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Are Cattle Mutilations A Sinister Plot To Destroy The Cattle Industry?

I have written several articles the environment. A list of links have been provided at bottom of this article for your convenience. This article will, however address different aspects on the environment and the planet in general.

The Mysterious History of Cattle Mutilation

Unexplained livestock mutilations have been reported for centuries. Explanations range from common predators to UFOs.

The bovine corpses stunned the ranchers who found them. The animals’ ears, eyes, udders, anuses, sex organs and tongues had routinely been removed, seemingly with a sharp, clean instrument. Their carcasses had been drained of blood. No tracks or footprints were found in the immediate vicinity—nor were any of the usual opportunistic scavengers.

Between April and October of 1975, nearly 200 cases of cattle mutilation were reported in the state of Colorado alone. Far from being mere tabloid fodder, it had become a nationally recognized issue: That year, the Colorado Associated Press voted it the state’s number one story. Colorado’s then-senator Floyd Haskell asked the Federal Bureau of Investigation to get involved.

Throughout the 1970s, cases had continued to mount throughout the American heartland. And in 1979—after thousands of reported cattle mutilations, causing millions of dollars of livestock losses—the FBI finally opened an investigation into a series of cases that had reportedly taken place on New Mexico’s Indian lands. Pressure came, in part, from a heated public symposium on the subject that had been convened by that state’s science-minded U.S. senator, Harrison Schmitt, who had a Ph.D. in geology from Harvard and had walked on the moon as an Apollo 17 astronaut.

Ultimately, the FBI’s inquiry poured cold water on the idea that something strange was afoot. On January 15, 1980, the Bureau closed the investigation, putting out a statement saying that, “none of the reported cases has involved what appear to be mutilations by other than common predators.”

Locals sharply disagreed.

“I’ve been around cattle all my life and I can sure tell whether it’s been done by coyote or a sharp instrument,” Sheriff George A. Yarnell of Elbert County, a rural area south of Denver, told The New York Times in the fall of 1975.

Theories Range from Satanic Cults to UFOs

Moonlit ranch.lpkoe/Getty Images

Mysterious livestock mutilations weren’t confined to the 1970s, or to the United States. Similar cases involving sheep, cows or horses have been reported as far back as the early 17th century and as recently as 2019. The ‘70s cases, however, brought the most widespread attention.

Broadly speaking, the debate about cattle mutilation falls into two camps: those who see the mutilations as unexplained phenomena, and those who see them as normal cattle deaths, repackaged as something mysterious or paranormal.

For those in the unexplained camp, opinions have diverged about the possible explanation. Some law enforcement communities opined that the animals were being mutilated by people in strange, quasi-religious rituals. In 1980, the Royal Canadian Mounted Police blamed the mutilations on an unidentified cult. The Department of Criminal Investigations in Iowa, meanwhile, asserted that the mutilations were being conducted by Satanists.

Reports within the affected ranching communities indicated that the mutilations regularly coincided with the sighting of mysterious unmarked helicopters. Some ranchers who suffered the worst losses believed the federal government had performed the mutilations—for an assortment of reasons, including the testing of biological weaponry. Animosity for the government proved so heated that the Nebraska National Guard ordered their helicopters to cruise at 2,000 feet (rather than the regular 1,000-foot altitude), for their safety, since panicky ranchers had begun shooting at helicopters.

Others have blamed unidentified earthbound creatures. At Skinwalker Ranch, a property in northeastern Utah whose numerous paranormal activities were the subject of the book Hunt for the Skinwalker: Science Confronts the Unexplained at a Remote Ranch in Utah, rancher Terry Sherman lost several heads of cattle to mutilation after buying the 512-acre property in 1996. Those mutilations coincided with several strange encounters: In one, Sherman saw a wolf-like creature three times the size of a normal wolf that was impervious to rifle fire; in another, a researcher saw an odd humanoid creature with piercing yellow eyes spying on him from a tree. Other cases have happened since on the property.

Still, others tie the mutilations to possible extraterrestrial visitors. Filmmaker, science reporter and Stanford-educated author Linda Moulton Howe has looked at more than 1,000 animal mutilation cases, winning an Emmy award for those efforts with her 1980 documentary A Strange Harvest. In her 1989 follow-up book, An Alien HarvestFurther Evidence Linking Animal Mutilations and Human Abductions to Alien Life Forms, Howe ultimately concluded—after researching hundreds of cases—that extraterrestrials were likely involved.

One particularly compelling case linking animal mutilation and aliens involved “Lady,” a horse found dead and partially skinned at a ranch in Alamosa, Colorado in September 1967. Within 24 hours of the incident, in which the animal’s brain, lungs, heart and thyroid were cleanly cut out, local superior court judge Charles Bennett witnessed three orange rings in the sky, flying in a triangular formation at incredible speeds. Two sheriff’s deputies, meanwhile, reported being followed around by a floating orange globe.

Skepticism Within the Veterinary World

Some medical experts offer much more mundane explanations for animal mutilations. Veterinary pathologists point to the fact that scavengers tend to eat the soft tissue of a dead animal first, which might explain the missing external organs commonly described on the dead bovine. Bloodlessness, meanwhile, might be attributed to livor mortis: When an animal dies, the heart stops and the blood stops circulating, thus settling the blood via gravity, creating a “bloodless” effect in some surface parts of a carcass.

In Washington County, Arkansas in 1979, the sheriff’s department conducted an experiment: It placed a dead cow in a field for 48 hours and found it looked a lot like the ostensibly mutilated ones. Bacterial bloating had caused its skin to tear in an incision-like manner similar to what had been described in some ranchers’ reports. Maggots and blowflies, meanwhile, had cleaned out the animal’s organs.

Cattle Mutilation as an Expression of Economic Anxiety?

A skull of a dead cow.Andrii Kozlytskyi/Getty Images

Agricultural historian Michael Goleman theorizes that the ’70s reports of cattle mutilation likely provided a way for independent, small-scale ranchers to express both their economic anxiety and their resentment for government interference in agricultural life.

According to Goleman, unexplained cattle death has always been a part of ranching—cattle deaths were no higher year-to-year during the time of the reported mutilations than before or after. But most mutilation reports emerged at a time when the cattle industry was reeling. In the 1970s, the U.S. government sent a lot of grain to food-insecure nations, driving up the domestic price of cattle feed. At that same time, President Richard Nixon intermittently froze the price of beef (and other meat) domestically, to combat inflation. Cattle ranchers found themselves in a squeeze, and in a 1975 Senate agriculture committee hearing, the president of the American National Cattlemen’s Association said the industry had suffered “operating losses of $5 billion, plus a reduction in inventory value of $20 billion.”

As evidence for his argument, Goleman points out that the alleged ’70s mutilations occurred most frequently in states like Colorado and New Mexico, which had a higher percentage of small ranches most vulnerable to those governmental policies. Texas, meanwhile, reported considerably less of the phenomenon, despite having by far the most cattle in the country. 

Because the mutilations were concentrated both geographically and over time, Goleman says, paranormal activity seems a less likely explanation than a case of mass hysteria.

Alien Experiment, Violent Crime or Natural Occurrence: Cattle Mutilations in the West Continue

Bizarre cases of the cattle being killed and left with body parts missing have been reported all over the American West since at least the 1970s. Ranchers grow weary of losses, while investigators still have to catch a single suspect.

Since the beginning of 2021, cattle ranchers in Central Oregon’s Crook County have found several cattle dead in the fields.

But what makes those deaths so mysterious is the condition of their bodies. No blood. Missing body parts. Seemingly surgical incisions and extraction of organs and genitalia.

Cattle mutilations aren’t new to Oregon or the West Coast, but at least one expert says the mysterious deaths are caused by forces outside of our world.

Theories about what is happening to the animals vary. Some say it’s part of the natural decomposition process, others blame scavengers and people working to hurt the ranchers by affecting their bottom line.

One expert said the cattle mutilations are the result of some out of this world experimentation.

Linda Moulton Howe, a journalist and paranormal investigator, has been investigating cattle mutilations since 1979. She believes the bloodless, trackless animal deaths are evidence that we are being visited by extraterrestrials.

“I began investigating bloodless, trackless animal mutilations (domestic and wild) in Colorado in September 1979, when I was Director of Special Projects at the CBS station KMGH-TV in Denver, Colorado,” she said. “Law enforcement and ranchers saw strange glowing circular craft at night extend beams down into their pastures where they would find a bloodlessly mutilated animal after the sun came up. It was Sheriff Tex Graves of Logan County, Colorado, who told me in September 1979, ‘The perpetrators of these animal mutilations are creatures from outer space.’”

Howe said that again and again, she heard from law enforcement and other investigators that the attacks were preceded by lights in the sky.

As part of her investigation, Howe discovered these kinds of cattle mutilations have gone on around the world for decades.

“I quickly learned they were not confined to Colorado,” she said. “I’ve been in almost every state in the United States and in Canada. I talked with a producer at the BBC in London, they had found a journal that went back to 1904 in Australia, where sheep were mutilated  – tongues gone, genitals gone, random organs removed, but no blood.” 

In her book Alien Harvest, Howe said incidents of cattle mutilation have been documented in every country except India.

In Oregon, Crook County Undersheriff James Savage said his department is investigating the cattle mutilations.

“Well, yeah, it makes us angry,” he told the Northwest News Network. “It’s upsetting, because, again, it’s our livelihood. It’s how they make their money and how they feed their families and support themselves.”

Savage said it started with a cow found in late February on a remote private land. Since then, another six animals have turned up across the county with missing body parts, he said. In most cases, the dead animal’s sex organs, tongue or eyes are cleanly removed from the body with surgical-like precision. However, law enforcement officers investigating the carcasses say the scenes appear to be bloodless.

According to the Oregonian, detectives called large animal vet Taylor Karlin, who agreed that the deaths were unnatural. Her comments were included in a search warrant request filed by detectives in the case to find cell phone activity near the incident sites.

Calls to Crook County Sheriff’s Detective Javier Sanchez, who is working the investigation, were not immediately returned.


Rural Monsters, Myths, and Legends

Just beyond the gaze of “normal” existence, strange sightings and odd encounters have lingered in the memories of many rural communities.Keep reading

This isn’t the first time ranchers in Oregon have reported cattle mutilations. In 2019, in Harney County, five bulls were found dead with their sex organs and tongues removed. Cases have also been reported in Wasco, Umatilla, Wheeler, and Lake counties in recent years. Those reports mirror ones reported during a rash of cattle mutilations in the late 1970s across the American West and Midwest.

Sheriffs from the Oregon counties where recent cattle mutilations have occurred are working to coordinate and share information, officials said.

If any criminal wrongdoing is found in the cattle deaths, those responsible could face possible charges ranging from criminal mischief, trespassing to aggravated animal abuse.

But some say these are all just natural deaths.

Brian Dunning, host of the long-running podcast Skeptoid, said these cases are typical of previous cattle mutilations attributed to aliens or satanic rituals. All of the mysterious elements of the cattle corpses can be explained by science, he said.

“When an animal dies in the field, predation sets in very quickly, the first responders being insects and birds,” Dunning said in an email interview with the Daily Yonder. “The exposed soft tissue is always the first to go: eyes, lips and tongue, genitals. As the animal is dead with zero blood pressure, there is no bleeding. The exposed skin dries and shrinks tight, giving the impression of a perfect scalpel-like slice. Blowflies and other insects, whose eggs can hatch in 10 hours, fill the wounds with maggots which can expose clean, dry bone in just a few hours more.”

During the height of the cattle mutilation craze in the 1970s, one sheriff decided to do his own research, Dunning said.

“The whole alien autopsy and Satanic Panic currents in pop culture reached a high in the 1970s and cattle mutilation was a headliner for both,” he said. “There was a sheriff in Arkansas, Herb Marshall, who wanted to see for himself what was going on with all these reports, so he put a fresh cow carcass out in a field and they observed what happened. After just two days, he’d not only seen the above bird and insect effects, but the stomach split open from expanding gases and blowflies had completely cleaned out the internal organs. At that point, his department stopped searching for mythical Satan worshippers.”

In the 1970s, even the Federal Bureau of Investigation did research into cattle mutilations, and came to the same conclusions.

What happened to the animal prior to being discovered in their “mutilated” state is a question for animal experts, he said.

“The fact that the carcass experienced postmortem predation doesn’t necessarily tell us anything at all about the cause of death — predation tends to happen no matter how the animal died,” he said. “In most cases, a veterinarian should be able to determine a cause of death quite easily with a necropsy. So far, in all the countless cases like this, none has ever been found to have an extraordinary or inexplicable cause of death.”

Cults or UFOs? Decades of mysterious cattle mutilations stump police

Fox News has obtained shocking exclusive videos of cattle mutilation scenes from the San Luis valley in southern Colorado.  

“It’s the greatest unsolved crime spree in history,” says author Chris O’Brien, who recorded the videos. He wrote about his findings in his book, Stalking the Herd: Unraveling the Cattle Mutilation Mystery.

The videos depict the grisly nature of more than a dozen cattle mutilations. Mutilations differ from typical livestock deaths because the carcasses are found with body parts removed in an unusual fashion.  

The never-seen-before footage is featured in the latest episode of Tucker Carlson Originals, which is available now on Fox Nation.

The San Luis cases are just a handful of more than 10,000 mutilations that have stumped ranchers and investigators across the United States for decades. 

Just this month, ranchers in Delta Junction, Alaska reportedly found the remains of a cow that was missing its udder, eyes, and reproductive organs.  

In 2019, cowboys at the Silvies Valley Ranch in eastern Oregon found five bulls mutilated in a remote stretch of forest.  

“There was no forensic evidence of any kind left at the scene,” according to Colby Marshall, vice president of the ranch at the time of the mutilations.  Marshall says the bulls were missing their blood and reproductive organs when they were found.  

“Each one of those bulls would have produced 20 calves a year for probably the next 5 or 6 years. Their overall production value was in the hundreds of thousands of dollars,” he said. 

Mutilations differ from typical livestock deaths because the carcasses are found with body parts removed in an unusual fashion.   

The ranch offered a $25,000 reward for information that would lead to an arrest. They got no credible leads.  

“I would have never thought this would be possible, that you could basically kill five bulls without any evidence,” Marshall says. 

At least eight other cattle were reported mutilated in Oregon since the Silvies Valley Ranch cases. No culprit has been identified.  

“The ones I’ve been involved in, we haven’t solved any of them,” says Sergeant Tom Roark of the Lake County, Oregon Sheriff’s Department. “There was no evidence, no clues of a suspect.” 

Ranchers have reported mutilations for centuries, but the cases peaked in the United States in the 1970s.  

Cattle mutilations that span decades have long stumped ranchers and law enforcement.

“Investigators kind of agree there were upwards of a thousand cases just in Colorado alone,” O’Brien says.

As the episode explores, In 1975, The Denver Post reported that the U.S. Bureau of Land Management canceled aerial land surveys in the area because officials “are simply afraid their helicopters might be shot down by ranchers and others frightened by cattle deaths.” 

On three separate occasions, sitting United States senators including Harrison Schmidt (R-NM), an astronaut who walked on the moon, called on the FBI to investigate the mutilations.  

“Either we’ve got a UFO situation or we’ve got a massive, massive conspiracy which is enormously well funded,” he told a local paper at the time.

Declassified FBI documents show that in one investigation, the bureau referred the case to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife service, which blamed “small mammals such as foxes and opossums,” but didn’t explain how predators or scavengers were able to make precise incisions.  

In other instances, they claimed they didn’t have jurisdiction in the matter. 

Other investigators drew different conclusions. A New Mexico state trooper named Gabe Valdez who conducted multiple investigations concluded that “these mutilations are the work of the U.S. government.”  

Others have suggested that the mutilations have been caused by cults, ranchers, and even UFOs.  

“I can poke holes in any theory that’s trying to explain the cattle mutilation mystery,” says O’Brien. “It’s really difficult soundbite material.”  

Cattle mutilations have been going on for decades.


“Is it ‘saucers, Satanists, or CIA?’: All have received accusing glances as the mutilations investigation has proceeded. The ‘answers’ may lie with any of these—or with all—or with none.”

~ Thomas R. Adams, Project Stigmata, March 1978

The image that comes to mind when someone utters (udders?) “cattle mutilation” is typically little green men beaming cows into spaceships. Maybe a joke gets thrown in about rednecks and probes. If you ask someone to name an example on film or TV, they’ll say The X-Files (1993) or, if they’re old enough, In Search of… (1977)—shows which featured mutilations but where mutilations were not the feature. TV casts a long shadow over the UFO phenomenon because of how ubiquitous spaceships have been on cable programming for decades.

The films covering the various fields of study under ufology are less talked about. This is in part because they’re fewer in number than their TV counterparts, but also because specific fields like mutology, or the study of cattle mutilation, only briefly captured the public’s attention. Academics were quick to dismiss it as mass delusion. Writers at coastal newspapers mocked it as tabloid fodder. 

But just as movies can be an Empathy Machine so too are they a divining rod for our fears. They make manifest those things we don’t understand about ourselves and those things we’ve yet to recognize in others. Cattle mutilation is the perfect example of this because it was an expression of changing values. It was a harbinger of growing discontent with and distrust in government. More than any of that, it was an example of how the rational can transform into the irrational, undefined fears given shape in the phantasmagoric and conspiratorial.


The first acknowledged case of animal mutilation occurred in September 1967. An Alamosa, Colorado, resident named Harry King was watching a relative’s horse, an Appaloosa named Lady, when one day it didn’t return. He investigated and found the horse dead, its face and neck stripped of flesh. King claimed in interviews that the precision of the mutilation “was so perfect it could not have been made with a knife.” Soon thereafter, a Superior Court Judge from Denver alleged that he saw “three reddish-orange rings in the sky that maintained a triangular formation” in the same 24-hour period in which Lady died.

Lady’s mutilation quickly spread to local news media and the story took on a life of its own. Articles began appearing via the AP Wire on or after October 5, 1967, identifying the horse as “Snippy” and connecting its death to flying saucers. An October 5th story in The Amarillo Globe-Times asked, “Did a flying saucer kill and skin Snippy?”; another in the Austin American-Statesmen claimed definitively “Horse Loses Skin to ‘Saucer’ Visitors. Further stories reported on the mysterious outcome of the horse’s autopsy and speculated why aliens might want to mutilate the carcass.

Lady/Snippy was a sign of things to come. In late 1973 and early 1974, stories reporting on the mutilation of cattle in states ranging from Nebraska to Kansas began appearing in local papers in both states. No one was quite sure what was happening. Nebraska State Senator John DeCamp—who would later go on to write The Franklin Cover-up, an alleged expose on Satanic pedophiles infiltrating high levels of government—contacted the Nebraska Attorney General to investigate, stating, “Whoever or whatever they are, come flying out of the sky at night with mysterious spotlights.”

Reports of cattle mutilation peaked from late 1974 through 1975, with cases popping up everywhere from South Dakota to Texas. In every example, ranchers agreed mutilations were occurring with surgical precision, flesh removed cleanly from the bone in circular patterns, and that the culprits were targeting only sex organs and soft tissue. Where they couldn’t find common ground was in what caused the deaths. In January 1975, Minnesota ufologist Terry Mitchell argued that mutilations in the state were the result of UFOs beaming high-energy rays at the cows; and the following month, John Dunn, President of Oklahoma’s Cattlemen’s Association, attributed dead cattle to a cultic sacrifice for the “Equinox of Panda.” By July things had gotten even weirder. Dane Edwards, publisher of a Colorado paper The Brush Banner, began running regular stories on the subject focusing on black helicopters absconding off with heifers in the dark of night. This culminated in an October 1975 interview with another Colorado paper in which Edwards claimed the mutilations were part of a government program dating back to 1961.

The mysterious deaths coupled with other strange occurrences put ranchers on edge. As early as 1974 there were reports of interactions between ranchers and the mutilators, but in July of that year, a man in Honey Creek, Iowa, claimed an unmarked helicopter had opened fire on him. So by 1975 the ranchers had had enough. In September, groups in Colorado began stockpiling weapons and forming posses to stand watch over cattle. Some went as far as to fire upon government survey helicopters working in areas near their land.

And then just as mysteriously, reports of mutilations themselves began dying off. News coverage of dead cattle decreased in 1976 and 1977, picking up again at the end of the decade, and then wavering off and on throughout the eighties and nineties. Where did the cows go? Home video. Once the provenance of news media, depictions of cattle mutilation transitioned to feature and documentary films to mixed results.


Early depictions of cattle mutilation in feature films came in the form of low-budget horror and science fiction movies attempting to cash-in on more popular Hollywood hits. Nightwing (1979) ignored all previous theories to suggest that the mutilations were the result of a ravaging band of vampire bats, placing it closer to Jaws (1975) and its many imitators like Grizzly (1976) and Tentacles (1977) than any other cattle mutilation film that would come later. Similarly, The Return (1980) was an odd hybrid of Southern comedy and Close Encounters of the Third Kind (1977) style sci-fi mystery. Jan-Michael Vincent and Cybill Shepherd star as childhood friends reunited years after a UFO abduction to solve a series of grisly cattle deaths.

This trend would continue as the eighties progressed. Critters (1986), owing some of its success to Gremlins (1984), featured a passing reference to cattle mutilation early in the film when the Crites, a species of furry, foul-mouthed aliens, are first discovered feasting on a cow. This scene is the only time we see the subject mentioned, as unlike Nightwing and The ReturnCritters isn’t about dead cows. The film bounces through tabloid tropes as it aims to riff on the popularity of UFOs and sci-fi films.

The only other science-fiction film from the era to cover the subject of mutilations, the aptly-titled Mutilations (1986), is the most interesting because it’s the one that least resembles anything to come out of Hollywood. The film is an odd mix of amateurish acting, Ray Harryhausen-indebted stop-motion animation, and Book of Mormon sermonizing. It follows an astronomy professor and his students on a field trip as they encounter a mutilated cow. They immediately come under attack by a UFO and attempt to flee, but as they’re wont to do, shotgun-toting good ol’ boys arrive to save the day. It somehow turns then into Night of the Living Dead (1968), but with aliens, underground tunnels, and a weirdo quoting LDS scripture.

None of these films offered much in the way of an explanation for the phenomena. They were content to cash-in on the mystery of cattle deaths. The first feature to deal with the subject in a serious way was one that dove head-first into the various conspiracy theories surrounding the events.

Endangered Species (1982)


Endangered Species (1982) wasn’t well-received upon its release in the fall of 1982. New York Times critic Vincent Canby described the film’s plot as “fearlessly torn from the headlines of your favorite supermarket tabloid,” and Eric Fielding of The Daily Herald out of Provo, Utah, went a step farther by comparing it to The National Enquirer and labeling the movie “dishonest and far-fetched.” Probably because of the bad reviews, Endangered Species didn’t fare well at the box-office and disappeared to the dead zone of late-night cable. What kind of film could draw that much negative press?

Robert Urich stars as Ruben Castle, a retired New York City cop. Like his cinematic peers of the era, Castle is the kind of no-bullshit, uncouth cop who hates crime more than he cares for the law. He left the force because, in his words, “I like to catch bad guys and kick the shit out of them.” That doesn’t jive with modern judges who treat the legal system like a revolving door, so, at the request of his newspaper-publisher friend (and Dane Edwards stand-in) Joe Hiatt (Paul Dooley), Castle packs up his belongings and moves himself and his belligerent teenage daughter (Marin Kanter) to a trailer park in Colorado. There, he and Hiatt investigate the strange deaths of local cattle alongside the town’s sheriff, Harriet Perdue (JoBeth Williams). They encounter interference from Ben Morgan, head of the Cattlemen’s Association (Hoyt Axton), and a secretive group of government agents.

What separates Endangered Species from other films depicting cattle mutilation is its tone. It owes more to the conspiracy thrillers of the seventies like The Parallax View (1974) and Three Days of the Condor (1975). While it does contain moments of suspense, from an intense, pulsing Tangerine Dream-esque soundtrack by “Dream Weaver” musician Gary Wright to its mutilated carcasses and bloody deaths, the film is more focused on what lurks behind the scares. It’s a Big Picture movie directing its anger at a specific target.

To that end, the film barrels through suggestions of the paranormal in search of “the truth.” It hints at UFOs but this is cast aside as we realize the lights in the sky are black helicopters. We’re also led to believe the mutilations could be the work of Satanists only to find The Great Satan responsible isn’t the one from the Bible. When Castle and Perdue catch a pair of cultists torching a barn, a lawyer appears out of nowhere, setting off their suspicions. It becomes clear something nefarious is going on when Joe Hiatt dies. Turns out Morgan has struck a deal with the U.S. government to allow them to conduct biochemical weapons testing for a new strain of Clostridium Botulinum on the cattle.

The film itself is well-made and far better than critics’ dismissals would lead you to believe, making it one of the better conspiracy thrillers from a cinematic standpoint. The film surprises in many ways—not in the least because of the “accuracy” of its research. Issue 19 of Project Stigmata, a contemporaneous newsletter devoted to reporting on “the continuing investigation into the occurrence of animal mutilations” offered cautious praise for the film, noting that it far exceeded expectations in its handling of the subject of mute deaths. (The newsletter’s author, Thomas R. Adams, also suggested the film’s distributor MGM may have tanked its release on purpose because it had recently elected former Secretary of State Gen. Alexander Haig to its board.) This is what makes Endangered Species fascinating: it explores a number of conspiracy theories in an authentic manner while also pointing towards tensions that wouldn’t be fully realized until decades later.

Rage (1972)


The theories found in Endangered Species wouldn’t have been too shocking by 1982, especially to ranchers in the Western United States. For much of the second half of the 20th-century, the United States divested land obtained during Manifest Destiny to state control through the act of homesteading. This ended in 1976 with the passage of the Federal Land Policy and Management Act which asserted public ownership of lands in Western states and put an end to land transfers. The FLPMA was unpopular among ranchers and ignited conflicts between local groups and the federal government over grazing rights. Hostilities fomented into a movement known as the Sagebrush Rebellion as ranchers lobbied state legislators to reassert state control over land. But these concerns also became linked to other more fantastic fears expressed by the public as much of the land maintained in Western states served military and training purposes.

Between 1961 and 1977 the United States government tested nuclear weapons on American soil. Named Project Plowshare, the program consisted of 27 smaller tests with names like Gnome, Gasbuggy, and Rulison; all but one of the tests happened in the Western states of Nevada, Arizona, Colorado, and New Mexico. (Coincidentally, states which had among the highest reported cases of cattle mutilations.) From the beginning, the program was unpopular and presented a number of public-facing concerns, from a generalized fear of nuclear weapons post-World War II to ecological issues connected to their use. This wasn’t without merit: Project Sedan, a nuclear test conducted at the Nevada Test Site on July 6, 1962, dropped nuclear fallout on surrounding states like Iowa and Nebraska. Areas near early test sites also reported issues like tritiated water and blighted land. The government discontinued Project Plowshare at the tail end of cattle mutilation mania, in 1977, after public backlash over fears of further contamination.

At the same time, the government was conducting open-air biochemical weapons tests on U.S. soil near ranchers. One incident, in particular, stands out—in 1968, ranchers near the Dugway Proving Grounds, a U.S. Army chemical weapons testing facility in Tooele County, Utah, reported their animals dying under unusual circumstances. Between March 14th and March 17th, 6,000 animals (mostly sheep) died in convulsive fits from asphyxiation. Early reports highlighted the fact that no one, including the Army, knew the cause. A March 21, 1968, article out of The Ogden Standard-Examiner stated that Army germ warfare officials from Dugway even tested the soil for nitrates to determine the nature of the “mysterious poison” that killed the sheep. Army officials denied any responsibility; on April 18, 1968, the Army issued a press release acknowledging evidence may appear to suggest their involvement but argued it was circumstantial and could not definitively show a link. It would be another 30 years before the Army admitted open-air tests of a deadly nerve agent, VX, were being conducted near ranchers in the same period the deaths occurred. Despite this admission, the Army still refused to take responsibility for any casualties. (The Dugway incident would also inspire at least one other film, George C. Scott’s Rage [1972].)

These events connected to larger stories nationally. As part of the 1975 Church Committee hearings on abuses committed by the Central Intelligence Agency, Army scientist Charles Senseney testified that in 1966 the Army had dropped a light bulb containing the bacterium Bacillus atrophaeus on the New York City subway while passengers rode the line as part of a test to see how biological weapons might spread. Those same hearings also revealed the extent of the CIA’s MKUltra program which involved everything from dosing unsuspecting johns in CIA-run brothels to experiments conducted in Canada on patients diagnosed with schizophrenia incorporating electroconvulsive therapy and sensory deprivation.

Robert Urich and JoBeth Willaims in Endangered Species


One of the questions that comes up when discussing the government’s alleged involvement in cattle mutilation is: why? Why would they do it, why wouldn’t they buy the cattle from ranchers and conduct tests away from the public’s view? Near the end of Endangered Species, Ben Morgan confronts the military official (Peter Coyote) in charge of the cattle mutilation program. Morgan demands the military leave town, but he’s rebuked: the military has spent years looking for the proper conditions to simulate a biochemical attack on Moscow. Much like the NYC subway test, the cows are a vessel to spread the bacteria to the town’s population to see how real people would react in such a situation. Morgan persists so he too becomes a victim of the test.

Movies like Endangered Species reveal a simple truth: irrational fears can mutate out of rational concerns. Conflicts with the government over land rights and military tests may have led ranchers to believe the government responsible for the cattle deaths. This fear of the government started as a general resentment harbored in fantastic claims of UFOs but would branch off into more serious resistance. The Sagebrush Rebellion inspired Cliven Bundy and his family to begin pushing back against conservation efforts by the Bureau of Land Management. The near 25-year conflict turned into an armed dispute between the Bundy family and federal agents at Malheur National Wildlife Refuge in 2016.

There are other “rational” explanations as well. In 1972, just before the cattle mutilation craze kicked off, the price of feed for cattle jumped in response to the United States government sending emergency supplies of grain to famine-wracked African and Asian nations. Some researchers have suggested the high cost of grain combined with a struggling U.S. economy may have led some ranchers to kill their own cattle and/or misreport natural deaths as cattle mutilation to collect insurance on their herds.

However, these examples don’t explain why such claims have persisted across decades. Mute cases were still being reported as recently as 2019, yet no ranchers connected the deaths to the government. The United States may be guilty of a great many things but killing cows no longer appears to be one of them.

So, if not the government, then who? Are there other possibilities outside of those explored in Endangered Species? Could someone (or something) else be killing cattle—and if so, why?

Cattle Mutilation

Cow mutilation may have a simpler explanation than alien experimentation.

It’s three in the morning on a cattle ranch somewhere in Texas. Bessie the cow is half-asleep, mindlessly chewing cud. her ears twitching at flies as she dozes. Suddenly, she is bathed in a cold, bright light from above. She finds her hooves dangling beneath her as she’s hoisted from the ground by an unknown force. She lets out a plaintive moo as she disappears into the strange, alien craft that had been hovering above her. A week later, Rancher Bob stumbles upon the remains of poor Bessie. His prize cow has been skinned, her organs absconded with and her remains discarded in the very pasture where she once grazed.

For many, the above scenario is all too believable. They fear that extraterrestrial spaceships are kidnapping unsuspecting ungulates, conducting horrid vivisections, and then dumping the bodies. The phenomenon is called cattle mutilation, and it is a common part of the modern paranormal lore.

A typical cattle mutilation story begins when the remains of a victim animal have been discovered. Most commonly, these remains have been found in some open field by a rancher, farmer, or other unlucky individual. The animal in question is commonly reported to have been in good health just days prior to the discovery, so the death is unexpected and “natural causes” seems unlikely.

The body itself appears to have been mutilated after death. Oftentimes, external body parts are missing, such as the ears, the eyes, the sex organs, or the tongue; in some cases flesh even appears to have been stripped off of the skull. Witnesses insist that the edges of the wounds are smooth and clean, as though done with a surgeon’s scalpel. A scalpel also appears to have split open the stomach of many animals, and internal organs have been removed. A conspicuous absence of blood is another common feature. Always, the witnesses claim that there are no footprints, tire tracks, or scavenger prints leading either towards or away from the body. The death is a mystery, and foul play of some kind is assumed.

The phenomenon does happen; a simple Google Image search for “cattle mutilation” will bring up endless gruesome images of cattle, sheep, and other victim animals with their lips stripped from their teeth, their eye sockets staring out from circles of excised flesh, their bellies open. The question is, how does it happen, and who — or what — is responsible for the condition of the remains?

If you are one of many true believers in UFOs and alien encounters, then you’re likely to point the fingers at these extraterrestrial visitors. And the reasons you may offer as to why aliens have this continuing need to strip cattle and sheep of their sex organs and innards? Those vary, but they usually involve some sort of medical experimentation or even attempts to make some sort of cattle hybrid. As no one has ever actually been able to ask the aliens about it on the record, these explanations are all just conjecture.

Belief in extraterrestrials as the cause of mutilations goes back to the 1960s, though true believers will often claim that the phenomenon has been going on for longer than that. As evidence, they may cite a widely circulated story reported in April 1897, where a strange flying object was caught in the act of cattle-napping in Kansas. The witness to the incident, one Alexander Hamilton, described a cigar-shaped craft with a carriage underneath with “six of the strangest beings I ever saw” inside. As he watched,

It seemed to pause and hover directly over a two-year old heifer, which was bawling and jumping, apparently fast in the fence. Going to her, we found a cable about a half-inch in thickness made of some red material, fastened in a slip knot around her neck, one end passing up to the vessel, and the heifer tangled in the wire fence. We tried to get it off but could not, so we cut the wire loose and stood in amazement to see the ship, heifer and all, rise, slowly, disappearing in the northwest. Neighbor Thomas Link (four miles away) found the hide, legs, and head in his field the next day and no tracks in the soft ground.

Some of the less fact-checking websites actually attribute this story to the Founding Father Alexander Hamilton, but that Hamilton died in 1804. This story was told by another Alexander Hamilton, who was a farmer, a businessman … and also a liar. The entire cow-napping story was an admitted hoax, part of the 1897 Mystery Airship flap, probably itself worthy of a future Skeptoid episode. The important point here is that Hamilton’s story is part of a made-up series of newsworthy events perpetuated by inventive reporters at a time when journalism standards were not what they are today. Only its superficial resemblance to modern cattle mutilation tales keep it alive in believer circles.

Researcher Bill Ellis places the first occurrence of “modern” cattle mutilation in England in the early 20th century, where mutilated cattle led to fears that a wolf was on the prowl. Over the course of the century, mutilations were attributed to various evil agents, including Satanists, hippies, and lunatics, before becoming attached to extraterrestrials in the 1960s.

The scare reached its height in the 1970s and 1980s, when several law enforcement and scientific investigations were launched to determine the cause of the phenomenon. The FBI was even compelled to investigate. Their investigation amounted to little more than collections of newspaper clippings because of jurisdictional issues, but they concluded that nothing seemed to be amiss in the deaths other than natural causes. This was a conclusion shared by other investigations.

In 1979, Sheriff Herb Marshall of Washington County, Arkansas, took a different approach when dealing with a flap of cattle mutilation reports in his jurisdiction. He obtained a fresh cow corpse and put it out in a field in conditions like the ones so-called mutilations were being found in. The corpse was watched for 48 hours straight. No aliens came for the corpse, nor did big predators; instead, the sheriff and his officers observed as a combination of bloating and blowflies went to work. Expanding gases split the stomach and exposed the internal organs; blowflies feasted on the organs and laid eggs in the soft-exposed tissues of eyes, lips, and anuses; and the resulting maggots devoured the soft tissues down to the bone. These flies can hatch in as little as ten hours, and the larvae can mature in as little as two days. The result was a carcass that matched the common mutilation story, all from natural causes. For Sheriff Marshall, that was case-closed on the mutilations in his area.

A decade later, researchers in Alberta, Canada looking into the matter actually published a scientific study of such stories in their area. These researchers found that

The parts reported missing from mutilated cattle are the same as those known to be removed by scavengers, primarily coyotes and birds, in the early stages of scavenging a carcass.

They concluded:

the mutilations are the work of scavenger animals, mainly coyotes and birds; the mutilations occur after the animal has died; and any investigation of bizarre gross findings in dead cattle must rule out scavenging beyond any reasonable doubt before proceeding to investigation of other possibilities.

Not much actual scientific study of the mutilation phenomenon has been published since then, because science doesn’t really have much more to say on the matter. The opinions of learned studies mean little to true believers, however, and today stories of new mutilations still make headlines on some news sites, though often relegated to sections for “weird news” or reader-submitted reports. Believers refuse to accept the scientific consensus, and persist in claims that these deaths are the result of nefarious alien activities.

Is there any reason at all to set aside the natural explanation for an unnatural one? This is a great time to once again sharpen Occam’s Razor and apply it to the problem. Alien mutilations as an explanation requires a whole host of other unsupported assumptions — that there are aliens, that they have interstellar travel ability, that they use that ability to visit Earth, and that they choose, when they come here, to routinely abduct and vivisect herd animals. None of these assumptions can be even remotely proven.

Cut them away and we have a series of facts about the condition of found carcasses that can all be attributed to natural, terrestrial causes. These are odd but not at all unexplainable moments where scavenged and decomposed corpses are discovered by people who don’t know what they’re looking at and who are often primed to believe that cattle mutilations occur. The actual culprits are flies, coyotes, birds, and even just gas. Variances in the condition of carcasses across the globe can be easily explained by the different scavenger species and insects in a given area, as well as the health of the creature at the moment of death and the exact conditions where they fell. The similarities can be explained by the missing parts simply being the easiest to scavenge — rip off an ear, peck out an eye, nosh on the organs conveniently spilled out of the split belly by internal gasses, let maggots pick things clean, and voila! It’s not pleasant to describe, but it’s the way nature works.

At this point I’m sure someone out there is shouting “But what about Satanic cults / the black helicopters / the Chupacabra / a crazed Chris Cosentino / my pet theory of choice?” Again, Occam’s Razor applies. You can suppose a list of culprits as long as your arm, but if we can ascribe the entire phenomenon to natural causes, then there’s no reason to insert any cult, conspiracy, or celebrity chef into the mix. There’s nothing to the cattle mutilation phenomena that requires it.

In fact, even using the term ‘cattle mutilation’ makes an unnecessary assumption that some agent deliberately acted to mutilate the corpse. It’s really just cattle decomposition and scavenging in particular natural conditions as interpreted by those who don’t understand what’s going on. A dead cow that has had its face chewed off by maggots is really super creepy! People in modern times aren’t used to seeing dead things. We don’t know what they are supposed to look like; only what we think they are supposed to look like.

Like so many of these topics, it’s easy to get caught up in the individual claims of individual cases — that this corpse had some unexplained markings or that case happened the day after black helicopters were spotted overhead. But so many of those individual claims fall under the realm of anecdotal evidence, anomaly hunting, misreporting, or just plain arguments from ignorance. Unless and until believers can point to some consistent and persistent pattern of evidence across a series of alleged mutilations that is unexplained except via their culprit of choice, there’s no sound reason to accept their hypothesis.

And even if we allow that aliens or the Illuminati or whatever is actually out there doing this, we’re faced with the question of why? The answers are as varied as the culprits. If you believe the culprit is aliens, you assume some bizarre alien experiment. If your culprit is a cult, you assume the purpose is ritual and likely Satanic. If you believe it’s the government, then they must attempting to spread population-sickening prions. That every explanation fits equally well depending upon the assumption of the culprit suggests that none of the explanations is any better than the other.

Nothing about the cattle “mutilation” phenomenon requires us to suppose an actual act of mutilation. Cattle die of natural causes, they decompose by natural methods, and sometimes they are scavenged in such a way that they look, to those not used to seeing dead things, as though they had been vivisected. Continued belief in active mutilation says more about the believers than it does about the world.

Cattle Mutilations: The Truth at Last

After the death, the animal’s rectum and sex organs always are removed in a mutilation case with a precision many investigators believe could be accomplished only with a sophisticated instrument, such as a laser beam ….

Strong evidence exists that cattle are killed elsewhere, then flown by aircraft to the spot where they are found, and dropped to the ground. …

There is much speculation as to why Los Alamos wants less attention paid to mutilations, including the fact that they do know why the mutilations are occurring, but that the reason is classified material.

Excerpts from a grant application submitted to the Law Enforcement Assistance Administration (LEAA) by the First Judicial District Attorney’s Office, Santa Fe, N.M., in 1979.

The same month — April 1979 — that the Santa Fe DA’s office received a $50,000 government grant to investigate animal mutilations throughout the country, U.S. Sen. Harrison Schmitt of New Mexico convened public hearings on this topic, which terrifies some and, as we shall see, strangely comforts others. Ranchers, law-enforcement officers, Indian chiefs, scientists, veterinarians, and assorted devotees of The Unknown flocked to Albuquerque to enunciate with new force what has become the Holy Writ of cattle mutilations:

It all began, according to those who speak with apparent authority on this subject, with Snippy the horse. On September 8, 1967, the hapless gelding failed to show up for his customary daily watering at the corral on the King Ranch near Alamosa, Colo. A search was launched the next day, and the absent Appaloosa was shortly discovered dead in a small meadow north of the ranch house. Missing was all the flesh from the shoulders up; the skull and shoulder bones were entirely exposed. It was a terrifying sight.

A Denver pathologist is often quoted by the media and by those who cite this case; the doctor is said to have examined the shocking remains and ruled out the possibility that the cutting was done with a knife or that predators could have accounted for the bizarre mutilations. News accounts add that internal organs were discovered missing, as was the blood and brain fluid. UFO activity is said to have been intense at the time of the incident.

The Valley Courier, a Colorado paper, reports that in the wake of Snippy’s sensational demise, “a line of traffic resembling a freeway wound its way to the King Ranch for months. Reporters from major newspapers in the country and television cameras were numerous in the area.” Even today, Snippy still finds his way into the lead paragraphs of most accounts of the “cattle mutilation mystery.” It was in the wake of the initial wave of publicity surrounding the horse’s death that animal mutilations began to be reported with vigor throughout the United States. The uncontrolled media surge had begun.

Who, or what, is behind this phenomenon? The headline writers have never hesitated to speculate: DID POOR HORSE POKE HIS HEAD INSIDE RADIOACTIVE SAUCER? (Tucumcari Daily News, October 1967); UFO’S LINKED TO WEIRD ANIMAL MUTILATIONS (National Enquirer, October 1977); IS IT THE WORK OF A WITCHES’ CULT, SPACE ALIENS, OR THE CIA? (Weekly World News, October 1979). None of these speculations, representative of hundreds of others, comes even remotely close to the truth — which is, in one sense, dull by comparison but, in another sense, for what it tells about human nature, very interesting indeed.

In his opening statement at the public hearings in Albuquerque, Senator Schmitt declared that animals are being “killed and systematically mutilated for no apparent purpose, by persons unknown. One of the most extraordinary facts of this problem is that the group or groups responsible for the mutilation killings have shown almost unprecedented discipline. There have been no leaks or informants.”

As the day wore on in Albuquerque, it quickly became evident that most of those testifying had little difficulty comprehending this “unprecedented discipline.” They had a pretty good idea of who-or what-was doing it. Predators? The CIA? Fanatically dedicated cultists? Not likely, said Richard Sigismund of Boulder, Colo., who described himself as an investigator of “the UFO phenomenon for over twenty years” and “heavily into psychology.” He spoke articulately and at great length about the UFOs and argued that many sightings seemed related, in time and place, to cattle mutilations. He dismissed the idea that a secret military or intelligence unit was conducting experiments with cattle, persuasively observing that public clamor would eventually “blow the lid from any secret project’’ and thus entail far more risk than any post-Watergate government would be willing to assume.

Predators, he added, were out of the question: “The classic cases of mutilation toward which we are directing our attention do not, by any stretch of the imagination, bear the all-too-well-known characteristics of the work of predators.”

“Cultists?” he asked. “If so, we are dealing with a large and very well funded nationwide organization of such cultists, whose audacity must indeed be matched by seemingly inexhaustible financial resources and outstanding scientific and technical capabilities. That such an organization exists and would or could continue its depredations over the course of at least a decade, leaving few if any clues, also seems hardly likely.”

Numerous others, who had similarly devoted significant parts of their lives to UFO investigations. echoed these ideas. obviously finding in the phenomenon of cattle mutilations the comfort of added ammunition in their persistent efforts to pressure Congress and the president to launch a new federal investigation of UFOs. Not everybody in Albuquerque that day, however, was a “UFO freak.” Gabe Valdez, of the New Mexico State Police, spoke, too. He has been investigating cattle mutilations in his home state for several years, and because he rejects the predator hypothesis (“It’s very hard for me to believe that a predator can take the heart out of an animal through a small wound on the neck”), he is willing to consider other explanations.

Sheriff Harry L. Graves of Logan County, Colo. who investigated dozens of mutilations between 1975 and 1977, reasons similarly. “There’s absolutely no evidence that the ‘mute’ deaths were caused by predatory animals. In fact, the lack of visible footprints or tracks seems to leave us with little or no physical evidence or traces at all. However, there is the surgical removal of the animals’ organs, coupled with the appearance of mysterious lights during the time of the mutilations.”

Ken Anderson, a toxicologist in Montana, where mutilations have also been numerous, says that “the reason more mutilated cows are found as opposed to bulls is that some lab specimens could be utilized more appropriately from the female than from the male. In the milk-producing system of the cow, the physiological anatomy would give you specific data, such as: what is being concentrated in the milk after it goes through the manufacturing and breakdown processes?”

The idea here is that some secret research group may be exposing cattle to “exotic substances,” as Anderson puts it, then killing them, taking their organs and blood for analysis. Howard Burgess. a retired radiation instrumentation scientist, who is assisting the New Mexico State Police in their mutilation investigation, has posited a similar theory.

Blood cults, satanic groups, and the like have not yet been entirely dismissed, however, as a possible explanation. Newsweek, in early 1979, declared: “For almost a decade, the gruesome livestock killings have baffled law-enforcement officials. Hundreds of cattle in twenty-seven states have been found dead and mutilated… with almost surgical precision…. After seven such deaths in central Iowa in the past several months, the state Department of Criminal Investigations says it finally has some suspects-members of certain unnamed ‘satanic groups.’”

The impression was thus left, by this naive piece of reporting, that it was the beginning of the end for the quite hu man — satanically inclined-perpetrators of these cattle mutilations. All this because investigators in Des Moines “discovered several abandoned Iowa farmhouses with strange writings on the walls and floors indicating satanic worship.” The clincher seemed to be that when said officials went to the Des Moines public library to consult books on satanism. “every volume on the subject had been checked out.” (They demanded to know by whom; library officials refused to comply.) Very suspicious. Except: why would cultists capable of carving up livestock “with almost surgical precision,” a habit of theirs for at least a decade, suddenly need to avail themselves of the satanic knowledge sequestered in the Des Moines public library?

“The cattle-mutilation hype has cost millions of dollars in anxiety; lost law-enforcement, legislative, veterinary, and medical man-hours; and millions in media hysteria.”

This is a story not of the macabre but of the mendacious. The mendacity has not always been intended, for this is also a story of human nature, and human nature is notorious for self-deception. The Newsweek article is reflective of this tendency. Cattle mutilations are a good story — so long as there are sensational hypotheses and ultimately no satisfactory solution.

A mystery solved is a mystery lost. The media, as much as the conspiracy freaks, cultists, and UFO advocates, all have their own peculiar vested interests in the non-solution of this story and thus consciously or unconsciously have assiduously ignored and/or beaten back the one solution that is overwhelmingly supported by the best evidence.

Let us return to that melancholy meadow where it all allegedly began — to the carcass of Snippy the horse. What those who continually lament the late Snippy conveniently or ignorantly overlook in their ellipses of the event is the troublesome fact that the pathologist they all like to quote (out of context) found two bullet holes in the horse, indicating the possibility, you might say, of some rather mundane foul play. Whoever shot the horse may have stripped the animal’s head and shoulders of its flesh, as well, or that might possibly have been the work of predators, as we shall see.

As for the missing blood, brain fluid, and internal organs, it is of more than casual significance, I believe, to note that this horse was not necropsied until several weeks after its death, at which time it was in an advanced state of decomposition. The pathologist who performed the necropsy was not surprised to discover internal organs missing, noting that it is commonplace for weasels and other small scavengers to tunnel into the carcass through the anus — if no more inviting aperture is available — and enjoy an indoor lunch or dinner. The blood was not missing; it had merely coagulated, as is the case in most of these “mutilations.” The brain. in the normal decomposition process, had liquefied and seeped away. As for the UFO sightings which it is now said concurred with Snippy’s “slaughter,” the local press in Colorado indicates that these sightings actually took place several months before the incident. The “relationship” of the two phenomena was conveniently established ex post facto.

Accounts of livestock mutilations almost always give the impression, as the Newsweek article did, that officials have long been hopelessly “baffled” by the phenomenon. A survey of law-enforcement organizations in several states indicates this simply isn’t the case. Carl W. Whiteside, of the Colorado Bureau of Investigation, conducted an inquiry into the 1975 “wave” of mutilations in that state. He quickly discovered that “authoritative” statements made by vets, police officers, and others at the scene could not be relied upon for scientific accuracy. Most vets are familiar with living animals but have little knowledge of how an animal will or should look hours, days, or weeks after death. Forensic pathologists, who do have the expertise to make authoritative pronouncements about dead animals, have time and again, in state after state, found that “mutilated” animals brought to them for examination died of natural causes and were attacked by scavengers and predators after death. This was true in Colorado, Nebraska, South Dakota, Oregon, and Wyoming.

Arkansas is the site of some of the most widely publicized mutilations, most of which occurred in 1978 in Benton County. A study of all 20 cases in the files of the sheriff’s office there was conducted by Dr. Nancy Owen, an anthropologist at the University of Arkansas, working under a grant from the Arkansas Endowment for the Humanities. Dr. Owen’s findings explode a number of the myths. She found, first, that the “classic” cattle-mutilation pattern simply doesn’t exist. The idea that the same body parts are always missing, excised with surgical precision, isn’t true.

“There was really no uniformity at all. In several of the animals one eye, the tongue, and the genitals were missing — but often not entirely missing. And then even in these cases there was almost always some other parts missing, which varied from case to case — like the tail had been partly chewed off, or there was a hole in the animal and some internal organs were gone.”

The notion that female animals of reproductive age are the primary targets of the mutilators was also shot down by Dr. Owen. She discovered that two-thirds of the Benton County cases involved “young calves, many of them just a few days old — where you have a much higher mortality rate in the natural course of events.”

A few of the Arkansas cases, she believes, may have been the work of cultists attracted by all the publicity. And in isolated cases other factors may have been at work. The proponents of UFO and secret-research hypotheses, for example, have found encouragement in the report of a vet in Pea Ridge, Ark., who conducted postmortems on three Benton County “mutes.” Two were cows, one a horse. The horse in particular excited attention-and continues to do so — because its castration, according to the vet, was achieved with “much expertise.” More-over, he reported finding trace of “a powerful muscle-relaxant drug” in the dead animal.

At no time during his conversation with me did this vet give any indication that there might be a logical explanation for this death. Instead, without personally subscribing to such a viewpoint outright, he spoke of a writer who advocates a UFO explanation for the mutilations, and said, “Maybe he’s got a point.” He neglected to tell me what I later learned from a police report of the incident — that the owner of the horse in question castrated the animal. Other people I approached were equally reluctant to mention this. Many farmers and ranchers do some of their own veterinarian work with mixed results. Unfortunately, succinylcholine, a powerful muscle-relaxant drug used in the castration of horses, is dangerous even in the hands of the experienced. Maladministration can easily kill a horse, resulting not only in loss but embarrassment.

Still, some questions remain about the overall phenomenon. Some of the “cutting” does, indeed, look exceptionally clean. Studies have shown that coyotes and other predators possess teeth that can make almost scalpel like cuts, but even this fact wouldn’t account for some of those “cored” anuses. And so it was, in search of the “surgeon,” that Herb Marshall, the enterprising sheriff of Washington County, Ark., set up an experiment in which two of his men parked themselves in some bushes for 30 hours straight and observed a calf that was night the officers observed the carcass through a Starlite scope, a device utilized by military intelligence. They photographed what they saw.

“At the end of those thirty hours,” Sheriff Marshall says, “we had us a ‘classic’ case, a carcass that looked exactly like most of the others that were being reported to us. Its tongue was gone, one of its eyes was missing, its anus had been cored out, the whole thing.”

What happened? “First, we observed what any pathologist will tell you happens after an animal dies. The tongue protrudes and lies right out there on the ground; the anus inverts and sticks out three or four inches. Then the predators and scavengers come along and eat the parts that protrude, the soft, easy-to-get-at parts: the tongue, the genitals, the udder if it’s a female, and the anus. We saw all of this. Then, as the animal gets colder, the tongue, or what’s left of it, retracts back into the mouth so it looks like it was cut off way down deep. The anus retracts, too, and gives the appearance it’s been operated on, especially after the blowflies have finished with it.”

Blowflies. Those are the “surgeons.” Swarms of them pick over the wounds made by other scavengers, cleaning off every ragged edge. “When they get done with the exposed eyeball,” Sheriff Marshall notes, “it looks like it’s been removed by an expert surgeon.” Most cattle mutilations are reported in warm months, he adds, “when the blowflies are around.” Those that are reported in the cold months, and such reports are few in number, often lack the “surgeon’s touch.”

“The media, as much as the conspiracy freaks, cultists, and UFO advocates, have their own vested interests in the non-solution of this story and have ignored the best evidence for its solution.”

Among the “mutilators” observed, in addition to the blowflies, were a skunk, some buzzards, and a stray dog, all of which enjoyed a good meal. After Marshall presented his report and slides to the local cattleman’s association, reports of mutilations in Washington County came to a screeching halt.

Meanwhile, back in New Mexico, center of all the current cattle-mutilation activity, Santé Fe District Attorney Eloy Martinez’s chief investigator in the government-funded animal-mutilation inquiry, Kenneth Rommel, Jr., states that he won’t be asking for an extension or a renewal of the Law Enforcement Assistance Administration grant. The mystery, so far as he and his coinvestigators are concerned, is solved. Though he hints there may have been isolated cases of cult involvement — or simply people occasionally hacking up carcasses they come across, as a joke-the “problem” is imaginary. The “culprits” are almost entirely of the four-footed, feathered, and winged variety — coyotes, birds, flies, etc.

Rommel, a colorful, tough investigator who was a special agent with the FBI for 28 years, bristles when he hears the term “surgical precision” used. If it shows up in a police or press report, he wants to know exactly who used the term, how they define it, and by what authority they employ it. He has been at the scene of most of the New Mexico cattle mutilations in the past year and has yet to see anything he or his experts say justifies the use of that term.

Apart from all the other evidence pointing toward predators (tracks, teeth marks, and so on). Rommel finds it of more than passing interest that, in every mutilation case he has investigated where an eye and an ear have been partially or entirely missing, the absent parts have always been taken from the accessible “up” side, never from the down side, where small predators can’t get at them. Rommel has done his homework.

He scoffs at those who say that animals could not have stripped Snippy’s flesh of all that meat in so little time, noting that eagles, ravens, buzzards, and the like can eat two to three pounds of meat at one sitting. He’s also familiar with the biophysics of bloat and the dynamics of gas buildup in the carcasses of horses and cattle. In some cases, he observes, gases build up to the point where internal organs are extruded through the vagina and/or anus. making them easy pickings for predators and scavengers and creating fright and mystery among the misinformed who discover the missing parts later.

Rommel says that he has no doubt that no matter how definitive his findings and those of others are, there will, always be people who “believe in” cattle mutilations. “What we’re dealing with here,” he says, “is something like religion.”

“A team of psychiatrists, anthropologists, and sociologists should have a field day with this,” Rommel observes, declining to speculate further on why people are so fascinated by cattle mutilations. One sociologist who has made a study of the phenomenon and has labeled it “a classic case of mild mass hysteria” is James R. Stewart of the Department of Social Behavior, University of South Dakota. Stewart has presented a study called “Cattle Mutilations: An Episode of Collective Delusion,” based on a wave of alleged mutilations that swept through Nebraska and South Dakota in through Nebraska and South Dakota in late 1974. Because early reports of the mutilations could not immediately be explained, the “wave” grew, Stewart says, and continued to build until pathologists at the two state veterinary-diagnostic laboratories began studying the animals. They issued a report stating that every animal examined had died of natural causes and had then been set upon predators

Because of initial confusion and misleading statements made by vets and sheriffs inexperienced in dealing with dead animals and “for reasons associated with strain and anxiety,” Stewart continues, “people began to interpret an everyday occurrence in a new, bizarre manner.” Cattle deaths, he adds, were occurring at the same rates they had and for all the same reason “but the widespread reporting of these incidents gave the appearance that there was a sudden, inexplicable increase in the deaths.”

He likens the situation to one that developed in the Seattle area in the mid-1950’s, when people suddenly began noticing pits and nicks in the windshields of their cars and trucks and concluded that some invisible devastation was literally raining down upon them from the heavens. The more that was said and written about it, the more people believed something unusual was happening. “In a study of that episode,” Stewart observes, “the investigators concluded that it was caused by the fact that people [alerted to the ‘phenomenon’] suddenly started looking at their windshields rather than through them,” thus discovering pits that has been there all along.

The pitted-windshield hysteria, however, is small potatoes compared with cattle mutilations, which have cost not millions of dollars in lost livestock, as is claimed, but rather millions of dollars in anxiety and lost sleep; lost law-enforcement, legislative, veterinary, and medical manhours; and millions in media hysteria (air space and white space that might better have been devoted to something else). As an added tax, we have had to put up with some of the most pre prosperous and ponderous hypothesizing imaginable. Jacques Vallee, for example, declares:

“The symbols attached to the UFO phenomenon are the primary images of life: blood, death, sex, time, space, and sky. Carl Jung could expand vastly on his archetypal hypothesis about UFOs if he came back today to study the documents that have accumulated on this subject. What are the organs taken by the mutilators? The eyes, the ears, the tongue, and the genitals: that is, the organs concerned with communication and reproduction. The culprits deserve credit not only as good surgeons, but also as good psychologists.”

Ah, yes: there is no surgeon like the blowfly, no psychologist like the coyote. You can turn over, Carl, but don’t bother to get up.

Moo-F-Os: What’s Behind Tales of Cattle Mutilation?

UFOs, sinister cults and secret government operations have all been blamed. Scientists have put forth more mundane explanations, such as run of the mill scavengers. Ranchers still report these incidents, and cattle mutilation has been enshrined in popular culture on shows like the “The X-Files.” Modern Farmer talked to Bill Ellis, associate professor of English […]

UFOs, sinister cults and secret government operations have all been blamed. Scientists have put forth more mundane explanations, such as run of the mill scavengers. Ranchers still report these incidents, and cattle mutilation has been enshrined in popular culture on shows like the “The X-Files.”

Modern Farmer talked to Bill Ellis, associate professor of English and American Studies at Penn State Hazelton, who wrote about the phenomena of cattle mutilation in his book, “Raising the Devil: Satanism, New Religions, and the Media.”

Modern Farmer: How old are these stories? How far back to they go?

BE: The earliest cycle of stories that I’ve seen date back to the beginning of the 20th century in England. There were cycles of panics that were caused by people allegedly killing and mutilating horses and domestic animals of various kinds. And there were a number of explanations that then created an additional flap on top of that, and that’s mostly what I’m interested in – when you have all of these theories that explain the mutilations and then those theories take on a life of their own.

There were two ideas: One was that there was a wolf that had been somebody’s pet that had escaped and was committing all of these mutilations. Wolves by that time were extinct in England, so there’s no way that an actual wolf could have appeared and done all of these things. And the other thing was that it was a lunatic ”“ that there was somebody going around and doing this out of some kind of psychological compulsions. And in fact there was a person who was arrested and was tried and convicted of committing a number of these mutilations. And here’s an interesting twist: Arthur Conan Doyle, who was the creator of Sherlock Holmes, actually investigated the evidence and found a number of faults and determined that the person had been set up as the culprit because people had an ethnic prejudice against him – he was an East Indian, a scapegoat to blame for these incidents.

It’s something that then crops up in the popular press in a small way off and on in England and particularly in the United States until the ’60s, and it then becomes much bigger news, blamed initially on hippie cults. This was the time where there was a lot of attention being given to the counterculture and the interest of some people in non-traditional religions: cosmic consciousness and meditation. And it was a time that the actual Church of Satan in San Francisco was founded. That had generated a lot of press and a lot of concerns. The theory then became developed that what was happening was some of these young people had been recruited into some sort of cult that involved animal sacrifice.

MF: Why did people feel compelled to create these fantastic reasons behind the cow mutilation?

BE: I would say the short answer is that these are mythologies. These are large complex beliefs and stories and ideas that come together into a theory that explains not just mutilations, but explains lots of things about life. One of the reasons these mythologies are so popular is that it’s sort of an evil other side of intelligent design; there’s something beautiful or clever or fascinating about life on earth, and that’s evidence that a supernatural creator designed that animal or that feature of nature that way. If something bad happens, you lose a valuable animal out in your field and when you get to it, it seems to have been drained of blood and it’s got an ear and other body parts missing and nobody can explain any good reason why — some evil “other” must have done that. And if bad things happen it’s because some evil force or some group of evil people are doing that. And that for lots of people, believe it or not, is a much more satisfying explanation for the world that we live in.

MF: Have cattle mutilation stories changed at all over time?

BE: The actual natural event tends to be pretty similar. Where things differ are with the interpretation of the details.

At one point there was supposed to be kind of a occult significance as to whether the left ear or the right ear was missing. People would look over what they thought were surgically precise cuts that were made on the side of the animal to see if they represented some kind of an occult symbol. And then you’ve got the quasi-scientific explanation, which is that these body parts are being biopsied, and they’re being moved by extraterrestrials. I think the UFO explanation now seems to have gotten somewhat old. Now maybe if I were out in the Great Plains, I would find a lot of people out there who were still talking about the “black helicopters.” The black helicopters were what the aliens used to commit the mutilations and biopsy the animals. And that generated a tremendous amount of rumors and beliefs, all because it was obvious that [the helicopters] were not made by humans because they were silent. A silent helicopter was obviously an alien spacecraft. I think that all of these will be seen against the ground of real suspicion of the federal government, because they all come with the proposition that the government knows a great deal more about what’s going on than they’re letting on, and the reason they’re not telling you why these mutilations are taking place is because they don’t want you to know.

10 Modern-Day Accounts Of Animal Mutilations

In the 1970s, the phenomenon of cattle and animal mutilation seemed to sweep much of the United States as well as other parts of the Americas and much of Europe. Although the mutilations have never actually stopped, there appears to have been an increase in such incidents since the late 1990s and into the 2000s.

Despite numerous investigations into the phenomena, it still isn’t known who or what is responsible for these seemingly precise “medical” mutilations or why they are happening. Theories range from UFO and alien involvement to satanic cults and rituals to the acts simply being the work of sick individuals who want to inflict pain on animals. The cases are as interesting as they are perplexing. Here are ten modern incidents from around the world.

10. Calves Mutilated
Missouri, 2014

The day after he realized that one of his calves was missing in July 2014, a rancher in Missouri made the grim discovery of its mutilated corpse. While doing his daily count of his heard, a buzzard in one of his fields caught his attention. As he made his way over to the bird’s location, he discovered the mutilated calf that it was feeding on. Examination of the calf revealed some horrific injuries. Its internal organs had been cleanly removed, and its entire body had been completely drained of blood. All that remained were its hide and bones.

The rancher reported the case to a local radio station, which in turn made a report to MUFON. Due to similar incidents involving other cattle owners and their herds in the area, the rancher was said to have then sold all of his calves before he lost any more. According to the report, one particular rancher in Missouri had lost 15 calves to similar attacks.

Coincidentally or not, the state of Missouri was said to be on “UFO Alert Rating” of three at the time of the incidents, meaning that over 25 reports of UFO sightings were made in the period of a month. (UFO Alert Ratings range from one to five.) According to this same data, Missouri had the fourth-highest amount of sightings in the United States during this period.

9. Over A Decade Of Mutilations
Wales, 2001–Present

The Animal Pathology Field Unit (APFU) had been investigating animal mutilations in Wales for over a decade by the time they announced in 2013 that they strongly suspected aliens may be responsible for the attacks.

Phil Hoyle of APFU has stated that the organization is looking at the UFO connection, in part, due to the precise nature of the injuries as well as what appears to be a lack of blood where the animals were found. Further still, he stated that farmers had reported “unusual lights” over their land at the same time the mutilations were thought to have happened, while some members of the larger community had witnessed strange objects going in and out of the sea.

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“These are not done by satanic cults,” Hoyle told The Western Mail. “These are very sophisticated—whether done by aliens, military or some clandestine monitoring, something unusual is going on.” Hoyle even went on to claim that Wales, along with the United States, was a hot spot for these kinds of strange animal mutilations.

Some examples of these mutilations include a dead lamb being found in Beddgelert, Gwynedd, in 2001. A strange hole in the shape of an oval—created by some undeterminable mechanism—was discovered in its hip bone. In 2002, over the course of a week, Brook Farm in Plwmp, Dyfed, lost a total of six rams and six ewes, all were discovered with precise cuts made to their jaws and tongues. In 2009, at Woodside Farm, four ewes were discovered dead, with strips of their face missing. According to the farmer, between 15 and 20 of his ewes would simply disappear each year.

8. Regular Mutilations In Colorado Since 1999

Photo via Week in Weird

Tom Miller first began to notice strange killings and mutilations of his animals in 1999, by which time his family had been raising cattle in Colorado for three generations. According to Miller, the mutilations have been happening regularly ever since. He states that he has found cattle with eyes missing, limbs cut off, tongues cut out, and even some with their ears removed—always with laser-like precision. In most cases, the animal’s body was also completely drained of blood.

Some skeptics argue that the injuries are just the work of natural predators, but Miller dismisses this theory. While he admits that he doesn’t know what is behind the attacks, he rules out that they are the result of other animals, stating to the media, “Predators don’t drink 11 pounds of blood and leave the carcasses intact.”

While some cattle mutilation investigators have made connections to UFO activity and alien involvement, investigator Chris O’Brien believes that the mutilations are more likely the result of a secret government testing program. He believes that the apparent increase in mutilation cases since the late 1990s and 2000s is due to the Mad Cow Disease scare in England in 1996. O’Brien states that when the affected animals were destroyed, their bodies were made into fertilizer and then shipped worldwide. The mutilations are, according to him, likely to be secret testing of animals to ensure that there is not another outbreak of the deadly disease.

7. Weekend Mutilations
Argentina, 2014

Photo via Inexplicata—The Journal of Hispanic Ufology

In September 2014, Argentinian radio station Radio Amanecer announced several cases of cattle mutilations that allegedly occurred in May of that year.

One in particular, which took place in in Reconquista, Santa Fe, seemed to suggest that some kind of strange, abnormal activity had taken place in the days leading up to the actual attack. The animal was said to have been showing signs of severe distress on Friday, May 15. It appeared to be “trembling” and was generally rattled and confused. Following that weekend, on Monday, May 18, the cow was found dead, with very precise cuts made to its face and jaw.

During the same weekend, two other cattle farmers were said to have made reports of very similar grim discoveries of their animals—each with the same precise surgical injuries. One of these was at Osvaldo Marega Farm, in the Villa Ocampo district. The other was in the Tartagal district, around 20 kilometers (12 mi) away on land owned by the Miranda family.

According to the report, there have also been several other stories of such attacks in the area dating back to the beginning of 2014, with no explanation for the horrific injuries to any of the animals.

6. Strange Summer Of Animal Mutilations
Vancouver, 1990

When Oregon State University investigated and analyzed the corpses of the five dead cattle that Richard Fazio had discovered on his range, they discovered that their injuries were “heat-induced” and that they were “consistent with electrosurgical excision.” In other words, they were not simple animal attacks and unlikely to be the work of a typical prankster.

The incidents occurred between June and October 1990 and bore all the hallmarks of state-of-the-art technology being used. Internal organs, eyes, and tongues were removed from the animals, with some of these eventually being found discarded and scattered in fields that ran along the Columbia River. According to statements from neighbors, “strange sounds” were often heard throughout the summer of 1990—sounds that didn’t appear to be the noise of farm machinery that they would expect to hear. Even more bizarrely, one woman told of how she was driving home one evening that summer and was surprised somewhat by a “little man” she saw running in a field, who appeared to be carrying a “flashlight.”

Although the Vancouver incidents appeared to have been isolated to the summer of 1990, nearly a decade later in February 1999, a UFO report was made by forest workers near at Mount St. Helens. They claimed that they saw a flying metallic object lift an elk into the air with what appeared to be an invisible beam. Witnesses even stated that as they saw the elk being pulled upward, it appeared to be turning slowly in the air as if being rotated purposely.

5. UK Horse Attacks—Satanic Ritual Or Secret Experiments Due To EVH-1?

In late 2011 and early 2012, there were several mutilation attacks on horses in the United Kingdom. Although they bore very similar injuries to the cattle mutilations that are normally associated with UFO activity, these particular attacks were not believed by those investigating them to be otherworldly.

Some theorized that the mutilations were done as part of satanic rituals, particularly since one of the attacks fell close to what is said to be an important date on the satanic calendar, St. Winebald Day. Others, however, believed that the injuries were in fact part of secret experiments being conducted in the equestrian world due to the recent outbreak of equine herpesvirus type 1 (EHV-1).

The spread of the EHV-1 virus seemed to originate from a horse show in Utah in April 2011. It quickly spread across the US, into Canada, and then eventually into much of Europe. The equestrian world was concerned to say the least, and it was felt that more collaborative research was needed to better understand the disease. Of course, some people began to speculate on the timing of the EHV-1 outbreak and the spate of horse mutilations in the UK that seemed to follow and wondered if they were connected to secret testing and research.

4. Sheep Mutilations
England, 2010

In early 2010, not only were several farmers near Shrewsbury, England, finding their sheep dead and mutilated, but some of them claimed to have witnessed them being “lasered” by strange objects hovering above them.

The unfortunate sheep appeared to have suffered from a variety of strange, surgical injuries, including some of them having their brains removed, seemingly through a “neat hole” made in their heads. Others were found to have had flesh stripped from their face in a precise and careful manner. Further investigations also found that many of the sheep had internal organs carefully and expertly removed. Strange orange lights and spheres were spotted in the sky during the same time period that the mutilations took place.

A 16-person team of investigators claimed to have witnessed these strange crafts for themselves in March 2010 while they were conducting their investigations. Not only that, but they claim to have witnessed the objects carrying out the attacks on the animals themselves, leading one investigator to describe the technology as “frightening,” while another stated the scene resembled a “Star Wars battle.”

Following this bizarre encounter, investigators immediately interviewed all local farmers the following morning, and upon them checking on their respective animals, all but one of them stated they were either missing livestock or had found corpses of animals that had seemingly been attacked during the night.

3. Mutilations Happen At Regular Intervals In Arizona

Photo credit: Kim Metzger via The Arizona Daily Sun

Kit Metzger of the Flying M Ranch has discovered many of her cattle dead and mutilated on her land for years, some so badly disfigured that they were “barely recognizable” as cows. Injuries range from eyes and internal organs being removed to precise and clean cuts to remove parts of the face and even sexual organs. As with other cases, there is a distinct lack of blood on the ground, and most of the time, the mutilated cattle have been completely drained of it.

Metzger theorizes that whoever is responsible for the mutilations uses a sedative or muscle relaxant that essentially paralyses the cattle, and she believes they must insert a pump into a main artery drain the cow of its blood. She says other ranchers near her have also experienced similar attacks on their livestock. The main theories on what is behind them range from UFOs and aliens to Satanists participating in satanic rituals, although they have no solid proof of either and are ultimately completely perplexed by the mutilations.

Metzger states that the killings have been taking place since as far back as the 1970s and also seem to happen at certain times of the year. According to the rancher, mid-July, October, and whenever Easter happens to fall usually coincide with new mutilations and animal deaths on her ranch.

2. Sheep Mutilations
Texas, 2013

Photo credit: Karen Daggs via The Daily Mail

In 2013, a spate of sheep mutilations in Texas was investigated by both local law enforcement and MUFON. Although opinion is divided on what was responsible for the attacks, a local sheriff stated at the time that, “This was too clean to be an animal. Whoever did this knew what they were doing.” Although local law enforcement officially believes that human beings are carrying out the assaults, possibly as part of satanic rituals, MUFON hasn’t ruled out an alien or UFO connection.

Wayne and Karen Daggs, whose farm is in Port Lavaca, had over 20 of their sheep killed and mutilated between July and October 2013, each of them having suffered precise cuts to their face and mouth and some having been castrated. As has been the case with other mutilation cases, there was no sign of blood where the bodies were discovered.

The Daggs have also had sheep seemingly vanish into thin air. Given that the Daggs’ sheep weigh between 27 and 34 kilograms (60–75 lb) each, it can be safely assumed that if a person had taken them, they would have struggled to carry them easily and would in all probability have required a vehicle to transport them. However, there have been no tire markings found nor anything else to suggest a vehicle has been on their land.

Interestingly, this area of Texas was home to one of the earliest animal mutilation cases on record. In the early 1900s, a horse was discovered with what appeared to be precise, medically administered cuts having been made to remove its nervous system. Its upper neck and head were also stripped or burned down to nothing but bone.

1. Cow Seemingly Dropped From The Sky
Nebraska, 2013

In 2013, Linda Moulton Howe, one of the leading researchers and experts in cattle and animal mutilations, made a report regarding a series of mutilations on a Nebraska farm, including a cow that was found with its head embedded into the ground as if it had been dropped from the sky.

The rancher, Alex Peterson, told her how he had discovered two of his cattle dead with strange but precise cuts made on their bodies and their organs missing. He also discovered a cow that was still alive but obviously injured and distressed, which led him to put the animal down. He performed tests on the third cow he had discovered to see if he could trace any signs of poisons that may have been administered, but all the results came back as he would expect them to for an otherwise healthy cow.

Several days later, Peterson discovered the dead cow that seemingly had its head smashed into the Earth. The animal was already dead when he found it, and when he pulled its head out of the hole, he noted a distinct lack of dirt in the cow’s nose or mouth, leading him to believe that the animal had not simply burrowed its head into the ground but had been dead before it hit the Earth—which he believes it did from a great height.

+An Interrupted Cattle Mutilation?
England, 1985

Photo credit: The Object Report

Although the incident over Cannock Chase, Staffordshire, England, in 1985 didn’t result in any known cattle mutilations or disappearances, it did raise the question of whether the strange object that had been seen on two separate occasions was “disturbed” while trying to perform them.

While driving home one evening, a father and son saw a strange, triangular-shaped object hovering over a field, its underside illuminated with three very definite lights. The father stopped, and the pair jumped out to get a closer look at the strange object. As they observed it, they noticed how there was no noise coming from the triangular craft. It remained stationary for several minutes before suddenly shooting off at high speed. Coincidentally or not, the area where the strange craft was spotted was routinely used by the military.

The pair rushed back to their hometown of Rugeley and made a report to the police, who rather strangely sent two police officers to their home immediately to take statements from them. Perhaps even stranger, one of the officers remarked to the pair that they “should never have got out of the car.” The two men are said to have received no explanation for what they saw.

Two days later, a short distance away, another alleged sighting came in the early hours of the morning. A former military policeman had joined friends in Cannock Chase to participate in a duck-shoot. While walking through the woods, he was said to have reported seeing a strange light moving along the sky, coming closer to him before settling in the air over a herd of cows in a nearby field.

Without thinking, the witness jumped up from his position to get a closer look and in doing so, seemed to attract the object’s attention. It appeared to shoot out several beams of light, one in his direction, which made him run as fast as he could until he was out of the object’s sight. He went back to the scene shortly after with a friend, but the strange light had disappeared and the cows beneath were seemingly unaware that anything untoward had occurred.

Resources, “The Mysterious History of Cattle Mutilation: Unexplained livestock mutilations have been reported for centuries. Explanations range from common predators to UFOs.” By ADAM JANOS;, “Alien Experiment, Violent Crime or Natural Occurrence: Cattle Mutilations in the West Continue.” By Lix Carey;, “Cults or UFOs? Decades of mysterious cattle mutilations stump police.” By Charles Couger;, “CONSPIRACY USA: CATTLE MUTILATION IN POPULAR MEDIA, PT. 1.” By Robert Skvarla;, “Cattle Mutilation: Cow mutilation may have a simpler explanation than alien experimentation.” By Alison Hudson;, “Cattle Mutilations: The Truth at Last.” By Kalina Ryu;, “Moo-F-Os: What’s Behind Tales of Cattle Mutilation?” By Andy Wright;, “UFO’s, the government,and the conspiracy: The Chupacabras Phenomenon.” By Jorge Martin;, “10 Modern-Day Accounts Of Animal Mutilations.” by Marcus Lowth;


Possible culprits:

1. Predators

2. Government

3. Other Ranchers

4. UFO

5. Cults

Steps in mutilation:

1. Remove the blood

2. Remove the tongue

3. Remove the Bung

4. Remove the Heart

5. Remove the Eyeballs, Genitals, Brain, Genitals Udder and Skin.

UFO’s, the government,and the conspiracy: The Chupacabras Phenomenon

Nature and Environmental Postings

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