Misty Halloween Was the Perfect Time to See the Griggstown ‘Ghost Cow’

Geo Cache16

Griggstown grasslands.

A misty, rainy day like today (Oct. 31) is just the kind of day hunters and hikers in the Griggstown area would report sightings of what became known as the Griggstown Ghost Cow.

Starting in about the early 1970s, people who found themselves in the Millstone River floodplain, especially on the D&R canal towpath and near the Griggstown canal lock would report seeing a vapory, misty image of a lone cow.

The area was known for its dairy production, so the theory was that the cow had split off from its herd and was wandering aimlessly on its own, subsisting on native grasses.

The legend grew for 30 years, as the cow would make sporadic appearances to hikers, hunters and park personnel.

That changed on Nov. 23, 2002, when a New Jersey Water employee called the D&R Canal State Park office in Somerset to report that a large, apparently old cow had fallen in a ravine not far from the Griggstown lock. The caller said the cow may have been injured because it could not get itself up.

According to a story that appeared later in the D&R Canal State Park newsletter, “The Milepost,” soon officials from the township police department, the Griggstown Fire Department, the state Department of Fish & Wildlife, D&R Canal State Park, local dairy farmers and some other gathered at the site to see what they could do for the animal.

They soon realized that this was the infamous “Ghost Cow,” according to the report, and determined that the bull was not injured, just old and exhausted.

A rope was attached to the cow and he was slowly pulled up the embankment and onto solid ground.

But he did not move, according to the report. In fact, the report says, the cow stayed in that position for two days before a local veterinarian was called to assess his health. The vet determined that the bull was dying, and the decision was made to euthanize him.

Griggstown’s famous “Ghost Cow” was buried in the flood plain he roamed for three decades, but his legend lives on.


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