PICTURE: Mysterious Turin Shroud-style horse's head appears on towel used to clean pony at Doncaster stable

The "horse's head" towel at Rossington Hall Riding For The Disabled. (Photo: Sharon Matchett).
The "horse's head" towel at Rossington Hall Riding For The Disabled. (Photo: Sharon Matchett).

This is the spooky moment the mysterious outline of a horse's head appeared on a towel at a Doncaster stable - just moments after it was used to clean a pony.

The distinct outline of the horse's head was spotted by stunned volunteers at Rossington Hall as the towel was left to dry.

Mary Sheldon, a volunteer at the Doncaster branch of Riding For The Disabled, which has stables at the hall, had used the towel to clean a five-year-old pony called Ernie and then left it out to dry over railings.

When she returned, she noticed that dirty water marks on the towel had dried in the shape of a horse's head.

The photo was then uploaded to Facebook with the message: "Spooky happenings at the RDA this morning and its not even Halloween yet!"

Mary had been given the unenviable task of giving Ernie's bottom a clean following an upset stomach and used the towel to clean down his rear end.

RDA spokesman Sandra Crabtree said: "After hanging up the used towel, we couldn't help but notice this horse's head appearing as it dried. It would give the Turin Shroud a run for its money I think!"

She added: "Ernie is a right little character, full of fun and energy. He's only five but a brilliant little RDA pony, he came from the Northern Racing College who rescued him from the RSPCA.

"Mary is one of our oldest volunteers at over 70 and she spends a great deal of time at RDA mucking out shelters and the fields and out seeing to the horses."

"We had a visit from the farrier and he didn't relish the thought of what was down Ernie's back legs so the towel was duly produced and that's when we noticed the shape of the horse's head as it dried."

The Turin Shroud is a length of linen cloth bearing the image of a man and believed by some Christians to be the burial shroud of Jesus of Nazareth, although three radiocarbon dating tests in 1988 dated a sample of the cloth to the Middle Ages.

The shroud is kept in the royal chapel of the Cathedral of Saint John the Baptist in Turin, Italy.

Despite numerous investigations and tests, the status of the Shroud of Turin remains murky, and the nature of the image and how it was fixed on the cloth remain puzzling.

Rossington Hall Riding for the Disabled offers regular horse riding therapy sessions for disabled youngsters. Visit https://www.facebook.com/RossingtonHallRDA/ for further details.