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1977 Cattle Mutes Article

From: Terry Colvin <fortean1.nul>
Date: Wed, 30 Apr 2008 20:26:11 -0700 (GMT-07:00)
Archived: Thu, 01 May 2008 11:37:14 -0400
Subject: 1977 Cattle Mutes Article 


Tucson Daily Citizen, !Ole! Magazine
Saturday, February 26, 1977

Cattle Mutilations: The Mysterious Attacks Continue
by Jeff Smith and Christina Collins,
Citizen Staff Writers


In the evenings, after knocking off work at the construction
site, he had several hundred head of cattle to check on, make
sure they had water and feed supplement, look after any sick or
injured animals.

That was on the evenings when he could get away from the job by
suppertime. Otherwise his son or wife saw to the cattle. Through
the winter months this took them out after dark, several miles
from the house, but it had to be done, just as the Cochise
County rancher had to put in 40 to 60 hours a week at
construction work to pay the bills. The cattle business is no
way to make a living just now; men like this stay in it because
they love the life and because it can only get better.

This particular night, Jan. 23, the rancher and his wife drove
down to the far pasture to water the 80 head grazing there. The
cattle were at the tank waiting for them, but something wasn't
right.

"We noticed right off that this one cow was missing. She's easy
to spot - weights 1,100 pounds and stands above the rest. And
she's got a big set of horns on her, 12 to 14 inches."

It was dark so they waited, and wondered, until next morning
when they went out and found her.

Resting on her stomach, legs folded under her, she appeared to
be sleeping. But the cow was dead, bled dry, and mutilated,
grotesquely buthcered by someone or something.

This McNeal rancher, like most here in Southeastern Arizona, is
familiar with the stories of cattle mutilations. Local press
reports, though scanty, make it plain that this bizarre
phenomenon which has mystified farmers and ranchers in Colorado,
Nebraska, Montana and throughout the West, has visited the
border states too. But Arizona ranchers don't need the
newspapers to tell them; they hear it from neighbors whose
cattle turn up missing - and then are found mutilated.

The story is nearly always the same; an animal is found dead
without signs of a struggle, without evidence even of the normal
death-throes of dying cattle. There are no tracks of human
killers or animal predators, no blood on the ground, and little
if any in the carcass. Scavengers, even flies and maggots, seem
to leave the dead animals alone - and the carcasses are
strangely, perhaps ritualistically, mutilated. There is a
pattern to the butchery; sex organs, the anus, one or both ears,
a cow's udder or teats, sometimes the lips and nostrils - all
taken with surgical precision by a very sharp instrument or
often what appears to be a pair of scissors that leaves a
perfect serrated edge - like pinking shears.

The story is familiar and so is the fact that ranchers who talk
too much or too publicly about it are likely to receive threats
- perhaps merely from cranks who read the papers - but
unsettling enough to prompt this ranch family to ask for
anonymity.

"This contracting work sometimes keeps me out overnight, as far
away as Sierra Vista, and the wife and kids are here alone," the
rancher said. "I don't want some kook getting ideas." He carries
a gun and his wife and high-school-age son have guns too, but he
doesn't want the boy to take a gun to school with him. "I'll
tell you one thing; I don't send the boy down there to water the
cattle after dark any more."

The morning they found the cow mutilated in their field they
knew what they had and called the Cochise County Sheriff's
office. The deputy who arrived first knew what he was seeing
too. Very carefully, and for nearly an hour, he checked the
soft, plowed ground around the carcass for footprints or
predator tracks. He found none.

But he did find something interesting. Aside from the expected
signs of mutilation - right ear neatly removed, anus and sex
organs gone - this cow was missing something else. It had been
pregnant, ready to calve in April, but the unborn calf was gone
without a trace, apparently taken out through the birth canal.

The rancher called Sheriff Jimmy Judd and asked that an autopsy
be done on the animal.

"I don't think that animal died in a normal way," the rancher
said. "I think they tranquilized it. There was an eighth-inch
hole behind the last rib on its right side - maybe they bled it
there - and its heart would pump out the blood if it was
tranquilized."

Sheriff Judd sent a sergeant out to investigate further and
determine if an autopsy was warranted. The sergeant took photos
but advised against an autopsy, saying the animal had been dead
too long.

"We have no fund for cattle autopsies," said Judd. "Maybe we'll
get some money from the supervisors next year, if this keeps
up."

The rancher is still angry that no tests were made on the
carcass.

"We found that thing the morning after it was killed," he said.
"You're never going to find a fresher one than that. And it
smelled funny - not like a normal dead animal, but kind of
sweet, you know? Like a dead person at a funeral." His wife
nodded her agreement.

"It had an odd smell, and the flesh was light pink," she said,
"like it had no blood in it."

The carcass was left in the field where it fell. Three weeks
later it was still there, rotting, but untouched by predators.
The afterbirth and the soft meat of the tongue - normally
something coyotes and buzzards would fight for - were left to
dry up. Something about the kill had left 1,100 pounds of beef
unappetizing to the creatures which normally thrive on carrion.

About 25 miles west of McNeal, a few miles outside of Bisbee, is
the E Lazy T Ranch of Albert Thomas. It straddles Highway 80
between Bisbee and Tombstone and the junction of 80 and Highway
90 going to Sierra Vista and Ft. Huachuca. The roads are well-
traveled, and much of the Thomas ranch lies in open view to
passing traffic.

The area near milepost 330 on Highway 80 is flat and grassy. The
few mesquites which dot the range provide little shelter or
hiding place. Yet it was here that Thomas found his 800-pound
bull, about 18-months old, dead and mutilated on Jan. 18. This
was the fifth animal Thomas had missed recently - the second
within that week he had found mutilated. He called the sheriff's
office and Deputy Philip Gray was dispatched to investigate.

The animal was about 75 yards off the highway, in easy view.
According to the officer's report, the testicles, penis and anus
all were removed by a sharp cutting instrument, probably a
knife. There was no blood on the dead bull nor on theground near
it.

Sgt. Bill Breen, who has been assigned the continuing
investigation of the mutilations, went to investigate and
photograph the dead animal.

"There wasn't a print or predator track, and no visible cause of
death," Breen said, "and no signs of struggle anywhere around."
Breen is not native to this part of the country. He has been in
Cochise County four years and spent the previous six in Tucson.
Breen isn't an old-timer to cattle country, but he seems to have
faith in the cattlemen's common sense, and in his own eyes.

"This was clearly not predators," Breen said. "If coyotes had
done it, they'd have known it was there and come back for a
feast." Breen echoes the feelings of the ranchers and law
officers who have witnessed this and other scenes of mutilation:
coyotes are (1) smart and don't leave several hundred pounds of
steaks and roasts lying around to rot, and (2) unskilled and
don't know how to use knives, scalpels and pinking shears.

Albert Thomas is known as a salty individual. He's lived in this
country most of his life and fought for his ranch. Twenty years
ago, after a long boundary feud with a neighbor named Frank
Crane, Thomas shot and killed the man. He was convicted of
manslaughter, and served a prison term for it. Albert Thomas is
familiar with guns; a poorer candidate for harassment by
pranksters would be hard to find.

"Y'know who I think did it?" said Thomas. "I think it was these
damned occults - for their rituals. Do they have to rape or kill
some old women before they get stopped?"

Thomas mentioned the first mutilation - a 300-pound bull calf -
- to the sheriff's deputy when he came a week later to
investigate the case of the bull at milepost 330. He did not, at
that time, say anything about the helicopters he claims to have
seen and heard flying in the area around the time of the
mutilations.

Helicopters have figured prominently in mutilation cases
throughout the eery history of this phenomenon and wherever
cases have occurred. One theory as to the who and how of
mutilations holds that it is military personnel - perhaps
deranged Vietnam veterans - flying swift, silent helicopters,
who are doing the mutilating.

Thomas and the rancher from McNeal are within easy reach of Ft.
Huachuca, but officials there claim the only flight Thomas could
have seen took the Post Commander to Bisbee to speak to a group
of high school students on Jan. 18. Ft. Huachuca claims that all
flights are carefully logged and that security on the machines
themselves is extremely tight.

Nonetheless, Thomas claims to have seen a helicopter taking off
from somewhere nearby on the night of the second mutilation.
This, he says, could account for the fact that no one finds
tracks or footprints at the scene, and that the dead cattle show
no signs of struggle or death-throes.

"Any time an animal dies it'll kick and thrash around," Thomas
said, "But these don't do anything but drop. I think whoever's
doing it does it somewhere else, and then drops them by
helicopter where they're sure to be found. Who knows what these
Army guys are onto?"

Army guys, damned occults, perhaps neither. Who is doing it?
Rumors are numerous and popular. Americans love to speculate on
extraterrestrial beings, devil worshippers and psychotic
criminals. Nonetheless, this speculation hasn't brought law
officers in Cochise County, nor in any of several states where
mutilators have been at work, any closer to a solution.

"Nobody's presented any new theories that haven't been hashed
and rehashed," said Sgt. Breen, "but we're not just sitting back
and waiting for things to happen. We're actively pursuing
theories." Nevertheless, Breen admits, no other law enforcement
agencies have been notified or brought in on these cases. State
livestock inspectors used to be notified in such cases, but over
the years state officialdom has scoffed at mutilation theories
so much that local authorities and field deputies often don't
bother reporting suspected mutilations to them now.

"I handled three cases a couple years ago," said Deputy Chuck
Ebner, who mans the Cochise County Sheriff's substation in
Douglas, "and I got to be pretty careful about what I'd call a
mutilation. But the livestock inspectors from Phoenix said every
one was predators. I know better. I wouldn't call it a
mutilation if there was even the slightest sign of predator
attack, but one or two of them left no doubt that the job had
been done with a knife, and by somebody who knew what he was up
to." Ebner, too, confirmed that no footprints or normal signs of
struggle could be found at the mutilation sites.

So bizarre speculation hasn't brought solution any closer;
neither has logic. None of the standard crime solving theories
has explained how the jobs are done so neatly, how no blood is
left at the scene (or sometimes, none in the carcass), how the
ground around is unmarked by prints or tracks, why predators and
scavengers leave the kills alone, how the naimals are found,
seemingly dropped from the sky, dead without a fight.

Or why. It defies logic, say thepeople who have seen it, that
hundreds of cattle have been found similarly mutilated, in
places thousands of miles aprt, over several years - and yet no
firm clue has been found, no slip-up yet made by the
perpetrators.

Whatever else may be deduced then, it must be conceded that
whoever or whatever is mutilating cattle is very good at what he
or it does.

This leads some who have studied and written on the subject to
speculate that all the mutilations - here in Arizona this year,
and in Colorado and Montana in Previous years - are the work of
the same person or group.

Nevertheless, in every locale where this occurs, favorite
suspects surface. In Bisbee, midway between the scenes of the
two mutilations mentioned here, satanic cults are a popular
theory. This dying mining town was revived in large part by an
influx of young people, so-called "hippies" from Aspen, Durango
and other trendy communities in Colorado, a center of the cattle
mutilation activity. Some locals point to the immigrants'
unorthodox lifestyle, their interest in astrology and mysticism,
and see satanism where perhaps none exists.

But a firmer theory out of Bisbee comes from a young woman who
teaches astrology and studies of folklore and unusual cult
practices at Cochise College. She reports speaking with a
counselor from a youth rehabilitation center in Bisbee, who told
her of a 17-year-old boy from Sierra Vista. The boy claimed to
have been a member of a satanic cult there - one which practiced
cattle mutilation.

Other sources in Sierra Vista confirm the existence of such
cults among teenagers there - even the suspicion that they may
be connected to unsolved homicides. But is it plausible to
suppose that a teen-age cult has the technical proficiency to
carry out these acts without leaving a clue? Or was the 17-
year-old boasting?

There is another theory, one best explained by these quotes from
a cattleman who was watering his stock from twin 55-gallon drums
in the back of his pickup, siphoning from them to the stock
tanks:

"No, I don't want to talk about this business (mutilations)
because I don't want nobody tying my name to any part of it."
Had he heard of any? Did he know anyone whose cattle had been
hit? An affirmative nod. "Everybody around here has. But we
don't talk a lot about it; don't tell the sheriff 'cause there's
nothin' he can do. But I tell you what: someday that guy,
whoever's doing it, is going to screw up. Everybody makes a
mistake sooner or later. And then maybe I'll get him - or
somebody'll get him - and you won't hear nothin' about it."

Maybe so. And maybe the mystery of the mutilated cattle already
has been solved - once, twice, perhaps more. Maybe the original
mutilators are dead and buried on some remote ranchland, caught,
killed and even mutilated by a vengeful stockman who finally
caught them in the act. Maybe subsequent mutilations have been
the acts of imitators.

But what difference does it make? Original authorship may not be
the most relevant issue here, because the strange mutilations
still are happening across the lonely rangelands of the West.

Now, hold onto your hats, folks, 'cause we're leaving Arizona
for a wild ride through the Western United States.

First, Logan County, 3,000 square miles and 22,000 people living
near the northeast corner of Colorado, about half of them in the
county seat, Sterling. Sheriff Harry L. Graves, a self-
described "nosy booger," has been here 21 years. Graves says
they're still happening; had 36 "verifications" in 1975 and the
same number in 1976, he says.

Verifications of man-made cattle mutilations, sheriff?

"Right. Something made.

"It's a puzzle that you can't believe. We've worked on this
since August of 1975. This was the first reported one; course,
after we got this one, we had different people come in and say,
"Well, we had these same things, but we didn't want to call you
'cause we thought you'd laugh at us. But it's definitely not a
laughing matter."

About the first one:

"Well, I've been in this business a long time, and when somebody
calls in, they've got a problem, I just go out and find out what
it is. And he started telling us about it, and of course I did,
I looked at him kind of weird out of the corner of my eye and I
thought, 'What kind of kook do we have here?' You know.

"But I was smart enough to take a local veterinarian with me.
And when we got down and seen that, it scared - pardon my
French, it scared the hell out of all of us. "Cause there were
no tracks, precision cuts, no blood in the animal, and the way
things were removed, after he (the vet) got done with it, he
told me to go square to hell - he'd never go on something like
that with me again.

"It's a real scary situation. Of course, we've dug in much
deeper. We've got a thing here that we've dubbed the Big Mama
and we've got pictures of her at night. It's just a huge
brilliant light. We've got pictures of it and it just looks like
a huge doughnut.

"It just looks like a huge light, is what it looks like. Always
at night, because you can't - we never see anything during the
day. And when it gets ready to move, it moves from one point to
another at a very great speed, supersonic speed."

Describing his first encounter with Big Mama, he said:

"Well, we really weren't paying too much attention to it. We
were out, oh, probably a week or so after the first one (cut-up
animal), and we got to looking around, and we got to watching
this light that just didn't look quite like a star.

"So we watched her for about an hour, and all of a sudden we got
to looking around closer on the ground, and there was two little
ones, zippin' around on the ground and, sure enough, we had
three mutilations in the same area the next morning.

"And then these three lights joined, and then just looked like
they took off just hell bent for election. And then that was it
- you couldn't even see them again. And then from then on, of
course, we were aware of the lights, and stuff like this. We
started looking for it. And we found plenty of 'em."

Does he have any idea what Big Mama is or what's happening to
the ranchers' cattle?

"I don't deal in guesswork. If I state it's human, I'm going to
know it's human beyond any reasonable doubt. I'm going to see
it. If it's outer space, then I'm going to know it's outer
space. I don't know now."

When does he think he'll know?

"Maybe never. Then again, I may find out what it is and not live
long enough to tell anybody, but at least I'd die knowing I
found out what it was."

Like Big Mama, let's zip over at supersonic speed to the
Colorado Bureau of Investigation in Denver and chat with Carl
Whiteside, who headed the CBI team that coordinated a statewide
investigation of the supposed mutilations. He says - and there's
a tinge of relief in his voice - that the whole thing died down
about a year ago.

"In this part of the country - no disrespect for the media - but
it was something that the media just ballooned out of
proportion. And it just created an hysteria that just continued
and swelled out of proportion.

"Out of the ones we examined, which was something like 90-some,
we only found one that was an actual mutilation. The rest of
them were attributable to coyotes, foxes, different types of
predators.

"We had people from the U.S. Department of Agriculture animal
research division look at the photographs (of dead cattle), and
they said the photographs were consistent with the type of
wounds made by predators.

"What happens is, predators will attack certain parts of the
body. Magpies and crows, for instance, will eat the eyes. Other
predators will eat the lips or tongue and others will tacck
through the rectum.

"That one area (rectum) is the area that everybody said there's
such a symmetrical incision that they thought it had to be man-
made. Well, what happens is the coyotes and so forth will go in
and get the entrails through that area and then, as it sits in
the sun, it has a tendency to shrink back, and it gives you the
impression that it's been cut. But, if you look at it
microscopically, you can tell that it isn't."

So, except for one animal, all those tested had died of natural
causes and were predator-mutilated. Is this whole thing just
fantasy?

"I'm not going to say that some mutilations might not have
happened, but the question is, what came first, the chicken or
the egg? You stir something like that up and people just get on
the bandwagon ... We have to go by scientific proof, facts. We
don't go by theories, we don't go off on tangents. I think if
you're going to be a responsible law enforcement agency, you
have to do that."

What about the theory that there's a cult running around doing
this?

"We ran undercover investigations and penetrated various satanic
cults and other types of witchcraft, and we couldn't find them
responsible for any of them.

"It cost us a ton of money. We put every agent we had on it at
one time or another.

"For a while, a lot of people were upset with us because we were
accused of whitewashing the thing. We were covering up for
military experiments and all this crap. It runs the gamut; you
can contact some people who still believe it happened."

The pathologists, the college veterinarians and the state
investigators all wish it would just go away for good. Not
because they're trying to hush up some big government plot or
are in cahoots with each other for some bizarre reason, they
insist, but because they believe it's all nonsense.

They say:

- The cattle died from natural causes, not from poison darts,
transquilizers or laser guns. Even if some sickie hacks at them
afterward, they've committed no crime.

- They've not seen any cattle "drained of blood," as the common
story goes. Blood tends to settle to the bottom side of a dead
animal, so any cuts on the visible top side wouldn't bleed.

- Despite the stories, they've never seen evidence that there
are no tracks around the dead animals. And, even if there
weren't any visible, they could have been obliterated by
shifting dirt or sand.

- Most dead animals that look as if they've been cut up actually
were chewed up by predators. Microscopic examinations of the
tissue show tearing and chewing marks, predator hairs and other
indications that there's nothing unusual. Predators favor the
soft parts usually missing from the dead cattle, they say.

And so on and so on. They have answers to most of the questions
- and have never seen for themselves the odd situations for
which no one has any ready answers. Such as the one, described
by Sheriff Graves:

"One was mutilated with her head about 12 inches under water.
Her tongue, eye and ear was taken. But there was no tracks.

"So how are the coyotes going to get under there and eat that
tongue and stuff out underneath the water? So we've got one
that's wearing a snorkle?"

Those never seem to make it to the lab, the state officials say.
But they're used to accusations of "coverups."

"We hear this every day," one state veterinarian says. "In fact,
here at the vet school the other day one of my students asked me
where I had all of these special specimens hidden away.

"It had been reported ... that we had one room completely filled
with frozen carcasses that had been mutilated and that we were
not wanting to expose them because it would create such a furor
among the people that we would be unable to, control it.

"I do have a couple of bottles of preserved specimens to show
people what mutilated specimens look like, but those are the
only specimens we have."

Don't the local law enforcement officials believe him?

"I've had (a sheriff) in here with me and showed him everything,
and he'd agree that it was a scavenger, and he'd go home and
then you'd hear about how this was a mutilation and we were
trying to cover it up -- The people had open meetings; they just
came practically into riots when anybody would ever mention this
was not a supernatural sort of thing."

What possible reason would a sheriff have her ignoring such
findings?

"Well, I'm sure if you get to know some of our small-town law
enforcement people, that they're not a highly paid type, and
they do not, therefore, get a highly educated or trained person.

"And they're isolated. And so they fall prey to many of the
things that another type of person would not. In other words,
they fall prey to a little bit of imagination, or they'll take a
small report and make it into a big item ... plus the pressure
of the people around them."

Keith Wolverton probably doesn't think of himself as a rural
law-enforcement official; he's stationed in Great Falls, the
largest city in Montana, although there's a lot of rural ranch
land in Cascade County. But Wolverton believes *something* is
going on that can't be explained away easily. Wolverton is a
sheriff's captain - "an experienced lawman and the officer in
charge of investigating reports of cattle mutilations, UFOs and
hairy creatures." That's according to a paperback book, *Mystery
Stalks the Prairie*, published last year by the T.H.A.R.
Institute, Raynesford, Mont. Authors: Roberta Donovan and Keith
Solverton, investigator of cattle mutilations, UFOs and hairy
creatures.

Tell us, captain - have you ever witnessed anything unusual
yourself?

"Yes."

Such as?

"it's in the book .. the price is $5.95."

We'll get back to you, captain.

William Quinn, a veterinary pathologist at the Montana
Department of Lifestocks diagnostic laboratory at Bozeman, about
200 miles south of Great Falls, knows Solverton. Knows him well.
Matter of fact, some people from the Bozeman lab had a meeting
recently with Wolverton and others in the Cascade County
sheriff's department, trying to get them to trust the
scientists.

"I don't know if they mistrust us," said Quinn. "They certainly
don't appreciate our opinion. But I don't know why they would
think we would have any reason to lie to them.

"What happens is that they (sheriff's department) get called out
in the field to make an investigation. They look at this (dead
animal) and they find that this is extremely unusual. The
farmer's standing there with them and he says, 'This is
extremely unusual.' He's never seen anything like that before.

"So they write it up as 'an extremely unusual, unknown incident'
and they call it cattle mutilation. And it's just left at that
point.

"So we come on and we say, 'hold it.' We feel that, to make the
investigation complete, you should have done a complete autopsy
on the animal ... So what happens is that when we come in with
an opinion that we don't agree with them, what they read that as
is as hostility toward their ability to do an investigation.

"And we're only saying that we only do a part of the
investigation. When it comes to the investigation as far as
tracks, or mysterious circumstances in the area, anything like
that, we leve it up to you ... as far as the people in the black
robes and the lights and the helicopter, they could handle
that."

What, then is going on?

"It is our opinion that it's caused by predators, or carrion-
eating animals, small carnivores.

"We don't know exactly what animal may be involved. We're
thinking along the lines of skunks, rodents, carrion-eating
birds such as magpies, perhaps fox, maybe an occasional coyote.

"We get down to the point that we can't identify it - at least,
we can't say that specifically we say a particular animal, a
species, doing it. And so they say, 'Ah-ha! You don't know.'"

It comes down to the same thing over and over again - the men
from the sheriffs' departments and the ranchers believe there's
*something* unusual going on, but the state-level officials and
scientists say it's the work of predators and healthy
imaginations. Even those few animals actually carved on by
humans were dead from disease or other natural means before they
were mutilated, the scientists say.

But there are interesting discrepancies. One man who performed
dozens of autopsies in one western state said there were many
more man-made mutilations than a state official would admit.
Here's what that man, who asked to remain anonymous, said:

"The first two or three cases we had, the cuts were symmetrical.
The entire udder and the vulva and vagina and the anus had been
removed in a completely symmetrical type of incision in which
the hair had also been cut, so we knew it was with a sharp
object. These were the first two or three we saw.

"After that, they were just bits and pieces. We'd find some with
an ear cut off, or we'd find one that had been just split down
the midline and the viscera emptied out ...

"So it looked like somebody may have started a pattern
somewhere, and then everybody tried to jump on the bandwagon,
whether it was a farm kid or somebody was disgruntled with the
sheriff and decided to give him a hard time and create a
mutilation or something. I don't know. But this is kind of the
pattern it seemed to follow."

Who would do something like this?

"He must have been, oh, perverted in his way of thinking and
looking for something to do, to create a furor, much like a
person who starts a house fire or something.

"When you look at the poor people, the meek people, they have so
little to be proud of and talk about, it's just amazing to me
that there aren't more things like this done. What does a bakery
worker do, or a ditch digger do, to let his fate be known, you
know? So I think you get one of them that's just a little bit
perverted, and you can expect all kinds of things.

"I think somebody's probably still kind of laughing up their
sleeve every time they see an article or read about it. I just
feel somebody's saying, "Boy, we sure got them going, didn't
we?'"

In most area, the mutilations - or whatever they are - stopped
as winter came. ("I guess those coyotes aren't hungry this time
of year," one lawman said sarcastically.)

Their legacy? A lot of good stories to tell around the kitchen
table or at the local bar, for one thing. For another, some
enduring bad blood between mostly rural law enforcement
officials and the "science-types."

Case in point: William Fitch, an investigator for the Arizona
Livestock Sanitary Board, says, "There was nothing to it." Which
ruffles C. Arthur Lee's feathers, and C. Arthur Lee is the
sheriff of Apache County up in the northeastern corner of
Arizona. He says he had about a dozen mutilations.

"Now Bill Fitch and I," Lee said, "had kind of a little battle
in the (local) press over the cause of death on the animals. He
attributed it to predators.

"But, now, a strange fact about some of these animals is that
there was very little of the carcasses that was eaten. On a
couple of them, there was no predator activity whatsoever - no
crows, coyotes, that consume these parts normally.

"And I talked to a lot of the cattlemen in the area that have
been, oh, like second and third generation cattle ranchers, and
older folks, and they don't concur with Bill Fitch, and neither
do I."

He said he finally stopped calling in the sate officials when he
had a suspected mutilation.

"It was because they were trying to brand us alarmists, nuts,
whatever, I got quite put out with the lifestock sanitary board
and the lab.

"I know one investigator in one state who was getting the same
thing out of his lab: these are all predator-ravaged carcasses.
I'd rather not say (where), because of what I'm going to tell
you next.

"He purposefully mutilated one himself that he'd found dead that
was not mutilated, and sent it to the lab and they sent him the
same song and dance: Predator-ravaged carcass. So he knows, you
know, that they don't want to bother with them.

"It would make my job much simpler, you know, if I could tell
the cattlemen, 'Predators are getting them.' But they know
better.

Lee's story about the investigator who did a little mutilating
of his own, it turned out, had come from his undersheriff,
Robert C. Gilchrist. And Gilchrist was absolutely sure he'd
heard it from none other than Keith Wolverton - the Cascade
County, Mont., lawman in charge of cattle mutilations, UFOs and
hairy creatures. The one who wrote the book. Trouble is,
Wolverton denies the story. Vehemently.

Fact or fiction? If there really are mutilations, and if those
mutilations really are just a perverted prank, then the
perpetrator is one of this century's most successful pranksters.

If he's still alive.

As we said earlier, there are some who wonder if old-fashioned
Western justice didn't take care of a mutilator or two; gun-
toting ranchers were threatening just that in 1975, when
publicity was the greatest. Here's a story one veterinarian
tells about a rural sheriff who brought a dead animal to him:

"This happened to be one that was a mutilation case, so I told
him, 'Boy, I'd sure like to get my hands on the guy who was so
perverted as to do this, because I'm afraid for the general
public. I'm afraid they might decide it's not exciting enough to
do this on an animal - maybe they'll try it on a human being.'

"He ruffled up, unclipped him .45 on his hip, pulled it out and
he said, 'If I ever find one, you'll never get a chance to talk
to him.'"


Terry W. Colvin
Sierra Vista, Arizona



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