Mysterious Cattle Mutilations

Cattle and animal mutilations have been reported since ancient times, when Roman farmers spoke of demons that attacked their livestock. In more recent times, there have been sporadic outbreaks of strange attacks. Their alleged link to UFOs have been one of the more surreal aspects of ufology for over 130 years. In 1874 mysterious sheep slaughters were reported in Ireland and in England from 1904 through 1906 and in 1910; another rash of cattle mutilations took place in Kansas and in Pennsylvania in 1967, and from 1975 through 1976 yet another outbreak of cattle mutilations occurred in fourteen states in the Midwest and the West: Montana, Colorado, Texas, Minnesota, Missouri, Illinois, Mississippi, Iowa, Arkansas, Nebraska, New Mexico, Utah, South Dakota, and North Dakota. In the 1980s a third outbreak occurred in Colorado, and in the early 1990s some southern states were affected; strange attacks on livestock and domestic animals occurred in Mexico, Puerto Rico, and El Salvador from 1995 through 1996; from april to july 2002 cattle mutilations also reported in Argentina.

Explanations offered for the strange slaughters vary. In Latin American cultures, the killings are blamed on an unidentified creature called a Chupacabra, Spanish for “goat sucker.” In the United States, however, the dominant view has been that intelligent beings are behind animal mutilations. This idea gained prominence in the late 1960s and the 1970s. During this period, by some estimates, more than ten thousand oddly butchered carcasses were discovered across the western half of the country.

The famous case occured in September 1967, a woman in Alamosa County, Colorado, found her pony dead in a field with pieces of its flesh sliced away, its internal organs removed, and its body drained of blood. The Associated Press carried an item that told of the possible role of UFOs in the killing of Snippy, a three-year-old gelding. There was no blood on the ground and no footprints nearby, even the pony’s. (Its tracks ended approximately 100 feet [30.5m] away.) The carcass was discovered about a quarter of a mile from the ranch house of Harry King in the desolate mountain country near Alamosa, Colorado. King notified the horse’s owners, Mr. and Mrs. Burl Lewis, who were disturbed by the condition of the carcass, which suggested that something out of the ordinary had been responsible for their horse’s demise.

A pathologist admitted bewilderment when he found the horse’s abdominal, brain, and spinal cavities to be empty. All flesh had been stripped from the horse’s head and neck, but the rest of the animal was untouched except for the openings left by the mysterious surgery. Because of the sharpness of the incision, the medical examiner thought that it had been cauterized by a laser beam, even though no laser technology existed in 1967 that could have made the cut. Although the carcass had lain exposed for several days, it was not unduly decomposed, nor had it begun to smell. Even more unusual is the fact that no predators, vultures, or buzzards had approached the carcass. However, on the ground nearby were fifteen circular marks, as though something had scorched the brush. King’s mother claimed that a “large object” had passed over the ranch on the night of the mutilation.

UFO investigators stated that they had noted a high radiation count around Snippy’s remains and reported finding areas where the chico brush had been squashed to within 10 inches of the ground. Fifteen circular exhaust marks were found 100 yards from the carcass of the horse. Six identical holes, each two inches wide and four inches deep, were found in a nearby area. In addition, the investigators said that they found the imprint of a circle 75 feet in diameter, and a number of smaller areas where the chico brush had been flattened in circles 15 feet in diameter.

Since UFOs had recently been reported in the area, many people assumed that the scorch marks had been caused by the landing of an alien spaceship. A few weeks later, eight more animals, both horses and cows, were found mutilated in the same area in much the same way, sometimes only a few hours after ranchers had checked on them. Journalist Linda Howe produced a documentary and a book linking cattle mutilations to UFOs. According to Howe’s research, mutilations have been reported dating back to the 1700s, implying that this is not a new phenomenon. Howe’s evidence for extraterrestrial involvement seemed to keep mounting.

New Mexico State Police Officer Gabe Valdez, who coordinated an interstate investigation of livestock mutilations in the 1970s, examines a mutilated cow carcass.

In late 1973 farmers in Kansas and Minnesota began reporting deaths of cattle under apparently mysterious circumstances. Certain factors were found common to all mutilations: There seemed to be no visible cause of death; soft body parts had, it was claimed, been removed with surgical precision; the cattle were systematically drained of blood, often through small holes punched in their jugular vein; internal organs— especially sex organs—seemed to have been cut away; evidence of residual radiation or tranquilizing chemicals (it was claimed) were discovered; some animals were found with broken legs and backs pushed into the ground, as if they had been dropped from above; there were no footprints near the carcasses; and, finally, UFO sightings were common in the areas where the mutilations occurred. Various earthly interpretations have been put forward to explain the phenomena. A veterinary lab at Colorado State University insisted the deaths were the work of animal predators.

In December 1973 a group of sheriffs met and decided, from essentially no evidence, that the deaths were probably the work of “cultists.” Other law-enforcement officials were more skeptical, and the Kansas State University Veterinary Hospital proved that the animals had died of blackleg, a bacterial disease. Nevertheless, many rural people had come to believe that “Satanists” had sacrificed the cattle, and this rumor persisted.

In 1975 Donald Flickinger, an agent for the U.S. Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, and Firearms, was assigned to investigate reports of a nationwide Satanist network engaged in animal and human sacrifice. He could find no supporting evidence. Furthermore, because of the large number of mutilation reports—1,500 cattle in 22 states —it was physically impossible for cultists to have accomplished the feat.

Few years later another case occured in Texas, a rancher in Waco, claimed that he saw two four-foot-high creatures while searching for his missing cow. The creatures were described as having egg-shaped heads, no hair or nose, with eyes angled upward. He asserted they carried the cow between them. Other “evidence” came from a woman named Judy Doraty, who, under hypnosis, reported memories of an abduction. While driving with family members, she saw a craft beaming down a light. After pulling over and exiting the car, she saw a calf being drawn toward the light. Then she was pulled into the craft. The occupants then asserted she wasn’t supposed to be there. They told her that they were trying to fix a pollution problem caused by humans, in which nuclear testing or wastes caused a chemical composition change. This pollution had gone from the water to plants and animals, and people would die if nothing was done. So the aliens were studying the reproduction system of the animals to determine the extent of the contamination. After they were done examining the cow, they dropped it to the ground. Then the aliens abducted her daughter and examined her, taking tissue scrapings from her mouth before putting her and her mother back in the car. No one else in the car remembered the encounter. Ufologists have speculated that the aliens, since humans eat cows, were studying them to figure out how manmade radiation is affecting humans.

In 1981 a high-school biology teacher, Iona Hoeppner, came across the carcass of a mutilated calf in Weld County, Colorado. Hoeppner took several samples from the carcass, as well as of the ground around it. Shortly thereafter, most of these samples were stolen from her laboratory, and since by this time government officials were aware of the carcass, some people suspected that the U.S. government was responsible for the theft. However, the thieves had missed two samples: a piece of hide that included an area of incision and a bit of fluid collected from the ground. When Hoeppner examined the fluid, she discovered that it had chemical properties she could not identify, though she could tell that it had the ability to kill germs (and therefore to sterilize wounds and surgical instruments). Hoeppner then considered the incision on the hide and found that, unlike an incision made with a knife, scalpel, or laser, the incision did not cut through the animal’s cells but instead separated the tissue in between each cell, as though pulling them apart. Hoeppner concluded that only someone with access to highly advanced technology could have accomplished this.

Reports from Argentina in July 2002 stated that beginning with the first detected mutilation in April, more than 200 cattle had been found with their blood drained, their tongues, organs, flesh, and skin removed by angular, nearly curved, cuts. Although the official explanation centered on a carnivorous mouse, no one, from ranchers and veterinarians to biologists specializing in rodents have ever seen mice feed upon cow carcasses. Crews from UFOs were most often named by ranchers as the most likely mutilators of their cattle herds.

In some of these cases, as with the Colorado pony mutilation, some people had reported spotting UFOs in areas where mutilated cattle were later found. In other cases, however, particularly when the carcasses appeared near military bases and installations, people said they had seen mysterious black helicopters hovering nearby. These helicopters had no identifying markings, but after one such sighting in Colorado, a rancher found a bag with surgical tools that he felt resembled bags issued by government agencies. Though this was never proven, his discovery fueled suspicions that the U.S. government was somehow involved in cattle mutilations.

Speculations concerning secret intelligence operations came out of Vietnam-and Watergate-era fears that the U.S. government could be counted on to be up to no good — which was not the logical conclusion from an abundance of evidence. In fact, the only arguably suggestive physical evidence consisted of a curious, if ultimately inconclusive, discovery made in Lincoln County, Colorado, in 1975. A rancher found a blue satchel — assumed to be government issue — near his mailbox. Inside the satchel he discovered plastic artificial insemination gloves, a bloody scalpel, a cow’s ear, and part of a tongue. The Colorado Bureau of Investigation unsuccessfully checked for fingerprints, and area law-enforcement officers were unable to connect the animal parts with any cattle-mutilation reports known to them.

By the late 1980s this idea had merged with the notion that aliens were mutilating cattle, creating two new theories: that the government and the aliens were working together on experiments involving cattle, or that the aliens were being allowed to remove the animals’ organs in exchange for providing the government with certain goods, medicines, or technologies. By this time, the media had reported on several instances in which people claimed to have been abducted by aliens who then subjected them to odd medical tests. For believers in alien abductions, it was not too far-fetched to imagine aliens conducting experiments on animals as well. Popularizing this theory was a 1980 “documentary” called Strange Harvest, which laid the blame for cattle mutilations squarely on alien invaders.

However skeptics argue that there would be no need for aliens and/or the U.S. government to mutilate privately owned cattle since the government has the ability to buy all of the cattle it wants. Skeptics reject the notion that a mysterious government agency has been conducting biological and chemical tests on the animals in any case. Instead, skeptics insist that there are only two possible explanations for cattle mutilations: some of the cattle, they say, were killed by Satanists and/or cultist as part of some religious ritual; the rest died of disease or were killed by predators. Indeed, this was the finding of a 1979–1980 investigation into cattle mutilations that was launched by the state of New Mexico (with the help of federal funding and with the cooperation of nearby states) into cattle mutilations throughout the American West. Investigators concluded that, except for a few instances in which evidence pointed to Satanists and/or cultists, the majority of the mutilations could be attributed to predators, insects, and/or birds.

As to the sudden death of seemingly healthy cattle, the surgical precision of the animals’ wounds, and the fact that only certain organs were removed, skeptics say that natural processes can cause all of these phenomena. A cow with a disease known as lactic acidosis, for example, often shows no symptoms before it dies, and blowflies and other insects, as well as scavengers and predators, usually target the softest parts of a carcass (the very organs missing from mutilated cattle) and any blood left in the dead animal. Skeptics also contend that the teeth of scavengers and predators can produce cuts that seem as precise as those of a surgical instrument. Believers passionately disagree with such explanations, and arguments over the cause of cattle mutilations continue, as do the mutilations themselves.

The Gale Encyclopedia of the Unusual and Unexplained Volume 3 by Brad Steiger and Sherry Hansen Steiger;
The Greenhaven Encyclopedia of Paranormal Phenomena by Patricia D. Netzley;
UFOs and Popular Culture: “An Encyclopedia of Contemporary Myth” by James R. Lewis;
Unexplained: "Strange Sightings, Incredible Occurences & Puzzling Physical Phenomena" by Jerome Clark

Pic Source:
Unexplained: "Strange Sightings, Incredible Occurences & Puzzling Physical Phenomena" by Jerome Clark page 141


Rational νεόφυτος said...

Skeptics are always so quick to dismiss things like this, but I've read about some of these mutilations - and the incisions made with what appears to be laser scalpels (not just "really sharp predator teeth"). It's some strange, creepy stuff.

Tripzibit said...

(@Lavender Darwin) Yes, i agree with you. I think the skeptics need to see this phenomena with their own eyes.

Thanks for dropping by to read my blog

Christopher O'Brien said...

Read Stalking the Herd, (2014) 600 pages — easily the most comprehensive (and objective) look at the entire unexplained livestock death mystery and human's ancient relationship w/ cattle.

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