“An Alien Got My Cow Again”
Lecture focuses a great enduring mystery you might not know
“I was teaching anthropology at the University of Arkansas in Fayetteville [in the 1970s]. One day, the chief of police contacted the anthropology department,” Nancy Owen Lewis, a current scholar-in-residence for the School for Advanced Research, tells SFR. “He needed some advice for a problem that was wreaking havoc.”
A cow and horse had been mutilated, and police discovered strange “altars’' in the vicinity, according to Lewis. The chief of police wanted to know if there was a connection and, in a Jurassic Park-esqe twist, enlisted researchers, of which Owen was one. It wasn’t an isolated incident, either, and authorities soon found slaughtered cattle in ranches across Arkansas—not torn to shreds by wild animals, but methodically taken apart. Similar cases had already been reported in Colorado, Montana and—get this—New Mexico.
Lewis’ talk, Pastures Possessed: The Cattle Mutilation Conspiracy delves into this bizarre period in human history, which some, she says, blamed anything from UFOs and Satanic worshippers to Soviet spies and Los Alamos-related government experiments. Closer to home, New Mexico had reports of mysterious black helicopters scooping up living cattle and depositing their carcasses afterwards. No one was ever charged.
“The pattern suggested this was a deliberate account by a perpetrator, described as a ‘classic mutilation’ and ‘surgical removal of the animal parts,’” Owens continues. “There were no signs of a struggle or tracks, and it was often accompanied by these strange sightings.”
Through hundreds of interviews throughout her investigation, Lewis’ inner anthropologist emerged. She became fascinated with similar events taking place across the country with two different responses: Arkansians tended to see the crisis in a religious light, while New Mexicans looked toward the stars or speculated that the Los Alamos National Lab and the feds were up to no good.
Lewis’ talk, held in partnership with the Historic Santa Fe Foundation, will focus on the conspiracies and the cultural and spiritual explanations locals had for the crisis. For Lewis’ part, she’s got some theories—but she’s staying mum until the talk.
“There’s so much we don’t know,” she teases. “What mysteries might be left?” (Riley Gardner)
Pastures Possessed: The Cattle Mutilation Conspiracy: 3pm Thursday, Sep 9. $10. Online. historicsantafe.org
Whatever else happens, it’s nice that smaller venues reliant on year-round offerings have at least a little bit of a chance to host shows after the horrible year-plus lockdown. We’re talking places like GiG Performance Space, where longtime Bonnie Raitt bass player Freebo comes to town this week alongside singer-songwriter Alice Howe. Technically, they’ve got their own folky/Americana-y practices, but when Howe and Freebo join forces, it’s like some kind of harmoniously brilliant acoustic Voltron coming together. Vocal and guitar harmonies? Yeah—they’ve got those, and they’ve got them in such beautiful abundance, Santa Feans who love that unplugged sound (of which we know there are many) will probably want to be there. (Alex De Vore)
Freebo with Alice Howe: 8 pm Saturday, Sept. 11. $22. GiG Performance Space, 1808 Second St., gigsantafe.com
Speaking of smaller venues that are just trying to get by and thusly bringing in events again, you could do a lot worse than Stand-Up Comedy Night at Tumbleroot Brewery & Distillery. This weekend, a veritable cornucopia of jokesters join host Tripp Stelnicki to make jokes and keep things light. Honestly, due to the shape of the world, something like this might just hit the spot. You know that old axiom about laughing instead of crying, right? Think of it like that when folks like Isabel Madley, Phil Johnson and TJ Jones take to the stage for a little levity. Oh, also, the beers down there are good as hell. (ADV)
Stand-Up Comedy Night: 8:30 pm Saturday, Sept. 11. $5. Tumbleroot Brewery & Distillery, 2791 Agua Fria St., (505) 303-3808
Mayhap you’ve heard by now that cannabis will be fully legal in New Mexico by April next year (or possibly sooner if the powers that be can work it out), but maybe you don’t quite know how or why that’s happened. Setting aside how it’s medicine, it’s awesome, there are incredible economic possibilities and you should mind your own damn business, Beckie, know that the move is ultimately a good one. Then catch up with Rep. Andrea Romero and other state Dems as they explain the struggle and maybe give us some insight into why peach rings are so good with cannabis. We kid—this is seriously business, but also an interesting bit of state political history unfolding before our very eyes. (ADV)
How Cannabis Legalization Came to New Mexico: 5:30 pm Monday, Sept. 13. Free. Democratic Party of Santa Fe, 1420 Cerrillos Road, (505) 467-8514