The sudden decrease in mutilation reports in the 1980s suggests that what changed was not the phenomenon but the narrative(s) that explained it. True believers like Linda Howe kept telling their stories, but the news media, at least, lost interest in a story that was rural, weird, and had no resolution.
Perhaps the nearest thing to resolution was the Rommel Report, written by former FBI agent Rommel, working as consultant to New Mexico's First Judicial District. His conclusion: "scavenger-induced damage"
The FBI has other PDFs of documents related to mutilation investigations, released under the Freedom of Information Act.
Hardcore UFO "researchers" maintained their position. Note the categorical statement in the first sentence. (more after the jump)
Nineteen years pass...
On Dec. 9, 2009, the Denver Post followed the earlier short piece with a front-page news feature on a rancher near the little town of San Luis.
It was deja vu all over again:
Four calves, all killed overnight. Their innards gone. Tongues sliced out. Udders carefully removed. Facial skin sliced and gone. Eyes cored away. Not a single track surrounding the carcasses, which were found in pastures locked behind two gates and a mile from any road. Not a drop of blood on the ground or even on the remaining skin.
Other reports came from Las Animas County, on the other side of the Cumbres Range.
And then we get the failure of journalism again. After the rancher, who is the next source quoted? An "amateur UFO investigator and reserve deputy in El Paso County" who confidently rules out predators and scavengers. He does not "necessarily" believe in alien cow-slicers.
Just as in the 1970s, the first person to step forward with an opinion is treated as a serious source for the article. Way to go, Jason Blevins, ace reporter. Note that he is basically a travel and entertainment reporter, not a crime reporter. See what I mean about how the "A-Team" is not assigned to these stories?
Some Post readers were more knowledgeable this time around
Continue to Part 3.