A Look in The Mirror: Mystery still surrounds mutilations (Nov. 5, 1980)
Published: Tuesday, November 15, 2011
Updated: Tuesday, November 15, 2011 23:11
What on earth would kill cattle and other animals, cut away seemingly insignificant body parts such as ears and tongues and vanish without a clue? This question has been nagging at investigators for more than a decade now.
Back in 1967, Colorado's first such case of "animal mutilations" was in the San Luis Valley. A horse named "Snippy" was discovered with its skin gone, and since that time thousands of animals from more than 40 states and countries have reportedly died in similar fashions.
Over the years, authorities have postulated such explanations as cult activity, pranks, predators and extraterrestrials. But the fact remains; no single explanation has led to the closing of the case or a halt in the killings. The latest report was filed her in Weld County less than three weeks ago.
Last summer, Linda Moulton Howe, director for Special Projects for Channel 7 in Denver, produced a documentary which attempted to present all the fact concerning the killings. The documentary, "A Strange Harvest," traces the case from beginning to the present and offers plenty of food for though for the viewer to draw his own conclusions. Howe will be speaking on the subject and showing the documentary at UNC at the request of UPC Lecture Series organizer, Jeff Symes. The presentation is scheduled for Nov. 18 in the UC ballroom.
When the matter was first looked into, The Mirror was amazed at the similarities of information about the case. All newspaper clippings contained the same information and none offered more of an explanation than to point to the UFO theory.
An average case goes like this:
A rancher goes to bed after checking his herd and wakes up in the morning to find one of his animals dead. His dogs and other animals raised no alarm during the night that would have awakened the rancher, and no tracks are found around the body-not even those of the animal. The cause of death is alarming. Precise surgical cuts have removed sections of the anus, sometimes the sex organs are missing, and in most cases all of the blood has been drained. A blue sheen covers the eyes and in one case the eyes had been cut from the inside with no apparent incision on the outside. The animals are usually found lying on the left side, and many times the skin is stripped from the lower jaw.
Decomposition of the carcass is also unusual. Many times the body will decompose very slowly and predators won't touch it. The animal doesn't bloat at the normal rate and the body will appear freshly killed, even after several weeks. Of the animals that were attacked by scavengers, the skin around the cuts was never touched, even when it would have been much more convenient to use the cuts as entry to the bowels. One article stated that the skin around the cuts will glow for several days when placed under a black light.
Initial explanations involved predatory activity. An "Operation Animal Mutilation" report financed by $50 thousand from the federal government examined 90 cases of animal mutilations and the result was "Predatory Damage." However, one sheriff on the case was frustrated by the convenient explanation. He took a hunting knife, cut a section of one of the cows, and marked it for identification. He then sent it to a lab to be analyzed, and the lab sent it back as predatory damage. The cuts on the animals are too precise to be the work of predators, many investigators following the case feel. One investigator even tried to imitate a circular cut found on some of the animals, but was unable to copy its precision.
A second explanation involved governmental experiments. Rumors circulated that the government was working on secret biological testing. It stated that the animals were being implanted with bacteria and later killed for analysis. Another wild theory was that animals were being killed for "Geobotanical Prospecting." This involves analyzing animals living above the ground to determine what is below the ground. You are what you eat, so to speak. These theories are easily shot down when you realize that the government has the facilities and the capital to perform such experiments without picking out private characters.
The "Cult Activity" theory was discarded when the problem reached the scope that (it) has. No cult, no matter how many members involved, could operate this long in so many places without being discovered. Likewise the "prankster" explanation.
This brings us to the UFO theory. However outlandish, the idea of aliens experimenting and investigating our biosphere is the only one without holes, except acknowledging that aliens exist.
In 1975, an incident happened at an ICBM (Intercontinental Ballistic Missile) base near Great Falls, Mont. Alarms went off and sensors picked up something violating the base's air space. A security team was sent out and they reported back that a huge glowing disc was hovering over one of the silos.
The team reported that the disc had started to rise, and at about 1,000 feet NORAD had picked it up on radar. Two interceptors were launched but the disc was gone before they arrived. The incident never made the papers, even though the Great Falls area had been the site of a growing number of cattle mutilations.
In 1979, The Washington Post obtained CIA and Air Force reports through the Freedom of Information Act on UFO activity. According to a Denver Post article about these files, "Air Force and Defense Department records variously describe the objects as helicopters, aircraft, unknown entities and brightly lighted, fast moving vehicles that hovered over nuclear storage facilities and evaded all pursuit efforts."
Also in 1975, a rancher reported seeing a helicopter land on his property, and later seeing it take off again. The next morning a mutilated cow was found in the area.
At a multi-state conference on the subject last year in New Mexico investigators gathered to discuss any evidence they had. Startling testimony came from Dr. Henry Montheith, an engineering physicist for a government research lab. Montheith has investigated the mutilations for the past decade and contends that aliens are cutting up cows as part of an "environmental testing" program. Montheith added that an Indian had told him that he had witnessed a spacecraft capture a jackrabbit.