by Shirley Parrish
Florida officially joined the ranks of the cattle mutilation mystery when, on March 28, 1997, the State of Florida formed a task force to investigate the macabre wounds that have been left on the carcasses of more than 20 head of cattle in the central part of the state. According to Florida Today, a Brevard county newspaper, Brevard, Seminole, Lake and St. Lucie counties have all been hit with cattle mutilations since July, 1996. None of the usual suspects, writer Billy Cox of Florida Today states - UFOs, satanic cults and unmarked black helicopters - have ever been apprehended.
A $1,000 reward, offered by the Florida Cattlemen's Association for the arrest and conviction of the killers, remains unclaimed. A sheriff who has been investigating similar events in Colorado since the 1970s said, "I'll be on the first jet down" as soon as an arrest is made. The April issue of The Florida Cattleman magazine warned ranchers not to handle mutilated cattle because "unknown persons have been poisoning (them)." That theory is offered somewhat lamely in order to avoid jeopardizing the investigation, according to the newspaper.
Eyewitnesses sometimes report unidentified lights in the night skies near areas where mutilated cattle are later found. Linda Moulton Howe, who has been investigating such animal mutilations for more than twenty years, reports that the cattle typically leave few signs of struggle; microscopic analysis of bovine tissue and grasses found near the animals sometimes show cellular alterations consistent with exposure to microwave radiation which indicates advanced technology. Ms. Howe investigated more than 200 cattle mutilations over an 18-month period in two Colorado counties and from that investigation created her Emmy-award winning documentary, Strange Harvest. She has also written two books on as many as 10,000 mutilations, which have occurred in every state in the union and are now "a worldwide phenomenon."
Lt. Buck DeCoteau of the Palm Bay Police Department has investigated animal deaths caused by satanic cultists or "alternative religion" practitioners. "They're constantly killing chickens, goats and pigs," he says, "but cattle in the middle of a pasture - that's news to me. Cattle are hard to handle. They're big and bulky and they can't be easily transported."
By February, 1997, five Brevard county cattle had been mutilated in the manner so familiar to those who have followed this phenomenon: missing tongues, eyes, ears, udders, anuses and genitalia. Organs which have been extracted through circular holes show little or no evidence of bleeding, indicating surgical procedures may have been performed by a laser-like instrument or some other very sharp scalpel.
However, after his retirement from the FBI, Ken Rommel, of Santa Fe, New Mexico, conducted his own investigation of the mysterious cattle deaths. In 1980 he released his report titled "Operation Animal Mutilation: Report of the District Attorney [whose office funded the report], First Judicial District, State of New Mexico." Mr. Rommel concluded his report by stating that "natural factors explain the mutilations." (Thus, we are all reassured that we need not fear that "something out there" is killing cattle all over the planet in a mysterious manner, and that these deaths are from entirely explicable natural causes. Therefore, we can sleep at night without fear that "something" is causing uncontrolled loss of our resources. Right?)
Mr. Rommel emphatically stated that such mutilation reports are "garbage" and "a media story." His explanation is that cows die all the time from aging, disease, lightning, or ingesting poisonous plants. Their bodies are frequently predated upon by birds that "eat away at the soft tissue." Ravenous blowflies are hungry enough to make even tongues disappear, he asserts, and post-mortem expansion of internal gases can literally blow holes through soft bovine bellies. These explosive gases undoubtedly, he continues, cause the serrated edges around the holes. Lack of blood can be attributed to pooling and drying long before discovery of the carcass. Birds and blowflies, of course, leave no tracks, which explains why none are found near the dead cattle.
"People who lead dull and boring lives like to fantasize about things they don't understand," he said.
Billy Kempfer, a Melbourne rancher, strongly disagreed with Mr. Rommel. "There's something very weird going on here. Whoever is doing this is making very, very precise cuts with a scalpel or some other very sharp instrument. Buzzards do not remove a tongue at its base. Buzzards do not remove ears," he said after he had talked to a rancher who discovered one of his cows while the carcass was still warm. "That guy (Rommel) is full of (it)," Billy snorted.
Many of the cattle are found with every bone in their body broken, as if they had been dropped from a considerable height. Some of the ranchers have reported seeing black, noiseless "helicopters" with opaque windows before or after the site where cattle have later been found mutilated on their property. One cowboy fired his shotgun at a helicopter that touched down in a pasture; the mutilations stopped on that ranch.
Recently, Linda Moulton Howe had developed a protocol to have ranchers send grass samples to W.C. Levengood in Grass Lake, Michigan for evaluation. Semi-retired and a former faculty member of the University of Michigan's Institute of Science and Technology, his research on grains affected inside crop circles has been published in two peer review science journals. Ninety percent of the grass samples that he's studied that have been gathered from mutilation sites show significant alterations in the mitochondria, the rod-like structures that regulate plant respiration. The closer the grass was to the animal, the more profound the changes.
Prominent Colorado pathologist John Altshuler, who has biopsied bovine tissue, dislikes the term "mutilation," because he says that word "implies random ripping and tearing. That's obviously not what's going on here," he says. "I call them bovine excision sites. There's a precision at work here." He reports in Linda Moulton Howe's book "Glimpses of Other Realities" that "vacuolar changes . . . result from tissue cooking or exposure to high temperatures probably above 300 degrees F." He continues, "Taking all the microscopic findings into account, one would have to conclude that the surgical procedure performed on these animals took place quickly, probably in a minute or two, and utilized high temperature heat (e.g., laser) as a cutting source applied on a fine probe or cutting instrument."
The "No Trespassing" signs posted by area ranchers have failed to keep their cattle safe. Nothing in any other state has worked, either, except for the cowboy who took pot shots at the "helicopter." The reward offered by the Florida Cattlemen's Association has produced no claimants; the cattle continue to die by "unknown" means. The "experts" - some in one camp, others in an opposite camp - continue to huff and puff at each other and at the public. There seem to be no answers to the grisly deaths, nor remedies. Those who investigate want "more evidence" before making statements. Many investigators have given up and given in to new positions that don't tolerate such "far out" activities.
Where does that leave the security of the rest of us?