Witchcraft suspected in mysterious pony attack

Elicia Curtis with Shetland pony Tyrone. Her hopes of putting him into shows have been dashed. Picture: SIOBHAN BOYLE

Elicia’s mum Becky Malgarin shows the length of Tyrone’s mane before it had been cut in what police believe may have been done as part of a rite or spell

First published in News by

WITCHCRAFT is suspected in the mysterious cutting of a Shetland pony’s mane.

Little Elicia Curtis was devastated to find the animal she has been grooming had had its mane cut off by an unknown attacker.

The 11-year-old had been helping out with the horses on a farm near Wroughton after her own pony, Muffin, had to be put down last year.

The police suspect it may have been done as part of a rite or spell, but a local Druid has put the blame on New Age Travellers rather than witches.

Elicia had been training the unbroken Shetland, called Tyrone, and was hoping to enter him into shows this summer. That hope has now been dashed by the criminals who came on the night of Sunday, June 16 and cut the five-year-old horse’s flowing mane.

The Wroughton Junior School pupil said: “I’m really shocked someone would come in and hurt him.

“I was really looking forward to showing him off because I worked hard with him and he just started to let me ride him.

“Now he is really jumpy and scared and I have to start again. Now his owner says she might have to send him back to Scotland and I would be really upset if that happened.”

Elicia’s mum Becky Malgarin, who used to ride horses herself, said she was angry about the crime and the upset the thieves had caused.

The mum-of-four, of Pinehurst, added: “I think it’s disgusting – they are trespassing in the middle of the night and don’t realise the impact of what they have done.

“Elicia was heartbroken when Muffin died and now Tyrone, who was such a beautiful little pony, might have to be sent back she is upset all again.

“I think people who keep horses need to be aware this is happening again. It happened when I used to ride in the 90s and these people have no right.

“This is not the first time Tyrone has been attacked either – they snuck in three times before and plaited the main but now they’ve actually cut it off.”

Police are viewing the incident as criminal damage and said they needed the public’s help to catch the culprits.

Plaiting a horse’s mane or tail is seen by some witches as a way of generating luck, but cutting is not usually part of that tradition.

A spokesman for the Marlborough Neighbourhood Policing Team said: “A Shetland pony has been the subject of unwanted attention for the fourth time since arriving from North Scotland in April 2012.

“Over the past fourteen months the pony has been the subject of ‘plaiting’ on three occasions during the solstice period thought to be a good luck charm or subject of witches casting spells.

“On Sunday evening the sixteenth of June the pony has now been the subject of criminal damage.

“Persons have attended the field during the hours of darkness and pulled and cut the pony’s mane, making it significantly shorter than it was. The practice of ‘plaiting’ and hair removal is believed to be associated with witchcraft.

“We think that this could be the case but have been told by a local Druid that it has nothing to do with witches or pagans and has something to do with New Age travellers.

“As this took place under the cover of darkness and there is little CCTV evidence we are appealing for witnesses.”

Anyone with any information should contact the neighbourhood team on 101 or Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111.

Comments (18)

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9:34am Mon 24 Jun 13

outsidethebox says...

"A local Druid" ? so an expert on all Witches and Pagans then? No witches' Pagans or Druids that I know,plait horses manes or cut them.....What lazy reporting! So no quotes from any "named" experts then?
Bit late in the century for "Witch-hunts" isn't it Adver?
"A local Druid" ? so an expert on all Witches and Pagans then? No witches' Pagans or Druids that I know,plait horses manes or cut them.....What lazy reporting! So no quotes from any "named" experts then? Bit late in the century for "Witch-hunts" isn't it Adver? outsidethebox
  • Score: 1

9:53am Mon 24 Jun 13

JakobK says...

“A Shetland pony has been the subject of unwanted attention for the fourth time since arriving from North Scotland in April 2012."

**** you Saville!!
“A Shetland pony has been the subject of unwanted attention for the fourth time since arriving from North Scotland in April 2012." **** you Saville!! JakobK
  • Score: 1

10:03am Mon 24 Jun 13

Davey Gravey says...

I seriously doubt it has anything to do with those being blamed.
I seriously doubt it has anything to do with those being blamed. Davey Gravey
  • Score: 1

10:07am Mon 24 Jun 13

Mochyndeaer says...

Just lazy journalism.

"A horse has had it's mane tampered with! I'd better do some research!"

Some google results =

http://www.dunfermli
nepress.com/news/rou
ndup/articles/2010/0
5/13/400277-bizarre-
horse-incidents-baff
le-police/

http://www.theargus.
co.uk/news/4866264.W
itches_blamed_for_Su
ssex_horse_plaits/

http://www.telegraph
.co.uk/news/newstopi
cs/howaboutthat/6744
705/Police-force-con
sulted-warlock-over-
horse-plaiting.html

& a multitude of other reports dating back many years.

It really is lazy reporting when you can't be bothered to even disguise the fact that cut & pasted almost the whole article!
Just lazy journalism. "A horse has had it's mane tampered with! I'd better do some research!" Some google results = http://www.dunfermli nepress.com/news/rou ndup/articles/2010/0 5/13/400277-bizarre- horse-incidents-baff le-police/ http://www.theargus. co.uk/news/4866264.W itches_blamed_for_Su ssex_horse_plaits/ http://www.telegraph .co.uk/news/newstopi cs/howaboutthat/6744 705/Police-force-con sulted-warlock-over- horse-plaiting.html & a multitude of other reports dating back many years. It really is lazy reporting when you can't be bothered to even disguise the fact that cut & pasted almost the whole article! Mochyndeaer
  • Score: 0

10:27am Mon 24 Jun 13

outsidethebox says...

Well said Mochyndeaer !

Unfortunately this is a prime example of the standard of the EA reporting.
Well said Mochyndeaer ! Unfortunately this is a prime example of the standard of the EA reporting. outsidethebox
  • Score: 0

11:14am Mon 24 Jun 13

Amberflame says...

Perhaps it's just a frustrated Hairdresser!?
Perhaps it's just a frustrated Hairdresser!? Amberflame
  • Score: 1

11:23am Mon 24 Jun 13

Mochyndeaer says...

Amberflame wrote:
Perhaps it's just a frustrated Hairdresser!?
Or even some feral children?
[quote][p][bold]Amberflame[/bold] wrote: Perhaps it's just a frustrated Hairdresser!?[/p][/quote]Or even some feral children? Mochyndeaer
  • Score: 0

12:07pm Mon 24 Jun 13

Brontie1 says...

'Feral children' in our area, is that possible? Removes tongue from cheek.
I wondered whether to expect the Lord Sheriff and his bounty hunters at my door this morning.
'Good bit of research there Mochyndeaer.' Perhaps the headline should read 'Attack on Witches made by Advert because they had nothing better to do.'
Must have been a slow news w/end. I'm sure the pony suffered far less than it would have if the owner had 'pulled' the mane which is basically ripping the hair out a clump at a time. I am sick of 'Witch Hunts' because a lot of people actually believe what they read in the papers.
I did hear that there is a rush on Garlic in the supermarkets so run everybody run and buy some whilst you still can.
'Feral children' in our area, is that possible? Removes tongue from cheek. I wondered whether to expect the Lord Sheriff and his bounty hunters at my door this morning. 'Good bit of research there Mochyndeaer.' Perhaps the headline should read 'Attack on Witches made by Advert because they had nothing better to do.' Must have been a slow news w/end. I'm sure the pony suffered far less than it would have if the owner had 'pulled' the mane which is basically ripping the hair out a clump at a time. I am sick of 'Witch Hunts' because a lot of people actually believe what they read in the papers. I did hear that there is a rush on Garlic in the supermarkets so run everybody run and buy some whilst you still can. Brontie1
  • Score: 0

12:53pm Mon 24 Jun 13

JakobK says...

In related news, a girl with plaited hair has been lynched because she definitely poisoned the well with her magic and that's why the button came off my trousers this morning so good riddance.
In related news, a girl with plaited hair has been lynched because she definitely poisoned the well with her magic and that's why the button came off my trousers this morning so good riddance. JakobK
  • Score: 0

1:53pm Mon 24 Jun 13

rumple stiltskin says...

hahahaha paper is a joke funny they blame witchcraft etc when its been the summer solstice as well lazy lazy lazy bit or writting
hahahaha paper is a joke funny they blame witchcraft etc when its been the summer solstice as well lazy lazy lazy bit or writting rumple stiltskin
  • Score: 0

4:36pm Mon 24 Jun 13

umpcah says...

I hope The Adver doesn`t get a curse on it !
I hope The Adver doesn`t get a curse on it ! umpcah
  • Score: 0

8:41pm Mon 24 Jun 13

outsidethebox says...

umpcah wrote:
I hope The Adver doesn`t get a curse on it !
Too late.......It already has the curse of lazy journalism..........
..........
[quote][p][bold]umpcah[/bold] wrote: I hope The Adver doesn`t get a curse on it ![/p][/quote]Too late.......It already has the curse of lazy journalism.......... .......... outsidethebox
  • Score: 0

9:35pm Mon 24 Jun 13

MarkChristopher says...

If "Outsidethebox" "JakobK" and the rest of you who have posted typically small minded remarks would bother looking into this a bit more, you would find that a large number of these incidents are reported to Police each year, and are well publicized in horse magazines etc. You all obviously think it's slightly amusing that a poor pony has been subjected to having it's mane cut off! As its all so humorous I'm sure you wouldn't mind a stranger cutting all your hair off in the middle of the night! As I've said in horse circles these incidents are WELL documented and the police have contacted witches/pagans etc in the areas affected to try to get to the bottom off the problem.
If "Outsidethebox" "JakobK" and the rest of you who have posted typically small minded remarks would bother looking into this a bit more, you would find that a large number of these incidents are reported to Police each year, and are well publicized in horse magazines etc. You all obviously think it's slightly amusing that a poor pony has been subjected to having it's mane cut off! As its all so humorous I'm sure you wouldn't mind a stranger cutting all your hair off in the middle of the night! As I've said in horse circles these incidents are WELL documented and the police have contacted witches/pagans etc in the areas affected to try to get to the bottom off the problem. MarkChristopher
  • Score: 0

11:06pm Mon 24 Jun 13

outsidethebox says...

So our comments are "small-minded" but yours are not MarkChristopher?Why because they differ from your opinion? I am in fact a pagan who lives locally to where this incident happened.
Would this be the same nameless "spokesman for the Marlborough Neighbourhood Policing Team " who has informed you that any witches/pagans have been approached? I think you'll find this would be classed as religious discrimination,don't you? Are you sure that YOU don't work for the adver? I note the same standards of accuracy in your writing............
So our comments are "small-minded" but yours are not MarkChristopher?Why because they differ from your opinion? I am in fact a pagan who lives locally to where this incident happened. Would this be the same nameless "spokesman for the Marlborough Neighbourhood Policing Team " who has informed you that any witches/pagans have been approached? I think you'll find this would be classed as religious discrimination,don't you? Are you sure that YOU don't work for the adver? I note the same standards of accuracy in your writing............ outsidethebox
  • Score: 0

2:03am Tue 25 Jun 13

ChristopherBlackwell says...

Witches never hurt animals, usually they are animal rights activists. So why the phony claim that it might be due to Witchcraft.


Is This is Wiltshire that desperate to increase readership that it takes a simple deplorable case of cruelty and tries to spice it up with a phony claim of Witchcraft?

In all the reported cases of these crimes, not once has any Witch been implicated or convicted of such a crime.

Hate talk is illegal and not even newspapers or media should be able to get away with spreading vicious rumors again minority religions and one that England gave the world.

A blue historical plaque was just put up honoring the fact that Doreen Valiente had lived in one English town on Midsummer.
Witches never hurt animals, usually they are animal rights activists. So why the phony claim that it might be due to Witchcraft. Is This is Wiltshire that desperate to increase readership that it takes a simple deplorable case of cruelty and tries to spice it up with a phony claim of Witchcraft? In all the reported cases of these crimes, not once has any Witch been implicated or convicted of such a crime. Hate talk is illegal and not even newspapers or media should be able to get away with spreading vicious rumors again minority religions and one that England gave the world. A blue historical plaque was just put up honoring the fact that Doreen Valiente had lived in one English town on Midsummer. ChristopherBlackwell
  • Score: 2

2:10am Tue 25 Jun 13

ChristopherBlackwell says...

MarkChristopher, yes the crime has been reported, but not in a single case has there been any evidence that any Witch was involved. Now that is a fact. No evidence whatsoever.

Nor have the police ever caught anyone. Yes any damage to and animal is cruel and the Witches would be the first to agree with you.

But don't blame the Witches for something they have never
done. Mostly it will prove to be a local person if they are ever caught, just as with most cases of vandalism.
MarkChristopher, yes the crime has been reported, but not in a single case has there been any evidence that any Witch was involved. Now that is a fact. No evidence whatsoever. Nor have the police ever caught anyone. Yes any damage to and animal is cruel and the Witches would be the first to agree with you. But don't blame the Witches for something they have never done. Mostly it will prove to be a local person if they are ever caught, just as with most cases of vandalism. ChristopherBlackwell
  • Score: 3

10:33am Tue 25 Jun 13

PaulD says...

why are people talking about witches as if they are real? Anyone who thinks they are a witch are deluded at best.
why are people talking about witches as if they are real? Anyone who thinks they are a witch are deluded at best. PaulD
  • Score: -1

11:34am Tue 25 Jun 13

PJC says...

If it was being groomed for showing, has anyone thought it might have been nobbled by a rival competitor? I'm no Miss Marple, just thinking out loud.....
If it was being groomed for showing, has anyone thought it might have been nobbled by a rival competitor? I'm no Miss Marple, just thinking out loud..... PJC
  • Score: 2

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