Profile – David Cayton, the APFU and Corkscrew Seal Mutilations

By Richard Bonenfant, Ph.D.

© October 2016


“In the U.K. this new phenomenon began in 2008 when in 52 seals washed up dead off its northern coastline....this new crop of seals were all mutilated in a similar way. Each bore a strange, spiral-like excision across their torsos....Necropsies performed by the MMO determined that the seals were all mortally injured by a long spiral cut that began at the base of the seal’s skull and spiraled around the animal’s torso to its caudal flippers...”


The following Profile is being presented in order to familiarize U.S. readers with ongoing research being conducted on animal mutilations in the U.K. Specifically, it focuses on the work of David Cayton and his associates at the Animal Pathology Field Unit. While traditionally having investigated domestic and wild animal mutilations, recently the APFU has begun investigating sea mammal mutilations as well. Thus far their work in this new domain has centered primarily on seal mutilations.

In the U.S. the term “animal mutilations” is closely related to its most renowned investigator, Linda Moulton Howe. However, in the U.K. David Cayton is perhaps of comparable stature in this field of inquiry. Readers may ask: Who is David Cayton?


Mr. Cayton (pictured on the right shaking hands with Tony Dodd) is a quiet, unassuming man with an inherent passion for investigating bizarre phenomena. He arrived to the study of animal mutilations by a circuitous route. Initially he worked as an aerospace engineer for the Engineering Research Department at Hawker Siddeley Aviation in Manchester, England. However, his passion for investigation of the unknown led him to take an early retirement from the aerospace industry in 1992 in order to assume a position at Quest International where he worked with the renowned British Ufologist Tony Dodd. In that capacity he gained crucial “retirement” experience as a UFO investigator.

One of his notable contributions in this new post was his investigation of the Milton Torres Incident. This Incident occurred in 1957 with an RAF’s encounter with a UFO flying over East Anglia. Milton Torres was ordered to intercept the UFO because the unknown craft was violating British air space during the encounter. Then, during the encounter, Torres was ordered to shoot down the alien craft. In a 2007 re-visitation of the case, Cayton wrote a follow-up to that original article titled, The 1957 Milton Torres Super Sabre UFO Encounter - Updated from 2007. During his tenure at Quest International, later renamed UFO Truth Magazine, he gained privy to much of the research being conducted by his mentor Tony Dodd. In addition to examining various aspects of the UFO phenomenon, Cayton became familiar with two newly associated topics; crop circles and animal mutilations.

Following his tenure with UFO Truth Magazine, Cayton joined the Centre for Crop Circle Studies headed by Colin Andrews and spent the next 12 years investigating this phenomenon in the vicinity of Wiltshire, England. His prolonged experience investigating crop circles was recently highlighted in a documentary entitled, Crop Circles: The Hidden Truth. In recognition of his outstanding service in various aspects of UFO investigation, he was awarded UFO Truth Magazine’s 2015 award for Services to British Ufology: Animal Pathology Field Unit (APFU).

David Cayton’s concurrent endeavor began in 1997 with the onset of unusual seal deaths accompanied by bizarre mutilations occurring along the northern shores of the U.K. He was fortunate in being able to enlist the support of a local professor of pathology who agreed to examine tissue samples and conduct necropsies on the mutilated carcasses.

Later, in 2001, he and Phil Hoyle co-founded an investigative organization known as the Animal Pathology Field Unit (APFU). The purpose of the Organization was to methodically investigate animal mutilations that appeared to be of an extraordinary nature. Up to that point in time, only the local police, RSPCA and press paid attention to these strange mutilations. APFU’s efforts to more thoroughly investigate these events were genuinely welcome by individuals affected by the loss of livestock or pets. Over time, the APFU’s findings became the subject of numerous radio shows and TV interviews. Most recently various members of the APFU have participated in live interviews and debates on animal mutilations, especially in association on RichPlanet TV.

The APFU’s findings are very similar to those reported by Linda Moulton Howe and other mutilation researchers in the U.S. This similarity also extends to the type of animals being mutilated. Most commonly preyed upon are domesticated livestock such as horses, cows, sheep, goats, dogs and pigs, but wild animals such as deer, foxes, and hedgehogs have also found mutilated in the same manner. One particularly interesting finding uncovered by the APFU was that a number of foxes were found with a small, circular head wound at the top of their skulls which resembled large bullet holes. Upon closer examination, these holes were later found to be portals through which the animals brains were extracted. Similar wounds have also been occasionally reported in cattle mutilations in the U.S. and Australia.

The physical characteristic of animal mutilations found in both the U.S. and U.K. are:

(1) extreme exsanguination (removal of blood) at the mutilation site, and later confirmed to extend throughout the by necropsies,

(2) excision of the eyes, ears and tongue, as well as the extraction of the animals sexual organs,

(3) evidence that internal organs were extracted from the animal through small, circular, portals in the skin; these portals were cauterize in a laser-like fashion along the outer ridge of the incision, and

(4) occasionally, evidence of high impact trauma to the bones and torso indicative of the body being dropped from a considerable height.

Some members of the APFU have conducted night long vigils in hopes of determining the cause of these mutilations. The regions surveilled were located in remote areas where livestock congregate at night. While unsuccessful, they frequently observed and photographed strange nocturnal lights resembling orbs or UFOs in the vicinity. Unfortunately, despite the observer’s presence, these surveillances did not deter mutilations from occurring. By reason of the following points, the APFU concluded that mutilations were UFO related:

(1) lack of tacks or any other evidence of human or predator involvement near the mutilated animal,

(2) inability to deter ongoing mutilations through careful surveillance,

(3) evidence of highly skilled organ extractions during necropsies,

(4) persistent reports of UFO activity at mutilations sites,

(5) ubiquitous distribution of similar mutilations throughout the world,

(6) lack of any adequate official investigation or explanation for the mutilations other than natural predation or cult related ritual sacrifices, and

(7) lack of an alternative scientific hypothesis that would account for all aspect of the phenomenon.


Corkscrew Seal Mutilations

At the end of the first decade of the new millennium David Cayton and the APFU became involved in an entirely new type of mutilation visited upon the U.K. These mutilations were so bizarre that it mystified even seasoned veterinarians. The APFU’s focus now turned to the investigation of sea mammal mutilation, particularly to those inflicted upon seals. It should be noted from the outset that many of the images shown (in this .PDF) are both graphic and repulsive to those uninitiated in the subject. They are only being shown to illustrate important features necessary to understand the bizarre nature of the subject matter being presented below.

In the U.K. this new phenomenon began in 2008 when in 52 seals washed up dead off its northern coastline. While beach spotters frequently find dead seals washed up along the shoreline, this new crop of seals were all mutilated in a similar way. Each bore a strange, spiral-like excision across their torsos. Dave Thompson, head of Scotland’s Marine Management Organization (MMO), immediately noted that these seal deaths were entirely different from anything seen before. Necropsies performed by the MMO determined that the seals were all mortally injured by a long spiral cut that began at the base of the seal’s skull and spiraled around the animal’s torso to its caudal flippers… Continue Reading and View the Images

More About David Cayton


This article is published with the expressed written permission of Richard Bonenfant for publication on

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Richard Bonenfant

Richard Bonenfant, Ph.D., is a retired research scientist and lecturer. His research career at Albany Medical Center Hospital and the New York State Department of Health was centered on the study of birth defects in newborn children. He most recently retired from the Veterans’ Hospital in Gainesville, Florida, and is credited with publishing several professional articles on near-death experiences.

He has advanced degrees in Anthropology and Psychology, and is dedicated to the investigation of phenomena that lie on the fringes of scientific understanding. Subjective phenomena include such things as near-death experiences, synesthesia, xenoglossia, savant syndrome and hyperthymestic syndrome or individuals with exceptional autobiographical memories. Objective phenomena include verifiable paranormal experiences, crop circles and strange mutilations of unknown origin. There are other unusual phenomena deserving of investigation which he occasionally delves into under appropriate circumstances. These ancillary phenomena include instances of foreign accent syndrome, cases of apparent reincarnation, and human abduction experiences.

Other Articles by Dr. Bonenfant Include:

According to Nature and other research, there appears to be preliminary evidence for the Rapid Prion Neuro-Invasion following Tongue Infection

The Electro-Magnetic (E-M) Effects Project and Questionnaire

A Preliminary Report on the Study of the Relationship Between Abduction Experiences and Unusual Electromagnetic Aftereffects or E-M Effects

Alien Investigator: Case Files of Britains Leading UFO Detective

The 1976 Whitehall, NY Bigfoot Sightings in Conjunction with UFO Activity

Judy Doraty Case: An Abductee’s Account of a Calf Mutilation on-board an ET Craft

The Prion Hypothesis: Expanded version of Significant Observations Related to Animal Mutilations

Stories of Near Death Experiences

New Insights Into The Animal Mutilation Mystery

Profile – David Cayton, the APFU and Corkscrew Seal Mutilations

Richard Bonenfant is also the author of three works of “Faction” or Fiction based in Fact:


Article and Image Credit: Hernando Today


Elizabeth Nolan


The Kendall Stone


The Boy Who Came From Nowhere





Two Books that cover the topic of Animal Mutilations / Animal Harvesting


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