Stalking the Herd: Unraveling the Cattle Mutilation Mystery
Adventures Unlimited Press, 2014
I wish that I could smile and say that this was a great book and that you should read it because it was so interesting and full of fascinating facts. To make that statement would be to lie, however. The truth is that I found this book to be extremely difficult to read – not because the subject was not interesting but because it is downright horrifying – and the author, while relying a little too heavily on quoted material at times, has obviously poured body and soul into what was obviously a long, painstaking investigation. I want to express my admiration for Mr. O’Brien; it seems to me that there are not many people who would stay with a grim investigation of this kind for as long as he has nor spend as much time in side research as he has done. “Stalking the Herd” is a dense, encyclopedic treatment of one of the great mysteries of our time (and history, dating back to the time of James I, apparently).
For those who may not be aware, a cattle mutilation is a specific type of cattle death that is characterized by the bovine being found dead, without apparent cause, while having certain portions of its anatomy – lips, eyes, anal region and reproductive organs, udders, etc – removed with surgical precision. The crime scenes are generally bloodless and it is even sometimes the case that the bovine is found drained of blood. In almost all cases the mutilators leave no trace behind. Other than the probably false accusation of an Indian (from India) man in the early 1900’s, Mr. O’Brien could find no instance of anyone ever being arrested or convicted of a mutilation. One of the things that makes these cases very strange is that the perpetrators seem to be able to come and go at will without anyone the wiser.
Those who have been reading this blog for a while know that I am seldom without a theory, usually based on magical practice, for any phenomenon but I have to say, after reading “Stalking the Herd” that I am at a loss to propose any sort of comprehensive theory for this deeply complex and outlandishly trickster driven phenomenon.
In short summary, Mr. O’Brien begins the book by examining the relationship of humans to bovines throughout history and then takes us into historic accounts of mutilation cases from the 1600’s up to the landmark “Snippy the Horse” case, the mutilation in the San Luis Valley that garnered world wide attention and marked the beginning of modern “mute” history. The chapters that follow outline the unfolding mystery throughout the 70’s, 80’s, 90’s and into the present time. Once he has laid out the mystery, the author then includes sections on high strangeness cases, ‘Mutes and the Media’ and a tour of the beef industry (which will leave one wishing to become a vegetarian) and cattle related diseases. Mr. O’Brien finishes with some thoughts on theories surrounding “mutes” and the promise of another book to analyze the data he has presented to us here.
This is not the sort of book that you will sit down and read cover to cover in a couple of days. It is a book that you will read a chapter at a time and, as you read, find yourself frequently wondering just how deep the rabbit hole goes. The “mute” phenomenon is mysterious enough on its own, despite the ill informed opinions of skepdebunkers who argue otherwise, but, when one adds the frequent intrusion of episodes of high strangeness into the mix, the mystery only deepens. UFO’s, mystery helicopters, the occasional Sasquatch and more all seem determined to make the mutilation mystery one that simply can not be put to rest. In order to even begin to get a grasp on the phenomenon, one needs to be able to accept that this is not an either/or phenomenon but rather a both/and phenomenon.
Amongst the many theories put forth for “mute” episodes:
1) Government or quasi-government monitoring of environmental factors which could range from above ground nuclear test radiation tests to the advent of prion related disease in cattle and other livestock.
2) Corporate interests trying to run small ranchers out of business so that their spreads could be incorporated into the corporate whole.
3) The extra-terrestrial hypothesis that states that ET’s are targeting cattle for “unknown purposes . . . related to some kind of genetic experimentation”
4) Exotic perpetrators – anything from beings living in the hollow earth to hostile “nature spirit elementals”
5) Occult activity, specifically, dark magic rituals that require blood sacrifice.
6) Unknown animals preying on cattle.
I will let you read the book to discover the pro’s and con’s to each of these ideas. Mr. O’Brien discusses extensively why no one theory can begin to explain the wide range of “mutes”. I will say that he does a terrific job of preventing the reader from throwing his or her hands into the air, giving up and putting it all down to aliens as too many writers on this subject do. I am in accord with the author when he says that ET’s would really have no reason to raid pastures when they could get all the genetic material they need with a visit to the local slaughter house.
If you have any interest at all in the cattle mutilation phenomenon and you want to become well educated as well as having an encyclopedic reference on the subject to refer back to, then I strongly encourage you to pick up this book. I think I have made it plain that the title is not for the faint of heart and be aware that some of the graphics are not pleasant. Nevertheless, I encourage you to support this fine researcher.