version of St Winebald’s Day is a complete, and very modern, fabrication – as is the ‘ritual calendar’ from which its taken.

The is actually a real St Winebald, and a real St Winebald’s Day, which falls on December 18th, not 7th January, but this is no more than a minor feast day in the Christian saints calendar of the kind that is celebrated only by churches with a direct connection to St Winebald.

The real St Winebald was an Anglo-Saxon Benedictine Abbot and Missionary and the brother of the St Willibald and St Walburga who was born in Wessex but, following a seven year pilgrimage to Rome, led a mission to Germany, founding a monastery and Heidenheim at which he served as Abbot with his sister, Walburga, serving as Abbess of the associated convent.

St Walburga also makes an appearance in this fictional satanic ritual calendar with – on this occasion – the correct feast day (25th February) and this is, again, supposedly another blood ritual – a communion of blood and dismemberment (allegedly), all of which complete nonsense but nevertheless helps to explain the origins of the fictitious satanic version of St Winebald’s Day.

One of the common variant renditions of the name Walburga is ‘Walpurgis’, as in Walpurgis Night, the Germanic name for May Eve (30th April) and a festival date which does have clear pagan origins but which gets is name from St Walburga, who was canonized on May 1st in, or around, 87o AD. In Germanic folklore, May Eve (or Walpurgis Night) is the night that witches were believed to meet at the Brocken, the highest peak in the Harz mountain range in Northern Germany, a story that likely has at least some of its origins in a optical illusion, called the Brocken Spectre, which causes climbers to see what appear to be an enormous shadow on an observer cast on the upper surface of clouds opposite the sun.

As with the traditional May Day rituals in the UK, such as the Maypole and Well-Dressing, the origins of the May Eve and May Day festivities in Germany, and other part of Northern and Central Europe, pre-date the spread of Christianity and, in all likelihood, pre-date Christianity itself. Indeed, its likely that the canonisation of St Walburga was timed specifically to create an association between her and the pre-existing pagan May Day festival in an effort to ‘christianise’ the festival.

And with that, I think we can safely rule out the possibility of an satanic elements to this story unless, of course, the police find the charred remains of a wicker man in the field next door.

Its bollocks – and more over its the kind of bollocks that’s easily shown to be bollocks with no more than a few keystrokes and the compendious archives of Chief Insp Google.

6 thoughts on “The Devil Rides Out at the BBC (updated)

  1. Satanic?! No, this is much worse. This is the work of fans of the Peter Shaffer play “Equus”- Shaffernists.

    My evidence?

    The killing took place on the 08/01 Peter Shaffer was born on… 15/05. if you double some numbers and add them to others, they match exactly.

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  3. Yeah, my first thought was Schaffer too. But unfortunately, something being “bollocks” (as in the St W feast being 20 years or so old) doesn’t mean people won’t act on it. 

    It sometimes seems down here that Woo is about the only growth industry, and alongside the people out there offering comparatively tame reiki and homeopathy there are the ones who mount exhibitions of photos of “spirits” seen in flames (take enough photos of a fire and you too will see Merlin – or the Lion King, take your pick) selling unicorn potions and running fairy school. Seriously, all genuine examples. Unicorn potion vendor’s husband working on getting car to run on water.That’s all relatively benign (like a fatty tumour rather than a real cancer), but some of appears to be sincerely believed by the vendors (possibly not the unicorn potion….). Not inconceivable that some damaged minds find more malign fairies at the bottom of the garden to believe in and act on. So I wouldn’t write off the possibility of the psycho who did this being sloppily-calendared satanic wannabe rather than just a plain vanilla certifiable. Wouldn’t rate it top chance, but wouldn’t write it off. Either way, hope they are caught and stopped. Horrible thing to happen. 

  4. I am surprised by the rather strange, cynical views expressed in the xarticle above. Why the vested and rather defensive interest in disproving that there may have been links to Satanists or,more like, sadists using satanic ideas/dates as a structure for their violence?
     Whatis the author  trying to prove and why?

    The fact remains that we don’t know wht happened or exactly why yet. Sounds as if the police are carrying out a balanced enquiry, but it disturbs me that there are articles such as the one above that seem to need to defend against the existence of such groups existing.

    Whilst we as a society continue to be so freaked out by the possibility of criminals latching on to satanic ideas, labelling everything as ‘satanic panic’, such violence will continue, and those who have been affected by it will continue to be discredited.

    Please keep an open mind.

    1.  The article is pointing out that there is absolutely no evidence connecting the crime in question, to any kind of Satanism or Satanic activity.
      There is as much chance of this being connected to Satanism as there is any kind of horrific crime, yet we don’t feel the need to jump to that conclusion as a regular point of inquiry, nor is there any reason to here.
      There is no evidence that this crime, though terrible, is in any way religiously motivated.  Why then should that conclusion be explored and why, if there is no evidence of it being religiously motivated, should any particular religious group be singled out?  Particularly when the details of the crime in no way reflect any of the recorded practices of those groups which go by the name “Satanism”.  And especially when the group which in this case is being described, is actually based upon a fictional idea of Satanism which more the result of medieval superstition and hysteria, than any kind of real group.

      Why should the police not consider practitioners of Voodan or Santeria?  At least those are religions that actually do use animal sacrifice.  (Not that there is any evidence to connect any religious group to these crimes, nor do the crimes fit any known religious practice).  But no, the leap is straight a sensationalist idea of “Satanism”.  At the end of the day, there is absolutely no evidence to support that leap. 
      One may as well consider that it could be a case of UFO’s and alien animal mutilation.  There’s just as much evidence to support that radical leap.

      The only thing that can be said is that some sick person has killed and mutilated a horse.  But there is absolutely no evidence to imply that their doing this was in any way religiously motivated.

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