MYSTERY WIRE — Over the past few years, ranchers in Oregon have been bewildered by the bizarre mutilations of multiple cattle.

More than 10,000 similar incidents have been reported all over the United States dating back at least 50 years. Animals are carved up with surgical precision. And no one has ever been caught.

Mystery Wire and George Knapp have been investigating animal mutilation mysteries for more than 30 years. This story combines television investigative reports from 2008, 2000, 1998, and a 1990 interview with investigative journalist Linda Moulton Howe, one of the first people to bring the animal mutilation events to the public.


The most recent outbreak of carved-up cows sent a chill through the ranching communities of the Pacific Northwest.

One unfortunate animal had assorted body parts removed, then was placed in an odd position it could not have assumed on its own.

The animal mutilation mystery first came to prominence in western states half a century ago but there have been cases pretty much everywhere, and cattle are not the only targets.

Different culprits have been blamed including coyotes, cultists, and UFOs.

One case happened within 100 feet of a ranch style home in Las Vegas without anyone noticing anything, and in a manner that baffled veterinarians.

How is it possible that no one is investigating what amounts to thousands of felony crimes?

In the 1990’s, Biochemist Dr. Colm Kelleher worked for a think tank founded by billionaire Robert Bigelow, which did investigate animal mutilation cases. 

“There’s no obvious indication that this would have anything to do with food,” said Colm Kelleher. “The beef is never touched except on rare occasions.”

Kelleher worked for the National Institute for Discovery Science (NIDS) based in Las Vegas, the only scientific organization in the country that, at the time, was seriously pursuing the mutilation mystery.

The institute invites ranchers to call and report mutilations. Teams are then dispatched, samples are taken and analyzed.

“Nobody has been charged, nobody has been caught,” Kelleher said. “Now, you expect people eventually to make mistakes. You expect people, you know, drinking in a bar, they start boasting about what they’ve been doing. There is somebody out there who is highly-skilled in surgery using sharp instruments. They’ve been doing animal mutilations.”

In the late 1990’s someone or something had crept into the fields of a ranch near Battle Mountain and carved up cattle with surgical precision. These incidents happened at least seven times.

Lander County lawmen are as baffled as their counterparts around the country. They had few clues, no motive and no suspects.

An official from the Lander County Sheriff’s Office said the incidents “could be considered rustling.” But investigations revealed no evidence about what happened or how it happened.

An official said there were no tracks, no signs of a disturbance, no blood and the cuts were very unusual – not the type associated with predators

Former state Senator Floyd Lamb ranched in nearby Lincoln County for most of his life. Twice, his prize bulls were taken, cut up and dumped by unknown perpetrators. Several of his neighbors were also victimized.

That’s a crazy thing,” Lamb said. “I don’t know what that is but they’ll take a bull, a male bull and cut him all up and dissect him and I don’t know what, I don’t know. I don’t understand that. Some kook.”

A kook who can immobilize large animals without making any noise, slice them up, drain them of blood, leave no tracks, then disappear.

FBI files on animal mutilations

The person has probably done more research on the topic than any other is journalist Linda Moulton Howe.

Howe earned a master’s degree in filmmaking from Stanford University specialized in documentaries about science, medicine and the environment in major television markets. It was while working for the CBS affiliate in Denver, that she first began hearing about bizarre mutilations of cattle and other animals.

Related: Linda Moulton Howe’s YouTube channel

It was 31 years ago when George Knapp sat down with Howe to talk mainly about cattle mutilations on the television show called “On the Record” that aired on KLAS-TV in Las Vegas, NV.