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NY Times Reports on Montana Cattle Mutes--Rationally

The relentlessly skeptical New York Times published an article on cattle mutilations on September 17 with the headline: ?Unsolved Mystery Resurfaces in Montana: Who?s Killing Cows.? It's an amazing step for this publication to admit that the cattle mutilations are an unsolved mystery and not simply the work of coyotes.

The article talks about the recent mutilations that have taken place in Montana, which have been reported by Linda Moulton Howe on Dreamland. Linda will be discussing mutilations again on Dreamland this Saturday, along with other subjects that she?s written about in her newly reissued book, ?Glimpses of Other Realities, Volume II.?

Eight cattle mutilations have been reported in Montana between June 12 and August 31st. The Times quotes rancher Mark Taliaferro as saying, ?It is not a natural death. When you see it, I tell you, it makes a believer out of you that something weird is going on.?

?We had a bunch of them,? says Pete Howard, Choteau County justice of the peace. He was sheriff when the mutilations first started occurring in the 1970s. ?I?ve lived in this county all my life and worked on ranches and seen plenty of dead animals, but never did I see an animal with its face mask removed like that.? In all the cases, part of the animal?s face, called the mask, was removed, along with reproductive organs. There is usually no blood, and predators will often not touch the carcass.

While some people still insist these cattle were killed by ordinary predators, these mysterious and savage mutilations have led others to speculate that the cattle, which can weigh nearly a ton, were killed by a band of satanic cultists, by UFOs or by secret military testing.

Dan Campbell, now the Pondera County sheriff?s deputy, says no vehicle tracks or footprints have been found around the animals. Cuts made to remove the tissue are very clean. ?There are smooth edges on those cuts,? he say. ?They are not bite marks.? ?This publicity is awful,? says Leland P. Cade, who was editor of The Montana Farmer Stockman in the 70s and wrote four articles about the killings. ?City people don?t know what?s going on, and they envision crazy people doing weird things to animals in the night.? Cade feels the cattle were probably killed by predators, who have been known to remove faces and organs. ?Now we have a brand-new crop of ignorant people who don?t know what goes on on the range,? he says.

Brian Schweitzer, a cattle rancher near Whitefish, Montana, ran for the U.S. Senate last year. He recently found one of his cows killed in the same way. ?The brand inspector said it was lightning,? he says, ?but there was no lightning that night. And it very much looked like those incisions were done with instruments. But I said fine, there?s a lot of things I can't explain.? He values the loss of one grown steer at about $850.

Keith Wolverton, a retired detective with the Cascade County sheriff's office, investigated 67 mutilation cases from 1974 to 1977. He says, ?I don't think little green men have come from another planet to kill cows.? Neither does he think the killings back then were the work of a cult, an angle he and other investigators pursued for a while, because ?someone always talks.?

One organization that takes the killing seriously is the National Institute for Discovery Science (NIDS), which is financed by Robert Bigelow. NIDS has studied cattle killings for six years. It receives six to eight reports a year, primarily from Western states and investigates the deaths using forensic techniques.

Colm Kelleher, a biochemist who is the deputy administrator of NIDS, says the only thing their research showed for sure was that ?someone is cutting up the animals with sharp instruments, and chemical substances are sometimes added.? One cow found dead in Utah had a hole in its head with the preservative BHT and formaldehyde in it. ?We don?t know [who?s doing this], and the last thing I would do is speculate,? Kelleher says. ?This field is full of speculation.?

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