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  Ranch Recon Report 2003

Ranch Where Strange Things Happen

There's a strange 480 acre ranch in Utah, purchased in 1996 by the National Institute for Discovery Science, where hundreds of witnesses have seen UFOs, balls of light, animal mutilations, poltergeist events and Bigfoot-like creatures since the 1950s. This is the same kind of thing that went on in Whitley Strieber's cabin in upstate New York, where he had his visitor experiences. When people visited the cabin, they often had similar experiences, and he heard stories of strange phenomena from many people who lived in the area.
A typical example of strangeness on the Utah ranch occurred in 1997, when two witnesses, including the former owner, saw a dark figure emerge from a UFO and seem to crawl through a tunnel of light. They watched it through night vision binoculars and tried to photograph it, but the pictures didn’t come out.

During the time he owned the ranch, "Tom Gorman" (not his real name) lost 14 cows. Some simply disappeared, while others were carved up surgically in the classic animal mutilation style.

It seemed like the Gormans had ghosts too: windows and doors in their house would open and close by themselves. When Mrs. Gorman took a shower, her towel and personal items were been removed from the locked bathroom while she was in the tub. Once she went grocery shopping and put all the items away in cupboards, only to find them all out again when she returned to the kitchen. Gorman's son stacked a one-ton pile of cord wood and returned to find it had been moved 100 yards away. Tools that disappeared were found high in the branches of a tree.

Las Vegas businessman Robert Bigelow heard about the ranch in 1996 from a local newspaper article and flew up to examine it. He eventually bought the ranch and convinced Tom Gorman to stay on as caretaker.

"We had no preconceived ideas about what was going on, but we decided to use an 'open-filter' approach to gathering information," says a NIDS spokesperson. "We had a lot of reservations about the legends of skinwalkers, Bigfoot sightings, all the things the family claimed to have seen, but we decided to collect all the data we could get, without dismissing it outright, and figured we could evaluate it all later." NIDS installed video cameras and other monitoring equipment, built new fencing and constructed observation posts manned with trained observers.

The strange phenomena continued. NIDS saw the balls of light and UFOs, but were unable to photograph or video them. One night in 1997, a Bigfoot was sighted and Gorman chased it with a rifle and shot at it. He thought he hit it, but when he went to investigate the next morning, there was no body and no blood on the ground. The only clue left behind was a strange print in the snow. It was large, and had three digits with what looked like sharp claws on the ends. Analysis revealed it looked like it came from an extinct dinosaur.

When NIDS sent the remains of a mutilated calf to two pathology labs, both said it had been butchered by two separate instruments, one like a heavy machete and the other like sharp scissors. This was done in broad daylight, in an open pasture in clear sight of the ranchers.

There are also magnetic anomalies on the ranch. Needles of compasses either spin out of control, or point straight down at the ground. Some people think that magnetism is behind everything from crop circles to UFO sightings.

Eventually the phenomena began to play games with the scientists. For instance, if NIDS put cameras and personnel in one field, activity would pop up in another. This is a situation that’s familiar to UFO experiencers. For instance, NIDS installed three telephone poles in one pasture with video equipment on top of them. On July 19, 1998, at 8:30 pm, three of the cameras suddenly stopped working. When NIDS checked out the problem, they found that wires had been ripped out of the cameras. Although the damaged equipment could be seen by cameras on top of the second pole 200 feet away, they captured nothing.

The strange phenomena have almost disappeared from the ranch during the last year, which often happens with sites where UFOs are frequently seen. Experiencers can attest that the visitors are sometimes very active in their lives, then disappear for long periods of time, for no apparent reason.

One NIDS scientist says, "It isn't as simple as saying that ETs or flying saucers are doing it. It's some kind of consciousness, but it's always something new and different, something non- repeatable. It's reactive to people and equipment, and we set up the ranch to be a proving ground for the scientific method, but science doesn't seem amenable to the solution of these kinds of problems."

Linda Howe was one of the original reporters on cattle mutilations and other strange phenomena. The new edition of “Mysterious Lights & Crop Circles,” her latest book about the anomalies she’s reported on and personally experienced, is now available.

 ©  Copyright 2000-2003 Dave Rosenfeld
UPDATED: 8/1/2007
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