August 20, 2010

A Monster in the Barn!

When most people think of New England, they don't picture suburban sprawl, interstates or bustling metropolises. No, they think of woody hills, charming seaside fishing villages, and quaint white farmhouses with old stone walls in the fields out back.

However, there might be a sinister side to those New England farmhouses. Local fiction, like Thomas Tyron's Harvest Home (you don't want to be a single man when the corn's ripe) or H.P. Lovecraft's Dunwich Horror ("What's that noise up in the attic?"), certainly suggest there is. The spooky side of agriculture also shows up in local folklore, whether it's death by cider or cursed bloody apples.

Now I can hear you say "But modern agriculture is clean and mechanized! Maybe our witch-fearing ancestors were spooked by strange noises in the hayloft, but nothing weird happens on farms in the modern world."

Of course it doesn't...

Except on the night of August 23, 1982. That was the night John Fuller and David Buckley went out to check the cows at the farm where they worked in Ellington, Connecticut.

Sure it was late (after midnight), and it was rainy, but the two men weren't worried. After all, they had checked the cows a hundred times before and never encountered anything weird in the barn. And cows aren't scary, even after dark.

But that night, when they entered the barn, they encountered something different. Something strange and terrifying.

A huge humanoid was sitting near a feed bin, silently observing the cows. It was nearly seven feet tall, massively built, and covered in hair. When it saw John and David, it stood up and began to walk towards them.

The two farmhands, showing Yankee ingenuity, ran the hell away and called the police.

A Minnesota bigfoot from

The cops came, but by then the creature was gone and they couldn't find any tracks in the wet ground. The incident was later written up in the local newspaper. Maybe the publicity scared the creature away, because it has never been seen in Ellington again.

It might have shown up elsewhere in Connecticut, though. The Bigfoot Encounters Web site lists ten reports of large hairy humanoids in the state, the oldest going back to the 1890s.

Most people assume the monster was some kind of home grown Sasquatch. But if you look even further back, this story reminds me of old European folklore about creatures like the urisk, gruagach or brownie, hairy humanoid spirits that lived in barns and farm houses. Sometimes they were tiny, and sometimes they were large. Sometimes they helped out around the farm, and sometimes they caused a lot of trouble.

I found this story in Joseph Citro's excellent book, Passing Strange. True Tales of New England Hauntings and Horrors. He's a great storyteller, and has an entire chapter titled "Barnyard Tales and Terrors."

This week's post is also part of Loving Local, a blogathon to support Mass Farmers Markets, a non-profit that helps farmers markets. The blogathon was the idea of Tinky over at In Our Grandmothers' Kitchens. Be grateful for your local farmers - who knows what type of terrors they have to deal with!


Doug Lazorick said...

great post! reminded me of Jack's Greenhouse

Anonymous said...

When you said "bloody apples", all I could think of was the "bloody milk" scene from Blackadder

jedwar said...

I'm from Ellington and my family actually owned the dairy farm mentioned. It's a true story, scared the wit's out of the workers, but the "humanoid" was later identified as a man in a costume and the workers ran alright... to get their guns! Lol I'm going to try to get in touch with my cousin who ran that farm but I'm not sure if he ran it when this happened. Neat that the incident is considered folk lore. That's just why the guy did it.

Rich Clabaugh said...

Thanks for the fun post Peter! I do hope the mystery of the Bigfoot is solved someday, would love to know the answer.