Someone is murdering animals in Prospect Park — and the death count is rising.
Thus far, his identity remains a mystery — but he has left pieces of his victims scattered about the lakefront in Prospect Park like a demented Johnny Appleseed. At every turn, it seems park-goers are coming across more chicken heads and piles of assorted intestines.
It’s disgusting, disquieting and disturbing.
Days after The Brooklyn Paper broke the mysterious story of a bloody chopping block, smashed turtle shells, and an arson, Bonita Makuch came upon the Butcher’s most brazen — and horrifying — deed: entrails piled high on the rocks, animal guts fallen into the water, pieces of viscera peeking out like fleshy glaciers.
A chicken’s carcass floated nearby.
“It was quite repulsive,” said Makuch, who was unsure if the greasy tripe belonged only to chickens. “With a pile that big, it seems to me you’d have to do a lot of killing to get that many guts.”
That same day, Anne-Katrin Titze and Ed Bahlman — de facto Prospect Park watchdogs — discovered a disembodied chicken head on their daily walk.
“The chicken’s neck was stretched out facing the lake on the rocks — the head was in the water. No feathers, just flesh,” Bahlman said. “A swan ended up knocking the head into the lake.”
Nearby, Bahlman found a large box with two latex gloves inside. Beside the box were chicken feathers strewn about the banks of the lake.
After that first fateful encounter with murder most fowl, the couples’ daily perambulations became veritable horror shows. At several spots along the lake chicken heads were bobbing at the lake’s surface.
On Tuesday, Titze poked the lakebed near Prospect Park Southwest with a stick, trying to remove the dangerous viscera. As she jabbed the murky water, chicken heads kept popping up, eventually forming a gruesome clump of feathers and flesh.
In one single spot, at least eight chicken heads were visible, and that’s not counting the intestines and chicken feet.
Susan Yuen, who came upon a similar revolting crime scene in the same area last week, also saw the pile of intestines and immediately alerted park officials. A park employee — who would not give his name — quickly cleaned up the mess, pulling two chicken carcasses out of the water and throwing it all in a trash bag.
“It was so gross,” said Yuen, who snapped photos of the grisly scene. “I saw a chicken head, it started to smell as he pulled it all out of the water!”
Unfortunately, the park employee didn’t get all the gore, as much of it was not visible. In recent days the guts have surfaced or become entangled in other shrubs and trash as it decomposes. Eugene Patron, a spokesman for the park, said staff would clean up the area further, and suggested that people call 311 if they spot more gruesome meat left behind by the butcher.
Bob Ipcar, a member of the dog advocacy group FIDO, noticed the nasty scene and said that dog owners should also be concerned about the mysterious wave of poultry mutilations.
“Your dog wants to drink the water [in the lake], and it’s dangerous,” Ipcar said. “Everybody wants to feed the ducks, and there are chicken heads floating around. They need to come and rake this stuff out.”
Park officials remain baffled.
“Maybe [the intestines] could be left over from a voodoo or Santeria ritual?” Patron speculated.
He may be onto something. Santeria gross-outs are not uncommon in the area. Just last year, a pig’s head was left along the fence of Green-wood Cemetery, perhaps as a gift to the gods. Also, 15 cow tongues were nailed to trees in the park last year — another incident thought to have been related to the often-vilified religion.
Ritual or not, some wished the park would take the wave of incidents more seriously and treat them as legitimate crimes deserving of an investigation.
“How can the park investigate these incidents when they remove the evidence and don’t even call the police?” asked Titze.
Bahlman, after doing some investigating of his own, determined that the slaughter must have occurred beyond the confines of the park.
“This is planted there — there was no blood, unlike last time,” said Bahlman. “Now, they’re dumping dead animals in the park. I do not believe this was a sacrifice.”
And Bahlman may be right. Later visits to the scene of the crime on Monday revealed that a veritable flock of butchered chickens had been discarded in the lake. The mysterious butcher had also used a spot across from the wellhouse as another dumping grounds.
“There was the Superfund for the Gowanus Canal,” Bahlman joked. “This is going in that direction!”
But in a more serious moment, Bahlman considered the multi-million-dollar renovation going on across the lake.
“They’re calling all this attention to the Lakeside project,” he said. “Meanwhile, they’re basically letting the lake die. … A large area is being used as a dump.”
Bahlman pointed to a nearby dead opossum and turtle as evidence that the lake had been possibly poisoned. He also nervously noted that the swans and geese that usually flock to the shore to receive their daily feedings of corn and bread were now staying away.
“Look at them!” Bahlman said, pointing at his beloved waterfowl. “They’re afraid. They know something is wrong. They’ve seen so much.”
But officials said that the park’s hands are tied, much like the feet of a chicken before it meets its demise.
“Unless someone catches someone in the act of either abusing an animal or littering — which this gory stuff is — there is little we can do,” Patron said.