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The Mutilation Mystery Continues

By Tommy Roy Blann
UFO Reports 1976

Little did one suspect at the beginning of the first reported livestock mutilation in the latter part of 1973 that it would still be occurring today without a single suspect being apprehended for these gruesome acts. Yet, as the years have passed and the number of mutilated animals has escalated into the thousands, with incidents occurring in almost every state in the U.S., the mystery remains.

One theory after another was proposed during the onslaught of mutilation activity, and while the mutilations were spreading like wildfire throughout the midwestern and western states, heated arguments developed between ranchers and officials over the cause of these mutilations. Officials were determined to convince not only themselves but the ranchers and farmers that there was no need for alarm, that all the evidence indicated the mutilations were the work of predators. The same old story echoed over the flatlands and throughout the mountainous regions-“predators are known to chew away at the anal area, muzzle, abdomen, and udder – all the soft, exposed parts of the animal.” But the ranchers and farmers behind-the-scenes than what has wrent the eye!

The incident that ultimately brought the UFO phenomenon into the mutilation picture in this new wave occurred in mid-December 1974, when a cow was found mutilated at the farm of Frank Schifelbien; near Kimball, Minn. At the same time, there were a number of UFO sightings in the state. After a very cursory investigation of the mutilation site, a UFO buff named Terry Mitchell came to the conclusion that UFOs had beamed a high-energy ray at the cow.

Mitchell theorized that the branches found broken in the tree had been done when the UFO came down, and the three strange indentations in the ice on the farmer’s pond were the result of the UFO landing pod indentations in the frozen pond turned out to be watering holes chopped in the ice by Schifelbien; the tree branches had been broken by the wind and Schifelbien himself; the landing traces were actually snow-covered silage piles.

Next, came the Bankston-Dugan affair which brought to light the satanic cult theory about the mutilations. The man primarily responsible for this was Jerome Clark, well-known UFO researcher and writer, who had been investigating these mutilations in his home state of Minnesota since 1973.


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During this time he had talked with Ross Doyen, a Kansas state senator, who had a mutilation on his farm. Doyen told Clark he was contacted by a man named Albert K. Bankston, who was serving a sentence for bank robbery at the FBI Agent Sam Jones and Sen. Harrison Schmitt discuss the continuing pattern of mutilations in the Southwest UFO’s landing gear. There were also peculiar circles in the snow which he suggested was where the UFO landed.

In his hasty investigation, he completely overlooked the facts about this case.

Mitchell went on to postulate that ufonauts like steak as much as most Americans. The story continued to build, and the eager media was just waiting for a new angle to the mutilations and flashed the story across the nation.

It was at this point that Dr. J. Allen Hynek, director of the Center For UFO Studies, asked Donald E. Flickenger, an investigator for the Center and also a special agent for the Treasury Department’s Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, and Firearms, to look into the situation.

Flickenger traveled to Kimball, interviewed Schifelbien and rapidly destroyed the UFO hypothesis. The Leavenworth (Kansas) Federal Penitentiary. Bankston told Doyen the mutilations were the work of an extremely wealthy satanic cult. Clark then began a lengthy correspondence with Bankston, which later lead Clark to get in touch with Donald Flickenger in January 1975.

C1ark then proceded to tell Flickenger all that he had learned in his correspondence with Bankston.

Bankston at this time had been transferred to Marion Federal Penitentiary in Illinois. Flickenger then asked Clark if he would keep up the correspondence with Bankston.

Bankston continued to supply Clark with horrifying details of sex mutilation murders of humans and livestock.

Bankston also kept insisting that he be transferred to a Minnesota prison, where he would be safe from inmates that might try to kill him because of his knowledge of the mutilations.

Flickenger then contacted the United States District Attorney’s office in Minneapolis, and the U.S. Attorney got in touch with Federal Judge Myles Lord.

When Bankston found out that Judge Lord had an interest in his statements, he expressed fear at being transferred to a Minneapolis jail. He said he feared a well-known motorcycle gang that was heavily involved in these mutilations and was located in the Minneapolis area. He would prefer a small county jail, somewhere out of the way.

Bankston then asked that an inmate-friend, Dan Dugan, who was serving time at LaTuna Correctional Institution in Texas, be brought to Minnesota for questioning, since Dan Dugan had been an alleged member of the satanic society and had participated in its rituals. Judge Lord then issued an order to bring Bankston and later Dugan to Dakota County Jail in Hastings, Minn. for questioning.

Dugan said that when he lived in Texas, he had become a heavy user of drugs. It was through such contacts that he was recruited into the satanic cult.

Dugan said he witnessed human mutilations in Cozad, Neb. in 1969.

According to Dugan, four teenagers were shot with a tranquilizer gun by the cult while camping near the lake and each received massive injections of the drug PCP, commonly known on the streets as “Angel Dust.” About two hours later, they were dead, mutilated, blood drained, and used in rituals too horrible to mention. Bankston also asserted the group used this powerful animal tranquilizer to calm the cattle.

Bankston said, the cult walked on pieces of cardboard so as not to leave footprints (Kevin Randle used these same statements while addressing the cattle mutilation conference in Fort Smith, Ark. in 1975) and in snow they would use blowtorches to melt the tracks around the animals. He said this was done so the mutilations would “appear to be the work of extraterrestrials.”

The interrogation brought to light many incidents about human and animal mutilations. There was a “death list” that had been prepared by the cult to kill certain celebrities and political leaders here in the U.S., and a host of other terrorist activities, some of which were aimed at threatening our national security.

The Bankston-Dugan affair had many Federal and state officials secretly investigating numerous cults and suspected individuals due to some of the seemingly sensible statements made by both men. For instance, all the persons named by Bankston and Dugan existed and had had some dealings with the police for one reason or another. Most were also known to be interested in witchcraft to a certain degree.

It was at this time that some major UFO organizations were quick to tell the press that the mutilations were in no way connected with the UFO phenomenon.

In March 1975, NICAP stated that “after careful investigations in six different areas of the nation, no direct evidence could be found connecting UFOs to the slayings. To the contrary, all the evidence recovered pointed toward the mutilations being committed by members of occult groups or student pranksters.”

APRO disclosed that many members and leaders of the satanic group responsible had been apprehended by federal agents. The Center for UFO Studies said “not one documented report exists in which a UFO sighting is directly connected to a cattle mutilation.

Research had been done on the problem and a confidential government report found that a satanic cult was responsible for some of the mutilations.

The report must remain confidential as arrests have not been made in all cases, and sources need to be protected.”

What was not known at the time by these UFO organizations was that some of the suspects mentioned by Bankston and Dugan were in jail when their story placed them at mutilation sites. There were also some statements made by these two men that could not be substantiated after careful investigations, and in late spring of 1975, the Federal officials decided not to pursue the investigation further. The whole affair was considered by officials to have been a plan to escape from the jails to which the men were transferred.

Bankston did escape from the jail in Chaska, Minn. on May 31, 1975 and the day after his escape, Dugan also escaped (from a Texas jail); he was captured on June 19, 1975, during a holdup attempt in Glenwood Springs, Colo.

The mutilations, however; continued, despite the best efforts by our nation’s law enforcement agencies. Still, there were repeated observations of UFOs by law enforcement officials in numerous areas throughout the U.S. where mutilations occurred. The question now posed was, if UFOs are not directly connected, then what are they doing in these mutilation areas? Were they all misidentifications, possibly the navigational lighting system on these unmarked helicopters which had also been observed in these areas?

The answer to these questions came on Oct. 19, 1975 when Malmstrom Air Force Base officials in Montana and NORAD confirmed that the UFO sighted by the Shelby Sheriff’s officers during their investigations of some mutilations was not a conventional aircraft. During this time, UFOs were also being sighted by Cascade County Sheriff’s officers during their investigations.

Official NORAD documents obtained through the Freedom of Information Act indicated a number of UFOs were being sighted visually as well as being tracked on radar over these areas in Montana while the mutilations were occurring on the ground. The official NORAD documents said nothing about mutilations, but the time periods and geographical areas of UFO activity correlated very well with the mutilation incidents. Another coincidence? Some skeptics would be quick to point out that no one has observed a UFO directly over the mutilated animal, or in the process of mutilating it. True, but if reports constantly indicate that genuine UFOs were seen in the immediate area of mutilated animals, are we to deny any type of connection?

Another Strategic Air Command report, dated Nov. 7, 1975, stated “that at 1327 zulu (Air Force personnel) L-1 reports that the object to their northeast (northeast of Malmstrom AFB) seems to be issuing a black object from it, tubular in shape. In all this time, surveillance has not been able to detect any sort of track except for known traffic.” This report is very similar to the object sighted by Sheriff Harry L. Graves in Logan County, Colo. (while investigating mutilations there) when a large UFO was seen emitting smaller objects which would descend into different areas, later to ascend back up to the awaiting UFO.

On June 17, 1978, a number of UFOs were observed by credible witnesses over Elsberry, Mo., while mutilations were occurring. John Livengood, police chief of Elsberry, told me that he also had observed some of these UFOs and, felt they were connected in some way with the mutilations he was investigating at the time.

It is now 1980, and mutilations, still continue to play havoc with the local law enforcement officials. To my knowledge as well as numerous lawmen and senators, no suspects have been apprehended, satanic or otherwise.

In December 1978, New Mexico Senator and former astronaut Harrison Schmitt, wrote to Attorney General Griffin B. Bell requesting that “the United States Justice Department reexamine its jurisdiction in this area with respect to the possible reopening of this investigation.” Senator Schmitt also advised Attorney General Bell that ‘his home state of New Mexico had been “victimized by a series of cattle mutilations,” some of which had occurred on Indian reservations.

On April 20, 1979, Senator Schmitt and U.S. Attorney R.E. Thompson, sponsored a public hearing on the livestock mutilations that have occurred in New Mexico and other states for the past several years. The conference was held that morning in the Albuquerque, N.M. Public Library before an audience of over 200 people, many of whom were law enforcement officials, scientists, investigators, and journalists from various states.

In opening the conference, Senator Schmitt said, “For at least five years, and probably longer, in at least 15 states, animals have been killed and systematically mutilated for no apparent purpose by persons unknown.

“There are few activities more dangerous than an unsolved pattern of crime. There is always the potential for such crimes to escalate in frequency and severity if allowed to go unsolved and unpunished…

These crimes are obviously continuing in spite of excellent efforts of state and local law enforcement officials and the growing publicity the mutilation incidents have received.”

Senator Schmitt estimated the economic loss from the mutilations at more than $2.5 million nationally. He also said whoever is responsible has shown “unprecedented discipline” in that there have been “no leaks or informants to assist law enforcement officers.”

Senator Schmitt, while apparently ascribing the mutilations to some organized but as yet unknown group of persons, said one-factor hampering investigators is that there is no federal law concerning the similar cases of property destruction in several states.

With the aid of New Mexico U.S. Attorney R.E. Thompson, he now believes the FBI can be brought into the case based on two factors: the illegal use of unmarked helicopters which seem to be linked with the mutilations and the fact that some mutilations have taken place on Indian reservations, thereby making the crime a federal offense.

Schmitt then introduced a list of 11 speakers and solicited the audience for anyone who could add to these proceedings. A brief synopsis of what was said includes :

• David Perkins, sociologist and director of Animal Mutilation Probe (AMP) in Farasita, Colo., said the mutilations present a “frontal assault on our notions of reality. ”

He said research into the mutilations shows UFO involvement and “I feel the answer may well have something to do with man’s survival 011J his planet.”

• Manuel Gomez, a rancher for 20 years in Dulce, N.M., called the mutilation issue a “cattlegate” and charged federal and state officials with trying to cover up the strangeness of the phenomenon.

“If predators are responsible, why do they use sharp instruments to take the best parts, leaving tomorrow’s lunch?” he asked.

He also questioned why higher-than-normal levels of radiation have been found at cattle mutilation sites.

• Dr. Clair Hibbs, of the New Mexico State Veterinary Diagnostic Laboratory, said that while probing mutilations in Kansas, he found some mutilations were apparently the work of coyotes, but several others showed evidence of the use of surgical knives. Hibbs suggested a joint law enforcement-scientific group be assembled to study the mutilations.

Richard Sigismund of Boulder, Colo., who has studied UFOs for 20 years, said “there is no incontrovertible evidence at this time linking these two problems (UFOs and mutilations), from what we already know of each, such possible associations I feel should not be so lightly dismissed.”

He said further, “Initially, we persist in receiving reports from credible witnesses of what we may call possible UFOs and possible relationships to cattle mutilations. No one association has yet been proven, although I believe many of our law enforcement people have seen enough to draw the conclusion that some sort of airborne vehicle is related.”

e Dr. James Prine, a veterinarian pathologist from Los Alamos, N.M., said he has examined six cattle carcasses and concluded the “cut wounds” were probably caused by animals. He cited one incident of a family dog making lesions on a dead horse similar to those in mutilation cases. e Thomas R. Adams, director of Project Stigma, Paris, Tex. a project designed to investigate the continuing mutilation phenomenon, spoke of numerous reports of unmarked helicopters seen in the area of mutilations.

“This is a very pertinent aspect of this problem,” Adams said.

• Dr. Henry Monteith, of the prestigious Sandia Laboratories in New Mexico, said his experience with Indians shows they believe the mutilations are the work of “star people” and should not be investigated. He cited several instances in which the Indians would find a mutilated carcass and immediately bury it to keep officials from investigating it.

He said there is evidence of extraterrestrial involvement in the mutilations and the answers to who and why more likely will be found by the persons who are around the mutilations rather than officials who sit behind a desk.

• Officer Gabe Valdez of the New Mexico State Police, who has investigated more than 30 mutilations since 1975, said “law enforcement officials are baffled.” Valdez discounted the idea that predators are responsible.

“If they are predators, then we have predators with superpowers. It is hard to believe that predators can pull a steer’s heart out through a small hole in its neck,” he said.

Valdez also recommended that a special government task force be created to probe the mutilation puzzle.

• John. Ramming of the New Mexico Criminal Justice Department, said the mutilations have provided “unique problems for law enforcement personnel.”

• Raleigh Tafoya, chief of the Jicarrila Apache Police in Dulce, N.M., reported there have been threats against some Indians who have had their cattle mutilated. However, the chief declined to comment on who made the threats or what was threatened.

“My officers have seen UFOs and I have no reason to disbelieve them,” Tafoya said. “We don’t know what we’re dealing with. I’m beginning to wonder if human lives may be next.”

Carl W. Whiteside, deputy director of the Colorado Bureau of Investigation, urged that any mutilation investigation be guided by scientific facts, and not “your personal hypothesis.

“I do not deny or agree that UFOs exist,” Whiteside said. “But, as the representative of an agency which has gone through this thing, I feel the best thing is to confine the investigation to the facts . . .. Aside from that, I don’t know what to tell you. You have a tremendous job on your hands.”

Later, Senator Schmitt said he felt the mutilations probably stem from some human activity, but he discounted speculation that the mutilations may be the work of covert germ warfare testing by some government agency.

“I don’t see the government being able to keep very many secrets these days,” Schmitt said. “And whoever is doing these mutilations exhibits a tremendous amount of discipline as well as support. It is highly unlikely that the discipline we have seen (in the mutilations) could be maintained by a government agency.”

After the hearing, a press conference was held and John Remming of the New Mexico Criminal Justice Department revealed that his office had requested $50,000 from the LEAA for the purpose of looking into these crimes. On April 25th, it was announced that $44,000 was granted and Ken Rommel of the FBI office in Sante Fe was contracted as the state’s primary investigator. On May 25, 1979, Rommel assumed his newly assigned position.

It was during this time that ABC News in New York picked up on the story about the aired on the 20/20 program this fall. But for some unknown reason, the mutilation program was dropped.

According to Tanya Mohn of the ABC staff, the people in the “upper level” as well as the “executive producer” changed their minds.

The mutilation mystery continues, and at the time of this writing the Royal Canadian Mounted Police reported some mutilations which took place in the southern portion of Alberta. The most recent incident occurred on Aug. 12, 1979, at the Willoughby ranch about 25 miles south of Calgary. Chuck Willoughby said a Simmental bull, a 2,500-pound purebred that stood six feet at the shoulder, was found dead on his property. Its rectum, genitals, left ear, and four inches of tongue were removed by what appeared to be “surgical means.” There were no signs of a struggle and no tracks on the spot.

Willoughby, a former city police officer in Calgary, said “fears had been raised by nearby residents that the slaughter was the work of a satanic or other religious cult.”

He said many of the residents are wary of letting children roam the countryside for fear the cattle slayings are a prelude to something even more heinous.

Just what does it all mean? Not only do we have the mutilation phenomenon to contend with, but the fact that UFO abductions are becoming more frequent. People are finding lesions, burns, and puncture marks on their bodies after being abducted. If we are to accept what we have in our files already, there is good reason to suspect that some sort of biological experimentation is being conducfed on humans and animals around the world by unknown beings. If this is not the case, then someone is doing an excellent job of making it appear this way knew better, and as the number of lawmen and investigators involved in the search for clues to the mysterious mutilations grew, so too, did the startling evidence. No longer were the little scavengers of the fields and sky to take the burden of blame. It was clearly evident that humans were involved in these grisly mutilations; livestock were being found with tongues, eyes, ears, reproductive organs, sections of hide, teeth, and lips removed with surgical precision, not to mention the complete draining of blood from these animals without a drop spilling to the ground. In some cases, it was almost too eerie to think about, much less observe the remains.

Unknown by most at the time, was that many veteran ufologists had already been exposed to the mutilation phenomenon, since similar types of incidents had been reported in various UFO literature of the past.

Well-known UFO researcher, John Keel, wrote of these strange mutilations, some of which are identical to the present-day mutilations in every respect, in his book, Strange Creatures From Time And Space.

Can we ignore the fact that these strange and seemingly baffling mutilations were recorded years before the present mutilations which began in 1973? Is it coincidence that the great flap of UFO activity here in the U.S. started the same year? Is it also coincidence that UFO literature is filled with numerous cases of disappearing animals from their locked pens, strange and bizarre glowing spheres of light are seen in areas of mutilated animals, and a host of other mind-reeling paranormal events associated with these animal mutilations? There is definitely something taking place and I don’t think we can write it off as pure sensationalism. The UFO-Mutilation connection may be real, too real, and it does not necessarily mean that metallic spacecraft of extraterrestrial origin are flying here from some distant starsystem with occupants on board to dissect our animals UFOs may not be extraterrestrial and there may be much more.

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