Popular Superstitions - Calving Superstition
( Originally Published 1884 )
A mite towards an history of the force of Imagination in Brutes : A Mr. William Chamberlain, an intelligent farmer and grazier at Ayleston, in Leicestershire, had six cows that cast calf, occasioned, he thinks, by the miscarriage of one in the same pasture, by a kind of contagious sympathy; which common experience, he says, has established as a fact. You may, if you deem it worth their notice, lay this matter before the publick.
The common people in Suffolk are of the same opinion. I met my labourer carrying an abortive calf, and asking him what he was going to do with it, he said, "To bury it in the gateway of the close, for the other three cows to pass over, else they would all cast their calves."