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'Path of the Skinwalker' Knapp On NIDS

From: Grant Cameron <presidentialufo@presidency.com>
Date: Thu, 21 Nov 2002 19:12:59 -0500
Fwd Date: Fri, 22 Nov 2002 09:39:03 -0500
Subject: 'Path of the Skinwalker' Knapp On NIDS

'Path of the Skinwalker'

A new investigative report from George Knapp, who became famous
for introducing the world to the story of Bob Lazar in the late

This time Knapp looks at the now famous "paranormal" ranch
bought by millionaire Bob Bigelow in northern Utah.

Source: The Las Vegas Mercury


Thursday, November 21, 2002
Copyright Las Vegas Mercury

Cover story: 'Path of the Skinwalker'

A small ranch in northern Utah may be the strangest place on

by George Knapp

First of two parts.

I'm sitting on a white plastic chair in what seems like total
darkness. Strapped to my chest and shoulders is an array of
electronic gear - microphones, a video camera, a box that
detects magnetic changes and a Geiger counter. Somewhere in the
mix is a flashlight, the only device whose function I
understand, and thus, the only device I cannot find.

In front of me, I can almost make out the sinister shapes of
some truly spooky trees. Malevolent bugs are buzzing in and out
of my eyes and ears, and it occurs to me that there must be a
tavern open somewhere nearby, even in this remote corner of
Utah. One hundred or more yards away, beyond a barbed-wire fence
and a little creek, are my fellow paranormal rangers, equipped
with their own video cameras, night-vision glasses and assorted
scientific gear. They are supposed to be watching me to see if
anything happens.

On this night, I am the bait. Bait for what, I wonder? The
unspoken hope is my own inherent weirdness quotient might give
me some sort of connection to the undeniably odd energy, or
entity, that seems to have concentrated itself on this remote
rural community, and, in particular, on this small ranch where I
now sit, waiting for something to announce its presence.

Some very strange things have happened at the precise spot where
I'm sitting. It is here that a visitor was accosted by a roaring
but nearly invisible creature, something akin to the Predator of
movie fame. It is here that a Ph.D. physicist reported that his
mind was invaded, literally taken over, by some sort of hostile
intelligence that warned him that he was not welcome. It is here
that an entire team of researchers watched in awe as a bright
door or portal opened up in the darkness and a large humanoid
creature crawled out before quickly vanishing. And it is here
that several animals - cattle and dogs - were mutilated,
obliterated or simply disappeared.

For as long as anyone can remember, this part of northeastern
Utah has been the site of simply unbelievable paranormal
activity. UFOs, Sasquatch, cattle mutilations, psychic
manifestations, creatures that aren't found in any zoos or
textbooks, poltergeist events. You name it, residents here have
seen it.

Retired schoolteacher Junior Hicks is the area's unofficial
historian for all things weird. He's catalogued 400 or so
incidents, most of them involving UFO sightings, but says there
have been thousands of other cases. Hicks estimates at least
half of the 50,000 residents of this basin have seen weird
things in the sky - flying saucers, cigar-shaped craft,
zigzagging balls of light, so many different objects that local
police and the Highway Patrol long ago stopped taking reports.
(Many of the lawmen have been witnesses themselves.) Hicks and
members of his family have witnessed their own UFO events over
the years.

"The UFO activity really started getting intense in the early
'50s," Hicks says. "There were cases where the whole school and
all the teachers saw these things hovering over the town in
broad daylight. In the '60s and '70s, we probably had more UFO
sightings than any place in the world."

But run-of-the-mill UFO events don't begin to describe the rich
array of unusual phenomena in this area. The Ute Indian tribe
has been here far longer than white settlers. Tribal leaders are
reluctant to speak to outsiders, but their oral history is
replete with examples of strange creatures and sightings. Indian
lore refers to some of these beings as Skinwalkers. Other
cultures call them shape-shifters, werewolves or Bigfoot.

"The Utes take this very seriously," Hicks says. "They think the
Skinwalkers are powerful spirits that are here because of a
curse that was put on them generations ago by the Navajos. And
the center of the whole legend is this ranch. The Utes say the
ranch is `the path of the skinwalker.' Tribe members are
strictly forbidden from setting foot on the property. It's been
that way for a long time."

The ranch in question is a 480-acre spread of rich, well-watered
pasture and a few thick patches of tall cottonwoods. It's
divided into three sections, each section being a former
homestead. Thick brush and a small river are on one side. A
rocky, picturesque ridge is on the other side. Skinwalker Ridge
is what the Utes call it, according to Hicks. A long dirt road
is the only way in or out of the ranch.

When rancher Tom Gorman (not his real name) bought the place in
1994, it had been vacant for seven or eight years. Gorman, his
wife and two kids were curious about the impressive array of
bolts that covered the doors and windows of the main house.
There were deadbolts on both sides of the doors. Even the
kitchen cabinets had bolts on them. And at both ends of the
house, iron stakes and heavy chains had been installed. Gorman
guessed the previous tenants had positioned large guard dogs in
the front and back of the home, but he had no idea why.

The bulletproof wolf

On the day the Gormans moved their furnishings onto the
property, they had their first foreshadowing of the events that
would follow. They spotted an extremely large wolf out in the
pasture. The wolf cautiously made its way across the field, and,
to the surprise of everyone, sidled up to the family, acting
like it was a familiar pet. It had rained that day, and the
family remembers the wolf smelled like a wet dog as they were
petting it.

After a few minutes, the wolf strolled over to the corral and
grabbed a calf by its snout, attempting to pull it through the
corral bars. Gorman and his father began beating on the wolf's
back with sticks but it wouldn't release the calf. Gorman
grabbed a .357 Magnum from his truck and shot the wolf at point-
blank range. The slug had no noticeable effect.

Gorman pumped another bullet into the wolf, which then let go of
the calf but stood looking at the family as if nothing had
happened. Gorman shot it two more times with the powerful
handgun. The big animal backed off a bit, but showed no signs of
distress, not even any blood.

The mystified rancher retrieved a hunting rifle and shot the
wolf again, once more at close range. Gorman is not only an
experienced marksman but a big-game hunter of considerable
repute. Five slugs should have been enough to bring down an elk,
let alone a wolf. The fifth shot caused a chunk of hair and
flesh to fly off the wolf, but it still didn't seem fazed. After
a sixth shot, the wolf casually trotted across the field into a
muddy thicket. Gorman and his father tracked the beast for about
a mile, following its pawprints through the mud, but the tracks
suddenly ended, as if the wolf had simply vanished into thin

Returning to the corral area, Gorman examined the chunk of wolf
flesh and says it looked and smelled like rotten meat. He made
inquiries among his neighbors, but no one seemed to know
anything about any tame, over-sized wolves in the area. A few
weeks later, Mrs. Gorman encountered a wolf that was so large,
its back was parallel with the top of her window as it stood
beside her car. The wolf was accompanied by a dog-like animal
that she couldn't identify.

Over the next two years, a menagerie of weird animals was
reported by family members and neighbors. While driving into the
ranch on a bright afternoon, Gorman and his wife saw something
attacking one of their horses. They described it as "low to the
ground, heavily muscled, weighing perhaps 200 pounds, with curly
red hair and a bushy tail." It somewhat resembled a muscular
hyena and seemed to be clawing at their horse, almost playing
with it. Gorman got within 40 feet of the animal but says it
literally vanished before his eyes. Poof. Gone. They checked the
horse and found numerous claw marks on its legs. (A few months
later, the wife of a deputy sheriff reported seeing a similar
muscular, reddish beast running across the property.)

Another visitor to the ranch had a more ominous encounter in the
middle homestead, the same place where I was set out as bait.
The visitor, along with Gorman and his son, say they saw a large
blurry "something" moving through the trees. The visitor has
been meditating when this thing showed up. It swiftly moved from
the trees, across the pasture, covering 100 yards in seconds,
and when it reached the man, it let out a ferocious roar,
something akin to a large bear, a roar loud enough to be heard
hundreds of yards away. But this was no bear. It was, according
to the Gormans, nearly invisible, resembling the camouflaged
being in the movie Predator. The visitor was so scared, he
grabbed on to Gorman and wouldn't let go. He left the ranch and
has never returned.

Other creatures and beings were also seen, including exotic,
multicolored birds that were certainly not native to the region
and could not be identified. There were numerous close
encounters with dark, nine-foot-tall beasts that resembled a
Bigfoot or Sasquatch. (More on those incidents will follow.)

As if those visual experiences weren't enough, the family claims
its other senses were also challenged by assorted weird events.
They often were overwhelmed by strong musk odors. The pastures
would unexplainably light up at night like a football stadium.
They claim to have seen shafts of light that seemingly emanated
from the ground, They (and others) say they heard what sounded
like heavy machinery operating under the earth. And they heard
voices. Tom, his son and his nephew remember hearing a loud,
disembodied conversation in some unintelligible language. The
disembodied male voices spoke in what the witnesses say was a
mocking tone and sounded like they were emanating from 20 or
more feet above their heads, but they saw nothing. The dogs
accompanying the three witnesses growled and barked at the
voices, then took off in a panic.

There were physical manifestations that aren't easily explained.
While checking on his herd in the third homestead, Gorman
noticed that someone had dug up his pasture. Hundreds of pounds
of soil had been scooped out of the ground. The edges of the
hole resembled perfect, concentric circles, as if someone had
dropped a gigantic cookie cutter on the pasture. Several smaller
scoop marks were also found.

The Gormans also report phenomena similar to crop circles. One
formation found in their pasture consisted of three circles of
flattened grass. Each circle was approximately eight feet in
diameter, and they were arranged in a triangular pattern, with
each circle about 30 feet from the others. Keep in mind, there
is only one road leading into the ranch. Anyone coming in or
going out would almost certainly be noticed by the Gormans or
their neighbors.

UFOs and other

aerial oddities

In the spring of 1995, the Gormans started seeing strange things
in the sky. While out checking on their cattle, Gorman and his
nephew spotted what they thought was a recreational vehicle
parked on the property. They approached it, figuring the driver
might be having mechanical trouble. As they got closer, the RV
moved silently away from them. They moved closer, it moved
further away. They climbed a fence to get a better look at it,
and that's when they knew this was no Winnebago. The craft rose
above the treetops and slowly flew away, making no sound as it
departed. It certainly wasn't a helicopter. The witnesses had a
clear view and say the object was shaped like a refrigerator,
with a single light on its front and a red light on the back.

Before long, everyone in the family was seeing weird aerial
objects. Mrs. Gorman says something that resembled a stealth
fighter, but ringed with blinking disco lights, silently hovered
about 20 feet above her vehicle before zipping off. Each family
member had repeated sightings of a cloud that usually hovered
just outside the property. The cloud was characterized as having
"blinking Christmas tree lights" or "silent, mini-explosions"
inside. Among the other aerial craft seen by the Gormans, their
neighbors and other witnesses were classic flying-saucer
objects, flying sombreros, shafts of light similar to
fluorescent light bulbs and a cigar-shaped craft several
football fields long.

By far the most common objects they witnessed were floating
spheres of different sizes and colors. In 1995 and 1996, the
Gormans and others reported 12 separate incidents of seeing
large orange circles flying over the trees of the center
homestead. Tom Gorman claims that holes occasionally opened up
in the orange spheres and other smaller spheres would fly out.
(A neighboring rancher told this reporter of his own encounters
with what he called a flying orange basketball.)

By early 1996, the sightings of blue spheres at the ranch became
almost commonplace. These orbs were said to be about the size of
a softball, made of glass and filled with bubbling blue liquids
that seemed to rotate inside. Mr. and Mrs. Gorman say that in
April 1996, they watched one of the blue orbs repeatedly circle
the head of one of their horses, The horse was illuminated by an
intense blue light, and there was a sound like static
electricity in the air, but this wasn't ball lightning. The orb
seemed to be intelligently controlled. When Gorman approached
the horse with a flashlight, the orb darted off, maneuvering
through tree branches with speed and dexterity.

The Gormans say the blue spheres seemed to generate severe
psychological effects on the family. Family members felt waves
of fear roll over them, far in excess of what might be normal,
whenever the blue orbs appeared. It was the appearance of one
blue orb in particular that finally convinced the Gormans to
sell the ranch.

One evening in May 1996, Gorman was outside with three of his
dogs when he noticed a blue orb darting around in the field near
the ranch house. Gorman urged his dogs to go after the ball. The
dogs chased and snapped at the orb, but it dodged and maneuvered
enough to stay just beyond the reach of their snapping jaws. The
ball led the dogs out across the pasture and into the thick
brush that borders the field. Gorman says he heard the dogs make
three terrible yelps, then they were silent. He called for them,
but they didn't respond.

The next morning, Gorman went to look for the dogs. What he
found were three round spots of dried and brittle vegetation. In
the middle of each circle was a black, greasy lump. Gorman
surmised that his dogs had been incinerated by something. One
thing for sure, the dogs were never seen again. The
disappearance of their dogs prompted the Gormans to think about
getting out.

Mutilations and other

animal mysteries

Tom Gorman wasn't some country-bumpkin farmer trying to get by.
He had college degrees and advanced training in animal
husbandry, was considered an expert in artificial insemination
and had plans for raising hybrid, high-end stock at the
picturesque ranch. His herd, which ranged from 60-80 head,
consisted of expensive, top-of-the-line heifers and four 2,000-
pound show-class bulls.

 >From the day he moved his herd onto the ranch, though, his
hopes - and his animals - seemed to be under assault. The balls of
light that were seen so often on the property seemed to take
special interest in the cattle and were often seen buzzing
around the heads of the animals. Sometimes, the cattle would
react violently, the herd splitting suddenly as if some
invisible force was plowing through their middle. It soon got

Although the Gormans kept close watch on their stock, something
began exacting a terrible toll. One cow was found dead in a
field. A strange, crisp hole had been cut in one of its eyes.
There were no tracks or blood, and Gorman wondered what could do
such a thing. He noticed a strong musk odor around the carcass,
a smell he would come to know all too well.

Other cattle were carved up, as if with pinking shears. Cattle
mutilations have been reported throughout North America for
several decades. In typical cases, the ears, eyes, udders and
sex organs are removed with surgical precision. Gorman's animals
were subjected to all of the above.

As an experienced hunter and rancher, Gorman was more than
familiar with the capabilities of natural predators. This wasn't
being done by coyotes or mountain lions. The butchery was simply
too clean. And no blood was ever left at the scene of the
attacks. His other animals also suffered. His favorite horse had
its legs slashed, as if by sharp instruments or claws. (The musk
odor was still in the air when he discovered the damaged horse.)
His dogs seemed to develop paranoia. They stayed inside their
doghouses for days at a time, too fearful to emerge for food.
Six of the family's cats vanished in one night.

Soon, cattle started disappearing altogether. One of the animals
vanished from a snow-covered field. Gorman saw the hoofprints
lead into the field, but the tracks simply stopped, as if the
animal had been plucked from the sky. A 1,200-pound cow leaves
tracks in snow, Gorman told himself, so what happened to this

In all, 14 of Gorman's prized animals were either sliced up or
vanished. In one instance, a cow was found mutilated just five
minutes after Gorman's son had checked on it. Something cut a
hole, six inches wide and 18 inches deep, in the animal's
rectum. The cored-out section extended into the cow's body
cavity, yet there was no blood on the cow or on the snow-covered

The loss of 14 expensive animals from an 80-head herd is extreme
by any standards. (There were other losses as well, but from
explainable causes.) It meant that Gorman was close to financial
collapse. One April afternoon, Gorman and his wife took a quick
drive to town for supplies. As they passed the corral that
contained their four bulls, they commented to each other that
they would really be in trouble if something should happen to
one of the bulls.

When they returned to the ranch less than an hour later, all
four of the bulls were gone. The Gormans began a frantic search
for the missing behemoths but couldn't find a trace. As a last
resort, Gorman decided to peek into a metal trailer that is
situated inside the corral. He thought it highly unlikely that
the bulls would be inside because, from the corral, there is
only one door into the trailer and it was secured with thick
metal wire, wire that clearly was still in place.

Gorman was shocked to see that all four of his bulls were inside
the trailer, squeezed like so many oversized sardines into the
tiny enclosure, crammed in against the sides of the trailer and
against each other. When he yelled to his wife that he had found
them, the bulls seemingly woke up, as if from a dream state, and
started kicking the hell out of the trailer and each other.

"There is simply no way that anyone could coax those four bulls
into that trailer," says Colm Kelleher, a microbiologist who
would come to know the Gormans well. "It would be tough enough
to get one of them into the trailer, but all four? Virtually
impossible. The only door leading from the corral into the
trailer was still securely fastened with wire. And there were
cobwebs on the inside of the door, proving that it had not been
opened. It's almost as if someone overheard the ranchers'
worries about their bulls, then decided to mess with them."

NIDS to the rescue

Kelleher didn't realize it back in 1996, but the Gorman ranch
was to soon become his home away from home. Kelleher is the
deputy administrator of NIDS, the National Institute for
Discovery Science, a Las Vegas-based research organization
founded by local businessman Robert Bigelow. Bigelow's long-
standing interest in paranormal topics, including UFOs, animal
mutilations and human consciousness, prompted him to assemble an
impressive team of physicists, engineers, psychologists and
other doctorate-level professionals for the purpose of
investigating subjects that are largely shunned by mainstream

By the middle of 1996, the Gormans were ready to cash in their
chips. Those who know Tom Gorman say he blamed himself for the
weird string of events that had ruined his ranching operation.
He didn't want to give up but felt cursed, and was ready to bail
for the sake of his family. In an uncharacteristic moment, he
told parts of his story to a news reporter. A respected
journalist from Salt Lake City heard about it, came to the ranch
and talked to the family. Pictures were taken, and a wire
service picked up the story. That's how Bob Bigelow first
learned about the ranch.

Bigelow and his team flew to Utah and introduced themselves to
the Gormans. NIDS staffers checked out the story, interviewed
neighbors and evaluated the Gorman's seemingly incredible tales.
Bigelow offered to buy the ranch outright with the idea of
transforming it into an interactive paranormal laboratory, an
ongoing experiment that might shed some light on questions that
have been viewed with scientific skepticism. Amazingly, he
talked the Gormans into staying at the ranch as caretakers.

By that point, the family was a wreck. The UFOs, balls of light,
cattle mutilations, animal disappearances, Bigfoot sightings and
Skinwalker legends were bad enough, but there had also been an
ongoing series of more personal events. Things had occurred
within their home that had made a normal life impossible. They
saw apparitions in the house, blinding lights, dark creatures
peering in the windows. Furnishings, tools and everyday items
moved around, disappeared or turned up in unusual places.

No one could sleep. When they did manage to grab a few hours,
they were plagued by violent nightmares, often discovering later
that different family members had experienced identical dreams.
The two kids, honor students before arriving at the ranch, saw
their grades plummet. Mrs. Gorman lost her job at a local bank
because of her repeated absences and disturbing water-cooler
tales. Hoping for safety in numbers, the Gormans slept each
night on the floor of their front room.

The folks from NIDS offered moral, emotional and financial
support to the Gormans. What's more, they had a plan. The ranch
presented what appeared to be a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity
to legitimately study a full menu of paranormal activities. They
endeavored to seal off the ranch, pack it with high-tech
monitoring equipment, staff it round-the-clock with trained
observers, and see what happens.

Some residents sarcastically wondered what the hucksters from
Las Vegas really had in mind. A scam of some sort was one oft-
mentioned possibility. UFO buffs whined that Bob Bigelow was a
"shadowy" guy who may or may not have CIA connections and that
he was out to somehow corner the market on E.T. They demanded
that whatever happened at the ranch should be made immediately
available for their evaluation. And paranormal debunkers
predicted the NIDS team would come up empty-handed because
unexplained events inevitably wither under careful scrutiny.

As it turned out, all three groups were wrong. NIDS did seal off
the ranch from outside observers but not for any monetary gain.
Neither the CIA nor any other government agency had any input or
access to the things that have occurred under the NIDS watch.
And the phenomena itself did not wither or evaporate.

For the past six years, events at the ranch have been under
constant scrutiny. Witnesses, including highly accomplished
scientists and law enforcement personnel, have documented a
mind-boggling array of unusual activity. But there has been a
near-total blackout on the release of any information about the

By agreement with Bigelow, this reporter was granted the first
outside access to the ranch and to the scientists and ex-lawmen
who've been studying it. Interviews were conducted with ranch
personnel, as well as with community members who had reported
unusual events. And several nights were spent out on the ranch
itself, watching for odd lights or other manifestations.

No one who has studied this can say with any certainty what's
going on here. The NIDS researchers are not making any claims
about E.T.s or ghosts or Skinwalkers. They are merely collecting
data and trying to make some sense of it. That is small comfort
to me as I sit in the darkness on my little plastic chair,
waiting for something to happen. The mind certainly can play
tricks in such an environment, but could so many witnesses be
completely wrong?

Next week: We'll examine a long litany of bizarre activity that
occurred while the NIDS team was stationed at the ranch,
including the shooting and tracking of an unknown creature, the
destruction of electronic equipment by something unseen, the
unexplained creation of "ice circles" and the opening of what
some say is a portal to another dimension.

Warning to paranormal enthusiasts: Do not travel to the ranch.
You are not welcome there. It is private property and the people
who live on or near it don't want to be hassled by curiosity
seekers or the media. What's more, the level of unexplained
phenomena has taken a steady nosedive over the past several
months, so chances are you wouldn't see anything even if you
could get on the property.


Grant Cameron

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