David Perkins (AKA “Izzy”) is known to many as Chris O’Brien’s longtime research partner (and “mentor” as O’Brien also refers to him.) Perkins began his interest in the cattle and livestock mutilation mystery from the beginnings of the phenomenon (ca. 1975) in southern Colorado. In the over 40 years he has looked at this strange and at times horrifying issue, he has not come to any hard conclusions about what is going on, although he does have specific ideas about a nexus of all the issues connecting the disparate aspects of this puzzling conundrum.
At first, he thought it was some government program, because of all the helicopters that kept turning up in reports. He has never really considered the UFO/ alien explanation, since the facts he uncovered proved it was too narrow. During the program, we discussed the concept of a “memeplex,” which is a group of ideas and beliefs that support and play off each other, and which can increase our understanding of how the problem has been compounded by weak explanations and an eagerness to reach a conclusion.
Perkins also considers the mutilation mystery as an example of an “ideoplastic” problem as he believes that it responds to expectations, culture, and researcher bias. He believes an important path towards understanding can be achieved by thinking of it as a manifestation of “unrecognized forces of nature,” which combine in a way that indicates some sort of directed, conscious purpose that is as yet inscrutable to humans. He compares it to the Gaia hypothesis, in a way that makes Nature itself an active participant, as if we are being sent an undeniable message about how we treat and use domestic animals, and our complicity in the degradation of the environment.
We also talked about how the study of animal mutilations has driven many researchers off the deep end or forced them out of the field altogether, although Perkins concludes that his experience has been “one of the greatest educational experiences I could ever imagine.”
David contributed one of his own musical compositions for the outro music, recorded only two days before our interview, which took place on his backyard patio in Santa Fe, New Mexico.
Photo: Perkins struggles with the ancient concept of a pay phone on a Santa Fe street corner.