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'Path of the Skinwalker' Knapp On NIDS - Pt. II

From: UFO UpDates - Toronto <post.nul>
Date: Fri, 29 Nov 2002 10:38:52 -0500
Archived: Fri, 29 Nov 2002 10:38:52 -0500
Subject: 'Path of the Skinwalker' Knapp On NIDS - Pt. II

Source: The Las Vegas Mercury


Thursday, November 28, 2002
Copyright =A9 Las Vegas Mercury

Close encounters, part two

Las Vegas businessman sets up shop at Utah ranch to study
paranormal activities

By George Knapp

This is the second of two reports about persistent stories of
anomalous phenomena in a section of northeastern Utah. The
activity, as reported by hundreds of witnesses over several
decades, includes UFOs, unusual balls of light, animal
mutilations and disappearances, poltergeist events, sightings of
Bigfoot-like creatures and other unidentified animals, physical
effects on plants, soil, animals and humans, and a vast array of
other unexplained incidents.

The activities seem most concentrated on a 480-acre cattle ranch
owned by the family of Tom Gorman. (Gorman isn't his real name.)
In 1996, the ranch was purchased by Las Vegas businessman Robert
Bigelow, who arranged for an intense, ongoing scientific study
of events at the ranch. By agreement with Bigelow, and at the
request of many of the witnesses, a few names have been changed
or omitted to protect those who don't want to be hassled by
media outlets or UFO enthusiasts.

It began as a dull white light, appearing out of nowhere in the
darkness of the middle homestead of the Gorman ranch. Tom Gorman
saw it. So did a researcher named Chad Deetken. It was nearly 2
a.m. on Aug. 28, 1997. Gorman and Deetken were out in the
pasture as part of an ongoing effort to document unusual
activity on the property.

Both men watched intently as the light grew brighter. It was as
if someone had opened a window or doorway. Gorman grabbed his
night vision binoculars to get a better look but could hardly
believe what he was seeing. The dull light began to resemble a
bright portal, and at one end of the portal, a large, black
humanoid figure seemed to be struggling to crawl through the
tunnel of light.

After a few minutes, the humanoid figure wriggled out of the
light and took off into the darkness. As it did, the window of
light snapped shut, as if someone had flicked the "off" switch.
Deetken had the presence of mind to snap a few photos of the
event, but would later learn that his film had recorded little
of what the two men had witnessed.

Tom Gorman, his wife, two teenage kids and several extended
family members had grown accustomed to weird things happening at
the ranch. They had seen numerous UFO-type craft, as well as
balls of light that seemed to be intelligently controlled. Their
neighbors had seen them too. Residents of this basin have been
reporting similar phenomena since the '50s. Native Americans say
the sightings extend back even further. But aerial anomalies
weren't the strangest occurrences on or near the ranch, not by a

In his two years on the property, Tom Gorman had lost 14 head of
cattle from his hybrid herd. Some animals simply disappeared, as
if plucked from the sky. Others were carved up with surgical
precision. Family members and neighbors had also seen Bigfoot-
like creatures, oversized wolves, animals and birds that no one
could identify. Their horses had been attacked, their dogs
incinerated, their cats abducted.

The Gormans themselves were bedeviled, almost daily, by odd
little household incidents that, separately, wouldn't amount to
much, but when considered together, were hard to dismiss.
Windows and doors in their home would rip open or slam shut,
seemingly on their own. Frequently, when Mrs. Gorman would take
a shower, she'd emerge from the tub to find that her towel and
personal items had been removed from inside the locked bathroom.
On one occasion, she returned from town with a large haul of
groceries and other supplies. She carefully put the provisions
away in various cabinets, walked into another room for a few
minutes, and returned to find all the supplies back out on the
kitchen table.

Clothing, tools and appliances seemed to develop lives of their
own. But this wasn't the equivalent of socks disappearing in the
laundry. For example, Gorman's son worked up a considerable
sweat to meticulously stack a one-ton pile of cord wood on the
south side of a treeline in the middle homestead. He took a 30-
minute water break and returned to find that the ton of wood had
been moved 100 yards to the north side of the tree line. Tools
often disappeared, then reappeared on the range. In one
instance, a heavy post hole digger vanished. It was finally
discovered, days later, high up in the branches of a cottonwood
tree, as if placed there by a crane. The uneasy feeling grew
among family members that they were constantly being watched,
but they had no idea who, or what, was doing the watching.

Enter Robert Bigelow

and NIDS

Las Vegas businessman Robert Bigelow first heard about the
Gorman ranch in the summer of 1996. A small newspaper article
about mysterious events at the property prompted Bigelow and his
team to fly to Utah. Bigelow bought the ranch and convinced Tom
Gorman to stay on as caretaker, against the wishes of his

Bigelow is the founder of NIDS, the National Institute for
Discovery Science, a Las Vegas research organization dedicated
to the study of unexplained phenomena. NIDS staff members
include highly trained and educated scientists, engineers and
former law enforcement personnel with solid credentials, degrees
and experience. Although the organization investigates seemingly
bizarre events, it has no preconceived ideas about the true
nature of the subject matter and is primarily interested in
getting to the truth, wherever that truth leads. (This
observation is a personal one, based on more than six years of
interaction with the NIDS organization.)

NIDS staffers emphasize that they are constantly drilled by
Bigelow and by his Science Advisory Board to rigidly adhere to
the scientific method. ("The Science Board really holds our feet
to the fire," one staff member confides.) Because the subject
matter itself is so controversial in science circles, NIDS
realizes that any deviation from the scientific method would
mean a loss of credibility. If they were deemed a crackpot
organization, their findings, no matter how profound or well-
documented, would be dismissed out of hand.

The Gorman ranch presented a unique opportunity to study a rich
tapestry of strange stuff. It was as if someone had ordered up
the Weirdness Pizza With Everything on It. UFOs and Sasquatch,
balls of light and cattle mutilations, poltergeists and crop
circles, psychic manifestations and Native American legends--the
ranch sounded like a unique place in all the world. NIDS
staffers knew they had to be careful but also knew they couldn't
merely dismiss the stories told by locals.

"We had no preconceived ideas about what was going on, but we
decided to use an 'open-filter' approach to gathering
information," says one senior NIDS staffer. "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

The NIDS team set up shop. They installed a command post,
positioned video and other monitoring equipment around the
ranch, built new fencing around the perimeter of the property to
better control access to the site, constructed observation posts
in the pastures and staffed the property with trained observers.
The effort constitutes the most intense and thorough
surveillance of a UFO hot spot ever undertaken.

UFO researchers were incensed at being excluded from the study.
They floated rumors that Bigelow was working for the CIA, that
he and NIDS were already in contact with E.T., and that whatever
information was gleaned from the ranch probably would be locked
away in dark vaults under the Pentagon. The constant criticism
prompted the publicity-shy Bigelow to grant a rare interview. He
told a Utah newspaper that NIDS was not communicating with
either extraterrestrials or lizard people. He appealed, perhaps
in vain, for a reasonable amount of time, free from outside
interference, so a legitimate study might be undertaken.

"We know so little in terms of what the overall scope of the
phenomena are that it's just embarrassing to try and make some
conclusions at this point," Bigelow said. He admitted that the
activity at the ranch seemed to be "selective in how it exposes
itself and to whom," suggesting that a tailgate-party atmosphere
where people sit around outside the ranch, barbecueing hot dogs
while awaiting flying saucers, would not be conducive to a
scientific study. Not surprisingly, this plea for sanity fell on
deaf ears among the UFO faithful. They were so busy expressing
their outrage over being barred from private property that they
failed to grasp the major clue dropped by Bigelow during his

A pre-cognitive


Contrary to some predictions, the odd phenomena at the ranch
didn't evaporate under the glare of scientific scrutiny.
Activity continued, but grew even harder to comprehend. NIDS
staffers saw the same balls of light, even UFO-type craft that
the Gormans had seen. But their attempts to photograph or
videotape the sightings were largely futile. Team members,
accompanied by Gorman and former lawmen who were hired for the
study, often saw anomalous aerial phenomena, with their eyes,
their binoculars and with night vision equipment. With few
exceptions, though, the images inexplicably could not be
recorded on film or video.

A confidential report prepared for NIDS board members and
obtained by this reporter documents dozens of encounters
involving NIDS staffers, the Gormans and other witnesses. After
several months of round-the-clock surveillance, a mind-boggling
pattern began to emerge. The phenomena, whatever they represent,
seemed capable of anticipating the moves of the scientists. If
they placed extra cameras and personnel in the southern field,
the activity would pop up in the northern pasture. If they
concentrated their observations in the center homestead, the
activity might move to the ridge overlooking the ranch.

Skeptics might suggest that such an explanation for a lack of
photographic evidence sounds a little too convenient. But
something happened on July 19, 1998, that sheds further light on
the challenge faced by the research team. Soon after arriving at
the ranch, NIDS had installed three telephone poles in one of
the pastures. Atop each pole was a sophisticated package of
sensoring equipment, including multiple video cameras. The
cameras had a full view of that section of the ranch and were
connected to video recorders back in the command post. At
exactly 8:30 p.m., the three cameras on the westernmost
telephone pole were suddenly disabled. When NIDS staffers went
to check out the problem, they saw that something had shredded
their electronic equipment. Wires had been ripped out of the
cameras with considerable force. Plastic brackets were snapped
in two. Thick layers of duct tape that had been used to secure
the equipment had been ripped away. A foot-long piece of TV
cable was missing. Analysis of the remaining cable showed it had
been slashed with a knife.

Team members excitedly returned to the command center, knowing
that the telephone pole that had been assaulted was in full view
of cameras positioned atop the second pole, located about 200
feet away. The assumption was that, whatever had ripped the guts
out of the first camera would be clearly visible on video
recorded by the second. But when they rolled the tape back, they
saw nothing. At the exact moment the first camera package was
being vandalized, nothing visible could be seen anywhere near
the second telephone pole. This incident set a pattern for what
was to follow.

"I came up with a term for it," says Col. John Alexander, a
retired Army intelligence officer who still works on classified
projects with Los Alamos National Laboratory and remains an
adviser to NATO organizations. "I called it a pre-cognitive
sentient intelligence. It certainly seemed to be intelligent,
and it seemed to know what we were going to do even before we
did it."

Alexander is a former adviser to NIDS who made the trip to the
ranch to see what was going on. As a scientist and military
insider, he is reluctant to jump to any conclusions about the
nature of what has happened there. But he suspects, after
exploring the property and reading the witness reports, that
there is an intelligence behind the assorted phenomena and that
it almost seems to be playing a game with those who are trying
to observe it.

Another NIDS staffer arrived at a similar conclusion. He has a
doctorate in physics, a long list of peer-reviewed papers about
cutting-edge scientific concepts, and a lengthy employment
history with prominent think tanks and classified military
programs. He asked that his name not be used in the belief that
he would never again be hired for sensitive scientific work if
his involvement with the ranch were made public.

"It's a very messy affair. Nothing is clear cut. It isn't as
simple as saying that E.T.s or flying saucers are doing it," the
scientist said. "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

Ice and dinosaurs

As if to punctuate the point, the phenomena at the ranch seemed
to constantly evolve. One of the most recent incidents occurred
on a cold morning in February. The caretaker for the property
was patrolling the grounds early in the morning. As he walked
past a watering hole, he noticed an odd circular impression in
the thin ice that had formed overnight. Something had carved a
perfect circle in the ice. The circle was just under six feet in
diameter and seemed oddly reminiscent of the crop formations
seen in English wheat fields.

The cuts extended only a quarter-inch into the ice and the ice
itself was perhaps another quarter-inch thick. The question
arises, how could this have been done? Someone standing on the
muddy bank would have left footprints. The only prints were
cattle tracks. The ice itself was so thin that it could support
almost no weight and certainly would have cracked and broken if
someone stood on it. Could someone have suspended themselves
above the ice patch and then somehow carved a perfect circle?
How, and more importantly, why? NIDS staffers, following the
scientific method, collected and analyzed ice shavings from the
spot, took readings for magnetic fields and EM radiation,
checked for tracks throughout the area but found no clues. There
is no natural explanation for such a subtle event, and it has
never been reported again.

NIDS employees compiled a confidential report containing
information about all the assorted incidents on the ranch.
Reading this report will make the hair stand up on your neck. To
date, the researchers have recorded seven distinct incidents
involving magnetic abnormalities. Simply put, their compasses
went nuts while out on the range. The needles of the compasses
either spun out of control, or pointed straight down at the
ground. No one has a reasonable explanation.

There were several instances involving some sort of invisible
force moving through the ranch and through the animals. One
witness reported a path of displaced water in the canal, as if a
large unseen animal was briskly moving through the water. There
were distinct splashing noises, and there was a foul pungent
odor that filled the air but nothing could be seen. A
neighboring rancher reported the same phenomena two months
later. The Gormans say there were several instances where
something invisible moved through their cattle, splitting the
herd. Their neighbor reported the same thing.

Of all the strange incidents at the ranch, this one may take the
prize. It occurred on the night of March 12, 1997. Barking dogs
alerted the team to something lurking in a tree near the ranch
house. Tom Gorman grabbed a hunting rifle and took off in his
truck toward the tree. Two NIDS staffers followed in another
vehicle. Up in the tree branches, they could make out a huge set
of yellowish, reptilian eyes. The head of this animal had to be
three feet wide, they guessed. At the bottom of the tree was
something else. Gorman described it as huge and hairy, with
massively muscled front legs and a doglike head.

Gorman, who is a crack shot, fired at both figures from a
distance of 40 yards. The creature on the ground seemed to
vanish. The thing in the tree apparently fell to the ground
because Gorman heard it as it landed heavily in the patches of
snow below. All three men ran through the pasture and scrub
brush, chasing what they thought was a wounded animal, but they
never found the animal and saw no blood either. A professional
tracker was brought in the next day to scour the area. Nothing.

But there was a physical clue left behind. At the bottom of the
tree, they found and photographed a weird footprint, or rather,
claw print. The print left in the snow was from something large.
It had three digits with what they guessed were sharp claws on
the end. Later analysis and comparison of the print led them to
find a chilling similarity--the print from the ranch closely
resembled that of a velociraptor, an extinct dinosaur made
famous in the Jurassic Park films. (For the record, no one at
NIDS is saying he shot a velociraptor. They don't know what it

More cattle deaths

Two days before the above incident, another animal was found
mutilated on the ranch, and it is the only case from the ranch
that NIDS has publicly confirmed before this article. Gorman and
his wife spent a bright Sunday morning tagging the ears of
newborn calves. They put a tag on the ear of a calf born near
the ranch house, then wandered out into the pasture for a period
of 45 minutes. In that interim period, with the Gormans only 200
yards away in the pasture, the calf was completely stripped of
flesh. The Gormans were alerted by a wail from the mother of the
calf. The calf's entrails had been placed, almost
ritualistically, on the ground, but all of its flesh was simply
gone, leaving only bone and hide behind. There was no blood on
the ground or on the animal.

A NIDS team was at the ranch and quickly scoured the area for
evidence. The remains were sent to two pathology labs. Both
pathologists concluded the calf had been butchered by two
distinct instruments, something like a heavy machete and
something like sharp scissors. How this was done in broad
daylight, in an open pasture and in clear sight of the ranchers
remains a mystery. (A second calf disappeared that same morning
after being tagged and was never found. In all, 12 cattle have
met a similar end since NIDS has been on the ranch. A full
report on the calf incident can be found on the NIDS website.)

So, what's going on?

Capt. Keith Wolverton spent more than 20 years as an
investigator with the Cascade County Sheriff's Department in
Great Falls, Mont. In the mid-'70s, that area experienced a
similar wave of UFO sightings and cattle mutilations, as well as
Bigfoot sightings, and Wolverton investigated them all.

"I asked my boss back then to give me six weeks to solve the
mystery," Wolverton says. "It's 30 years later and I'm still
left with a lot of questions but no answers."

Wolverton wrote a book about his Montana experiences. He came to
the ranch to share his expertise with NIDS, and while there are
similarities between the things that happened near Great Falls
and at the Utah ranch, Wolverton says he's never heard of any
place with such a concentration of weird activity as the Gorman
ranch. Microbiologist Colm Kelleher has reached a similar

"I thought that if we threw enough personnel and equipment at
this one, pull out all the stops, adhere to the scientific
method, that we would probably get answers," Kelleher says. "We
have all of these strange cases, close to 100, many of them
well-documented, but if you try to call that scientific evidence
of anything, you'd be laughed at."

The main reason NIDS has been unwilling to go public with
information about the ranch is there isn't much that can be
said. For a scientific organization to merely toss out a lot of
scary stories would be counterproductive, especially if it
resulted in hordes of UFO nuts flooding the property and
interfering with whatever goes on there. Make no mistake, the
activity at the ranch certainly seems to have an interactive
component. It responds to people, events and disturbances. In
many instances, it seems capable of anticipating things that
were about to happen.

"The only thing that jumps out of the data is how
unreproduceable these things are," Kelleher notes. "No two
events ever repeated themselves in the same fashion. It's almost
as if it's a learning curve and we were being led along. It's
the only thing consistent here."

What could possibly explain all that has happened at the ranch?
Natural predators, rustlers or pranksters might conceivably be
responsible for some of the events, but certainly not all of
them. NIDS staffers considered the possibility that Indian
shaman or black magic practitioners might have been carrying out
some sort of ritualist campaign at the ranch. They note that the
Ute people consider the ranch to be an unholy place, a forbidden
place, but that explanation falls far short on many levels.

Hardcore UFO believers have proposed an E.T. connection to
events at the ranch, but NIDS staffers say there isn't an iota
of evidence to prove such a hypothesis. The possibility exists
that unknown military units might be capable of producing nearly
all of the events that have been reported in the area, perhaps
as an experiment in psychological warfare. (Tom Gorman was
convinced of this for a long time, but came to realize the
theory was more than a stretch. Someone, somewhere would have
seen these military men operating in such a rural area.)

That doesn't leave much. There is one possibility that's worth
considering. Cutting-edge physicists have proposed the existence
of alternate dimensions or parallel universes. Quantum
physicists believe that portals may exist between our world and
other worlds. The concept of wormholes is no longer considered
to be the stuff of science fiction. New York physicist and
author Michio Kaku theorizes that there are 11 dimensions in our
universe, although humans have only identified four. Might a
wormhole resemble the portal of light that was seen on the
ranch? And if such portals do exist, could they allow beings on
the other side to travel into our world? As wacky as it all
sounds, leading scientists believe that wormholes and alternate
dimensions are perfectly consistent with known laws of physics.
If so, then it isn't much of a leap to suggest that UFOs,
aliens, Bigfoot beings or other creatures, even poltergeists or
spirits, could come and go and never be detected by puzzled,
mystified humans.

"Aliens may be here now," says Kaku, "here in another dimension,
a millimeter away from our own world."

Admittedly, it all sounds farfetched. But if anyone has a better
explanation, let's hear it.

A final note

For further discussion of the Gorman Ranch mystery, along with a
few personal observations, check out the Knappster column
elsewhere in this issue. Also, the website of the National
Institute for Discovery Science is packed with information and
research papers concerning these and other issues. Anyone with
information or insight about the ranch, UFOs or mutilations is
welcome to contact NIDS through the website. All such contacts
will remain confidential.

Another word of warning to UFO diehards: It is probably futile
to ask for restraint on the part of the faithful, but here goes
anyway. Visitors are not welcome at the Gorman ranch. The ranch
is patrolled 24 hours a day, seven days a week, and NIDS
emphatically declares that trespassers will be arrested and
prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law. One of the
principal caretakers of the property is a 20-year veteran of
Utah law enforcement and will not hesitate to bust people who
mess with the property, the animals or the staff. The people who
live in the area do not want to be hassled. So leave them alone.
Don't be a jerk.

Furthermore, anyone expecting to find the ranch and see UFOs or
Bigfoot will be deeply disappointed. Paranormal activity on the
property has all but disappeared over the past year, which is a
primary reason that access was obtained from NIDS for this

The NIDS website is at www.nidsci.org. The NIDS online report
form, where people can electronically report UFO sightings,
animal mutilations, etc., is at www.nidsci.org/reportform.html.
The NIDS UFO hotline number is 702-798-1700.

Copyright =A9 Las Vegas Mercury, 2001 - 2002

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