Connect with us

Mysteries

Oregon cattle killings, mutilations alarm ranchers

© Silvies Valley Ranch/David Zaitz Photography

Diana Kruzman
Oregon Live

Silvies Valley Ranch is a 140,000-acre property in Oregon’s largest county, where cattle outnumber people 14-to-1.

When the first dead bull turned up at the end of July, it didn’t raise an alarm at the Silvies Valley Ranch.

Cattle sometimes die suddenly on the ranch’s 140,000 acres in Harney County — struck by disease or felled by a broken leg and unable to find a way out of the rugged, forested terrain.

But by the time ranch hands discovered four more dead bulls within 24 hours, they knew they were likely dealing with deliberate, premeditated killings.

They’re still baffled by the circumstances. There were no wounds. No signs of a struggle. And the bulls’ genitals and tongues had been carefully removed.

The killing and mutilation of the 4 and 5-year-old Hereford bulls in the prime of their productive lives has since spurred a multi-agency investigation in eastern Oregon, but detectives have turned up no leads and haven’t yet even settled on a cause of death.

“How somebody put these bulls on the ground at what would be arguably a fairly close range — and to do it in a way that didn’t leave any signs, no trace evidence, no footprints, no struggle marks from the animal, no broken limbs — I have no idea,” said Colby Marshall, vice president of the Silvies Valley Ranch.

The mystery deepens because there’s no obvious reason someone would want those animal parts. They aren’t prime targets for black market sales, authorities said.

The deaths are eerily similar to a rash of livestock killings and mutilations across the West in the 1970s, when hundreds of cows and bulls turned up dead, also of seemingly unknown causes and with their genitals and tongues missing.

Back then, theories ran the gamut from a government conspiracy and UFOs to natural deaths and scavengers. Today, the circumstances at Silvies Valley Ranch point to humans as the probable culprits because of the precise cuts on the bulls.

Anything else for now is speculation, including ideas of what might have killed a bull without leaving marks. Marshall said he wonders if the killer used poison darts.

“We think that these are very sick and dangerous individuals and they need to answer for this horrible crime,” he said.

Silvies Valley Ranch, about 40 minutes north of the county seat of Burns, has put up a $25,000 reward for information on the bull killings that leads to an arrest and conviction, and the Oregon Cattlemen’s Association has offered its own $1,000 reward.

The investigation has pulled in Oregon State Police as well as the U.S. Forest Service because the cattle were grazing on a federal allotment in the Malheur National Forest.

The ranch is owned by veterinarian Scott Campbell, who bought the enterprise in 2006. Since then, it’s expanded into tourism with a golf course and resort on site, but still maintains around 4,500 head of beef cattle, including around 100 bulls.

The five dead bulls were found on July 30 and 31, in a wooded area about 15 miles from U.S. 395, the nearest major road. They were each about a quarter mile apart, and the first two weren’t found until several days after they had been killed — but Marshall believes the last three were discovered within 24 to 48 hours of their deaths.

The delay in finding the animals is not unusual in such a remote area, where ranchers are tasked with patrolling large tracts of land, said Jerome Rosa, executive director of the Oregon Cattlemen’s Association. Harney County is Oregon’s largest county, covering more than 10,000 square miles where cattle outnumber people 14-to-1.

“These are huge, vast, steep landscapes with lots of rock and trees and brush,” Rosa said. “Ranchers may not see their cattle for long stretches of time.”

Beef is Oregon’s largest agricultural commodity, drawing in nearly $1 billion a year – and most cattle crimes typically involve theft, Rosa said.

This makes the deaths at Silvies Valley Ranch particularly bizarre, he said, because the bulls were worth a lot of money alive, particularly for breeding.

Marshall estimated their value at up to $7,000 apiece and said they would have sired at least 100 calves each over the remainder of their lives.

“Their productive life was a huge economic opportunity for the ranch, and now that’s completely lost,” he said. “We’re talking hundreds of thousands of dollars.”

Dead Bull

© Silvies Valley Ranch
The five dead bulls were found on July 30 and 31, in a wooded area about 15 miles from U.S. 395, the nearest major road. Their genitals and tongues had been cleanly removed.

Marshall has heard from several other Oregon ranchers who reported similar killings on their property over the past few decades — including cows that had been found with their udders, vulvas and tongues removed.

One of these ranchers, Terry Anderson, found a dead cow on land he was renting near Pendleton in 1980. Its udder had been cleanly removed and Anderson could see no clear evidence of what had killed the animal.

“There was no visible bullet hole or anything there,” Anderson recalled this week. “It was so unusual. It just left you with an eerie feeling.”

The hundreds of cattle deaths in the 1970s — largely concentrated in the Midwest — caused a media sensation as ranchers roiled by an economic crisis blamed a government conspiracy, according to Michael Goleman, a history professor at Somerset Community College in Kentucky who researched the phenomenon.

Because the killings were scattered across different states, investigators reached no overarching conclusion on the cause of the deaths, but Goleman said some people believed the government was conducting weapons tests on the cattle.

Facing pressure from ranchers, the FBI opened an investigation in 1979 into the deaths of 15 cattle in New Mexico, ultimately concluding that there was no evidence of intentional mutilation by humans and the animals had likely died of natural causes.

Since then, scattered reports have made headlines, including the discovery of several mutilated cows in Kansas in 2016 and five cows in 1990 that had been killed and dissected on a farm in Washington. Goleman said conspiracy theorists have pinned the blame on everything from satanic cults to aliens.

But Silvies Valley Ranch isn’t placing its bets on paranormal activity, though Harney County Sheriff’s Deputy Dan Jenkins said he’s gotten a few suggestions that Sasquatch may be responsible. He’s received around 20 calls from around the western U.S. since news about the deaths started spreading.

Jenkins, the lead investigator on the case, said the lack of physical evidence at the crime sites — no footprints, no tire or ATV tracks — means authorities are relying on witnesses to call in to the tip line and report any suspicious activity they might have seen in the area.

David Bohnert, a professor at Oregon State University who studies beef cattle, said two things typically kill livestock: poisoning from eating toxic plants and people.

In this case, poisoning is unlikely, given the number of bulls involved and the plants in the area, he said. Larkspur typically flowers earlier in the year, while hemlock, another deadly plant, grows only around rivers and streams — not the dry forests where the bulls were found.

Plus, the fact that all five cattle killed were bulls, Bohnert said, is statistically unlikely to occur in nature — they make up only about 4% to 6% of a herd.

That leaves human activity as the most likely cause, he said. Adding to the evidence is the surgical precision with which the genitals and tongues were removed. Scavengers would leave obvious signs of tearing with teeth, claws or beaks, he said.

Bohnert said he has heard rumors of bull testicles being considered an aphrodisiac, and both tongues and genitals can be eaten — the famous “Rocky Mountain Oysters” come to mind. But he could think of no reason why someone couldn’t just legally buy the animal parts.

Yet the human explanation comes with its own difficulties.

Taking down a 2,000-pound bull is no easy feat, and Marshall said there were no signs of a struggle — the bulls were all lying on their sides as if they had just fallen over and died.

He said he could only think that some kind of toxic dart might kill a bull from a distance. But he has no proof of it and may never find it. It’s not clear if a dart would leave a detectable imprint.

In the meantime, tissue samples taken from the carcasses are still being analyzed for toxins and no results are available yet, Marshall said. Even with the tests, the killings may remain an enigma. The bulls had been left to decompose for several days, making a toxicology screen difficult to do, he said.

Until a suspect is found, ranch employees are on high alert, particularly those who patrol vast areas alone on ATV or on horseback.

Rosa said the news had also concerned other ranchers — but that greater awareness could also lead to faster answers in the tight-knit ranching community.

“The neighbors and the folks that are in those areas know each other,” Rosa said. “And when there’s someone strange or different that’s out and about, they take notice of that, and they let each other know.”

Source link

Comments

Mysteries

The Tommyknockers: Mysterious Green Men

When the inhabitants of Wales and the county of Devon went to work in the mines, they often heard strange taps there, and after they saw little green men in a mining robe and with a pickaxe in their hands. At the word “Tommyknocker”, most people recall the famous science fiction novel by Stephen King, while the original meaning of this term is almost forgotten today.

However, hundreds of years ago, Tommyknockers were no less popular than leprechauns, with which they have a lot in common. The difference is that Tommyknockers live in caves and dungeons, like European gnomes.

Most often, Tommyknockers (originally just knockers) are described in Welsh and Devonian folklore. Their name can be translated as “Those who knock” – it was believed that it was the knockers who knock on the walls of the mines to cause deadly collapses. Local miners have repeatedly heard these mysterious taps. Some are convinced that the knockers are vicious and long for death, but many of the miners themselves, who personally saw strange little men in underground tunnels, assured that the knockers, on the contrary, try to warn people about the danger and that if they hear these taps, leave in time then you can happily avoid a rock collapse.

Eyewitnesses described Tomminokers as tiny men half a meter tall, with greenish skin, normal human body proportions, and dressed in dirty clothes that looked like a typical mining robe. All tomminokers seen were men. When the gold rush began in California in the 19th century and everyone began to dig mines and look for gold, many British miners went to the United States and brought with them faith in the Knockers. When they began to meet strange little men in American mines, stories about this quickly spread throughout the states and at some point they began to call the Knockers tomminokers.

At the same time, it was believed that strange knocks in a mine might not portend a blockage, but rather indicate rich deposits of ore or other valuable minerals. And when someone heard these sounds, he set off to wander through the tunnels in search of their source. Most often, such miners then simply went missing, but there were also those who really came across a rich mine. That is why it is difficult to say unequivocally whether Tommyknockers were considered bad or good creatures. When collapses occurred, people died or disappeared, Tommyknockers were scolded, but if thanks to their knocks they managed to find a vein or get out of the labyrinth of tunnels, they were called good and thanked.

After a few decades, a whole layer of “urban legends” appeared, according to which strange knocks in mines produce ghosts of dead miners and they do this to warn the living of danger. It was after this that folklore about Tomminokers began to be forgotten gradually, yielding to faith in ghosts. Now the miners began trying to appease the ghosts and brought pieces of bread or cake with them to the mine to leave them in some niche and ask the ghosts for protection and mercy.

By the beginning of the twentieth century, Tommyknockers had almost sunk into oblivion. They were remembered only by collectors of fairy tales or by locals whose houses stood next to the mines and who sometimes also heard strange taps.

There were rumors that when the mine closes, Tommyknockers “go live” to the nearest houses and knock already there, now predicting not collapses, but the death of family members or accidents.

Today, many researchers believe that centuries ago, small children often worked in mines, including illegally, and that it was precisely the miners who faced them underground. The greenish skin of children could become so from contact with copper.

Continue Reading

Mysteries

Never seen before powerful Radio Burst signal coming from a Magnetar in the Milky Way

“Something like this has never been seen before.”

Astronomers working on the CHIME telescope recorded a powerful radio burst from a magnetar in the Milky Way. The peculiarity of this discovery is not only that the burst coincided with a period of increased activity of the magnetar, but also in that it resembles mysterious fast radio bursts. If the discovery is confirmed, then the magnetar will become the source of fast radio bursts closest to Earth, according to  The Astronomer’s Telegram .

Fast radio bursts  (Fast Radio Burst, FRB) – is short (up to several milliseconds), but the strong  radio pulses. Their discovery was accidental and occurred in 2007, and it soon became clear that they could be of  extraterrestrial nature. To date, about a hundred such bursts have been recorded that are associated with  neutron stars ,  blitz , the  decay of  axion mini-clusters,  extraterrestrial civilizations  and other phenomena.

In 2018, it was possible to determine that fast repeating radio bursts from the source of  FRB 121102  could occur in a magnetized medium near a rotating pulsar. Then the source of an individual fast radio burst was first determined , a second similar discovery soon followed , and then  eight more sources of repeating FRB were discovered at once. All discoveries are united by the fact that all sources of fast radio bursts are extragalactic in nature. The source of FRB closest to us is in a large spiral galaxy with a redshift of z = 0.0337; recently, it was possible to detect the periodicity for the first time in fast radio bursts from it.

On April 27, 2020, the SGR 1935 + 2154 magnetar associated with the supernova remnant SNR G57.2 + 0.8 in the Milky Way, located 30 thousand light-years from us in the constellation Lisichka, experienced a burst of activity in the x-ray range. It was previously believed that this magnetar is a source of soft gamma-ray bursts. He became the target of observations for the Swift space telescope , the AGILE observatory , the NICER telescope mounted on the ISS, the INTEGRAL observatory, and other telescopes. 

Initially, his behavior was typical for such objects, but on April 28, the Canadian CHIME telescope reported the registration of a powerful radio burst from the magnetar, which had two peak components five milliseconds long, separated by thirty milliseconds. The radio flux at frequencies of 400-800 megahertz amounted to several kilojans per millisecond. 

An analysis of the CHIME archival data from the beginning of work at the end of 2018 did not reveal any similar events related to this magnetar in the past. If this magnetar were in another galaxy, then for the earth observer the signal would look like a fast radio burst. However, scientists have yet to analyze all the data for the similarity of the flash spectrum from SGR 1935 + 2154 with the spectra of extragalactic fast radio bursts. 

Dynamic spectrum of radio burst from SGR 1935 + 2154.CHIME / FRB Collaboration

An Indian group of scientists working on the GMRT telescope (Giant Metrowave Radio telescope) published a preprint in August 2019   reporting the discovery of a kind of “copy” of fast radio bursts from the J1810- magnetar 197 in our galaxy. Giant radio pulses were also observed from the pulsar in the Crab nebula, however, their generation mechanisms are still different from those that generate fast radio bursts. The situation is similar with SGR 1935 + 2154, where a phenomenon that looks similar to fast radio bursts can be very different from it in physical mechanism.

Continue Reading

Mysteries

Amateur astronomer recorded the mysterious pulsating rays of light emanating from Venus

Something strange happened a few days ago in deep space. An amateur astronomer with a good telescope recorded several flashes or pulsating rays with his infrared telescope camera, which, apparently, came from the planet Venus.

The astronomer also points to a giant object that looks just like the asteroid known for its unusual shape (and some scientists consider it not an asteroid at all, but an alien spaceship) Oumuamua, which passed over Venus and wonders if this object could cause flashes or pulsating rays.

Another possibility for multiple bright flashes can be massive explosions caused by asteroids hitting the planet.

In addition to the strange flashes emitted by Venus, a dark object located near it and looking like a spaceship of gigantic aliens, a large number of UFOs flying in open space fell into the lens of the telescope.

One way or another, whatever that may be, but something very unusual happened near or on the planet Venus.

Oumuamua is the first discovered interstellar object flying through the solar system.

Or maybe it’s a spaceship?

Continue Reading
Advertisement

DO NOT MISS

Trending