Griggstown cow

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Griggstown Cow
Country USA
Region Griggstown, New Jersey
Habitat Millstone River floodplain

The Griggstown Cow was a "ghost cow" that was reported to inhabit the Millstone River floodplain and the Griggstown Lock of the Delaware and Raritan Canal in Griggstown, in central New Jersey. It was originally thought to be an urban legend but in November 2002 was discovered to be a living black and white bull that had been roaming in an area where cattle are not normally found.[1][2][3]

History[edit]

For thirty years there had been a legend of a "ghost cow" that wandered the areas around the Millstone River floodplain and Griggstown. The cow was seen many times but only on foggy nights or other times of poor visibility, and many tales were told by local hunters and hikers along the canal path. No spoor or tracks were ever found. Some fuzzy photographs were even taken, but they were all inconclusive.[1] At the time area was mostly suburban homes and open fields, and the canal was now a state park and walking trail so reports of a lone, owner-less, cow wandering a suburban park for decades were greeted with suspicion by local authorities. The cow became known as a sort of "Loch Ness Monster" of New Jersey and believed to be a myth,[1] much like the Jersey Devil.

This changed on November 23, 2002, a New Jersey Water Authority employee phoned the D&R canal park office and reported that he had not only seen the Griggstown Cow, but that it was lying in a ravine not far from the canal. Employees of Griggstown fire department, the State Park, and the New Jersey Fish and Wildlife service were dispatched, and to their surprise found a very old, weather-beaten bull that met the description of the "ghost cow".[1]

The bull had fallen into the ditch and was either too old or too arthritic to get out. There had been no dairy farms in the area for decades, and no one had reported any missing livestock. The only answer was that this bull had been living in the floodplain all this time, since the days when this was a dairy farming area, foraging for food and avoiding human contact for three decades.[1]

Efforts were made to extract the bovine, and rescuers managed to hoist the bull onto level ground. Unfortunately, the animal was extremely weak. Video and photographs were taken. A local veterinarian determined he was in poor health and nothing could be done, and it was decided to euthanize the animal.[1]

The "Ghost cow of Griggstown" was buried not far from the Griggstown lock, near his home and is still a part of New Jersey folklore.

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b c d e f Chirco Vicki (2003). "A Fond Farewell to a Beloved Local Legend". The milepost 3 (3). Retrieved 2008-07-30. The Griggstown Cow is something of a local legend among those who live, work and play in the Franklin and Montgomery township areas surrounding the D&R Canal State Park. The story of a wandering, ownerless cow who resides in the Millstone River floodplain and who occasionally makes an appearance along the old canal towpath is often told to doubting newcomers. Like an alien craft, some claim to have seen the mysterious animal but little convincing evidence has been produced - save a questionable photograph here and there. As the story goes, the farm animal strayed from the herd or broke loose from its pasture decades ago and ever since wanders freely in the floodplain foraging for meals and avoiding human contact. There may be some truth to the story as it is known that local farmers often herded their cows to pasture areas sometimes crossing the Millstone River and/or the D&R Canal as needed to access alternate properties. It is possible that one or several animals went missing and were never located. Be it true or not, occasionally a stray cow would be spotted by a motorist, park employee, passerby or hunter. The sighting would be reported and without physical evidence, viewed with some suspicion. And thus the legend of the Griggstown Cow was born. 
  2. ^ "Fugitive steer takes a walk on the wild side". The Philadelphia Inquirer. September 25, 2005. p. B01. Retrieved 2008-07-30. The story was that the Griggstown Cow, as it became known, had strayed from ... The Milepost said the Griggstown Cow is buried near the canal's Griggstown lock. 
  3. ^ "Griggstown cow". Weird NJ. Retrieved 2008-07-30. If you have not had a chance to read our new issue yet you might not know that the thirty-year free range roving of the renegade Griggstown Cow has finally come to an end. Here's a story from one reader who had a run-in with the bovine legend on the lamb, or perhaps another of his errant herd. 

Further reading[edit]