Paranormal Gateways, UFOs, And Cattle Mutilations: The Mysteries Of The San Luis Valley

Marcus Lowth
Published Date
February 7, 2021
Last Updated
October 4, 2021
Estimated Reading Time
14 min read
Posted in
Supernatural, Time & Reality

We have written before about mysterious locations that are host to strange, paranormal activity. Skinwalker Ranch, for example, or The Bennington Triangle, or even the harsh terrain of Alaska. Perhaps one of the locations that appears to persistently slip under the radar is the San Luis Valley in Colorado.

The region is home to very much the same variety of paranormal activity as other apparent hot spots. UFO sightings here are in abundance, for example. As are cases of cattle mutilation, sightings of strange creatures, and even alien abduction. In short, the San Luis Valley could be one of the most interesting locations in the world.

Picture showing mutilated cattle, San Luis Valley with a superimposed portal

Many strange incidents take place in the San Luis Valley

Although part of the San Luis Valley crosses over into New Mexico, the vast majority resides in the south-central region of Colorado. Once owned by Mexico it became part of the United States after the Mexican-American War of 1846 to 1848. Since then, the region has enjoyed a multicultural existence. And perhaps because of this, shares a rich history of legends, myths, and very real chilling accounts.

While we will examine some of the cases of UFOs and other strange goings-on in the San Luis Valley region shortly, as well as one of the most well-known, if grim, encounters of the region – cattle mutilation – as well as sightings of many strange creatures, we will first turn out attention to the myths of the Native Americans of the region.

Myths Of The Native Americans

As we might imagine, then, knowing the history of the San Luis Valley and the surrounding areas, there are a plethora of legends and myths of the Native Americans [1] that are of immense interest to us here.

Around a dozen different Native American tribes have called the area home of the centuries, with some research suggesting that the San Luis Valley has been home to humans for around 7,000 years. Some such tribes refer to the region, or more specifically, the mountains that surround the valley, as the location of the Sipapu, or the place of creation or emergence.

Perhaps the Blanca Massif is one of the most mysterious mountains of the San Luis Valley. According to the Navajo, this is the location where “star people” enter our world. And they do so, on “flying seed pods”. This is a particularly interesting legend for several reasons. Firstly, what exactly are “seed pods”? Might this be a description of the flying saucer-type UFOs that we are all familiar with today, if only in concept?

Monuments in the San Luis Valley

Monuments in the San Luis Valley

Most interesting, though, especially when we consider theories surrounding similarly mysterious locations such as Skinwalker Ranch, is the concept that portals and the use thereof might lay at the heart of many of the bizarre incidents and events witnessed in the area. If the “star people” did use the Blanca Massif to enter our world, does this mean that some kind of portal or interdimensional gateway exists there?

As well as such creation myths are the many legends of beast-like shapeshifters that seemingly roam the vast regions of the San Luis Valley. Many of these, as we will examine shortly, very well be ancient accounts of the Bigfoot encounters that are witnessed there regularly still today.

Lady – The First Cattle Mutilation To Gain Public Interest

The San Luis Valley has seen hundreds of cases of cattle mutilation over the decades. In fact, the first case of such mutilations to bring the issue into the wider public consciousness is largely agreed to have happened to a horse in the region, [2] named Lady (although mostly referred to as Snippy) on the 27th September 1967 (some sources state other dates, even as early as 9th September).

The mutilated three-year-old Appaloosa horse was discovered by Harry King (who cared for the horse his sister, Nellie Lewis) and his mother, Agnes. They had gone to feed the animal and became immediately alarmed that she wasn’t waiting at the fence for her usual treats. Upon going to look for her, they discovered Lady on her side with the flesh from her head stripped completely and cleanly to the bone. There were also cuts to the body that was so precise anyone who saw them knew they couldn’t have been made by a natural predator.

Lady, sometimes known as Snippy mutilated

Lady, sometimes known as Snippy as she was discovered

Even stranger, there was no sign of any blood anywhere at the scene. Given the nature of Lady’s wounds, this should not have been the case. What’s more, a “strong chemical smell” was prevalent in the air around where the dead horse lay.

There were also further anomalies. For example, given that it appeared the horse had been dead for several days, there was no bloating or any signs of decomposition. Also of interest was the fact that no scavengers had attempted to take their fill from the carcass. This could be pure coincidence but perhaps suggests that whatever was done to Lady made her dead body unappealing to such predators who would normally have feasted happily on the gift meal.

Bizarre And Unnerving Discoveries

They made further intriguing discoveries at the scene around the horse. For example, the footprints of the dead horse stopped suddenly around 100 feet from where her dead body now lay. Just how had she could from that point to her final resting place?

Perhaps strangest of all was the burn marks on the ground near the dead horse, as well as some which appeared to form a distinct circular object. Of course, such discoveries would suggest to those in UFO circles that such circular scorch marks were the sign of extraterrestrial involvement and the markings were from their circular craft. These claims were perhaps taken even more seriously when Agnes King recalled seeing an “unknown object” go over her house in the days leading to the grim find.

In fact, so seriously was the possible connection taken that the Aerial Phenomenon Research Organization (APRO) (one of the biggest UFO investigative groups at the time) would investigate the case.

Newspaper report on the Lady case

Newspaper report on the Lady case

One person who examined the body of Lady was Dr. John Altshuler (who also had an interest in UFOs). When he examined the animal’s remains, he would discover that heart, lungs, and thyroid had been removed – and like the cuts to Lady’s body, these cuts were medically precise. He would find the same had been done to the brain and abdominal organs. He would also discover that the body had seemingly been drained of all its blood (remember, there was no blood anywhere at the scene).

Was this unfortunate horse the victim of an alien experiment? Might that explain the advanced and surgically precise nature of the wounds? If that is the case, then we have to ask, why? Is it merely to study such animals? Or might there be an altogether more chilling end game to such experiments? One that might one day place humans in the unfortunate position of Lady?

Other Differing And Intertwining Theories

There were, of course, many theories as to what might have happened to Lady aside from that she fell victim to the experiments of visitors from outer space. And as we have examined above, whether we believe in UFOs and aliens or not, it is easy to see why such a suggestion would be made in such a serious tone.

Some, though, put the blame at the feet of such groups as “satanic cults” or “Devil worshippers”, and many still believe this to be the case today. However, this would mean cults whose members had advanced knowledge in medical procedures, as well as being able to leave no tracks of their presence at the scene whatsoever. Perhaps not impossible, but still, highly unlikely.

Investigators at the scene of the Lady mutilation

Investigators at the scene of the Lady mutilation

As the case was investigated over the decades – and perhaps as cases of cattle mutilations began appearing all over the United States (and South America) – some investigators and researchers began to wonder if these brutal experiments might be the responsibility of intelligence agencies or a top-secret department of the government themselves. These claims perhaps took on a little more credence when some local residents claim to have witnessed military fighter jets seemingly patrolling the area in the days after.

Some would even suggest an intertwining of the UFO and secret government theories by stating that the government was working in conjunction with apparent extraterrestrial entities who had a discreet permanent presence here on Earth.

As we might imagine, most claims of this nature were dismissed by most.

Just What Happened To Lady?

Whatever the truth might be and what might have happened to Lady, it was seemingly clear to all that something out of the ordinary had taken place.

Perhaps unbelievably, then, when the Wadsworth Ayer for the Condon Committee concluded their investigation, they would state that “there was no evidence to support the assertion that the horse’s death was associated in any way to abnormal causes”. They didn’t, however, offer an explanation for the lack of blood at the scene, or in the carcass itself.

Investigators at the scene of the Lady mutilation

Investigators at the scene of the Lady mutilation

Even more dismissive was the response to the Lewis family by Alamosa County Sheriff, Ben Phillips, who despite never visiting the location for himself, claimed that it was likely a lightning strike that had killed the horse.

Incidentally, during early press coverage of the case, Lady was misnamed in reports as Snippy (who was actually her sire). Consequently, as such press coverage was picked up around the country, and ultimately the world, the name stuck and continued to do so over the years.

Long History Of Cattle Mutilation In The San Luis Valley

As we mentioned earlier, there are many other cases of cattle mutilation in the San Luis Valley. And while we don’t have time nor space to examine each and every one of them here, it is perhaps worth examining the sheer number of cases (although we should note that the vast majority of these cases involved cows and not horses).

Much like elsewhere around the United States (and at other locations around the world) as the 1970s unfolded, cases of cattle mutilation began to increase dramatically. And this continued in most places for the decades that followed.

When researcher and investigator, Christopher O’Brien investigator discovered that over 200 reports had been made by multiple ranchers in the San Luis Valley region. However, O’Brien believes that, much like UFO reports, the majority of these incidents go unreported, and because of this, the real total is much more likely to be around 1,000.

The short video looks at some of the more recent San Luis Valley cases.

A Long History Of Strange, Suddenly Appearing Creatures

We will turn our attention to some of the UFO sightings in the San Luis Valley shortly. However, it is perhaps worth our time examining some of the many sightings and encounters with mysterious and strange creatures and entities at this most interesting location. And, as much as there are UFO connections to the above case of cattle mutilations we have examined, it might prove one day to be the case that there is a connection to the many strange beings that appear to inhabit this stretch of land.

For example, one of the strangest sightings in the San Luis Valley region is known (at least loosely) as the Women In Red. According to one Internet forum user, an incident in the spring of 1992 was reported by the uncle of one of the towns of the San Luis Valley’s police chiefs.

A picture of the San Luis Valley

Why do paranormal activities take place in the San Luis Valley?

The witness claimed that one evening while he was driving into the town, he noticed a strange woman, dressed all in red, walking calmly by the roadside. He pulled up his pickup truck and asked the woman if she needed a ride. Without saying a word, the woman climbed onto the passenger seat.

It was only when the witness turned toward her to ask where she would like to go that he noticed she had “goat-like” legs complete with hoofs for feet. Then, before he could truly contemplate what he was seeing, the woman disappeared into thin air.

When the police chief in question received the report, as bizarre as it was undoubtedly was, he would state that his uncle was a “devout, stable man” and therefore, he accepted that he most definitely saw something strange that evening. Even so, he attempted to convince his uncle from filing the report, but he insisted on making it official and having the incident placed on record.

As strange as the above incident is, without a doubt one of the most persistent sightings of strange creatures in this region of the western United States is that of the Bigfoot. And it is there where we will turn our attention next.

Bigfoot Encounters At Least In The Hundreds

There have been hundreds (if not thousands) of Bigfoot reports from the San Luis Valley. And while those reports could make up an entire book in their own right, some are worth examining here. Perhaps not surprisingly, researcher, Christopher O’Brien has documented many of these sightings during his time researching the strange activity in the region. And these sightings, much like UFO encounters, often come in waves.

For example, in late-December 1993 stretching into the first week of January 1994, seven encounters were officially reported to the local police department. What’s more, according to O’Brien, each of these encounters occurred in the same seven-square mile radius within the San Luis Valley. We might wonder how many other sightings and encounters occurred during this time that was simply not reported.

One of the reports, which occurred on 31st December, featured several definite tracks of huge footprints, some of which were so distinguished even the toenail could be made out. The local police would even manage to capture part of the track on video. They went on for several hundred yards, negotiating various different terrains as they did so.

A picture of the San Luis Valley

Humans have lived in the San Luis Valley for thousands of years

One of the most intriguing Bigfoot encounters during this wave of sightings in late-93/early-94 came from a mother and son. According to their account, they had spent the day in the mountains and with night approaching, decided to set off back home. However, during the drive, they witnessed a huge, “dark, hairy, creature with large-pointed ears and large glowing eyes”.

The creature was definitely stood upright, like a person, before it “dropped down on all fours and ran away like a dog”. Whether this was a Bigfoot or some other bizarre monstrous beast is unknown.

The sightings even included a “white Bigfoot” which are usually sighted in the Siberian regions. Might this be yet another sign that portals and gateways are at work?

Interestingly or not, during the same approximate time frame, the San Luis Valley region, as well as the wider Colorado area, experienced a flurry of UFO sightings. Whether or not there is a connection remains open for debate.

A Bizarre Meeting On The Blanca Peaks

One of the most intriguing [3] is also to be found in the files of Christopher O’Brien. The case in question occurred in August 2000 and was originally filed with the Bigfoot Research Organization Database.

The incident was witnessed by two ATV (all-terrain vehicle) operators while they on the Blanca Peaks. As they were riding on the slope, they witnessed what they thought was a man ahead of them. However, they soon realized that the man was “all the same color, from head to toe”.

They slowed their vehicle and watched the figure walk and disappear into the trees at the side of the slope. They continued down the roadway for another 300 yards before bringing their vehicle to a stop. They decided to go looking for the strange figure.

A picture of the San Luis Valley

Do portals exist over the San Luis Valley?

They walked into the trees and began their cautious search. After walking around 200 yards they emerged into a meadow. Before they could fully take in their surroundings one of the men witnessed it running toward trees on the other side of the small field. He immediately called out that he could see the figure causing the other witness to turn.

They would later describe the strange creature as being “a light to a medium brown” with “shaggy long hair”. What’s more, it was around seven feet in height and moved at a considerable pace. Although they would continue their pursuit, they soon lost sight of the creature and returned to their vehicle.

Other Strange Appearing Animals

Yet another bizarre encounter also comes to us from the research files of the previously mentioned Christopher O’Brien. According to the witness, he was camping near Winchell Lake at some time in the early 1980s when they encountered something truly bizarre. The witness would tell O’Brien that as he was fishing at the lake, he noticed a huge white buffalo that had seemed to appear out of nowhere.

Even stranger, after staring at him for several moments, the huge, white beast appeared to vanish into thin air. When the witness walked over to where the suddenly appearing beast had stood, there were no tracks or markings anywhere to be found.

A picture of the San Luis Valley

The San Luis Valley is home to all kinds of strange activity

On another occasion in the same area near Winchell Lake in late-1993 (which also coincided with other paranormal type incidents in the region at the same time such as UFOs and Bigfoot encounters) came a wave of “prairie dragon” sightings. These strange creatures are described by researchers as “flat slugs” and appear in groups, moving their way across the floor. They have no legs, however, and leave no tracks of any kind. Some people have even reported them as coming out of sealed walls.

On yet another occasion, a local resident witnessed what appeared to be a suddenly appearing platypus – an animal that simply shouldn’t have been in this part of the world.

Indeed, there are numerous other reports of strange creatures, deformed-type fish, and all manner of strange creatures that appear in the San Luis Valley. We will turn our attention now, though, to examine one of the most intriguing and disturbing legends of the area.

“Old Scratch” – Encounters With The Devil?

Perhaps some of the strangest encounters [4] involve an entity referred to locally as “Old Scratch” – a being that some believe to be the Devil himself. The sightings are perhaps more urban legend than anything else. However, given the truly strange nature of the San Luis Valley combined with the notion that most legends may harbor at least partial truths, we should most certainly examine them here.

The basic story usually unfolds in a Cantina, when a “tall, handsome, well-dressed stranger” walks into the premises and makes a move toward whoever the “prettiest girl” might be in the premises. Once near to her, he “mesmerizes her” and appears to put her in a zombie-like state where she simply can’t take her attention away from him.

The story then normally states that other locals begin to notice something out of the ordinary and untoward taking place and turn their attention to this well-dressed stranger. The accounts, depending on who is telling them, then go along differing routes. Some state that when the locals approach the man, he morphs into a devil-like creature with “claws” and “cloven hoofs”. Some reports even state that a “devil’s tail “emerges on his lower back.

A picture of the San Luis Valley

What makes the San Luis Valley so strange?

Realizing he is outnumbered, though, the devil creature usually makes a quick getaway out of the door and disappears into the night as fast as he emerged.

Legends of the alleged appearances go back over a century and tend to occur, incidentally or not, during the season of Lent. The last officially recorded encounter with this apparent demonic entity occurred as recently as 1984.

We have written before of legends of the Djinn. And some researchers believe encounters such as these are most likely encounters with such mysterious entities. Might this be the case? After all, many legends of the Djinn speak of them appearing in forms so as to confuse and trick their victims. They also speak of them attempting to take control of their minds. It is certainly intriguing speculation.

An Abundance Of Encounters With UFOs And Aliens

As we have mentioned, along with all the strange creatures and entities in the San Luis Valley, there is an abundance of UFO sightings and encounters on record. And what’s more, these sightings continue, not only in the San Luis Valley but throughout the state of Colorado today.

One of the most intriguing claims to come out of the San Luis Valley region surfaced in the mid-1960s when a local resident, Robert Whitting, claimed to have been contacted by aliens in the area. According to his account, he was driving along the highway when a strange and bizarre vehicle suddenly appeared alongside his car.

At the same time, telepathic communication began between whatever intelligence was onboard the craft and the witness. The voice told him that a dead animal was lying in the road ahead of him and would cause him to crash if he didn’t slow down. He took the advice seriously, slowed his vehicle, and did indeed see a dead “black dog” laying in the road. Furthermore, after this initial incident, Whitting claimed that he had several more telepathic communication over the coming months.

The UFO Watchtower, San Luis Valley

The UFO Watchtower, San Luis Valley

While it would be impossible to document each and every UFO sighting in the San Luis Valley reason – which perhaps tells us just how many of them there are – it is sufficient to say that sightings of all manner of crafts and glowing lights are witnessed there and have been for some time. Whether it is glowing orbs and strangely dancing lights, to triangular black crafts and disc-shaped vehicles that move with breathtaking speed, all manner of UFOs are on record as having been witnessed in this region of the United States.

Now, in the twenty-first century, a dedicated hangar known as the UFO Watchtower received thousands of UFO enthusiasts and researchers every year. And there is perhaps a good reason for that, as many, many UFO sightings are witnessed there every year. That might be because when stood on the artificial platform, viewers have a 360-degree view of the entire San Luis Valley.

The short video below looks at the UFO Watchtower a little further.

One Of The Most Mysterious Locations In The World

Like many other similarly intriguing and paranormally active locations around the world, the big question remains just why do so many strange incidents unfold there? Just what makes the San Luis Valley so special?

Might it be the elements and geomagnetic conditions of the valley itself? Might the fact that mystical mountains surround it have anything to do with this? And might this be why UFOs have an apparent connection to not only the mountains of the San Luis Valley but of many other mountains, equally mysterious, all around the world.

And if this was the case, and some kind of magnetic anomaly was causing portals or gateways to open to other dimensions, does that suggest there is a connection between seemingly different aspects of the paranormal, or does it simply mean that such conditions are what these differing anomalies require for us to see them? Might, for example, the rate of vibration somehow merge, if only temporarily, and so allowing both realms of existence to share the same space.

There are, of course, more questions than adequate answers about why the San Luis Valley is so rife with strange activity and goings-on. And because of this, researchers and investigators will continue to study the region, and its legends for some time to come.

The video below examines the San Luis Valley in a little more detail.


1 The Mysterious San Luis Valley, Part 1, Christopher O’Brien, Cyberwest, January 10th, 1996
2  After 50 years, Snippy still a mystery, Sylvia Lobato, Alamosa News, September 29th, 2017
3 Hot Spots, The San Luis Valley, Christopher O’Brien, Our Strange Planet, June 20th, 2017
4 The Mysterious San Luis Valley, Part 2, Christopher O’Brien, Cyberwest, March 11th, 1996

Marcus Lowth

Marcus Lowth is a writer with a love for UFOs, aliens, and the Ancient Astronaut Theory, to the paranormal, general conspiracies, and unsolved mysteries. He has been writing and researching with over 20 years of experience.

Marcus has been Editor-in-Chief for several years due to his excellent knowledge in these fields. Marcus also regularly appears as an expert on radio talk shows including Troubled Minds and Unexplained Radio discussing these topics.

Read Marcus' full bio.

You can contact Marcus via email.

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