Why Sheep?

I blame the Ground Zero Games mailing list. The creative minds behind the FMAS and other game scenarios showed that sheep could indeed be worthy antagonists or a horrifying threat to humanity. These pages are my own attempt to bring these unjustly neglected creatures the attention they deserve.

Six full hours I hid, trembling all the while with the fear of being discovered and made part of that dreadful feast. And when the last of the misshapen woolly beasts had been drawn back to that realm beyond, I ran, heedless of direction, and was fortunate indeed to be rescued some days later by a party of hunters. Since that day I have had a peculiar horror of knitted garments, and my fitful slumbers are haunted by a recurring nightmare: for though the Black Flock has passed from our world, it is yet possible that the Gate could be re-opened and the horror unleashed once more.
H.P. Lovecraaft

The Black Flock. Les Moutons Maléfiques. Every culture in the northern hemisphere has folk tales and legends about menacing sheep.

OK, that's not entirely true.

Actually, not true at all. Sheep just aren't frightening to anyone.

Despite their wide distribution both wild and domesticated, and their importance to the Australian and New Zealand economies, sheep don't get much attention. The typical bookshop is more likely to have books about venomous snakes than about sheep. Eventually I found a second hand copy of The Great Arc of the Wild Sheep by James L Clark, a hunter and museum specimen collector. In his own words: "This book has come into being through my long standing interest in and deep respect for the sturdy, power-packed wild sheep."

In fiction, there's the novel A Wild Sheep Chase by Haruki Murakami. It concerns the search for a unique white sheep spirit that possesses humans, granting them a fierce and terrible will to power. As one of the previous possessees was Genghiz Khan, it is a formidable sheep indeed.

There is also the the New Zealand comedy/horror film The Black Sheep. Benefiting from modern special effects, it has wonderfully gory scenes of sheep massacring humans.

Next: Above and Beyond