Five prize bulls from an Oregon ranch were found dead in late July, with each carcass showing classic signs of the mysterious phenomenon known as cattle mutilation. Authorities are investigating the case under the assumption that the animals were killed by humans for unknown reasons, although they currently have no leads or suspects.

The animals, valued at $7,000 each, were discovered in late July, two on the 30th, and 3 more on the 31st, and were estimated to have been dead for at least 2 to 3 days before they were found. The three investigating authorities—the Harney County Sheriff’s Office, the Oregon State Police and the Malheur National Forest Emigrant Creek Ranger District—all have no leads and cannot determine a cause of death.

The carcasses were found bloodless, with their anus, scrotum, testicles and tongues removed. One bull was also missing its penis and the tip of one ear. A metal detector scan revealed that the bodies had no bullets in them; no poisonous plants were found in the vicinity, and the National Weather Service reports that there were no major lightning storms in the area that could have killed the bulls. Additionally, no tracks were found in the area, and no signs of a struggle were present, with no rope burns on trees, no scattered hoof prints, strangulation marks, or splattered blood found. The bulls, according to Colby Marshall, vice president of Silvies Valley Ranch that owned the bulls, says that they look like they simply fell over and died.

Although the Oregon Cattlemens Association (OCA) says that the missing body parts are typically the first choice of predators and scavengers such as wolves and coyotes, Harney County Sheriff’s Office Deputy Dan Jenkins says that the wounds show no evidence of being chewed on, but appear to have been clean-cut.

“The parts were definitely cut out with a sharp blade,” according to Jenkins. “There weren’t any signs of predatory eating or chewing. They were cut out by at least one person.”

The authorities are proceeding under the assumption that the deaths were caused by humans, either individuals that are looking to hurt the ranchers financially, or cultists using the livestock in sacrificial rituals. The OCA has issued a $1,000 reward for information leading to an arrest, and the Silvies Valley Ranch itself is offering a $25,000 reward for information leading to the conviction.  

Despite the lack of evidence regarding whom (or what) might have killed the bulls, Marshall is advising ranchers and other people in the area to be careful, assuming that the killings were perpetrated by people.

“This is a very dangerous situation,” warns Marshall. “I want people to be extra careful to protect themselves and their livestock. It makes me sick that our gentle bulls were killed and mutilated in this way.” Marshall also reports that other ranchers have contacted him with stories of similar mutilations.

A wave of cattle mutilations in the late 1970s prompted public concern, with an estimated 8,000 mutilations occurring in Colorado alone, according to the New Mexico State Police. reporter and editor Linda Moulton Howe produced the 1980 documentary A Strange Harvest for Denver’s KMGH-TV, outlining her investigation into what might have been behind the wave mysterious mutilations. Linda Moulton Howeis a long-time contributor and host to Whitley Strieber’s Dreamland podcast, with an extensive archive of shows available to Unknown Country subscribers.
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  1. This is disturbing. Are there people this deranged to go to the effort to mutilate other people’s animals? What are they gaining from this? Publicity?

    I was in Washington over the summer and every evening the news was covering stories about cat mutilations in Everett.

    Definitely, there are some strange things going on. I have a hard time understanding people’s motives behind this.

    1. This question is, for many, the core of the reasoning behind the idea that it’s not humans doing this, but someone with motives that we’re unaware of, or perhaps can’t comprehend. If it were satanic cults, there would have been evidence pointing toward this, and there would have at least been some arrests made, but nothing has emerged on that front.

      The Colorado Bureau of Investigation Deputy Director addresses the idea of a government agency perpetrating these crimes in LMH’s A Strange Harvest:

      This leaves us with the probability that the perpetrators are non-human. Indeed, the only mutilations witnessed thus far involved UFOs and non-human entities, and suggest that it’s being done for the purposes of radionuclide monitoring (again, see LMH’s “ASH” for further details)…

  2. Seems like no one is able to give a likely scenario where the result is an absence of blood with the precision cutting. I remember LMH descibing cat mutilations too though I don’t remember if it was done with similar results . I learned to turn down the volume until I was sure she had moved on to another topic.

  3. This is what LMH said to me in an email regarding this subject last year and I have heard her discuss this topic numerous times as has Whitley.

    “It’s been nearly 2 full centuries of bloodless animal mutilations around this planet and not a single human has ever been arrested and arraigned on a charge of being a perpetrator. And yet “human civilization” never gets past that it must be “a deranged individual.”

  4. I wonder if there were any ground indentations as though they’d been dropped from a distance.

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