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The term "mutilation" is used to describe animal corpses with "unusual" or "inexplicable" features by UFO devotees and those who think our countryside is plagued by Satanic cults in search of animals for rituals. What counts as "unusual" or "inexplicable" is just about any cut, mark, wound, excision, incision, swelling, distention, abrasion, contusion, scrape, bruise, or organ or blood absence. These "mutilations," we are told, are being done by bad aliens or bad devil worshippers. No one has shown either that there are thousands of inexplicable animal deaths around the globe or that, if there are, they are related, much less that they are the result of alien experimentation or satanic cult activity. These facts, however, are no deterrent to those who are sure we are not alone and that Satan is everywhere. To these true believers, Satanists or visitors from other worlds are not only responsible for the deaths and mutilations of thousands of cattle, horses, cats, and other domestic animals around the globe, they are also responsible for numerous human abductions for the purpose of sacrifice (by the Satanists) or experimental and reproductive surgery (by the aliens). Furthermore, some of these aliens are destroying crops around the globe in an effort to impress us with their artistic abilities or to communicate to us in strange symbols just how much they like our planet's cattle.
The belief that aliens or Satanists have been killing and mutilating thousands of animals is supported by little more than an argument to ignorance: Since there is a lack of evidence that they aren't responsible for the deaths or the post mortem conditions of the animals, it follows that the aliens and Satanists are responsible. Defenders of this view reject the notion that there could be an earthly and naturalistic explanation. They are convinced that aliens need cow blood and organs for their experiments and that Satanists need bodies or body parts for their rituals. What seems most convincing to the true believers is that "wounds" or missing organs—such as the tongue and the genitalia—seem completely inexplicable to them in any but mysterious terms, i.e., alien or Satanic surgeons. Naturalistic explanations in terms of diseases and predators (skunks, buzzards, weasels, etc.), insects (such as blowflies and maggots), or birds are to no avail, even though the most thorough examination of so-called cattle mutilations concluded there was nothing mysterious that needed explaining (Rommel 1980). It is useless to note that insects and animals often devour the vulnerable mucous membranes and the softer parts of dead animals such as the genitalia, instead of trying to burrow through the cowhide. It is pointless to note that incisions to a carcass by the teeth of predators or scavengers often resemble knife cuts. It is pointless to note that bloating often leads to skin splitting in straight lines resembling incision and exposing internal organs. It is of no use to point out that there is little or no blood oozing from the wounds because blood settles, the heart does not pump when an animal is dead, and insects devour the blood that does spill out. And it is certainly pointless to describe the experiment done by the Washington County (Arkansas) Sheriff's Department. They placed a dead cow in a field and had observers watch what happened over the next 48 hours. When they reported that bloating led to incision-like tears in the skin and that blowflies and maggots had cleaned out the soft tissue so that the carcass looked exactly like those that had been attributed to aliens or satanic cultists, they were generally ignored by the community of true believers.
Typical of the alien surgeon accounts is that given in An Alien Harvest (1989) by Linda Moulton Howe, which includes photographs of wounds described as weird, bizarre, suspicious and inexplicable. She claims that her photos reveal
for the first time that tissue gathered from mutilator cuts in Arkansas on March 11, 1989, revealed the following characteristics under microscopic examination: 1) The line is pinpoint thin; 2) The line was subjected to high heat, probably 300 degrees Fahrenheit or above, leaving a hard and darkened edge; 3) The cuts were made rapidly, probably in two minutes or less, because there is no inflammatory cell destruction which typically begins in a few minutes after any trauma to tissue (See contrasting photomicrographs).
The photographs are considered to be "scientific proof" of unnatural happenings, even though the scientific community considers such photos to be of little significance. Even if the photos are not doctored, they need no explanation in terms of alien surgeons. But there is no point in suggesting anything earthly as probably being responsible for the cattle deaths or conditions, since those explanations have already been ruled out by such experts as Howe. The wounds are too weird, the lack of blood too bizarre, the coincidences too many, they say, for any naturalistic explanation.
Besides, if there were earthly explanations, one could not invoke the favored government conspiracy theory to juice up the story. Cattle mutilations are not only associated with UFO sightings, alien abductions, and crop circles, they are linked to black helicopter sightings as well. This suggests to the well-trained conspiratorial mind that our military forces are testing new weapons on the livestock of unsuspecting citizen ranchers. It shouldn't surprise anyone to find that the military thinks it is OK to experiment on cattle surreptitiously, since they've done it on people in the past. Another possibility, according to UFOlogists, is that the helicopters are UFOs disguised to appear as terrestrial craft. Some even think that the aliens have been in collusion with the Air Force for the past 30 years and that the animal mutilations are being performed by aliens with the full knowledge of our military. We allow it because of some sort of treaty the U.S. government supposedly signed with the aliens. You would think that such intelligent beings might have worked out a better arrangement.
Of course, inquiring minds want to know why beings with the intelligence and power to travel billions of miles to our planet would spend their time mutilating cows, experimenting on otherwise unremarkable people, or carving up wheat fields. They need cow blood and glands for food and experiments. They are harvesting enzymes and are working on a genetic engineering project that will blend the Gray race (the aliens) with a Nordic race so they can interface with humans better. They are altering cow DNA to create some sort of artificial life form. They are carving up wheat fields with ever more elaborate designs to impress upon us how intelligent they are. Why would they come here and behave so preposterously? They're aliens and are beyond our comprehension. Nothing is preposterous for beings who are beyond our comprehension.
books and articles
Hitt, Jack "Operation Moo," Gentleman's Quarterly, February 1997. And the review by Linda Howe's premier defender, Mark Williams.
Huston, Peter.Scams from the Great Beyond : How to Make Easy Money Off of Esp, Astrology, Ufos, Crop Circles, Cattle Mutilations, Alien Abductions, Atlantis, Channeling, and other New Age Nonsense (Paladin Press, 1997).
Kagan, Daniel and Ian Summers. Mute Evidence (Bantam Books, 1984).
Owen, Nancy H.
(1980). Preliminary analysis of the impact of livestock mutilations on
rural Arkansas communities. Report to the Arkansas Endowment for the
Perkins, David. Altered Steaks : a Colloquium on the Cattle Mutilation Question, participants: David Perkins (aka "Izzy Zane"), Lewis MacAdams, Tom Clark, (Santa Barbara, Calif. :Am Here Books/Immediate Editions, 1982). This book is hard to find. The UC Santa Barbara library has a copy in the Special Collections (PS3553.L29 Z3 P47, 1982 Special Col)
Stewart, J. "Cattle Mutilations," Zetetic (now Skeptical Inquirer, Spring/Summer 1977 (vol 1 no. 2).
Operation Mutilation: The Official Report by Jon Elliston