85.3 F
75.6 F
78.9 F
73.1 F

Revisiting Alabama’s unsolved cattle mutilation phenomenon 30 years later

Almost three decades ago, cattle farmers in rural North Alabama found dead livestock lying in pastures with various organs extracted from their carcasses.

The cattle were found to have been performed upon with extreme precision. The extractors left behind no evidence, as the surrounding areas of the dead cattle were absent of any tracks and forensic evidence.

Documented cases

The Fyffe Police Department in DeKalb County issued a press release on April 7, 1993, detailing the mutilations and alerted local residents that it had conducted extensive investigations into the strange occurrences.

In October 1992, cattle farmer John Strawn, who lived in the Marshall County town of Albertville, reported the area’s first mutilation case.

The rancher’s neighbor had found one of Strawn’s cattle lying deceased on its side with its entire milk sac missing and no blood at the scene. According to local law enforcement, the cow held a neat, charred incision where the phantom extractor had removed its udder.

Over the course of the two months that followed the initial incident, other farmers around the Albertville area had reported similar cases. The Fyffe Police Department noted that the organs removed from the cattle varied from case to case.

Adding to the mystique was the fact that the extracted organs held no commercial value. Just as in the cases that preceded, sex organs of both male and female cattle had been extracted in oval, bloodless precisions.

A Black Angus steer, owned by Tommy Cole, then-chief of detectives for the Albertville Police Department, had also fallen victim to mutilation.

In the weeks that followed, mutilations were reported in the Fyffe area communities of Grove Oak and Dawson. In February 1993, nine additional cases of cattle mutilation were reported on various ranches in DeKalb and Marshall Counties.

At the time, more than 30 mutilation cases had been reported in Alabama’s Appalachian region. The police departments of Albertville and Fyffe then began coordinating investigative efforts to get to the bottom of the mysterious phenomenon.

Expert analysis

Authorities sought to thoroughly examine one specific case that involved a cow whose genitals and rectum had been carved out in a neat incision, which the Fyffe Police Department noted was the size of a coffee can. The cow’s jaw and tongue were also removed. Once again, no blood was on the animal or on the ground it laid upon.

During examination, investigators found what was described as a flaky, white material on the animal’s rib cage that sat five feet away from its carcass.

“While removing the flaky particles from the cigarette wrapper, the material came in contact with the brass tip of a ball-point pen,” the police department’s release stated. “Within one second of contact with the brass, the material melted into an almost clear liquid. To reduce the risk of this happening to the remaining material, the rest was shaken out into a jar where it remained unaffected.”

The substance was then provided to a molecular biologist for testing.

“After two tests, the scientist determined that the substance was composed of aluminum, titanium, oxygen and silicon in significant amounts,” advised authorities.

The field expert noted the amount of titanium was larger than what he would have expected to see in any substance. Additionally, the biologist detailed that there was no possible explanation of how the combination of elements could have occurred in nature.

Another significant case involved a cow belonging to Crossville rancher David McClendon. A morning head count conducted on February 7, 1993, had determined that McClendon was missing a three-week-old calf from his herd.

Upon locating the animal, McClendon found that the calf was missing a portion of its right hind quarter, along with all of its internal organs. A clean, empty cavity was located in its chest area. Again, no blood was found on or around the animal.

In the height of the cases, local residents began to formulate theories behind the enigmatic surgeries. It was believed that predator animals, satanic cults or mischievous adolescents could had performed the mutilations.

However, scientists that studied the incisions ruled out the theories as examinations concluded that the surgical precisions were far too precise and comprehensive to be the work of the theorized culprits.

Further examination

According to local authorities, the surgical incision on McClendon’s calf appeared to have been conducted using extreme heat.

Dr. John Altschuler, a former University of Colorado field expert who was tapped to examine the extraction, advised that the temperature needed to make such an incision would have needed to be in the “hundreds of degrees and possibly higher.”

Upon an in-depth examination of photos, Dr. Jim Armstrong, who at the time served as an Auburn University zoology and wildlife professor, agreed with law enforcement’s determination.

“It would be obvious if a coyote had been tearing through,” stated Armstrong. “The wounds would not be similar to a smooth cut. Coyotes bite through and pull to tear away the flesh. It would have a ‘chewed on look’. There are other scavenger animals such as vultures that will eat at the softer regions of a cow, but there’s not going to be these clean, surgical-type cuts. There is no way a coyote or other predator inflicted those wounds.”

“I went over the pictures with a USDA expert along with several wildlife biologists. With the exception of one individual, we all agreed that many of the cases were not typical predatory damage,” he added. “The caution here is that we’re dealing with photos, that there is no other physical evidence for us to look at. But the USDA agent and most others agreed with my conclusion that many of the pictures were not coyote or other predator damage.”

After expert analysis, local authorities had come to the conclusion that the mutilations were not the result of predator animals.

With law enforcement ruling out the possibility that predator animals or mischievous individuals were to blame for the mutilations, locals were left with no answer as to what or who could be behind the extractions.

However, the mutilations coincided with another strange phenomenon that had occurred in the area around the same time, which left residents to form an additional hypothesis.

Unidentified Flying Objects

Fyffe, now known as the UFO capital of Alabama, holds a well-documented history of UFO sightings dating back to February 1989.

Tourists descend upon the town annually for Fyffe UFO Days, which is a festival that celebrates the area’s unique history of unexplained aerial activity.

Yellowhammer News spoke to an individual, who wished to remain anonymous, about the UFO sightings coinciding with the cattle mutilations.

While noting that there was no way to prove that the two phenomena were connected, the individual indicated that the sightings fueled speculation that UFOs could have played a part in the extractions.

“A lot of people won’t talk about it because so many people make fun of them … It’s just strange. It’s strange that both happened at the same time,” they said.

“For people that want to believe that … Yes, that has to be connected,” they added, going on to say that “when [the UFOs] left, the [mutilations] left.”

The individual then recounted their personal UFO sighting.

“The night I saw it, I lived in a little community … My friends, they lived up in Fyffe, they saw it hovering over above the football field. You could see it clearly, there was no doubt,” they recalled to Yellowhammer News. “It was within 300 yards of my house. It was very clear. There was no doubt as to what I was looking at.”

“What made it real was that all the power was off. Our little substation would go out at the coldest night of the year and the hottest night of the year — we would lose electricity,” advised the individual. “I was out of power, so I took my guitar and went out on the porch just trying to stay cool … And I saw it hovering above the trees. [It] was a round, circular saucer. It kind of stayed still for about five seconds and then it vanished away, headed north toward Fyffe.”

Similar activity across the U.S.

Cattle mutilations, such as those that took place on Sand Mountain nearly three decades ago, also took place in the 1970s in various locations across the western United States.

As recently documented by Fox Nation’s “Tucker Carlson Originals,” cattle mutilations are on the rise once again in the American West. Like Fyffe, the cases are located in areas such as Colorado and Oregon, where UFO sightings have been commonplace.

The cases mirror those of Alabama’s Appalachian region in the 1990s: Jaws removed, blood drained, with internal and reproductive organs extracted at evidence-free crime scenes. The deceased cattle, which lie victimized by unknown surgeons, rest unbothered by predator animals upon death.

More than 10,000 cases of cattle mutilations have been recorded over the past 40 years in the United States.

To date, the mutilations remain an unsolved mystery.

Dylan Smith is the editor of Yellowhammer News. You can follow him on Twitter @DylanSmithAL

Don’t miss out!  Subscribe today to have Alabama’s leading headlines delivered to your inbox.