Deseret News Archives
Sunday, October 20, 1996
MILLIONAIRE LEADS QUEST FOR UFO DATA
Nevadan buys ranch and hires team to research any paranormal activity
By Zack Van Eyck, Staff Writer
Here, far from the bright lights of his native Las Vegas, the real estate magnate hopes his team of scientists can unearth the roots of UFO folklore prevalent in this region since the 1950s. Bigelow, easily the most prominent American financier in the paranormal research field, is convinced there is more to the observations of Terry Sherman’s family than the simple misidentification of mundane events.
The Shermans made national news in July – the same time as the blockbuster “Independence Day” hit the theaters – by going public with bizarre tales of anomalous activity on their 480-acre ranch, nestled beneath a red-rock ridge between Fort Duchesne and Randlett.
Sherman told the Deseret News and journalist Linda Moulton Howe on a national radio broadcast that his family saw several types of UFOs, witnessed lights emerging from circular “doorways” that seemed to appear in midair, had three cows mutilated and several others disappear and found unusual soil impressions and circles of flattened grass in a pasture.
Weeks later, Bigelow hopped a jet to Vernal and met with the Shermans, offering to buy the ranch for about $200,000. The deal closed in September. The Shermans have purchased a smaller ranch 15 miles away near Whiterocks – far removed, they hope, from the disturbing occurrences they endured for 18 months.
Bigelow has erected an observation building and moved in a pair of scientists and a veterinarian. He has someone on the property 24 hours a day, recording anything out of the ordinary.
Officially, the research is being conducted by the National Institute for Discovery Science(NIDS), which Bigelow formed last October. Among the big names in the institute’s stable of scientists is John B. Alexander, former director of non-lethal weapons testing at Los Alamos National Laboratories in New Mexico.
(See more info about Alexander and NIDS at end of articles)
“Our approach is to do good, high-quality research using a standard scientific approach and do what we can to get hard data,” Alexander said in a telephone interview from the institute’s Las Vegas offices. “One of the missions of the institute is to make information widely available.”
But for now, the lid is on tight. Bigelow won’t talk to the media and Alexander would give no details of how or why the research is being conducted. Sherman, now employed by Bigelow to maintain the ranch, said he can no longer discuss the activity because of a nondisclosure agreement Bigelow had him sign.
Alexander said results of the study would be published in scientific journals and on the institute’s Web page. Other research documents and information about the institute is available on the Internet at ) [site is now defunct].
The secretive behavior concerns several regional UFO researchers, including Ryan Layton of Davis County and Chris O’Brien of Crestone, Colo. Both visited the ranch in July before Bigelow became involved.
“It’s the most impressive case I’ve ever personally investigated,” said O’Brien, author of The Mysterious Valley about UFOs in Colorado’s San Luis Valley. “It should be public knowledge, and the public should be allowed some sort of involvement in any investigation.” Moulton Howe, who has written books on cattle mutilations and other phenomena, received a research grant from Bigelow in 1994 to study plant and animal tissue associated with mutilation cases. She was not surprised at Bigelow’s interest in the Sherman ranch.
“There’s a lot of speculation about possible openings or tears in the electromagnetic fabric of our planet,” Howe said from her Pennsylvania home. “To the general audience, that sounds like science fiction. However, even in quantum physics today, there is discussion about space time, worm holes, black holes. The fabric of reality having something to do with the relationship between the electromagnetic spectrum and gravity forces is becoming a language that we are seeing more and more in print.”
Gary Hart of Bloomington, Ill., an investigator of “hyperdimensional” phenomena, said he believes the Sherman ranch may be the site of an “interdimensional doorway,” similar to ones he has investigated near Sedona, Arizona, Pine Bush, New York, three other U.S. locations and elsewhere in the world.
“People in Russia say they’re very clear that we are contacting other civilizations and they say that we as humans need to open up to this. We have to get past the fear factor,” Hart said. “There are places like this where people can actually see into the next dimension. Some of this is very angular in nature. If you stand in one spot, you see things out around it that you cannot see 100 feet away.”
That could explain why folks who live around the Sherman ranch say they haven’t seen anything unusual. Members of four neighboring families interviewed by the Deseret News did not want their names published, but most said they aren’t sure they believe the Shermans’ stories.
Further investigation, however, revealed three of the families have experienced unusual activity. The Uintah County Sheriff’s Office confirmed that John Garcia, who lives east of the ranch, reported two of his cows were mutilated earlier this year.
Another neighbor said one of his cows disappeared recently. And the man’s nephew, Dean Derhak of Salt Lake City, said he was riding a horse on his uncle’s property in 1980 when he saw a silver sphere on the ground of what later became the Sherman ranch.
“It was fairly big, about 30 to 40 feet wide. It looked like a bowl upside down,” said Derhak, who was 11 at the time. “It scared me and I took off.”
Roosevelt veterinarian Dan Dennis said Bigelow met with him Tuesday to ask for his assistance in performing necropsies on any animals that might be mutilated in the future. Asked if cows were being released onto the former Sherman ranch as guinea pigs, Alexander declined comment. Dennis said Bigelow plans to write all area ranchers requesting that they notify his personnel of any unusual animal deaths.
That’s OK with the Uintah and Duchesne Sheriffs’ offices. Uintah County Sheriff’s Sgt. Steve Hatzidakis said ranchers who discover mutilated animals also should contact his office, although there’s not much it can do.
“The problem we’ve always had is that these guys always call a week, two weeks, three weeks after the animal is located, and by the time you get out there, the animal is in such a decomposed situation little investigative work can be done”, he said.
In an “authentic” mutilation, the animal’s sexual organs are removed and the anus is cored out with laser-like precision. Often, an eye, tongue or patch of skin is removed. Blood, footprints and tire tracks are noticeably absent. Hatzidakis said a typical mutilation is easily distinguished from animal sacrifices that might be performed by satanic cults. Those rituals generally involve a lot of blood, not a lack of it, he said.
According to Layton, UFO and related activity continued on the ranch after Sherman’s public statement. Sherman and his wife, Gwen, were outside one evening when a bluish-white ball of light, about the size of a tennis ball, came out of the field, circled the head of one of the family’s horses and came within 10 feet of Gwen Sherman. It stopped and retreated when she shined a flashlight on it.
To date, Layton said, 10 of the Shermans’ cows have disappeared. The family’s three dogs also vanished after chasing the light ball. Layton said a circular burn mark was found on the ground near where the dogs were last seen. He said Terry Sherman also saw a humanoid figure get out of one of the craft.
“He supposedly had it on a scope or binoculars,” Layton said. “It was a human type, over 7 feet tall, decked out in a totally black uniform and very huge, very heavyset.”
The whole ordeal has been difficult for the Shermans, who say they lost money on the sale. Sherman said he was offered more money by a Colorado family and a local hunting club but did not want to put anyone at risk.
“It’s just been a bad deal all the way around,” he said. “All that’s really redeeming is that you have some knowledge that a lot of people don’t have, for what it’s worth.”
© 1995 Deseret News Publishing Co.
UNIVERSE’ REPORTS ON STRANGE UTAH OCCURRENCES
By Lezlee E. Whiting, Correspondent
A Los Angeles-based TV news magazine that delves into unexplained, extraordinary and bizarre occurrences throughout the universe will feature some rather odd activity being reported in west Uintah County. Reporters from “Strange Universe,” a syndicated show that airs locally on Channel 4 at midnight, were in the area two weeks ago to interview people in connection with the sightings of UFOs and incidents of cattle disappearances and mutilations on the former Sherman ranch between Fort Duchesne and Randlett, Uintah County.
The 480-acre ranch was purchased three months ago by Las Vegas millionaire Robert T. Bigelow, perhaps the most prominent American financier in the paranormal research field. Bigelow has established the National Institute for Discovery Science and has erected an observation building at the ranch and moved in a pair of scientists and a veterinarian. Someone is on the property 24 hours a day to record anything out of the ordinary.
Terry and Gwen Sherman gained national notoriety last June when their experiences – including sightings of several types of UFOs, cattle mutilations and unusual soil impressions and circles of flattened grass in a pasture – were featured in a Deseret News story and on a national radio broadcast.
Producers from “Strange Universe” picked up the story and sent a four-member crew to the Roosevelt area in late November to conduct interviews and tape what will air as a five-minute segment Friday, December 13, said production assistant Renee Barnett.
“We talked to believers, skeptics, a paranormal investigator, a veterinarian, a friend of the former owner, it was our intent to turn the camera on what seems to be quite an unexplained mystery in your part of the area,” said Margaret Roberts, one of the show’s executive producers. “This is very much the heart of our show to go out in areas where sightings have been reported and apply classic journalism to the story . . . our position is that we go out to cover the story neither as believers or debunkers.”
Reporters from “Strange Universe” also talked with Deseret News reporter Zack Van Eyck, who broke the story. Those working for Bigelow declined to be interviewed.
One of those interviewed was Roosevelt veterinarian Dr. Dan Dennis, who is assisting the veterinarian working at the Institute for Discovery Science in conducting necropsies on livestock that farmers and ranchers report as being the victims of strange deaths.
So far only one case has been investigated. The death of the cow in that incident was not attributed to mutilation.
Dennis said he told interviewers that in his 40 years as a veterinarian in the Uintah Basin he has seen only one case that he felt “fit the category” of an actual mutilation. That case involved a horse that had been sliced open and cut in pieces and occurred about 25 to 30 years ago north of the sales barn in Ballard.
No pictures or records were made, said Dennis, so it’s impossible to go back and review the incident. It occurred in the 1950s or 1960s when “alien sightings were quite actively present around here,” he said. Regarding numerous claims of cattle mutilations, Dennis feels they are actually “10 percent scavenger activity and 90 percent imagination.”(The following is very interesting synopsis of the rumor-mill’s attempt to unravel the Bigelow/Alexander connection. NOTE: Our Strange Planet’s comments in BOLD)
451/500…….. Re: Status of Bigelows funding of UFO Reasearch
Name………… rudiak#garnet.berkeley.edu #[email protected]
Date………….. Mon Mar 04 11:29:59 1996
[email protected] <Michael Corbin> wrote:
> Does anyone know the status of the Bigelow Foundation’s funding > of the > so-called “Big Three” UFO research groups?
> I heard that a problem closed it down. Details anyone?
For some of the latest gossip on the UFO circuit, turn your WEB browser to “Saucer Smear” at [link defunct]. Be forewarned that the following picture was pieced together from various sources, some of it little more than hearsay and rumor. (I second this!)
The “Big Three” were also known as “The Coalition” and consisted of MUFON, FUFOR, andCUFOS. As best I understand it, Bigelow who’s supposed to be a very wealthy and shadowy Las Vegas “businessman” with rumored Mafia/CIA connection pledged something on the order of a million dollars last year to the Big Three for UFO research. Among the projects funded by Bigelow were further animal mutilation studies by Linda Moulton Howe [I’ve heard this is still being funded] (According to Linda, the grant was for one year and was not extended) and also an intensive national search of 1947 newspaper archives. This latter project apparently increased the number of 1947 UFO sightings to over 4000 from the previously thought 800.
Sometime in late 1995, Bigelow seems to have pulled the plug after intense squabbling over who got the money and how it was going to be spent. This information came from no less than Philip Klass in his September 1995 Skeptics UFO Newsletter. It’s very possible that Bigelow is a front for the CIA, and his funding was an attempt by the CIA to control the direction of research by the Big Three UFO groups. (Nice theory, but where’s the proof?)Or maybe Bigelow is just a big UFO buff.
Klass also claimed that Bigelow withdrew funding on the urging of Col. John Alexander, and that’s a whole other, very complicated story. Alexander, however has denied involvement in a response published in the 12/5/95 edition of “Saucer Smear”. (Highly recommended web-site. Commander Mosely has been “on-the-case” longer than perhaps anyone.)
Col. Alexander was formerly head of the Los Alamos Nonlethal Weapons Research Division, which included conventional means of incapacitating opposing enemies and pesky civilians crowds without necessarily killing them, but also included “psiwar” techniques such as remote viewing. Alexander recently “retired” and moved to Las Vegas but still admits to continuing his nonlethal weapons connection through future conferences and his still-existing “NATO appointment.” [12/5/95 “Saucer Smear”]
Alexander is also rumored to be head of the National Institute of Discovery Sciences in Las Vegas, although Alexander denies it. Also, as I understand it, NIDS is funded by — guess who? — Robert Bigelow. NIDS is supposedly involved in psychic research, remote viewing, and the afterlife (I have heard that Alexander has a Ph.D in thanatology, or the study of death) But more importantly for our (sic) group’s purposes, NIDS wants to understand the physics behind the flying saucers and maybe even build one!
According to several sources I’ve read or spoken to, Alexander was also reputedly the mysterious Colonel “Harold Philips” in Howard Blum’s book “Out There.” Col. “Philips” [Alexander] headed the “UFO Working Group,” an MJ-12 type UFO organization within the DIA [Defense Intelligence Agency], consisting of select military people and scientists from the CIA, NSA, and DIA. According to Blum, the UFO Working Group was formed in February, 1987 following a UFO radar incident in December 1986, supposedly confirmed by psychic remote viewers in the DIA’s “Project Aquarius,” founded by the Stanford Research Institute physicistHal Puthoff. Puthoff was also one of the scientists in the UFO Working Group.
Many members of the group, including Alexander and Puthoff, were also reputedly members of the so-called “Aviary,” yet another group of scientists and military people working on the UFO problem, formed earlier than the “UFO Working Group,” though supposedly “independent” of the government. The “Aviary,” however seems to have been involved in the release of disinformation to UFO researchers in the 1980′s, with William Moore at the focus. This whole other very complicated story that involves the psychological warfare campaign against physicist Paul Bennewitz in Albuquerque, Kirtland AFB AFOSI agent Richard Doty, who was forging UFI documents, Doty’s superior in the Pentagon Col. Barry Hennessey, and Hennessey’s underling, Col. Richard Weaver, the OSI propagandist who wrote the 1994 USAF Roswell Report. This probably also involves the parties who were behind the MJ-12 papers given to Moore and Jaime Shandera in 1984, and who planted another MJ-12 “document” in the National Archives to be found by Moore and Shandera [the so-called Cutler-Twining memo].
Now back to NIDS. Hal Puthoff is also affiliated with NIDS. Puthoff was formerly an employee of NSA, then went to the Stanford Research Institute and started remote-viewing research back in 1972 with Ingo Swann and Russell Targ. Within weeks of starting the research, the CIA showed up on his doorstep, and that’s how the CIA got involved in remote-viewing. Puthoff has detailed all this in an article to be published in the spring 1996 edition of the Journal of Scientific Exploration. But for those of you who follow this group and a.a.v., (?) this article was posted here on 2/24/96 by Thomas Burgin under the title of “CIA-Initiated Remote Viewing.” Go back and read it! Puthoff includes a multitude of references.
Puthoff is a very able physicist and has published a number of articles in “Physical Review” since 1989 on the relationship between the vacuum, the electromagnetic (EM) field, and gravitation. His primary theory [I hope I don’t butcher this] is that gravitation and inertial mass are residual EM effects arising from the interaction of light with virtual matter in a vacuum. [In a way it’s similar to the Van der Waals force in chemistry which bonds molecules together into solids and liquids. The Van der Waals force is a weak, secondary force that arises from random charge fluctuations in the electrons orbiting atoms] If Puthoff is correct, then it may be possible to cancel inertial mass through suitable manipulation of EM fields. Puthoff has also published a paper that mathematically confirms a conjecture by Casimer that it may literally be possible to extract energy from the vacuum with intense rotation measure (RM) field gradients.
If this all sounds like the physics of saucer science, you are quite correct. Inertial mass cancellation could explain a great many characteristics of saucers, such as their enormous acceleration, right angle turns, and their ability to “float” in our atmosphere.
Based on his background, I suspect Puthoff believes there is a deep connection between saucer physics, psi phenomena such as remote viewing, and many other bizarre aspects of the UFO enigma. To quote Michael Corbin’s accompanying post, which is from the letterhead of NIDS: ”The National Institute of Discovery Science (NIDS) is a newly formed, privately funded research organization. It focuses on scientific exploration that emphasizes emerging, novel, and sometimes unconventional observations and theories. In its programs, NIDS rigorously employs accepted scientific methods and maintains the highest ethical and quality standards. Because NIDS is a new institution, it is too soon to determine exactly what specific projects will be undertaken. However, the Institute is concentrating on exploring fundamental research on issues concerning the nature and evolution of life and consciousness in the universe, and their modes of interaction.”
In short, NIDS appears to be a blend of hard (though fringe) physical science, and what could be loosely termed “mystical science.” It may very well be secretly backed by the CIA or some other spooky agency.
I find the whole story too confusing for words. Howard Blum took a stab at it in “Out There” but ultimately got lost. Perhaps John LeCarre will write a new spy novel and clear everything up for us!