On Sept. 7, 1967 - Snippy the horse, a 3-year-old Appaloosa, who’s actual name was Lady, failed to show up for her usual morning drink in a pasture on the Harry King ranch 20 miles northeast of Alamosa, at the foot of Mount Blanca. Two days later, Snippy's body was found in the pasture, her death cloaked in mystery. The skin and flesh had been cleanly cut away from the shoulders to the ears.
There were no tracks near the body and no blood on the ground, but strange markings were found on the ground around Snippy's body. The horse's owner, Nellie Lewis, said she was positive that extraterrestrials were responsible for Snippy’s death.
The marks on the ground included six indentations which formed a circle three feet in diameter. It was generally agreed that these were the sort of marks a flying saucer might make and it was said that Snippy's tracks ended 100 or so feet from where she was found.
The heart and brain were missing from the carcass, and a formaldehyde-like odor was emitted from the animal for several days after discovery. The bones of Snippy’s neck and skull were a stark-white discoloration, as if they had been bleached.
The horse's owner, Nellie Lewis, accompanied by Harry King, visited the spot where Snippy had been found. She reported finding a flattened bush and what seemed to be exhaust marks. She also said she smelled a strange, sweet odor, "like incense."
She picked up a piece of the horse's mane and felt it burn her hands. Later she reported her boots were found to be radioactive. She remained convinced that extraterrestrials had done this to her horse.
Mrs. Lewis contacted the United States Forest Service, and Ranger Duane Martin was sent to investigate. Martin checked the area with a civil defense Geiger counter and reported finding a considerable increase in radioactivity about two city blocks from the body of Snippy.
Mrs. Agnes King, Harry's 87-year-old mother, said that even though her eyesight was poor, she had seen something pass over the ranch house the day Snippy disappeared.
After trying to interest other authorities with little success, Mrs. Lewis turned to her professional connections - she wrote occasionally for the Pueblo Chieftain. Her account of Snippy’s strange death was published in that newspaper, and was picked up by the Associated Press on October 5, 1967. Soon, much of the United States knew the tale of Snippy’s death, and reports of UFO’s were made from others in Colorado.
Published that same day as Snippy’s death was an account by Superior Court Judge Charles E. Bennett of Denver, Colorado. Bennett and his wife claimed they had witnessed three reddish-orange rings in the sky that maintained a triangular formation, moved at a high speed, and made a humming sound.
NICAP, a civilian UFO research group, became involved in the case as more and more people were speculating that UFOs were somehow involved in the death of Snippy.
Shortly thereafter, an anonymous Denver pathologist’s published an autopsy that claimed Snippy’s brain and abdominal organs were missing. He also said that there was no material in the spinal column. The pathologist insisted on anonymity due to fear of damaging his reputation with involvement in such a high-profile case.
Supposedly another Denver pathologist also preformed a belated autopsy on the horse and found the brain and stomach cavities to be empty. The doctor sawed into the brain cavity and found 'absolutely nothing' and opened the stomach expecting to find remains of digestive organs, but found only a 'little powdery residue'.
As long as 24 months after Snippy's death, area residents said that no grass would grow where the dead horse had been found.
The story caught on quickly in the San Luis Valley, where sightings of objects believed to be flying saucers had become frequent that year. Within a month, the story of Snippy's death made the news all over the world.