; Phantoms and Monsters: Pulse of the Paranormal

Friday, November 15, 2013

The Northfield Pigman

Legends and tales of pig people have been around for centuries. Most of the older stories come from the United Kingdom, but America has had it's share. One of these stories revolves around the alleged 'Pigman of Northfield, Vermont.' It's a local yarn that has been repeated since the early 1950's...but interesting nonetheless. I've included someone's personal account that made the rounds on the internet a few years ago:

My family lived in Vermont for a number of years, in a small town called Northfield, south of Montpelier.

There's a local legend in Northfield, of a thing known as the Pigman. The story has multiple versions, as most do, but there are some parts that are always the same. Back in 1951, the night before Halloween, this 17-year old kid named Sam Harris went out on his own with a basket of eggs to cause some mischief. Nobody knows exactly what happened to him, just that he never came home and was never found.

Years later, some high school kids were out drinking behind the school one night during a dance when this 'thing' came walking out of the woods on two human legs. It was naked, covered in white hair, and was wearing a hollowed-out pig's head like some grotesque mask.

Naturally, the kids tore out of there and went and told people. Word spread, and some farmer admitted he'd seen a figure matching that description digging through his garbage one night. Some pigs had also gone missing recently. More sightings were made of "The Pigman", as it became known, but many times the claims were just kids wanting to get attention.

Now, whether this thing is Sam Harris or this thing ate Sam Harris, nobody in town knows for sure. But what they do know is that it isn't afraid of people, and it really likes to eat meat.

There's a place just outside of Northfield known as The Devil's Washbowl, with a river and waterfalls and a number of caves. After more sightings of the Pigman were made out by The Washbowl, some people went investigating and found that one cave in particular was littered with animal bones, some of which were pig. It got around that they'd found the lair of the Pigman, and it became popular for teens to go out to the Devil's Washbowl at night and try to catch a sight of him.

My sister and a couple of her friends went out to The Devil's Washbowl their senior year. They took sleeping bags and flashlights and all the gear you'd take to go camping. I wasn't there to give a first-hand account of what transpired, I was only 8 at the time. I can only tell you what was told to me.

There were six or eight of them, depending on who you ask, all couples. They picked a number of caves, one for each pair. My sister and her boyfriend were in their cave. She was rolling out their sleeping bags and he was trying to start a fire when they heard some shouts and then screaming from one of the other caves.

When they got there, the girl was curled up in a ball in the farthest corner of the cave, and her boyfriend was nowhere to be found. She told them that the Pigman had come trudging into their cave, completely undaunted by their presence. The guy had started shouting at it, both to drive it away and to get the others' attention.

The Pigman casually picked up a large rock and struck the guy in the side of the head with it, knocking him unconscious. It picked him up, slung him over its shoulder and shambled out of the cave just moments before the rest arrived. Nobody had seen it exit the cave, nor seen signs of it at all. They did find the rock lying on the cave floor with blood on it, and bare footprints in some soft creek mud outside.

The girls all drove into town and went straight to the police. The remaining boys, whether it was two or three of them, grabbed flashlights and makeshift weapons and scoured the woods around the area. The footprints disappeared at the edge of the road, and they lost the trail there.

Search parties were set up. Police and K9 units and a big coordinated effort including several other adjoining townships' police forces. A couple days later, some articles of the guy's clothes were found by a search dog. They had been left torn and scattered in an abandoned farmhouse a town over.

The missing teen's photo was put up in the area, and one guy came forward. He said the other night, he'd awakened to the sound of someone lurking outside his house. He checked out his kitchen window and there was someone rummaging through the trashcan by his garage. The person was only wearing a faded and ripped pair of jeans. When the man hit the porch light, the intruder had looked up, and it had looked just like the kid in the photo.

The only difference was that his body was covered with white hair and his eyes looked kind of hollow.

NOTE: I was told that the locals occasionally catch a glimpse of the Pigman...though, I don't believe anyone has turned up missing lately. Lon

The Vermont Monster Guide

Weird New England: Your Guide to New England's Local Legends and Best Kept Secrets

Passing Strange: True Tales of New England Hauntings and Horrors