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23 October 2005
Occult pratices at an ancient site

The spectre of occult practices in the West of England reared its head as police investigated a second case of ritual sheep slaughter near an ancient site on an isolated moor. Six sheep were found with their necks broken and their eyes removed on land at Moortown near the edge of Dartmoor. Four of their bodies were arranged in a regular square shape, another two were lying next to a pattern of stones.
     In January, seven sheep were found just half-a-mile away in the same eerie shadow of Vixen Tor. Again their necks were broken, and this time chillingly arranged in the shape of a heptagram - a seven-pointed star symbol, linked for centuries with the dark arts and Black Magic rituals.
     Now police are connecting the incidents with the presence of a prehistoric site, the stone remains of which are located just to the east of the tor. "Our understanding is that this place used to be some sort of meeting place for Pagans," said a spokesman for Devon and Cornwall police. "People obviously have their right to practise their religion, but when that involves damaging, or in this case killing, other people's property, it becomes a crime," he added.
     Vixen Tor and the Alford family have gained notoriety recently in a high-profile right-to-roam row with ramblers, walkers and climbers. In 2003, the Alfords controversially ended 30 years of permitted access to the tor on the grounds they could be held liable if there was an accident on it. Earlier this year, the decision was upheld by an inquiry inspector who ruled against opening up the land under Countryside and Rights of Way legislation. Last month those demanding access to the tor and the land it stands on mounted a peaceful protest on the Alfords' land. Daniel Alford said he did not believe the clash over access was in anyway connected to the disturbing finds.

Source: Western Daily Press (20 October 2005)

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