It was the fall of 1997. I’d just finished getting certified to teach and landed a position in Moffat, Colorado. The school made up more than half the square-footage of a one horse town (maybe not even one horse.) Isolated and in the middle of the San Luis Valley, it was the land of cheap real estate and strange stories.
Now enters the mutilated cattle (kind of an awful image, don’t you think?)
I guess I first heard about the stories after reading Mysterious Valley by Chris O’Brian (recommended by a friend to prepare me for my new home). I was a little taken by the sheer amount of strange stories associated with the valley. UFOs, bigfoot, crystal skulls and, yes, mutilated cattle- just to mention a few.
I recall one fellow teacher sharing, “Mutilated cattle are caused by disgruntled district employees.” I laughed.
I lived at the north end of the valley in Saguache. In looking at real estate, I considered an abandoned movie theater as a possible home/ business (good I didn’t make that investment!)I knew the real estate agent, the local artists, the local hippies, and the local ranchers. Living in an extremely small town, you get to know most of the occupants.
One friend I made was a sheriff Dispatcher. One snowy evening she whispered, “They found another.”
“Another,” I said lifting my voice just enough to make it a question.
“A mutilated cow. The snow covered the pasture. There were no tracks. Steam was still rising from the body.”
I think I sat up awhile in my bed that night. If it is aliens, why would they stop at cattle? Why would they let a simple wood frame house keep them from a really interesting specimen? What’s that sound in the kitchen? Yes, it is just that easy to keep me up all night.
So, the mutilated cattle are still out there (among a few mutilated horses). It’s a good mystery, don’t you think? Now I’m wondering if the four hour drive beyond Wolf Creek Pass and an extended stay might bring me into the proper state to write another novel. Humm. Yes, there are many interesting people...and stories. Maybe it’s time. Maybe I need to revisit the mutilated cattle.
*note- Cattle pictured above are from a Maasai market I visited in Tanzania. Aliens will not mutilate these cattle (the Maasai wouldn't allow it. No one messes with the Maasai!)