Cattle mutilations: we've all heard about them; and everyone has an opinion. For some, aliens are visiting the Earth and excising tissue, blood, and organs from the animals for God-knows-what nefarious purpose. Others see the UFO angle of the cattle mutes as a brilliantly executed cover-story to hide a darker truth: namely that "the Government" is concerned by emerging-diseases in the animal kingdom that may spread to the human race, and is carefully keeping watch on the situation by slicing and dicing a few animals now and again for experimental purposes. Then there are those that roll their eyes and conclude that it's all a bunch of hysteria-driven nonsense caused by nothing stranger than predators, the ever-churning rumor-mill, and cultural mythology.

Anyone with an interest in this topic should take a look at the following: Linda Howe's 1989 book An Alien Harvest; Colm Kelleher's truly disturbing 2004 title Brain Trust; Paul Kimball's new documentary for Canadian television (that I was interviewed for in Puerto Rico in 2005), Fields of Fear; Mute Evidence by Ian Summers and Daniel Kagan; Mystery Stalks the Prairie by Roberta Donovan and Keith Wolverton; and Tom Adams' The Choppers and the Choppers. Collectively, they provide essential data for anyone wanting to know more about the cattle mutilation controversy - but don't expect to find the authors and producers all to be of a like-mind. Nope: as I said, this is a controversial issue with more theories going for it than Roswell - and that's saying something.

But there's one issue that occasionally surfaces and that - to date - no-one has ever undertaken a really in-depth study of: human mutilations. Now before the skeptics get on their high-horse and blast me for bringing up such a controversial issue, I am not saying that I am a champion of the idea that aliens (or whoever) are zipping around the countryside, killing people, and stealing their organs. What I am saying is that there are people (and reports) claiming such, and therefore maybe it's about time that someone - believer, skeptic, or agnostic - tried to nail this one, once and for all; and regardless of in which direction the evidence leads.

Certainly, at an official level, interest has been taken in claims of human mutilations allied to the UFO mystery. For example, in September 1976, Oui magazine published a large and comprehensive article outlining the history of cattle mutilations, the theories surrounding who or what was responsible, and the opinions of numerous persons who, one way or another, were implicated in the affair - something of which that the FBI took careful note.

As evidence of this, under cover of the following memorandum, a copy of the Oui article was sent to Washington by the FBI's Special-Agent-in-Charge at the Bureau's Springfield, Illinois office: "Enclosed for the Bureau is one copy of an article titled 'The Mutilation Mystery', which allegedly appeared in Oui Magazine, September 1976 issue. For the information of the Bureau, Sheriff Russell Crews, Illinois, on 9/30/76, furnished enclosed article to SA Donald R. Sorensen since it pertained to widespread incidents such as those set forth in referenced airtel. This is furnished to the Bureau in view of numerous references in this article to Federal investigative agencies and also theories that these mutilations of cattle are only a forerunner for later mutilations of human beings."

Consider the following too: A number of years ago, and while looking into claims that human beings had been mutilated in a fashion similar to that reported in cattle, Don Ecker, the Director of Research for UFO Magazine, contacted an active police detective friend, "Scot," who had been involved in the investigation of a number of cattle mutilation incidents. Ecker (in an article published in UFO Magazine's Vol. 4, No. 3 issue) would state: "I relayed my various information on human mutes to [Scot], and asked if he would be willing to send an inquiry through his department's computer to the National Crime Information Center, operated and maintained by the FBI in Washington, DC."

Several days later, Scot, sounding troubled, got back in touch with Ecker: "Someone is sitting on something, big as hell." Contact was made with a further source, this time in the Department of Justice, who would only state that "if all were smart, they would simply leave this issue alone."

As enigmatic as this certainly was, more was to come. In the Vol. 5, No.2 issue of UFO Magazine, it was revealed that an assistant examiner in Westchester County, New York, informed a researcher, Bill Knell, in 1989, that several morgues in the area had been "hit" in the middle of the night, and fresh human cadavers had been mutilated, which involved partial removal of the face, and total removal of the eyes, thyroid, stomach and genitals. According to the assistant ME, "the morgues in question wasted no time in putting the mutilations under wraps and out of the public eye."

There are many more such accounts - all bubbling quietly below the surface of the UFO rumor-mill. Now, to stress, as I said, I am categorically not saying that we should all be locking our doors and hiding out in the cellar because extraterrestrial butchers want to serve us up on a plate. But, I am pointing out that this is alleged in some quarters to be a genuine aspect of the bigger UFO puzzle. And if only to lay the matter to rest, someone should launch an in-depth study of the controversy. Anyone up for the challenge?