Monday, September 27, 2010

Kevin Randle - Animal Mutilations (and some other things)


Part II of my interview earlier this month with Kevin Randle, wherein we discuss animal mutilations, a few more points about the "abduction" phenomenon... and some miscellaneous subjects, including a certain Colonel of the Israeli-founded S3!

"Maggots, mutilations and myth: Patterns of postmortem scavenging of the bovine carcass", the Canadian Veterinary Journal article that I reference in this episode, can be read in its entirety here.

Paul Kimball

P.S. Here is a picture of yours truly in June, 2009, inside the secret S3 HQ in Prague!

16 comments:

Lesley said...

Were you there with Kal?

Paul Kimball said...

Good heavens, no! He's the last person I ever want to hang out with (hmm... with the possible exception of Osama Bin Laden, who reminds me a lot of KKK). I was in Prague with Ghost Cases co-host Holly Stevens... and KKK was nowhere to be found. I think it drove him a bit nuts when I was there, because of our practical joke, which he clearly took seriously, about shooting a doc about him. Like anyone would ever want to see that!! ;-)

Lesley said...

I don't see how you could get access to the secret S3 HQ without Kal's help. :-)

purrlgurrl said...

Enjoyed the second half of Randall's straight-talking podcast.

Ufology is continually trying to claim extraterrestrial intervention for almost every event that has no immediate explanation (remember the windmill failure in the UK that was initially blamed on a UFO?). No wonder so many entirely dismiss the phenomenon and its believers, and the media refuse to take it seriously.

Christopher O'Brien said...

I listened to the episode and, for the record, I actually agree with some of what KR and PK had to say about the so-called "mutilation" mystery. Scavengers can leave behind unusual-looking evidence that (to the untrained eye) can appear to be high-strange. However, having said this, I cannot agree with the blanket statement that all mutilations can be explained. FWIW: Out of the 200+ cases I've investigated (in my estimation) around 38-40 seemed high-strange and worthy of testing by veterinarian pathologists. True, I'm just an amateur, but I have been exposed to, and learned from, the methodology of professionals.

KR mentioned the NIDS investigation and research of a UT case from 1998 in Utah where the animal was thoroughly examined postmortem and found to have unusually low levels of copper. But what about the "unusual, formaldehyde-containing blue gel like substance was found on the eye, the ear and the anus of the animal[?]" or this interesting detail: "the animal's heart was shredded, yet it's pericardium was intact." Or what about this fact? "the animal tested positive on two different pregnancy tests, yet there was no fetus present at the time of necropsy and no sign of a recent spontaneous abortion." Or how about this observation? "the animal's blood contained high levels of potassium chloride."

And what about the 400 or so reports of unusual helicopter activity in and around mutilation sites? I could go on and on, but I spare you any more counter arguments to your whitewashing.

To say ALL CATTLE MUTILATIONS CAN BE EXPLAINED is disingenuous at best and smacks of outright debunking.

Yup, this was a predator kill that was then subjected to mundane scavenger action. But I guess the scavengers somehow introduced potassium chloride and an unusual formaldehyde-like substance to the carcass, right guys? Nothing to see here, move along...

Christopher O'Brien

Paul Kimball said...

By all means, continue to believe what you want, continue to label anyone who disagrees with you as a debunker, and continue to spread your pseudo-science hokum to the people who will buy your books. I wouldn't expext any different from someone who holds Ray Stanford up as a paragon of scientific research.

For my part, I'm perfectly content to let people look at the facts and make up their own minds, because I'm confident that most people are less credulous than you.

Lesley said...

@Paul - Quit being shy, say what you really mean! LOL! :-O

Lesley said...

Let me add that I don't believe all cattle mutes (or mutes in general) can be explained, but I would not depend on NIDS to back up that statement. I trust NIDS about as far as I could throw Bob Bigelow.

Paul Kimball said...

Lesley,

Contrary to what O'Brien seems to think, I don't rule out the possibility that some very small percentage of so-called mute cases might be anomalous, although not paranormal in any way. The government has, after all, done stranger things.

However, I am satisfied from the evidence, and the investigation of qualified and competent scientists who look into it objectively, that the overwhelming majority of cases have relatively simple explanations, and the "mystery" is simply the result of ranchers and cops (usually) jumping to conclusions that they are not qualified to make, based on evidence they have misintepreted. All of this is compounded by amateurs like O'Brien, who have perpetuated the myths and sensationalized the stories, presumably so that they can sell their books, although I leave room for the possibility that they really do believe what they're peddling, which is sad in its own way.

Paul

Lesley said...

The government is the key. The majority of "odd" mutilations and other anomalous activity seems to have a distinctly "black-ops" vibe to it. I don't doubt that there are anomalous mutes, but I do doubt there is anything alien about them.

Tyler Kokjohn said...

Paul -

Thank you for providing the link to the cattle mutilation paper by Nation and Williams. This work provides some critical perspective regarding an issue where hard facts are sparse.

Perhaps you will allow me to turn the tables on you (respectfully). The observations of Nation and Williams clearly have direct bearing on the issue of animal mutilation causality, but it is important to guard against viewing the data as being more definitive than warranted. Despite being illuminating and informative, those observations cannot necessarily be extrapolated to prove what actually transpired elsewhere. That uncertainty leaves a gap big enough to allow investigators to reach diametrically opposite conclusions while fully considering all the facts. However, it is possible to whittle the probabilities down, making a decision as to whether any particular conclusion is or is not scientifically plausible another matter.

The information described by Mr. O’Brien is quite interesting. Unfortunately, it is hard to know what to make of it because so much hinges on the precise nature of the data and the methods used to obtain it. For example, finding potassium chloride in an animal is of itself not abnormal – it’s one of the molecules used to establish neurochemical gradients and an essential, tightly regulated species. Now, if you are talking about finding postmortem levels of 500 miliMolar KCl throughout the vasculature that would be baffling. Not so sure what biochemical changes transpire after death, however. Pregnancy tests turning up positive – depends on the test. Any test may yield false positive or negative results under some circumstances. But I will hazard a guess that most are not certified for use with dead cattle. But, then again, who knows what the story is? The best course by far is to get all the information on the table for inspection.

I am a Ph. D. biochemist who would really like to see the primary data, be able to assess the precise methodological details and evaluate how the information compares to appropriate dead animal controls. I hope Mr. O’Brien will be so kind as to provide that information or let me know where I can obtain it.

Tyler Kokjohn said...

The information described by Mr. O’Brien is quite interesting. Unfortunately, it is hard to know what to make of it because so much hinges on the precise nature of the data and the methods used to obtain it. For example, finding potassium chloride in an animal is of itself not abnormal – it’s one of the molecules used to establish neurochemical gradients and essential. Now, if you are talking about finding postmortem levels of 500 miliMolar KCl throughout the vasculature that would be baffling in a living animal. Not so sure what biochemical changes transpire after death, however. Pregnancy tests turning up positive – depends on the test. Any test may yield false positive or negative results under some circumstances. But I will hazard a guess that most are not certified for use with dead cattle. But, then again, who knows what the story is?

I am a Ph. D. biochemist who would really like to see the primary data, be able to assess the precise methodological details and evaluate how the information compares to appropriate dead animal controls. I hope Mr. O’Brien will be so kind as to provide that information or let me know where I can obtain it.

Paul Kimball said...

Hi Tyler,

You wrote:

The observations of Nation and Williams clearly have direct bearing on the issue of animal mutilation causality, but it is important to guard against viewing the data as being more definitive than warranted.

I agree completely, and Nation and Williams said much the same thing. Their general point was that barring some extraordinary evidence to the contrary, the starting position when dealing with any of these cases should always be prosaic causes, of which there are many. They never completely ruled out something else, but I would submit that they have a far higher - and more appropriate - threshold of evidentiary necessity than someone like O'Brien, who sees tricksters behind every corner.

Despite being illuminating and informative, those observations cannot necessarily be extrapolated to prove what actually transpired elsewhere.

Here I disagree, I'm afraid. A general rule can be extrapolated from investigations by competent and objective scientists, and that can then be applied to other cases, certainly as a baseline.

That uncertainty leaves a gap big enough to allow investigators to reach diametrically opposite conclusions while fully considering all the facts.

Only if those conclusions are grounded in actual evidence, actual science, and have taken into account all the non-paranormal possibilities first. And therein lieth the problem, because O'Brien et al simply do not do that. Instead, they rely on the tired old refrain that "science never really investigates these cases... oh, if only they would look at them" combined with "ranchers know what's going on, and they couldn't possibly be wrong", which of course fails to take into account the overwhelming majority of ranchers who have seen things like "mutilations" and find nothing whatsoever anomalous about them. But those ranchers aren't the ones that help sell books, so we don't really see or hear much of them.

Paul

Paul Kimball said...

I am a Ph. D. biochemist who would really like to see the primary data, be able to assess the precise methodological details and evaluate how the information compares to appropriate dead animal controls. I hope Mr. O’Brien will be so kind as to provide that information or let me know where I can obtain it.

Now, here we have exactly what O'Brien should be looking for - a qualified scientist, willing to take a look at his data. I too hope that he gets in touch with you and provides you with his data so that you can take an objective look - you may try to approach him on the message boards of the Paracast, at www.theparacast.com, where he seems to spend a great deal of his time.

Paul

El Cerdo Ignatius said...

OK - colour me silly, too - I fell for the Documentary on Korff gag myself. I just thought you were waiting for an opportune time to use it.

Dang.

Trained Observer said...

A really great show. I appreciate the perspective that you and Kevin provide to the subjects of mutilation and abduction research. It seems like these self-perpetrating myths are approached with circular logic in an atmosphere where anything contradicting the accepted meta-story is brushed aside. I don't see how "Ufology" (whatever that really is) moves forward in that kind of situation. I have come to lean toward thinking that the majority of cattle mutilations and alien abductions are in the same class as Crop Circles as far as their relevance to anything non-human or "paranormal." The parallels to the generation and maintenance of religious belief sytems are significant I think.