July 18, 2024

Haunted hog farm story connected to Grant County

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A notice in the October 6, Grant County Sheriff’s Activity Report caught our attention: 

Suspicious On Saturday, September 25, 2021 at 11:06 p.m., a deputy on patrol stopped to check on a suspicious motor vehicle that was taking odd routes of travel in Pomme De Terre Township. After speaking with the driver, the deputy learned that they were trying to locate the haunted pig farm site from the urban legend.”

Of course we wondered what was the Haunted Pig Farm, in or near Pomme de Terre Township in Grant County? Well, a story by Emily Welker on the October 17, 2019 KVRR TV broadcast explains the gory details, and perhaps why people look for the haunted pig farm site today, which, while not in Pomme de Terre Township is very near. And as we approach Halloween, perhaps that is enough to scare folks good and proper.

“It was 1887, and in Otter Tail County, a jury was about to make history.

A handyman had committed a murder so atrocious that their only recourse, they decided, was to sentence him to death.

It would be the first-ever hanging in Otter Tail County, and it would also be the ending to one of the saddest and most violent stories ever to emerge from the region.

Or so they thought.

More than one hundred years later, the tale of Lilly Field, brutally murdered at just fifteen years old by her own family’s employee, handyman Nels Olson Holong, still haunts our region today.

Recorded in unsparing and graphic detail by the journalists of the day, historical documents say Holong stabbed Field at her family’s Dalton, MN pig farm one morning when her older brother and mother had gone to town.

Holong, before fleeing for the area around nearby Ashby, threw Field’s mutilated body to the pigs. That was where her brother found her the following morning.

For generations, historian Chris Schuelke said people in the Otter Tail county area have come to the area surrounding the site of the pig farm, hoping for a glimpse of the spirit some claim still walks the woods around the region.

Some say they’ve seen her. Others say they’ve heard only the squeals of pigs where no pigs are, or have been, for more than a hundred years.”

To find out why the facts and the myths surrounding Lilly Field have horrified and haunted our region for so long, check out this video story at: <www.kvrr.com/2019/10/17/lillie-field-the-ghost-of-otter-tail-county/>.

And don’t forget to visit the Otter Tail County museum for more at: <https://www.otchs.org/>.

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