Greeley Tribune, Greeley, Colorado
Predators ... or UFOs ?
Mutilations - What's the Answer ?
By BILL JACKSON
Tribune Staff Writer
The call comes into the sheriff's (Andrew?) office shortly after 8 a.m. on a bright, sunny, summer morning. The caller is a rancher from a remote part of the county. He tells the sheriff or a member of the investigations Department of the sheriff's office that he has just found a cow in a pasture a mile or so away from the home headquarters of the ranch.
The cow, he says, is dead.
Nothing unusual about finding a dead animal on a ranch. While it is not frequent, livestock do die on ranches.
But this cow, the rancher tells the sheriff, has had her udder removed. The anal area of the animal has been bored out and it looks as though her reproductive organs have been removed. The left eye is gone. So is the left ear. The tongue has been neatly severed at the back of the cow's mouth and has been removed.
The cow has been mutilated.
That scene has been repeated thousands of times over the past five to six years in at least 40 states and foreign countries, according to David Perkins, director of Animal Mutilations Probe, based in Farisita, about 20 miles northwest of Walsenburg in southcentral Colorado.
Perkins is one of a handful of private investigators who has devoted countless hours in the investigation of the mysterious circumstances surrounding mutilations. County sheriffs in most States west of the Mississippi River have put in several hundred hours probing the incidents, which usually involve a cow with part or all of the senses organs, i.e., an eye, the tongue, and an ear, as well as the reproductive organs, missing.
Usually, there is no sign of struggle, the body will be void of blood and there will be no blood where the animals have been cut. And there are no tracks around the animal, other than its own.
Predators often don't touch the carcass of the animal, and, in some cases, the carcass seems to decompose much faster than what is normal.
Evidence is scarce.
After an absence of reported mutilations in Weld County for more than three years, five were reported in August and September. Why?
"I think some ranchers will say that there's nothing that can be done about them (the mutilations), so why bother to report them," Andrews said.
The last mutilation Andrews investigated involved a calf near Briggsdale belonging to Roland Ball.
Andrews and Ball said the animal had been dead about 48 hours when it was discovered. A near-perfect circle of hide had been removed from the belly of the animal, but coyotes had eaten part of the carcass.
"But they hadn't touched the area that had been cut away, strange because the wound would have given the predators an easy access into the bowels of the calf. Coyotes and other predators always start tearing at the softest part of a dead animal," Andrews said.
The sheriff took a sampling of the cut area and of a white substance that was discovered on the carcass. Andrews said the cut was examined at the sheriff's department laboratory and a sampling of the white substance was sent to CBI labs in Denver.
"We clipped a piece of the bide out and under examination we found a very definite, smooth cut. We could even tell the difference between that cut and the one we bad made in removing the pine of bide. The CBI study revealed that the white substance was maggot eggs. "They were just about ready to hatch. I had seen a lot of that on dead animals and often wondered what it was. I can buy the CBI report," he said.
But, there are many aspects of mutilation cases he has investigated in Weld that he cannot "buy."
One of the more bizarre incidents, he said, involved a Holstein cow a few years ago.
"When I walked up to the cow I noticed something unusual about it. There were several strips of something that I didn't recognize on the ground near the animal's head. I picked up one of them, which was very thin and looked like a corkscrew. After looking at it for sometime, I realized that it was a strip of skin that had been cut from the cow's nose; you could even see the pores in the skin that cows have on that soft skin of the nose. There were a dozen of those strips, less than one-quarter-of-an-inch wide. The skin from the nose of the Holstein had been neatly removed right at the hair line. When I looked at the strips closely, each of them had been cut very straight, with corners at the end of each strip and every one of them was about the same length. I know damn good and well that a predator is sot capable of doing something like that," Andrews said
The corkscrew effect of the strips, he believed, had been caused by the sun drying them and causing each of the strips to curl up.
Most investigators doubt that predators are capable of performing the precise incisions found on mutilated carcasses.
The latest example of that comes from New Mexico, a state which, according to AMP's Perkins and Tom Adams of Paris, Texas, who heads Project Stigmata, a mutilation research group, has had probably the most mutilations than any of the other estimated 40 states in which they have occurred.
At the height of the wave of mutilations which swept the state, Sen. Harrison "Jack" Schmitt, R-New Mexico, called a multi-state mutilation convention, which was attended by both Perkins and Adams.
Many mutilation investigators offered testimony at the three-day convention in April at Albuquerque, N.M. Perkins and Adams both testified at the conference, but, according to Perkins, the most startling testimony came from Dr. Henry Montheith, engineering physicist at Sandia Labs, a government research area in Sandia. N.M. Monteith, who has investigated mutilations for more than 10 years, cited recent letters from Russia asking for information on mutilations as evidence that Russian scientists had taken an active interest.
Among the more startling disclosures, Perkins said, was Montheith's assertions that "we are dealing with something invisible." The scientist went on to cite case histories he'd gathered at a nnmber of Indian reservations. In one instance be said, "An ordinary Indian had witnessed the descent of a 'spacecraft'." A spaceman dressed in a white spacesuit had floated out of the ship and chased down a jackrabbit, Montheith testified.
In January, Perkins said Montheith claimed that "invisible aliens from space are among us. That's why it's so hard to catch up with them (the mutilators)." He claimed that extraterrestrials were cutting up cows as part of an "environmental testing program," and the results probably gave them "one hell of an idea of our biosphere."
One outcome of the New Mexico conference was a $50,000 government grant to study mutilations. A retired FBI investigator spent not quite a year investigating and determined that animals died of natural causes. Predators were deemed responsible for the disfigurations on the carcasses.
Perkins and Adams disputed the conclusion, suggesting instead that unidentified flying objects are involved.
Adams has compiled a catalog of some 200 mutilation incidents that involved flying objects. Some sightings on Adams' list occurred in northern Colorado.
On the night of Aug. 21, officers from the Logan County Sheriffs Department spent more than five hours chasing unidentified aircraft. The chase began when a helicopter sighting was reported at about 10 p.m. near Stoneham, in extreme eastern Weld.
During the next five hours reports of similar sightings ranged from north of New Raymer, to Merino, Peets, and Kimball and Bushnell, Neb. The sightings finally died out early the morning of Aug. 22 near Carpenter, Wyo.
On Aug. 25, more "helicopter" sightings were reported and a mutilated yearling heifer was discovered in Adams County.
On Sept. 3, the Weld Sheriff's Department received a report of helicopter sightings northeast of Cornish and when officers responded, at least five distinctive aircraft were sighted, with at least two believed to be helicopters.
At approximately the same time, a New Raymer rancher reported seeing a helicopter land in an arroyo on his ranch. The craft was later seen taking off and leaving the area, flying in a northwest direction.
The next morning, Sept. 4, a mutilated heifer was discovered near Brlggsdale, just north of Cornish.
On Sept. 27, a ranch foreman near Grover in the remote area of northeast Weld, saw a strange "light" near the ground in a field of 15 bulls about a mile from his home. He got into his pickup to drive to the field to investigate, but when he turned his truck into the field the "light," which he said was probably a helicopter, rose out of the field and began flying out of the area. About a month earlier, an animal had been mutilated on the ranch, but a search by the rancher and two officers from the Weld Sheriff's Department, revealed that all 15 bulls were still in the field.
But the fact remains, and Investigators such as Adams, Graves in Sterling and Weld's Andrews are quick to point out, that neither a helicopter nor any other type of craft has actually been spotted on the ground beside a freshly mutilated animal.
"I would say that 90 percent of the cattle we find dead in Weld County are not mutilated," Andrews said. "I have seen a riot of strange things in the past few years in this county, including helicopters with no markings whatsoever. But I can't say the occupants inside those helicopters are the ones responsible for the mutilations."
"Those 90 percent that die, die of natural causes and the predators work on them, making them appear to have been mutilated. But there is a distinct difference between those and the ones which have been mutilated; there's just no comparison. A lot of those animals probably die as a result of eating poisonous weeds, particularly young calves in a dry field who eat the weeds to get the moisture out of them," Andrews continued.
When asked why mutilated animals are seldom found during the wintertime, Andrews responded:
"That's strange and I've thought about it. But we've never had a mutilation reported during the winter months and you would think that we'd have more if predators were responsible - they would be hungrier during the winter months due to a lack of mice and other small rodents. I know cattle die during the winter, more so than in the summer months. But none of them have ever been mutilated," he said. There have also been claims that ranchers are cutting up their own animals to report it as a mutilation and then collect insurance.
"I don't believe that," Andrews said. "I gave a talk to a cattle group not long ago and granted, while it was a small crowd, I asked for a show of hands concerning how many of them had insurance on their animals. Not one of them responded. The only insurance I carry is on animals that I truck down the road as show animals and if I had a registered bull I would insure him, because I don't want to run the risk of losing $5,000 or $6,000 on him. But the rancher in this area with just range cattle can't afford to insure them. It just wouldn't be economical because the premiums would be too high. He might have a registered bull in his herd that he might carry some insurance on, but not on his range cattle," Andrews said.
And while 90 percent of the animal deaths in Weld can be explained, Andrews said, "It's the other 10 percent that remain a mystery; I just don't have any answers."