Eyebrows slightly raised, slowly shaking his head. “There’s some weird shit out there man,” sighed the friend seated across from me.
Now, it could have been any one of varying Fortean topics we tend to find ourselves contemplating. However, on this particular day, the subject that inspired my friend’s exasperated, yet whimsical, response, just so happened to be the topic of cattle mutilations.
Though clearly anomalous, I concede cattle mutilations haven’t ever really been a focal point of my interests in the world of the unknown. Full disclosure, as an objectively skeptical open-minded investigator of the anomalous - cattle mutilations have always been a peculiarly problematic subject for me to tackle. In truth, the reasons I’ve never waded out of the kiddy pool and into the deep waters of these mysterious cattle deaths, likely shares in the reasons animal mutilation research is such sparsely filled niche among paranormal enthusiasts.
Unlike, UFOs, ghost, cryptids, or any other manner of supernatural incursions to our established reality- there’s very little ambiguity to cattle mutilations. As one stares at the dismembered remains of a once thriving bovine, only the “who” and “why” remain, as there is simply no denying-
THIS REALLY HAPPENED.
At its fundamental level, all human stress can be traced to the mortal desire to maintain an illusion of control over an inherently chaotic existence surrounding us. So long as we can understand, measure, and observe something, we feel as if we are afforded a semblance of control. As this relates to the topic of cattle mutilations; the inability to answer “who?” or “why?” can end up destroying this illusion of control and suddenly one can feel very vulnerable.
Even feeble attempts to answer the “who” and “why” of Cattle Mutilations causes one to come face-to-face with a strange, violent and sadistic image of an anomalous archetype trickster.
Take for instance, a 2008 nationwide survey of bovine practitioners, by the National Institute of Discovery Sciences (NIDS), which found 85% of reported cases involved the removal of a cow’s genitalia. Not far behind (no pun intended), in 75% of cases cattle were found to have had their anuses surgically removed. Clearly, not content with just collecting anuses and genitals; research also demonstrates this mysterious perpetrator equally enjoys harvesting various organs and draining their bovine victims completely devoid of blood.
By examining the physical evidence left behind in cattle mutilations, one quickly realizes, the “who” and why” are inclusive, not mutually exclusive questions.
Extraterrestrials, Chupacabras, cryptids, shadowy government gone mad, or sadistic cult worshipers - “who” or “why” anyone would spend decades, possibly centuries, roaming the land to clandestinely collect cattle buttholes - is a rational that simply escapes the sane mind.
Even the most pragmatic efforts to explain the phenomena by a host of scientists, veterinary workers, and members of the cattle industry (“Bovine Practitioners” if your NIDS) have found themselves unable to explain away the totality of what is observed in the bulk of cattle mutilation cases – such as complete loss of blood, surgical cuts to the animals, oh and most importantly for me, that whole part about missing cow anuses and genitals.
Ever since September 27th, 1968, when the butchered remains of a horse named Lady (misidentified as Snippy by the media) brought the subject of animal mutilations to the forefront of American collective consciousness; our current understanding of this strange phenomena is no better than the concluding remarks of FBI Agent Kenneth Rommel’s 297 page investigative report: “…mutilations were predominantly the result of natural predication, but that some contained anomalies that could not be accounted for by conventional wisdom.”
Unfortunately, I’m unable to find out for certain from Agent Rommel if indeed it was the whole part about cut out anuses and genitals that derailed conventional wisdom for the FBI. So Instead, I decided to cast my freedom of information request net out into the waters of local law enforcement to see what I might be able to turn up.
Once again, I wasn’t disappointed…
Twenty-seven pages of incident and investigative reports from the Hall County Sheriff’s Office detail one cattle rancher’s yearlong battle with a mysterious “predator” that killed and mutilated over 20 beef cows on his 200-plus acre north Georgia farm from 2009 to 2010.
The first reported cattle death to the Hall County Sheriff’s Office appears to have occurred on October 18, 2009. In this initial report, a Deputy Sheriff details “all lower organs” being removed from a “Sharla cross Bull calf.” In the report, the Deputy notes that no holes consistent with a bullet entry wound were located on the deceased cow. The Deputy does, however, note the presence of a “dark spot” on the cow’s neck. Upon inspection the Deputy states the dark pot “turned out to be oil (black).” Two feet from the calf’s body, on the ground, was another dark “oil” spot, which the Deputy notes as smelling like “motor oil.” Adding intrigue to the mysterious presence of black oil on and near the calf, the Deputy details that two gates leading to where the calf was found were locked, and “no one could drive a vehicle in.”
According to an investigative report, the October 18th death of the calf was assigned to a Hall County Sheriff’s Office Detective. By November 17, 2009, after canvasing the neighborhood for clues and following up on several rumors the detective felt he’d exhausted all leads and the case was placed on Open/Inactive status.
Reports show on May 1, 2010, the same rancher called the Hall County Sheriff’s Office back, only this time he reported five of his cows had been killed and mutilated. Though details are sparse, the Deputy notes in his report that one of the cows had the udder “completely removed” and another had its heart taken out. In the investigative follow-up, the rancher told a detective the five dead cows were found in the same area of the pasture that “other cows” mutilated bodies had been found in the past. By this statement one can assume other remains of mutilated cows were found on the property since the October 2009 reporting. However, for various reasons it appears the rancher didn’t contact the authorities. Though speculation, its likely the rancher assumed it was futile to keep calling law enforcement until he discovered a total of five dead cows at one time. The futility of local law enforcement’s ability to solve an enigma that has eluded many people for decades is all but confirmed when the investigator assigned to the May 1st case closed out investigation same as the one before – “Open/Inactive” – three days later.
Four days after the investigation of the five dead cows was held in abeyance, the rancher once again called the Hall County Sheriff’s Office to report having found another cow deceased near a creek on the property. According to this May 8, 2010 report, the rancher stated, “it appears that the cow had just been poisoned within an hour or so of locating the cow.” No details are offered in the initial or investigative report that clarify what made the rancher conclude the cow had been poisoned. Since this death appeared to be fresh, the investigative report notes the rancher took the cow’s body to the University of Georgia for a necropsy to be performed. Unfortunately, the results of the necropsy were not provided to Sheriff’s Office, or they were not archived in the investigative file.
It appears that the rancher made no further reports to the Hall County Sheriff’s Office of his cattle being mutilated and killed. However, in researching this case beyond just the police reports, it can be assumed these events continued after the rancher’s May 8th report, as by September of 2010 the rancher and his family turned towards sharing their story with the media in hopes it might help them find who or what was responsible for killing their cattle.
In interviews with the news media, the cattle rancher’s wife provided details that were oddly excluded from the Hall County Investigative reports – such as saying, “They don’t leave blood or anything,” – “It’s almost like a surgical cut.” Not to disappoint followers of the NIDS research study, the rancher’s wife also told the media, “But after the cows are killed, their udders and genitals have been removed.”
Picking up where the Hall County Sheriff’s Office left us hanging, news media quoted the rancher as saying, “In May, when seven cows were killed in one week, veterinarians said one of the animals had been poisoned, but couldn’t identify what type of substance was used.”
The September news media reports generated lots of attention with news outlets such as major Atlanta area affiliates, CNN, and Coast to Coast radio. The last media article published on the events was by the Gainesville Times on October 20, 2010. Though the Gainesville Times headline suggested “Owners may be nearing answers to cow mutilation mystery,” the actual article says the biggest update to the case appeared to be “a number of experts” coming to visit the 200-plus acre farm.
The Gainesville Times article affirms the cattle found on the north Georgia ranch had their “udders or genitals cleanly removed with nearly surgical precision.” The final public quote by the rancher’s wife leaves us with the same conclusions that anyone who’s ever passingly examined the topic of cattle mutilations has always arrived at: “It is hard to image [sic] that something other than a person is doing this. You really can’t rule that (paranormal explanations) out because you don’t have proof one way or another. It’s hard for me to understand it, I can’t believe it.”
No further law enforcement or media reports have been published on the Hall County cattle mutilations of 2009 and 2010. It’s assumed sometime towards the end of 2010 these mysterious cattle deaths stopped. I reached out to the ranch owners in effort to obtain more details or determine when, or if, the cattle mutilations stopped on their property. Unfortunately, I did not hear back from them.
As mysterious and intriguing as cattle mutilations may be for some of the greater public. It’s important to remember, to the people who are seemingly senselessly losing these cows, this is a blow to their livelihood. Beyond any doubt, these cattle owners are innocent victims of a crime. Ultimately, I respect the fact that this Hall County rancher and his family didn’t answer my inquiry. It was a grim reality they were confronted with nine years ago and they may simply not like to relive it.
In examining these Hall County cattle mutilation cases, the only thing we can say we know for certain is “who” or “what” is committing these fundamentally criminal acts – seems to be a big fan of bovine blood, organs and genitals. Equally, either human, incorporeal, or extraterrestrial - whoever is committing these gruesome acts, seem to have exactly zero moral regard for their actions. In the end, this alone serves as a sobering reminder, we don’t understand, can’t measure, or are be able to observe everything contained in our existences. More bluntly...
We Aren’t Really in Control!
Alas, the Coyote – humanity’s archetype trickster – once again eludes our grasp. Though in the continued to pursuit of this enigmatic invader to our reality, next week I’ll share police reports and details that suggest, “who” or “what” was killing cows in Hall County from 2009-2010, didn’t really stop. Instead, “it” just moved about 15 minutes south, and by at least 2015, “it” resumed “its” sadistic bovine killing spree. Spoiler Alert – in “its” next public appearance, it looks like our elusive cattle killer went back to collecting anuses.
Until next week’s update, remember: “There’s some weird shit out there man.”
Lt. Tim McMillan (Ret.) is a retired law enforcement professional, who's served as a criminal investigator, crime scene technician, K9-handler, Patrol supervisor, and Assistant Patrol Commander. He is also a P.O.S.T.-certified law enforcement instructor and internationally recognized law enforcement expert by the Law Enforcement Action Partnership. Lt. McMillan (Ret.) holds B.A. degrees in Psychology and Mathematics - with a focus on cognitive psychology, perception and consciousness. He's been featured numerous documentary films, showcased by over 150 different media organizations in 27 different countries, and was a 2017 TEDx Talks speaker.
For more on Lt. Tim McMillan (Ret.) you can check out his website at www.LtTimMcMillan.com.