When Hollywood Wanted “A Strange Harvest”
By Linda Moulton Howe
Thirty-one years ago on May 25, 1980, my ninety minute TV documentary A Strange Harvest was first broadcast on the CBS Channel 7 KMGH-TV in Denver, Colorado. At the time, I was Director of Special Projects and produced documentaries and live studio programs about science and environmental issues. The subject of A Strange Harvest was my 9-months-long investigation of the animal mutilation mystery in Colorado and the surrounding region, North America and beyond to both hemispheres of this planet. Cattle, horses, goats, sheep, pigs, rabbits, dogs, cats and even wild game such as deer and marmots were found dead with bloodless excisions and no tracks around their bodies, not even their own tracks.
My documentary crew and I travelled to many mutilation sites and interviewed sheriffs and deputies in law enforcement. Retired former Logan County Sheriff Tex Graves showed us photographs of strange aerial lights he and others had seen over pastures where mutilated animals were found with the same bloodless pattern of excisions. But even though Sheriff Graves had told me off camera that he and others in law enforcement believed the animal mutilation perpetrators were “creatures from outer space,” he would not talk about that on camera.
Then on the evening of October 18, 1979, in an interview with Lou Girodo, Chief Investigator for the District Attorney’s Office in Trinidad, Colorado, he said those words on the record. Lou had been assigned to investigate the several cattle mutilations around Trinidad and with our TV camera rolling, I asked him, “Who? or what? do you think is killing and mutilating these animals?” Lou Girodo looked right at me and said, “Who is doing this now is very possibly creatures not of this planet.” He and a deputy had even watched an orange glowing sphere split in two over a farm region where there had been cattle mutilations. One orange sphere went north and the other orange sphere went south. A few minutes later, Lou said with amazement in his voice, the two orange spheres merged back together “and went straight down into the ground!”
KMGH-TV Director of Special Projects Linda Moulton Howe with TV cameraman Richard Lerner and audioman Mark O’Kane in cattle corral south of Denver, Colorado in spring of 1980 during production of Howe’s investigation of the animal mutilation mystery, A Strange Harvest, that originally broadcast on May 25, 1980.
After the May 25, 1980, first broadcast of my documentary investigation, the station phone operators could not keep up with all the viewer calls and the mail room started dragging large, gray canvas bags full of letters to my office. Usually, the opening sentences were, “I’ve never told anyone this before,” and then it would be a description of an orange glowing sphere over a pasture where a farm animal was found bloodlessly mutilated. Or there were sketches of what people thought first were helicopters, but there was no noise and the “helicopters” dissolved into misty clouds or simply popped out of visibility.
One of the phone callers was a Hollywood producer named Carolyn Pfeiffer, from Alive Enterprises, who was working with then-feature film director Alan Rudolph, a protégé of director Robert Altman. Rudolph had worked as an assistant director for Altman on The Long Goodbye and later Nashville. Pfeiffer said she wanted to visit me at Channel 7 in Denver to screen my documentary, A Strange Harvest, and to talk with me about a feature production concerning the animal mystery that Alan Rudolph wanted to direct.
She came, screened my film and then proposed her company licence my title, A Strange Harvest, for their Hollywood production. Further, she wanted my written permission for the Hollywood production to use whole excerpts of interview dialogue from my documentary. Every intuitive instinct I had said, “No, the credibility of my non-fiction documentary investigation will be weakened, even ruined, if Hollywood gets to use my title, script and the honest words of real people in a made-up, fiction movie.”
Endangered Species movie poster: “What you don’t know can kill you.” The small-print blurb reads: “This is a bizarre mystery story… direct from today’s headlines. Someone is trying to cover-up what ranchers and journalists know is true. This is not science fiction. The facts are documented. The danger is real.”
??????Carolyn was upset that I wouldn’t go along with her proposal. But I was so relieved that I followed my gut instinct when I finally saw the 1982 Hollywood production, Endangered Species, distributed by MGM. I was dismayed that none of the actual worldwide, bloodless, trackless animal mutilation phenomenon was portrayed accurately in the “Friday night flick.” Instead, it was as if Rudolph asked a butcher to slice up some cattle carcasses and then concocted a story line about a secret American paramilitary operation whose agenda never made any sense. And had nothing to do with the true animal mutilation mystery that has been reported since at least the mid-20th Century ongoing to date around the world in both hemispheres and that law enforcement has long attributed to “creatures from outer space.”
I often wondered if Endangered Species were a modern counterintelligence gambit that substituted paramilitary operations for weather balloons and swamp gas in the ongoing United States policy of denial about the UFO phenomena in the interest of national security as ordered during the Truman Administration?
Copyright © 2011, Linda Moulton Howe
Linda Moulton Howe is a graduate of Stanford University with an MA in Communication. She has devoted her documentary film, television, radio, writing and reporting career to productions concerning science, medicine and the environment. Linda has received local, national and international awards, including three regional Emmys, a national Emmy nomination and a Station Peabody award for medical programming. Her groundbreaking documentary A STRANGE HARVEST was instrumental in bringing to popular attention the worldwide phenomenon of ‘animal mutilations.’ Linda has also produced numerous documentaries on other topics for organizations such as UNICEF (on child survival efforts) and for Turner Broadcasting (on environmental challenges).
Linda has been interviewed on a variety of television programs including CNN’s Larry King Live; Fox’s The O’Reilly Factor; and The History Channel’s popular Ancient Alien series, among others.
Linda produces, reports and edits the award-winning science, environment and earth mysteries news website, Earthfiles.com. In 2010, Linda was honored with the Courage In Journalism Award at the National Press Club in Washington, D.C., by the Paradigm Research Group’s X Conference.
Linda has written four books: MYSTERIOUS LIGHTS AND CROP CIRCLES, about eyewitness accounts and scientific research of biophysical and biochemical changes in affected cereal crops by complex energy systems; AN ALIEN HARVEST, about the worldwide animal mutilation phenomenon; and GLIMPSES OF OTHER REALITIES, VOLUMES I AND II, about U. S. military, intelligence and civilian testimonies concerning non-human interactions with Earth. All of these books, as well as Linda’s A STRANGE HARVEST documentary and its sequel, STRANGE HARVESTS 1993, are available for purchase through the Earthfiles.com shop
For a list of Linda’s forthcoming festival and conference appearances, see www.earthfiles.com
Contact Linda Moulton Howe at: firstname.lastname@example.org
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