Police Blame Bizarre Pony Attack on a Band of Roving Witches - Who Forted? Magazine

Bizarre Pony Attack Blamed on Band of Roaming Witches


A young girl is heartbroken to discover that the Pony she’s been grooming is no longer viable for entry in shows after it’s mane was mysterious chopped off over the weekend, an action that police are blaming on a group of witches working on a spell.

11-year-old Wroughton, Wiltshire resident Elicia Curtis had already been training an unbroken Shetland pony named Tyrone for several weeks when her mother, Becky Malgarin, discovered the animal’s butchered mane on Sunday, the work of a group of individuals who, according to Becky, have been sneaking onto their land for awhile now.

“I think it’s disgusting,” she told the Swindon Advertiser. “They are trespassing in the middle of the night and don’t realise the impact of what they have done. 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.”


Authorities believe the main snipping incident was perpetrated by a band of witches in the interest of performing a good luck spell. Braiding a horse’s mane, or “plaiting” as it’s sometimes called, is seen as a way of generating good luck, though it appears that the group of spellcasters got tired of regularly sneaking onto Malgarin’s property to continue the process, and decided to just chop a chunk of it off instead.

“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,” Malgarin said.

The local police have taken the matter seriously and released a statement regarding the bewitched animal and have asked witnesses to come forward with any information they might have.

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.

New Age travellers? That’s basically a less-offensive way of saying “gypsies did it”. Kind of like how how your grandma blames “the urbans” for ruining the neighborhood.

So far, no new information has come to light about the bizarre crime, so for now, Elisha and her mom will keep a close eye on the stables and hope that luck is on their side.

What do you think about the mane-slashing witches of Wroughton? Are the police on the track of an occult mystery? Did the “local Druid” pass the buck? Why is Phil Plait inexplicably included in the Wikipedia article about plaiting? Share your thoughts on these mysteries and more by visiting our Facebook page, tweeting us @WhoForted, or leaving a comment below!


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  1. Sergei

    06/24/2013 at 10:04 AM

    When did we start ruling out “bored, destructive teenagers” when it comes to this kind of thing?

  2. Cherie

    06/25/2013 at 10:55 AM

    Wiccans wouldn’t do it. ‘Witch wannabes’, maybe. Someone carrying a grudge against the owners? Vandalism requires no magical activity or ability in order to cause harm.

    A good trail cam (which would naturally mean keeping a closer watch on the pony anyway) would probably have picked up the perp(s).

    I note the article implies (but doesn’t say) that no mane hair was found lying around. Your average bored destructive teens probably wouldn’t think to collect it for later ‘use’ – unless they’re the kind of kid(s) who like to creep people out. Should we assume the cutter(s) is/are the same person/people who plaited the pony’s mane?

    Again, nothing ‘witchy’ about stealing pony hair; although what would anyone use it for? It doesn’t taste good, you can’t use it for toilet paper or stuffing a pillow (unless you wanted to cause trouble for someone with allergies), and it’s been my experience that strands of tail hair, not mane, are what make a pretty good rope if you are in a ‘bind’.

    Unless there is more evidence than a guess, I’d have to go with Sergei.

  3. Les

    06/25/2013 at 2:47 PM

    I don’t know about the U.K. but in the U.S. people will steal horses manes and tails to make braided hat bands for cowboy hats or for hair extensions on show horses.

  4. Mr Pringle

    06/25/2013 at 8:32 PM

    How do they know it’s not someone the girl would face in a competition doing it, a rival that doesn’t want to lose ?

  5. Josh

    06/30/2015 at 7:06 AM

    As a Wiccan myself, the automatic assumption that people of my faith are responsible is kind of despicable. We live be a “Harm none” lifestyle (literally “An’ it harm none, do as ye will”). By totally removing that poor pony’s mane and plaiting it before, you’re causing emotional harm to the girl, and psychological damage to the Shetland. Wiccans are NOT responsible. Believe me. It’s most likely people trying to get us to look bad or just destructive teens. I’m seventeen, but for the love of the Goddess, I don’t do such puerile stupidity. Don’t worry, there’s no Wiccans roaming around shaving your animals. (Animal sacrifice or abuse is however indicative of ritualistic worship of either Deistic Satanism or just play cruelty). Cheers!

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