Cattle mutilations are back and Idaho is once again ground zero.
Monteview rancher Kyle Stoddard reported the deaths of two bulls to Clark County Sheriff Craig King Oct. 16. And it wasn’t wolves that killed the $2,000 animals.
The two bulls had apparently been tranquilized and their sex organs had been removed. Stoddard told the Idaho Falls Post Register he suspected some kind of ritual was behind the odd deaths.
It’s been a few years since Idahoans reported the strange practice in their backyard.
Cattle mutilations have been attributed to everything from satanic cults to aliens or the long-haired hippies down the road. The phenomena started getting attention in the 1970s when a rash of mutilations all over the West caused law enforcement officials to hold a big conclave in St. Anthony. The governor of Colorado issued a statement decrying the mutilations.
Since then, another cycle of reports erupts about every five or six years. Idaho’s last big one was in eastern Idaho in 1989-90 with more than 30 cases of mutilations reported from Bear Lake to Rigby. I last wrote about this in 1995 after a series of mutilations were reported in California and Oregon. I talked to two men who investigated mutilations in Idaho then.
In 1975-76, Idaho Department of Fish and Game warden Joe Curry, now retired, examined several cattle in Fremont County that were supposed to have been mutilated. He concluded they were killed by predators. ``I personally didn't see anything that looked like it was mutilated by a human being," Curry told me then.
Rigby veterinarian Ferrin Kinghorn responded to several reports of mutilated animals in 1990. He came to a similar conclusion. ``The ones I saw there could be a logical explanation," he said. ``But I don't want to leave the impression there aren't mutilations. I'm sure there have been some."
Boise native Linda Moulton Howe has become somewhat of an expert on the phenomena. She has been collecting reports on mysterious animal killings since the 1970s when she was a reporter for a Denver television station.
In her book ``An Alien Harvest," she says extraterrestrial aliens are responsible and that the federal government knows it. ``I've talked to dozens of eye-witnesses who have seen silver discs landing in their fields," she told me in 1995.
Moulton was a regular on Art Bell and is one of the best known researchers of strange phenomena. Her website, Earthfiles, is a fun read.
The reports come as a new poll shows that 34 percent of Americans believe in ghosts or UFOs. Who knows what really causes cattle mutilations.
But it's hard to say they aren't real.
Just ask Kyle Stoddard.
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