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Authors: Kimberly Thomas

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BOOK: The Bovine Connection
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“Yes, I know… cognitive dissonance is the psychological term. We all have it,” Angelica responded smugly.

Matthew appeared frustrated. He considered himself an expert on the cattle mutilation phenomena. “I have dealt with plenty of opposition,” he said defensively.

Angelica noticed he was watching her closely. “So, what makes you think it’s not a satanic group or some bored kids looking to create a sensation? Clearly, predators make the most logical sense of all the explanations.”

“Angelica, I would rather believe any of those theories, but I’ve been investigating this subject for ten years, and I’ve come to the conclusion that there’s something much more sinister going on, and it ain’t no human or animal doing it,” he said in an authentic western drawl as he lifted his hand and rubbed across the rim of his hat.

Angelica casually turned around to see if anyone was eavesdropping on the conversation. “Well, that leaves us with Bigfoot, ET’s or whoever killed Jimmy Hoffa,” she said laughing freely, but Matthew wasn’t amused.

He leaned back and bowed up his chest by raising both arms over the back of his chair. His lips parted into a sneaky grin and then he smirked.

Angelica noticed the shift in Matthew’s body language and decided to ease up on him. “I apologize. It all just sounds so bizarre to me.” 

Matthew nodded with straight lips and continued… “After the incident in 2000, I couldn’t get it out of my mind. I saw the carcass with my own eyes and spoke to the local veterinarian on the scene. That animal had been diced up, and those cuts were too precise. I mean, you should have seen it. The anal area was cored clear out, no tears, no blood. The head was stripped of all skin and tissue clear down to the skull,” Matthew glanced around the room and then leaned in closer.

“I went back to the scene repeatedly, obsessed, trying to find an explanation. I just couldn’t make sense of it. I couldn’t rationalize why someone would do it. Not to mention, who would do something so disgusting? The area was so remote. Nothing fit.” Matthew’s voice cracked, he was clearly emotional over the incident.

“The case stayed with me and then in town one day I met this lady. I overheard someone say, ‘There’s the town crazy! She claims she knows who is cutting up them cattle.’ As they laughed, I looked around to see who they were referring to, and that’s when I first met Ellen McKinney. She didn’t look all that crazy to me… more like a sweet older lady. However, that’s not the point, I heard them say ‘cut up cattle’ and ‘she knows’ in the same sentence and that’s what got my attention. I went over and cut up with her, and we became friends instantly.” Matthew smiled, clearly amused with himself.

Angelica nodded, unmoved, considering she thought Matthew rather unsophisticated but friendly.

Matthew noticed Angelica’s flat expression and shifted in his seat. “Anyway, she’s a real sweet lady and I have come to believe most of what she says. Oh and get this… her husband is an aeronautical engineer retired from Newton Air Force Base.”

“He is? But you just said ‘most of what she says’… About what, Matthew? What are we really talking about here?”

Matthew leaned in over his empty plate of dried smeared egg yolks. “I know all this sounds ridiculous, but stay with me here. I’ve personally gathered soft tissue and sent it off to a pathologist. I’ve worked with the UFO investigative group RUFA. I’ve interviewed and worked alongside scientists, veterinarians and the police. Even read the reports from the FBI, by the way… a load of crap. They don’t want the truth out… a policy of denial, you’ll soon discover. Oh and not to mention, I’ve had my life threatened  - strange calls telling me to walk away from the story if I knew what was good for me.”

Angelica wondered if he was telling the truth. “Your life has been threatened?” she asked, in disbelief.

“Yes,” Matthew nodded with a straight face.

“Angelica, I want you to meet with Ellen McKinney and her husband, Blake. I’ll call and set up a meeting.”

“Great, yes, I’m looking forward to meeting the town crazy”, she glanced up from her pad with a Cheshire cat smile. “What were some of the things she shared with you?”

“Now keep an open mind… She believes extraterrestrials are responsible for the mutilations. And the government knows about it.”

Angelica laughed aloud. “An alien agenda… Are you hearing yourself, Matthew?”

“Angelica, in the beginning, I was just like you. I would have laughed until I cried if early on someone would have said something like that to me.”

The noise in the restaurant was dying down.

“All right,” Angelica said, “tell me about Jack Keller. What do you think of him and his eye-witness accounts of the mutilations?”

“As you know, journalists have it hard,” Matthew stated matter-of-factly. Angelica bit down on her lip and nodded.

“Unfortunately,” Matthew continued, “we are living in a world where people are afraid of ridicule and condemnation from others. A lot of our reporting is off the record. Stories get squashed if they’re too provocative. Hell, I’m not telling you anything you don’t already know.” Matthew shifted in his seat.

“Well, anyway… when you get permission to go on the record, you’re left with very little information to piece together. In addition, as you know, subjects of this nature, well… you have less on the record that you can officially report and that just doesn’t cut it when it comes to factual and unbiased journalism.”

Angelica nodded and checked her recorder. It was still capturing Matthew’s candid speech.

“Jack didn’t want to go on the record,” Matthew told her. “And I know Jack well. Jack is the kind of guy that states the facts, a no-fluff type of guy, and he said some real interesting things about the nights of the incidents.” Matthew grinned, a glint of pride in his eye. “Anyway, these guys are hardworking, no-nonsense cowboys, and Jack especially. This guy has nothing to gain by killing one of his own cattle. What would his reason be? Not publicity, trust me.” Matthew shook his head. “It’s time people know the truth. My question is… are you going to have the courage to write the truth in the end?” Matthew raised his eyebrows. Angelica nervously shifted in her seat. Something about the way Matthew said the word “courage” unnerved her.

“What did he say?” Angelica glanced up while continuing to take shorthand notes on her pad.

Matthew turned and saw the server standing there.

“Can I get you anything else?”

Matthew looked into his cup and then back to the server… “No, thank you. I believe I’m finished. We’ll go ahead and get the check.”

The woman walked off as Angelica glanced down at her watch. “I have to say, Matthew, this conversation is... well, I’m just going to shoot straight with you. This all sounds a bit farfetched to me.” Angelica said as she pushed her plate forward. She turned off the recorder and looked around for the server.

Matthew noticed Angelica was in deep thought so he nudged the table causing her to flinch. “Would you like to go to the Keller Ranch and have a look at the carcass?”

Angelica was suddenly back in the moment. She turned around to face Matthew. “Carcass?”

Matthew pushed his chair back and got up from the table as he watched Angelica gather her things. She was rather petite and a bit fragile behind that tough persona, he thought. “Why don’t you just ride with me to the ranch? I can bring you back later.”

“Perfect,” she responded enthusiastically. “Yes, that would be great.”

“Okay, let’s head on over there. I’ll call Jack.”

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Chapter Thirteen

 

             
T
he Western sun shone radiantly over the mountain scenery as they pulled out of the lodge parking lot and headed down the hill, past the tall evergreens.

Angelica noticed the rushing river’s white-capped rapids breaking on the rocks. Down further was a calm area of the river, called Elk Creek, where she could barely make out figures standing in knee-deep water fly-fishing as sparkles of sunlight glistened off the surface. The sun reflected off the lines as they stretched their arms back to cast into the river. Relaxed, she had forgotten the story’s disturbing details and was fully present in the peaceful moment.

Angelica’s heart suddenly fluttered and her stomach sank as she heard Matthew utter the word “carcass,” causing her to quickly snap back to reality. Matthew was speaking with Jack Keller on his cell phone, and she was just catching the tail end of their conversation.

“Thank you, Jack, see you soon.” Matthew put the phone back in his pocket and looked at Angelica. “He said he’d speak with you. He’ll be around the ranch throughout the day so we can head on over.” Matthew grinned. “Along with the Hoffa conspiracy theorist,” he whispered.

“Perfect,” Angelica smiled and looked back out the window.

Matthew glanced over at Angelica, “So, you married… got a family back home in D.C.?”

Surprised by the question, Angelica slowly turned her head toward Matthew. “No. Are you?”

“Nope, I was once. She met a guy. It was bad timing for me.” Matthew shrugged his shoulders. Angelica looked over at Matthew and smiled sincerely. The sun was shining through his window, illuminating a soft glow around his light brown cowboy hat.

“Every cowboy has a story.” Matthew shook his head while still looking out the front windshield. Angelica gave an impressed nod while silently observing him.

“The only thing that really hurts a cowboy is getting his heart broken,” he said. “Of course there was that time I fell off that horse in the middle of a briar patch--ouch!” Matthew laughed.

Angelica was amused. Matthew had a quirky sense of humor, she thought. Still smiling she shook her head. “I’m sorry about your wife. Are you really a cowboy, Matthew?” It was an idea she found hard to believe, even with the cowboy hat.

Matthew laughed, “Nah… Not my cup of tea!” Angelica smiled wryly as she turned to look back out the window.

Matthew realized Angelica could use some quiet time to enjoy the view after the long conversation in the restaurant. “Beautiful, isn’t it? Just relax and take it all in while you have a chance.”

Angelica’s eyes were sincere as she looked over at Matthew with a kind smile and nodded.

 

Chapter Fourteen

A
ngelica had dozed off while enjoying the scenery.

“There it is!” Matthew announced. Angelica jerked her head at the sound of Matthew’s voice.

It was just as she had envisioned when she read the eyewitness statement from the police report: a typical Midwest ranch with lush meadows, hay bottoms, and rolling hills.

They drove through the private entrance and past rustic posts and rail fencing. Angelica felt anxious. She saw the cedar-sided house with a cedar shake roof, extending out to cover the front porch that stretched along the length of the front of the house. The porch was bare except for two rocking chairs and a sleeping German Shepard.

Angelica envisioned a man and woman sitting there at night looking up at the stars. It reminded her of her childhood visits to her grandmother’s house in the Blue Ridge Mountains outside of Asheville, North Carolina.

She and her grandmother would lean back in the porch swing after dinner and gaze up at the stars. Angelica would compare the night’s sky to her grandmother’s black and white speckled casserole baking pot. Her grandmother would rub her head and hum quietly over the orchestra of crickets in the distance as Angelica would think about how small she felt under the stars. A curious young girl, she wondered where it all began. What was behind the speckled blackness? Where did it finally end? The list of questions would go on until she would finally pull herself back, knowing she had gone as far as her young mind would comfortably allow. Her childlike wonder was fascinated with the black space behind the stars, and the idea that there could be life out in the vast darkness... somewhere… on another planet, maybe just like earth, inhabited by curious minds similar to hers.

The car bounced as it drove over a large dip, snapping her out of the memory. Gravel crunched under the tires. She didn’t see anyone around as they continued down the bumpy road, past the house and horse barn.

Matthew turned to Angelica, “Good people, Keller and his wife. I hope you’ll get to meet her. They don’t have any children. Heard from folks around town that she was never able to conceive. Sad situation--seems she’s become more reclusive after each miscarriage. The doctor had told Jack and Elizabeth her uterus was too full of adhesions. Odd scar tissue had formed that must have been from some past infection and she’d never have children. At least that’s what I overheard. Small town, ya know.”

Angelica lowered her eyes, “So sad.”

“Yes, it is. Apparently, Elizabeth had changed after the news, becoming delicate from the grief, and Jack had become more protective of her. Like I told you, Jack’s a good man and you’ll find him to be sincere,” Matthew cocked his head and looked Angelica straight in the eye then swung his head back around. Angelica caught Matthew’s point. He had figured her out fairly quickly, she thought. She’d tame her personality and be careful not to offend the Kellers.

Angelica noticed a group clustered in the pasture. She looked over at Matthew. “Are they the men from the UFO group?

“Not sure, but I suspect they could be.” Matthew pulled up beside the other cars parked in front of the fence.

Angelica organized her things and grabbed her recorder, pad, and pen from her satchel. “So, do you think the carcass will be in decent condition,” she asked, “with the weather being so warm?” Angelica wiped the sweat from above her lip. It had only taken a few seconds for the air in the car to warm up after Matthew turned the engine off. “I could only imagine with the sun beating down on it all day… I’m sure it smells pretty bad.”

“One would think it’d be in awful shape. We’ll see here in a minute,” Matthew leaned over, grabbed a tissue out of the glove compartment, and handed it to Angelica. “This is all I have, just in case.”

Angelica took the tissue and put it in her pocket. They both opened their doors at the same time and got out. Angelica walked alongside Matthew as they approached the group of men standing in the dry dirt. She felt prepared as she pulled her satchel strap up over her shoulder.

Following Matthew, she walked over towards the men. Matthew shouted, “Look who it is! Well there’s Paul Colbeck! How are you, man?” Matthew patted him on the shoulder. “I wasn’t sure if you’d still be here.”

“Yes, we’ll be here all week doing research,” Paul said.

“Getting anywhere?” Matthew glanced over at the other men and smiled, then back to Paul.

“Yeah, saw some lights in the sky last night, and followed them until they disappeared right as they approached the Newton Base. They were just as Jack had described. We were sitting in the truck bed doing some sky watching and after a few non-eventful hours, they showed up to say hello,” Paul chuckled. “Two bright lights appeared and grew larger as they approached us. Once they were about a hundred yards from our truck, they froze for a few minutes, and then they danced around each other. I don’t know of any man-made craft able to maneuver like that. When they started moving away we followed them and ended up a couple hundred yards from the base. We got it all on video. We’ll take it back and analyze it.” Paul bowed up with confidence.

Matthew looked at Angelica, then back to Paul, “Danced around each other, huh. Did you see a craft?”

“Not last night,” Paul said as he smiled at Angelica while stepping toward her and extending his hand. “Hi, I’m Paul Colbeck.”

“Sorry, how rude of me. This is Angelica Bradley with the
Liberator Magazine
. She’s here to do a story on the mutilations,” Matthew said.

“Fantastic to meet you, Angelica!”

“Nice to meet you as well,” Angelica said as she released their handshake.

“What do you think so far?” Paul asked, completely straight-faced.

”I have to be honest with you Paul, I’m not much of a conspiracy theorist. I don’t buy into the ET stuff.” Angelica raised her eyebrows and shrugged her shoulders.

Paul laughed spontaneously. “It’s nice to meet you all the same.” He then looked at Matthew and winked.

Matthew looked down and shook his head. He couldn’t help but get a kick out of Angelica’s straight-forwardness. “Let’s step over here so you can see your first ’classic signature case.’”

Matthew walked away from Paul, and Angelica followed. They walked quietly for about seventy yards. “There she is.” Matthew pointed down to the carcass. Angelica’s eyes grew wide as she looked down to see the poor creature. She wasn’t sure what the carcass was going to look like, but she had to admit it was nothing like she could have imagined.

The cow was on its back, its legs straight up in the air. Rigor mortis had set in, but surprisingly there was very little odor. The tissue on one side of the head and neck had been removed down to the skull with no blood splatter visible. As she leaned down over the carcass and took a closer look, she saw one of the eyes was missing along with one ear. “Why would they remove one eye and one ear?” she asked.

Matthew was beside her, but didn’t respond to her question since he knew it wasn’t directed at him. She was just trying to make sense of the situation as everyone does when they see a mutilated animal for the first time.

“It’s hard to fathom that someone could be so cruel to an innocent creature,” Angelica thought aloud. They both stood there for a moment and didn’t say a word.

Matthew pulled a pencil from his pocket and stepped around to the other side of the carcass. “Take a look here at these two holes,” he said as he used the pencil to point to what appeared to be gunshot wounds. Matthew put the pencil inside one of the holes and lifted it at the edge so it stretched enough for her to see the size. “See how precise it is?”

“Looks like a gunshot wound to me,” Angelica announced.

Matthew paused and then nodded, “Well, it isn’t. Does it look like a coyote bite?” Matthew asked sarcastically. “This is a ‘classic signature’ wound and after evaluation it was determined that it wasn’t caused by a gun shot. They never are. As a matter of fact, the heart and other organs were removed and somehow sucked through these two small circular incisions, so we speculate. Makes you wonder, whatever did this wasn’t all that concerned with the condition of the organs. Think about it. Look at the size of these holes. Can you imagine getting a five to six pound heart through this? Look at the condition of them? Exact, clean, no tearing and no blood, which suggests the use of a laser-like instrument. And according to a scientist friend of mine, this was done with surgical precision and done quickly.”

Angelica’s eyes were wide and her muscles tense. She was at a loss for the right words. “Oh,” she mumbled after being a little mortified to realize her mouth was gasping. “But… wait, how do you know the organs were removed?”

“I was here when Dr. Goolrick and our local veterinarian did their examination.”

Angelica took her cell phone from her pocket and took a few pictures of the carcass while walking around it.

Matthew stepped over and touched Angelica’s shoulder. “Now Angelica, here is the really interesting part. Take a look…” Matthew leaned down onto one knee and pointed to the rectal area of the carcass. “This is very common to see with female cattle mutilations. It’s not unusual to not only see anal coring but the teats, vagina and uterus extracted as well.”

Angelica stepped closer to Matthew and leaned down to see a hole—twelve inches in depth—where the flesh had been removed from the anus. Angelica fought disgust. She looked back at Matthew in anguish. “Matthew, who would do such a thing? This is far beyond what I expected. When I read about it, my mind didn’t quite register the scope of gruesomeness.”

“Yep, I agree.” Matthew wiped the sweat from his forehead with the rolled-up sleeves of his shirt.

“Okay Angelica, I want you to think about this… What’s most compelling with the female cattle mutilations is, along with the digestive tract tissue being removed from the anal area, this case is a carbon copy of the surgical technique we’ve seen in so many so-called UFO-related animal mutilation cases. Are we supposed to believe someone outside of an expert surgeon would be capable of such a precise and difficult procedure? Even medical professionals are baffled.”

Angelica looked at Matthew, “I don’t know what to say. Matthew, why would someone be so interested in cattle? The government sure wouldn’t need to mutilate rancher’s cattle. They could do that on Plum Island or a myriad of other undisclosed locations. These are questions that need to be answered.” Angelica shook her head, perplexed.

“It is definitely not a scavenger event, based upon my eyewitness account here today. That narrows it down to a hoax, or some other human deviousness. If we rule those out, then it really starts to get interesting,” Angelica murmured.

Matthew stepped away from the carcass as he listened intently to Angelica and put his hands on his hips. “I think it is very important now for you to meet my friend, Dr. Walter Goolrick. I know he’ll meet with you, but you’ll have to go to Denver, I suspect. After getting to know you, he’ll see you’re not a typical journalist.”

Angelica looked curiously at Matthew, “What do you mean by that?”

“Angelica, I don’t believe in accidents. I think there’s a reason you’re here covering this mutilation. I can tell you’re not going to make quick assumptions and you’re not going to give up until you uncover the truth behind what’s happening to these poor animals.”

Angelica walked back around to the head of the carcass and bent down, then looked back up at Matthew and said, “Poor creature. Regardless of whether they’re human or non-human… you’re right, I want to know who did this and why.”

The heat was starting to weigh down on them and Angelica was growing weary. Her blouse had moistened from sweat and was sticking to her back. She was pulling her blouse away from her wet skin as she heard a male voice in the distance.

“Hey there!” Jack Keller was approaching with a slight limp.

“Hey there!” he said again while waving as he walked toward them.

Angelica looked at Matthew, “That’s Keller, isn’t it?”

“Yep, that’s him,” confirming her suspicion. Jack stopped briefly to say something to Paul. Angelica noticed as the men laughed. Jack then continued toward Angelica and Matthew.

His suntanned skin caused him to appear older than his actual age of forty-five. He was a pleasant looking man with reddish-blonde hair and light brown eyes. He wore a dark tan cowboy hat and wranglers. Right down to his cowboy boots, he fit the part of a Montana rancher.

He extended his hand toward Matthew, “Good to see you, buddy! You can’t stay away!” he chuckled and then looked at Angelica still smiling, “You must be the reporter from Washington!”

Matthew looked at Angelica with a sly grin. “Yep, this is Angelica Bradley from Washington, D.C. She’s here to uncover the truth,” Matthew said sarcastically.

Irritated, Angelica quickly looked at Matthew and then to Jack. “Well, you could say, I’m here to write about the incident, and hopefully uncover the truth whatever that ends up to be.”

Jack looked at Matthew and then back to Angelica and frowned. “Pretty awful sight… That’s one of my second-year heifers. I was pretty disappointed to see they got one of my heifers.” Jack looked inquisitively over at Angelica trying to read her body language.

Angelica looked up at Jack and smiled while she reached into her bag and tried to retrieve her digital recorder, “Do you mind if I record our conversation? It would be for my notes. I would only publish what you agreed to release. You just say what’s off the record. And I don’t mind giving you an alias to protect you and your family.”

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