Mysteries of 'UFO ranch' in spotlight

Published: Saturday, April 22 2006 12:00 a.m. MDT

Surveillance and full-time caretakers remain on the ranch in Fort Duchesne that has become known for paranormal activity. The property is still owned by the National Institute for Discovery Science.

National Institute Of Discovery Science (NIDS)

In 1996 a Las Vegas billionaire bought a ranch in Fort Duchesne from a family who had, for all intents and purposes, been run off of their property by forces they could not explain. All they knew was that a series of bizarre events on their ranch had left them financially ailing, mentally anguished, and in the end, horrified and afraid.

Vanishing and mutilated cattle. Unidentified flying objects. Huge, otherwordly creatures. Invisible objects emitting magnetic fields capable of causing destruction.

A book has now been published about what went on in the late 1990s and early 2000s at what was dubbed the "UFO ranch," an area in west Uintah County known for its 50-year history of perplexing and even frightening events said to have taken place there.

Colm Kelleher, the co-author of the recently published "Hunt for the Skinwalker," was a research immunologist at the National Jewish Medical and Research Center, in Denver, when he came across "a very strange job-placement advertisement" in a respected scientific magazine. The wording caught his eye, he said. The ad's author was looking for scientists interested in "exploring the origin and evolution of consciousness in the universe."

Kelleher said he found the ad "so completely unusual" that he was compelled to respond. "I have had a long-standing interest in scientific anomalies," he said in an interview from his home in northern California. Kelleher is currently working as a senior scientist in biotechnology in the private sector.

A native of Ireland, with reams of scientific degrees behind his name, Kelleher answered the ad and joined a team of respected mainstream research scientists with backgrounds in physics, biochemistry and veterinary studies, who were working for the National Institute of Discovery Science (NIDS).

Founded by real-estate and aerospace tycoon Robert Bigelow, NIDS was intent on removing the crackpot element from the study of the paranormal. Bigelow's goal was to study paranormal events purely from an unbiased and authentic scientific angle, using the brightest minds and the latest technology.

"NIDS had a uniquely deep range of analytical capabilities," Kelleher explained.

That's how Kelleher and other NIDS scientists and researchers ended up living part time on the mysterious ranch in west Uintah County that borders the Ute Indian Reservation. The reservation itself, as they discovered through interviews with its residents, is not exempt from unexplained events similar to those that occurred on the neighboring ranch.

Kelleher worked on the book with award-winning Las Vegas investigative reporter George Knapp, the only journalist ever allowed on the ranch. Kelleher and Knapp detail the days and nights the family spent on their working cattle ranch, besieged by forces which, they found out, never played by the rules.

The book also relates the many haunting mysteries that happened to NIDS researchers after they arrived in March 1997.

One of those still unexplained events involved the mutilation of an 84-pound calf that occurred just minutes after the animal had been tagged by the ranch manager.

"We were fortunate to get the vet and full NIDS staff up there in five hours," Kelleher recalled. "It was 10 a.m., March 10, 1997. The ranch manager and his wife had just tagged it and their dog started acting strangely. They went back to investigate 45 minutes later, and in the field in broad daylight found the calf and its body cavity empty."

One of the strangest things was there was not a drop of blood on the animal or on the ground, said Kelleher. "Most people know if an 84 pound calf is killed there is blood spread around," he added. "It was as if all of the blood had been removed in a very thorough way."

The calf incident was the opening salvo, according to Kelleher. "That early summer and stretching into late summer, there were multiple incidents."

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