The Great Falls Tribune reports that cattle mutilations have returned to Montana. The same bizarre mutilations occurred on ranches in the area 20 years ago and local law enforcement agencies are still baffled. There were rumors about UFOs, cults and government conspiracies. The mutilations stopped in the 1990s, but this summer they began again.

Fifteen years ago, Conrad rancher Everett King discovered the remains of one of his cattle that had died mysteriously and now it?s happening again. The way the cow?s right eye and ear were cut off in October made it look as though a surgeon had sliced into it. It?s reproductive organs were cored as well. What is most unusual, however, is that two months later the carcass lies untouched, right where King found it. ?Predators won’t eat it,? says King. ?It should have been cleaned up and gone a long time ago.?

?They skinned off the belly from her front legs to her back legs all the way around,? says Pondera County Sheriff?s Deputy Dan Campbell. ?The complete bag was removed.?

Other ranchers have reported four mutilations between June and August. Since then, there have been 11 more, and investigators are still searching for answers. The last few mutilations occurred within three miles of each other, about 10 or 15 miles west of Conrad.

In October, members of the New Miami Colony, 18 miles west of Conrad, discovered two mutilated cows at the same time, about 30 yards apart. Most of the cows had the skin scraped off their faces. Often, the tongue, one eye and all or part of an ear had been removed. Part of the udder usually was cut off, as well as the genitals. And in most cases, the anus had been cored. Most of the cows were 4 or 5 years old, and one was missing its teeth.

One mutilated cow looked like it had been burned. Another seemed to have bruises around its neck as though it had been strangled. One had a long cut with a perfectly ridged edge, as though the hide had been sliced with a tool similar to pinking shears. In most cases, no tracks or footprints were detected around the animals? bodies, even in mud or snow. In the late 1970s, there were so many mutilations in southwestern states that the federal government investigated. In a report reminiscent of the Project Bluebook report on UFOs, the resulting 300-page report concluded that animal predators were responsible.

They didn?t convince Campbell or Sheriff?s Deputy Dick Dailey. Cuts on the cows are often circular or oval and seem to be made with surgical precision. The animals seem to bloat faster than normal, and their missing hide doesn?t reflect the work of predators. Campbell says, ?I?ve never seen an animal eat just the face off a cow when there?s lots of other stuff to go after.?

A misconception is that the cows have been drained of blood. Natural coagulation only makes it look like the fluids have been drained, Dailey says. He spent several nights this fall camped out in dark fields, trying to catch the culprit in the act. He has reviewed all the facts and checked out dozens of websites looking for answers. ?I?ve read everything I can read on it, and I really don?t know what in the heck it is,? he says.

In September, Jim VandenBos discovered the body of a 2-year-old Angus worth $850 lying dead in his pasture. The right side of its face was skinned, and the exposed jawbone was so smooth it looked like it had been polished. Its tongue was cut off along with its right ear, eye and reproductive organs. A round patch of skin on its shoulder was hard like plastic. Again, coyotes stayed away from the corpse and even other cattle wouldn?t go near it.

VandenBos remembers the last wave of mutilations well. ?It?s kind of a spooky thing,? he says. ?I haven?t worried about it too much because it’s something I can?t control – but I?d like to find an explanation.?

In October, a 750-pound steer owned by Glen and Ruby Bouma was killed, three miles west of Conrad. ?There was a little trail of grass pushed up like it was shoved up underneath it,? Ruby Bouma says. The hide was missing from the calf?s stomach and its reproductive organs were gone, but there were no tracks, no bullet holes and no claw marks. The calf was almost a year old and was worth about $600.

A local vet said it died of dust pneumonia, but Glen and Ruby have their doubts. ?That?s possible, because it?s so dry,? says Ruby, ?But I think we would have known if it was sick. We took special notice because it was one of two calves that were like pets to us. It would come up and smell your hand or your pantleg.? Like the other mutilated cows, it?s being left alone by predators.

Despite rumors about the U.S. Air Force or aliens being behind the mutilations, Ruby says, ?I?m sorry, but I personally think it?s somebody local … that?s doing it for kicks.? she said.

Local investigators have had trouble gathering evidence. The mutilated cattle aren?t always found right away, and after two or three days, they are badly decomposed. In the summer, carcasses rot faster and often go undiscovered for weeks. ?We have to fight time,? Campbell says. ?We?re hoping that this time of year, ranchers are gathering and feeding every day so we?ll get a better jump on them and come up with some more clues.?

Campbell and Dailey have chopped the head off a mutilated cow, packed it in dry ice and shipped it to the National Institute for Discovery Science in Las Vegas. This privately funded institute pays scientists and retired police officers to investigate bizarre phenomena including mutilations and UFO sightings. A spokesman from the institute said researchers are nearly finished with their study and will be sending a copy of the report to the Pondera County sheriff?s office in a couple of weeks. ?If they could come up with something, that would really help us,? Dailey says.

?I just can’t believe little men are coming from outer space,? says Conrad resident Jack Rowekamp. ?But I guess you never know.?

Linda Howe will interview Pondera County Sheriff?s Deputy Dan Campbell on our January 12 Dreamland show. To keep up with her latest updates on the story, go To learn more about cattle mutilations, read ?Glimpses of Other Realities, Vol. II? by Linda Howe,click here.

To learn about the work of theNational Institute for Discovery Science,click here.

To read the Great Falls Tribune story, click here.

To read the story of the mutilated cow pictured above, click here.

NOTE: This news story, previously published on our old site, will have any links removed.

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