Sunday, January 31, 2021

Part 7 of 7: Hunt for the Skinwalker... The Native American Connection... Other Dimensions...Outer Worlds...Inner Worlds...Revolutionary Science..+

  Hunt for the Skinwalker 

Science confronts the Unexplained at 

a Remote Ranch in Utah 

by Colm A. Kelleher and George Knapp

Chapter 27

The Native American Connection 

Could the skinwalker curse somehow explain the various unusual phenomena that have been reported at the Gorman ranch over many decades? We are hesitant to endorse the existence of either skinwalkers or curses in any objective or literal sense, but there is no question that the story, as told by the Utes for a century or more, hangs over the ranch like a dark and ominous cloud. It is the umbrella explanation the Utes have embraced to try and make sense of otherwise inexplicable events. 

While mainstream scientists are unlikely ever to give credence to any theory based on tribal lore or the black magic powers of shape-shifting Indian witches, it is difficult to ignore the seeming connection between the best-documented paranormal hot spots around the country and a strong Native American presence. Indigenous tribes seem to be on the fringes of nearly all of these paranormal outbreaks. Where you find one, you almost always find the other. The Uinta Basin is the most notable example, but there are several others, including Yakima, Washington, and Dulce, New Mexico, as we have already mentioned. 

The San Luis Valley of Colorado is another location that fits the profile. It is the largest alpine valley in the world, eighty miles long, fifty miles wide at some points, with a floor that sits seventy-five hundred feet above sea level. Mount Blanca, the fourth highest peak in Colorado, dominates the skyline. More to the point, the San Luis Valley has long been the site of well-documented incidents of high strangeness. It is the place where the first publicized case of an animal mutilation occurred in 1967. Not coincidentally, the valley has also been the site of hundreds of UFO sightings over several decades and easily ranks as one of the most intense UFO hot spots on the planet. 

Journalist Christopher O’Brien, who has lived in the San Luis Valley since 1989, has chronicled a rich tapestry of paranormal events in the vicinity, including continuing incidents of animal mutilation, frequent sightings of UFOs and mystery helicopters, and numerous eyewitness reports of Bigfoot encounters. He says the valley’s paranormal legacy extends back centuries, and that one of the first Spanish explorers to enter the valley wrote diary accounts about weird flying lights in the sky and powerful humming noises that emanated from underground. 

Not surprisingly, the region also oozes Native American mysticism and legend. The Yuma culture was in the valley five thousand years before the birth of Christ. The list of tribes, bands, and peoples that are known to have moved in and out since then is long. Among those indigenous groups that managed to survive into this century, the San Luis Valley is almost universally revered as a special, mystical place. 

The Tewa Indians, descended from the Pueblo people and now living in New Mexico, believe that the San Luis Valley is the equivalent of the Garden of Eden. The Tewas say the first humans to enter this world crawled up through a hole in the ground to escape their previous plane of existence. Native Americans who live in the valley today say they were taught that the Creator still lives in the mountains that surround San Luis and that He sometimes appears to humans in the form of a Sasquatch. 

It is the beliefs of the Navajo, though, that are more pertinent to this book. Like many other tribes and bands, the Navajo visited, hunted in, and inhabited the San Luis Valley, off and on, for hundreds of years. Historians believe that the Navajo were finally ousted from the valley by none other than the Utes. It is a development the Navajo people are not likely to forget, since they regard the valley as a sacred place and a fundamental cornerstone of their culture. Mount Blanca, the fourteen-thousand-foot peak that towers over the valley, known to the Navajo as Tsisnaasjini’, the Sacred Mountain of the East, is revered as one of the four mountains chosen by the Creator as a boundary for the Navajo world. It is considered to be an essential component in the Navajo quest to live in harmony and balance with both nature and the Creator. If the Navajo were Christians, Mount Blanca would be their Bethlehem. If they were Jewish, it might be their Wailing Wall. 

At a minimum, the San Luis Valley provides another example of a place that has experienced an extraordinary litany of high strangeness events, a “paranormal Disneyland” in the words of Chris O’Brien, while also being of great significance to Native Americans, a place drenched in tribal mysticism. The intersection of these factors may be meaningless, or at most coincidental, but considering that there are several other examples involving this same unlikely confluence of unusual circumstances, it at least deserves to be noted. 

Sedona, Arizona, is yet another example. Long before Sedona became an artsy Mecca for New Age believers of all stripes, it was hallowed ground for Native Americans. The long-gone Anasazi believed the area to be the center of the universe and the home of the gods. More recently, Sedona has been transformed into a haven for spiritualists, channelers, UFO enthusiasts, and assorted free spirits, drawn by the town’s mystical vibe and by persistent stories about an energy vortex that just might be a portal to other worlds or realities. 

Hard-core skepticism isn’t Sedona’s strong point, and it is prudent to carry more than a few grains of salt when evaluating extraordinary claims emanating from the locals. One case that seems to have merit is eerily similar to the events endured by the Gormans. Over a two-year period in the early 1990s, a ranching family named Bradshaw persevered through a frightening series of unusual events. Their tribulation began with frequent sightings of glowing orbs in the sky, then progressed to poltergeist events in their home, highly dramatic Sasquatch episodes, sightings of gray “aliens,” brushes with some sort of invisible being, the mutilation and harassment of their livestock and dogs, and the appearance of a portal of light. The Bradshaws say they could see another world on the other side of the portal, a description remarkably similar to things seen on the Utah ranch. 

In 1995, a book about the episode was published called Merging Dimensions. The writers, Linda Bradshaw and Tom Dongo, arrived at the conclusion that there are rips or openings in the fabric of reality, and that these openings can create merging points between different dimensions and different realities. The Bradshaws think that the entities and energies they encountered were from some other reality and that they were able to slip in and out of our world through the merging point or portal that had somehow opened on their ranch. The Bradshaws had no idea that during the same time period they were enduring their own series of encounters with the unknown just outside of Sedona, the Gormans were trying to cope with similarly bizarre activities in northeastern Utah. 

Native American beliefs about alternate worlds pop up as well in a provocative work of fiction by the late, great Louis L’Amour, who wrote more than a hundred novels in his prodigious career. Readers bought more than 225 million copies of his books. Thirty of his novels were made into movies. L’Amour was best known for his western sagas, tales of gunfighters and lawmen, good guys on galloping horses and bad guys on the receiving end of frontier justice. But L’Amour’s final novel, released a year before his death, represented an abrupt departure from what his readers had come to expect. 

The title of the book was The Haunted Mesa and its focus was Indians, not cowboys. Relying on a lifetime of dogged research and personal experience, L’Amour plunged headfirst into the topic of Native American mysticism and spiritual beliefs. The result was a book that closely parallels some of the possibilities that are central to the mysteries of Skinwalker Ranch. 

L’Amour based The Haunted Mesa on his understanding of Navajo and Hopi beliefs concerning “other worlds.” Hopi spiritual leaders teach that our current earthly plane of existence is the fourth world the tribe has known. They traveled into this fourth reality, they say, by passing through a door or tunnel that opened in their previous world. The Hopi view closely parallels that of the Navajo. The Navajo are taught that they entered this world via a tunnel in the earth and that they departed their previous reality in order to escape from an unspecified evil. In his narrative, author L’Amour relies on his principal characters to argue for the existence of other realities. The story line implies that the other worlds from which the Hopi and Navajo escaped are most likely other dimensions, and that the doors between these dimensions are sometimes traversable. It’s a fictional account, of course, but is firmly based on tribal religious traditions, which, from one perspective, seem to be in sync with prominent theories now being championed by cutting-edge physicists. In essence, Native Americans have believed for hundreds of years in the existence of such concepts as parallel universes, alternate dimensions, and traversable wormholes, although this isn’t the terminology used by the tribes. To think they arrived at their beliefs without the benefit of Ivy League educations, particle accelerators, or Doppler-based calculations is certainly curious. 

Though we have no empirical evidence to prove that a Navajo skinwalker might really have the black magic ability to put a curse on the Utes, thus triggering a century or more of weird activity near the Ute reservation in Fort Duchesne, there is plenty of historical evidence to suggest the Utes certainly had done enough to deserve a curse or two, at least from the Navajo perspective. The Utes were often at war with the Navajo, and those wars were fought in places of interest to this book. 

The Utes’ traditional homeland encompassed most of the state of Colorado, including the San Luis Valley and Elbert County, both of which, as we’ve noted, are areas of high strangeness. In the San Luis Valley, the warlike Utes drove the Navajo out. In the early 1800s, the Utes allied themselves with the Jicarilla Apaches (the same tribe that now occupies the paranormal hot spot of Dulce) in a bloody war against the Navajo, all at the behest of the Spanish. The Utes considered much of present- day New Mexico and Arizona to be their homeland. It could be argued that the Utes have historical ties to nearly all of the areas that are now regarded as paranormal hot spots. And there is no question that they, along with most of the other tribes in the American West and Southwest, consider the subject of witchcraft to be very serious business. 

According to Tom Gorman, the Fort Duchesne Utes were not happy to learn that NIDS had purchased the Gorman ranch. But NIDS received gracious cooperation and friendly openness from the tribe. Some tribal members initially warned Gorman that the NIDS purchase was a big mistake. In hindsight, it appears they were worried that a team of scientists poking around might annoy or arouse whatever malevolent force might inhabit the place. Tom Gorman came to believe that some of the Utes were dabbling in black magic rituals themselves. One day, he discovered the carcass of a raccoon that had been mutilated in ritualistic fashion and was left splayed on top of a tree stump in a manner so obvious that he believed he was meant to find it. Someone had slipped onto the property to perform what Gorman suspected was some sort of black magic ceremony. Was it a warning of sorts? 

The title of this book mentions a hunt for skinwalkers, so it’s fair to ask whether we found any. We have no real evidence to suggest that Indian witches have the ability to pull off the kind of wild exhibitions and phantasmagorical events that were seen on the ranch by many witnesses. Native American beliefs in other worlds and portals to other realities have demonstrable equivalents in modern science, and in that sense, we wondered if their legends about skinwalkers might also have a scientific stepbrother, something that might help us to understand what unfolded. 

It may not have been a true skinwalker that was haunting the Gorman ranch, but something certainly manifested itself, again and again, over a period of several years.Something gave rise to the bewildering plethora of anomalies. Something manifested itself as a black cloud in the trees, from which a telepathic voice reached out to the NIDS scientists. Something appeared as an opaque “Predator” creature that roared loud enough to make a grown man cry. Something moved through water but could not be seen. Something generated voices from the sky. Something floated in the sky as glowing orbs, Stealth-like craft, disc-shaped UFOs, and even a flying recreational vehicle. We saw them. Either a single “intelligence” was responsible for conjuring up this amazing variety of ephemeral events, changing its appearance and form as well as its tactics and strategies, or a “family” of anomalies was sharing the rent in some kind of paranormal fraternity house. Skinwalker or not, it could be argued that the ranch, for unknown reasons, functioned as a one-stop supermarket for all manner of bizarre activity. 

Though we can’t say with any certainty whether the things that happened at the ranch represent the presence of one entity or force, or whether there was more than one “intelligence” at work there, we can speculate about intentions. Was “the skinwalker,” for lack of a better term, a malevolent force? In a sense, it was. It butchered and abducted livestock, attacked other animals, and seemed intent on generating strong emotional responses from the Gormans, as if it thrived on terror and confusion. 

But it also seemed to draw a distinction between harming animals and harming humans. Other than psychological damage, intense headaches, nosebleeds, and a few unexplained cuts, no humans were physically maimed, while animals certainly were. Whatever might have been slipping into our world seemed to know the difference between slicing up a newborn calf and doing the same to a human. It stuffed bulls into a trailer, but didn’t do the same to people. Dogs were incinerated, but the Gormans were not. If we are to believe both the Navajo and academic researchers, skinwalkers are inherently evil and would not hesitate to kill a person. It suggests that whatever was present on the ranch was not a skinwalker in any traditional sense.

Chapter 28

Other Dimensions 

Dress up the skinwalker hypothesis in the garb of modern physics and the question becomes: Could the phenomena at the Utah ranch have been the result of interdimensional beings or time travelers accessing our space-time continuum, or physical beings jumping across vast interstellar distances via wormholes or stargates? It might sound like science fiction, but attempts to relate current physics theories to observed anomalous phenomena are being presented at conferences and published in scientific journals by physicists such as Eric Davis, Hal Puthoff, Bernard Haisch, Michio Kaku, Beatriz Gato Rivera, Jack Sarfatti, and others. A burgeoning physics literature, including papers from mainstream science luminaries such as Kip Thorne and Matt Visser, have described the possibility that wormholes are shortcuts through the cosmic neighborhood, thus circumventing the velocity of light limitation for interstellar travel. Visser, Davis, and others have published the mathematical requirements for traversable wormholes as well as approaches toward engineering wormholes in mainstream physics journals. 

According to some variations of the interdimensional hypothesis, the creatures or beings that access our physical reality need not necessarily be physical but may be capable of influencing our physical reality and/or may be capable of mind control. They may manifest their influence either in long-term evolutionary or cultural manipulation of human affairs, or they may have even more inscrutable agendas. Variations on this theme include Jacques Vallee’s “control system hypothesis,” Patrick Harpur’s “daimonic reality,” and Michael Grosso’s “imaginal realm,” as well as John Keels’s “ultraterrestrials” and the older Middle Eastern concept of the djinn. 

It’s worth noting that Harpur’s book Daimonic Reality describes in vivid detail several of the strange animals seen on the Utah ranch, including the large cat and huge doglike creatures shot by Gorman on March 12, 1997, the bushy-tailed brownish animal seen by the Gormans in April 1999, as well as some of the weird “semi-physical” attributes of these creatures. Harpur says these creatures come from a “daimonic” (meaning “alternate” and not to be confused with demonic ) reality and are characterized by both their physical and ghost-like attributes. The wide spectrum of events witnessed is not inconsistent with Harpur’s description of a crossover of beings and creatures from another world into ours. The confusing array of unpredictable occurrences, the strange animals that appear to exist in some ambiguous world that is neither 100 percent physical nor 100 percent immaterial, and the trickster like quality of this apparently precognitive sentient intelligence, all fit a pattern of activity that has existed on Earth for millennia, according to Harpur. 

Prior to the arrival of NIDS, the Gormans were tormented by tricksterlike phenomena almost daily. The trickster activity was a constant irritation and the backdrop against which all of the other more spectacular events occurred. For example, in the midst of calving season, Ellen Gorman purchased several boxes of cereal so that the family could eat quickly on the run. But when it came time to eat the cereal, no one could locate the boxes. They were later found in the fridge, freezer, and oven. But that’s not all. Irrigation headgates were found inappropriately opened or closed several times with no tire tracks or footprints in the vicinity. Water hoses would disappear and then be found in unusual places, always rolled into a neat circle three to four feet in diameter. In numerous instances, the shovels for digging irrigation ditches could not be located when needed but were found in unusual places later. And several times, when Ellen Gorman was getting into the shower, she would place her towel and hairbrush on the counter near the shower. But when she got out of the shower, they were gone. The items would then turn up in odd places in other parts of the house. 

And there was more still. Doors in the home would suddenly open and close with great force for no apparent reason. On one occasion Ellen Gorman had gone grocery shopping and had carefully put all the items on the kitchen table before stacking them in the cupboards. The job took a considerable amount of time. But when she returned several hours later, all the items were back on the kitchen table where she had originally placed them. This particular incident upset Ellen considerably because Tom suggested that maybe she had just forgotten to put the items away. But Ellen clearly remembered doing so. 

The Gormans’ world was anything but black and white. The family got so used to finding the salt in the pepper shaker and vice versa that they would always shake a small amount onto their hand as a test prior to putting it on their food. On one occasion, Tad and a couple of his friends had been asked by Tom to move 150 to 200 large metal corral poles from the front yard to a location beyond the canal. The poles were of varying length and were seven to eight inches in diameter and weighed between 25 and 150 pounds each. It took the three teenagers about four hours of hard work to complete the job. The boys finished about noon. 

Tom returned around four in the afternoon to find all the poles back almost precisely where they had originally been in the front yard. He asked Tad why they had not done the job yet. The boys expressed considerable frustration over this incident, since they had spent several hours doing just what they had been told to do. Interestingly, the poles were replaced almost, but not quite, in the same spot as they had originally been, since the original depressions left by the heavy weight were visible on the ground beside the newly replaced poles. The family endured this constant, frustrating, unnerving trickster activity for almost two years. According to Harpur, this sort of activity is diagnostic of intrusions from other realities, which have been an ongoing part of humanity’s experience for millennia. 

After experiencing all sorts of bizarre activity during his research on UFOs, John Keel formulated his “ultraterrestrial” hypothesis, which postulates that Earth has shared living space for millennia with other intelligent beings who interact with humans when they choose to, who are more intelligent than us, and who manipulate our physical and psychic reality for their own obscure agendas. “Within a year after I had launched my full time UFO investigating efforts in 1966,” Keel writes in Operation Trojan Horse , “the phenomenon had zeroed in on me, just as it had done with the British newspaper editor Arthur Shuttle-wood, and so many others. My telephone ran amok at first, with mysterious strangers calling day and night to deliver bizarre messages ‘from the space people.’ Then I was catapulted into the dream-like fantasy world of demonology. I kept rendezvous with black Cadillacs on Long Island and when I tried to pursue them they would disappear impossibly on dead-end roads.. .Luminous aerial objects seemed to follow me around like faithful dogs. The objects seemed to know where I was going and where I had been. I would check into a motel at random only to find that someone had made a reservation in my name. I was plagued by impossible coincidences, and some of my closest friends began to report strange experiences of their own—poltergeists erupted in their apartments, ugly smells of hydrogen sulphide haunted them.” 

Keel’s descriptions of existing in the strange netherworld between reality and some deeply disturbing nightmare exactly encapsulate the Gormans’ description of what life was like on the ranch prior to NIDS investigation. Of course, when NIDS arrived, this trickster like activity diminished significantly. Occasionally, however, one of the NIDS researchers would wake up in the middle of the night with an incredibly strong sulfurous odor emanating from one corner of the room. It was invariably the same NIDS researcher who experienced this. NIDS researchers also experienced the constant trickster like interference with the dog runs in May 1997, and perhaps the mysterious destruction of the three video surveillance cameras could be categorized as trickster like. Other than these few exceptions, life for the NIDS staff was mercifully free of the sort of constant irritation the Gormans experienced with the trickster. 

How likely is the interdimensional hypothesis? Unfortunately, we don’t know enough about the world for this hypothesis to stand on its own two feet—there is no known experiment, for example, that will distinguish between the simple ET hypothesis and the interdimensional hypothesis without more robust data. From a scientific perspective, extraterrestrial and the interdimensional beings are indistinguishable from one another—they both come from other worlds.

Chapter 29

Outer Worlds 

Let’s take a step back and examine the broader picture by considering a question about perspective posed by the physicist Michio Kaku. “Let’s say that a ten-lane superhighway is being built next to an anthill,” he says. “The question is: would the ants even know what a ten-lane superhighway is, or what it’s used for, or how to communicate with the workers who are just feet away? And the answer is no.. .If there is [another] civilization in our backyard, in the Milky Way galaxy, would we even know its presence?... There’s a good chance that we, like ants in the anthill, would not understand or be able to make sense of a ten-lane superhighway next door.” 

Other thinkers have posed similar questions. If a pair of pigeons alighted on a discarded newspaper page on a New York street, would they understand the content of the paper? A herd of cattle, grazing in a pasture, would be unlikely to appreciate the physical beauty of the surroundings, let alone be able to comprehend the prospects of their pending trip to the slaughterhouse. 

Spanish physicist Beatriz Gato-Rivera has questioned whether we could be immersed in a larger civilization without being aware of it. She notes that “typical civilizations of typical galaxies” would likely be hundreds of thousands, or even millions of years more evolved than our own. She compares it to a family of mountain gorillas and asks if the gorillas could possibly know that they are “a protected species inhabiting a natural reserve in a country inside the African continent of planet Earth,” blissfully unaware of nations, borders, religion, or politics, or of their own position within the planetary pecking order. 

“Would any country on this planet send an official delegation to the mountain gorilla territory to introduce themselves openly and officially to the gorilla authorities?” Gato-Rivera asks. “Would they shake hands, make agreements, and exchange signatures with the dominant males?” She argues that it is reasonable to conclude that, just as gorillas could not possibly grasp the intricacies of the larger world around them, we humans may simply lack the brainpower to comprehend the most basic foundations of a larger reality that surrounds us. Gato-Rivera and other physicists suspect that we are already a part of a much larger civilization, whether we can fathom this or not. And if the multiverse paradigm is true, there could be untold numbers of older, infinitely more advanced civilizations that might be capable of traveling into our world at will. 

“If there exist thousands, or millions, of parallel universes, separated from ours through extra dimensions,” Gato-Rivera suggests, “it would be natural then to expect that some proportion of these universes would have the same laws of physics as ours., and many of the corresponding advanced civilizations would master the techniques to travel or ‘jump’ through.. .the extra dimensions. This opens up enormous possibilities.” 

Physicists at the University of California at Davis have theorized that our known universe might exist within some sort of giant black hole that is “reversed,” a so-called outward, a universe that is “expanding into a much bigger place.” According to mathematical physicist Blake Temple, the implication of this is that “there is something outside. Our universe is in a much larger space-time. The universe we know could be much bigger than the regions of expanding galaxies.” 

But the question is, could someone “out there” in a larger reality or parallel world get here and interact with our lives, in subtle, overt, or incomprehensible ways? It is possible, physicists say, but it is questionable whether we would even notice, and even more doubtful that we would understand it if we did notice. 

“Aliens may be here now, in another dimension, a millimeter away from our own,” Kaku suggests. He points out that wave frequencies from alternate realities, other universes, and other times are all around us every moment of every day. “However, just like you can only tune into one radio channel, you can only tune into one reality channel, and that is the channel that you exist in. The catch is that we cannot communicate with them, we cannot enter these universes.” 

Still, he and some of his colleagues agree with the premise that other, more advanced civilizations may have the technological ability to make the jump at will. Kaku even speculates that we will be able to make the same jump ourselves, someday far in the future. Trillions of years from now, when all of the known stars burn themselves out, our universe will undergo what might be called a “big freeze.” It will be impossible for any intelligent life to survive. When that happens, we will have no choice but to depart for warmer pastures. 

University of Pennsylvania physicist Max Tegmark, the most outspoken proponent of the multiverse concept, believes that parallel universes already interact in definitive ways with our humble cosmic abode. Tegmark and other theorists think that our universe once had nine dimensions, but during the early stages of cosmic expansion, the three dimensions that constitute the parameters of our world stayed put, while the other six dimensions grabbed a cosmic taxi and split. Space may be nine dimensional, but matter may exist only in a three-dimensional surface, also known as a membrane, or brane, for short. Tegmark cites the work of renowned physicists Paul Steinhardt of Princeton and Neil Turok of Cambridge University, whose calculations indicate the existence of a second three dimensional brane that is literally parallel to our own plane of existence but separate from us because it is just a tiny fraction higher on the dimensional scale. It’s there, and it is part of our current reality, whether we can see it or not. 

“This parallel universe is not really a separate universe because it interacts with ours,” Tegmark says. 

This interaction presumably is ongoing and omnipresent, even as you read this sentence. 

If this single universe of ours truly is infinite, if countless other universes exist in our little slice of reality, if parallel dimensions also exist, each with its own countless universes, if it is likely that our world is part of a much larger reality, and if it is possible, according to the laws of physics, for an advanced intelligence somehow to travel between those alternate realities, then it may also be possible to begin to understand the kinds of mysterious events that have been observed and reported by humans throughout recorded history, including those that have been documented on the Utah ranch. 

Distinguished scientists and prominent journals are no longer reluctant to discuss the most exotic theories about the nature of reality, so long as those discussions restrict themselves to the realm of esoteric chitchats between fellow highbrows. But when scientific outsiders or maverick thinkers raise the possibility that other realities might be manifesting themselves in our physical world right now, most scientists retreat behind the snooty barricades of academia and rationalism. They may heartily support the mathematical equations that establish the existence of the other worlds but recoil in intellectual revulsion whenever so-called paranormal events are reported, no matter how compelling the physical and testimonial evidence might be.[That is why mainstream science is going to suffer the same fate of the lamestream media,too many so called scientists sold out to $$$ DC] 

The late astronomer J. Allen Hynek of Northwestern University, who served as the principal debunker in Project Blue Book, the much-maligned U.S. Air Force investigation of the UFO phenomenon, told the story about a convention of fellow astronomers that he attended. According to Hynek, one scientist who had slipped out of the convention for a smoke witnessed a UFO in the sky above the gathering. He ran back into the convention and announced with some alarm to the crowd that a flying saucer was hovering outside. Not one of the assembled scientists got up even to take a peek. To do so would have given credence to a discredited and unsubstantiated superstition and would have invited the scorn of their esteemed colleagues. Flying saucers can’t exist, therefore they don’t. 

At its most basic level, science is supposed to represent the investigation of the unexplained, not the explanation of the uninvestigated. Yet few scientists are willing to risk the criticism of their peers (or the withdrawal of their research grants) if it means pursuing the subjects that are deemed by unofficial acclamation to be unworthy tabloid fodder, the rants of disturbed minds, or the folklore of drunken trailer park lowlifes. It can’t be, therefore it isn’t.

The ideas of visionary thinker Giordano Bruno were so unsettling to the political, religious, and scientific establishment of his day that he was burned at the stake for espousing them. The modern science establishment, which is viewed by some as the equivalent of a harsh and unforgiving religion with its own strict commandments and rigid code of conduct, no longer burns its outcasts, but it certainly excommunicates those who stray too far from the fold. Unusual experiences that intrude into our daily lives are routinely discarded or excluded from any serious discussion through the time tested techniques of ridicule, trivialization, and debunking. A witness who reports a UFO is either mistaken, psychotic, inebriated, or out to make a buck. 

It is no small irony that millions of people all over the world have experienced and reported events of high strangeness, events that are completely consistent with the most exotic, cutting-edge theories of the nature of reality, yet these encounters are almost always dismissed without so much as a cursory investigation. Despite nearly a century of mind-boggling, paradigm-shifting discoveries and ideas to the contrary, we continue to live as if Newton’s laws still define our reality, as if the high strangeness of the universe has nothing to do with our daily lives. But is this true? 

In 1991, a nationwide Roper poll found that millions of Americans were experiencing events that defy our textbooks and our understanding of reality. The study polled nearly six thousand people and was easily the largest statistical sample ever undertaken concerning “paranormal” experiences among the general public. The size of the sample meant that the statistical margin of error was 2 percent or less, far more reliable than most political surveys. Astoundingly, the Roper pollsters found that 18 percent of those polled had experienced waking paralysis (with no apparent cause); 13 percent said that they had experienced “missing time,” hours or even days for which they have no memory or explanation; 8 percent said that they had seen balls of light or orbs, which might be interpreted as UFOs; and another 8 percent noticed unexplained scars on their bodies. 

The survey suggests that approximately one in every ten Americans, more than twenty million people, had experienced events that might be considered paranormal. A second Roper poll conducted seven years later found a smaller number of people, 7 percent instead of the earlier 10 percent, reporting these same experiences. It isn’t clear why the overall percentage changed, but even at the lower number, millions of people claimed to have experienced something strange and dramatic in their lives. 

It is clear that mainstream public attitudes and beliefs toward so-called anomalous phenomena are profoundly out of step with mainstream science attitudes and beliefs. And just as cosmologists and physicists sometimes sound like religious mystics, an increasing number of psychologists and anthropologists are beginning to explore the human mind as something more than the consequence of neurochemical trafficking in the brain. These new areas of research may also be relevant to an understanding of some of the events that occurred on the ranch.

Chapter 30

Inner Worlds

Does the wide variety of anomalies observed at the ranch have any connection with human consciousness? Of course, much of mainstream science simply dismisses such reported anomalies as products of pathologies of human consciousness. But what if they are instead doorways from human consciousness into other realities? People such as writer Patrick Harpur, philosopher Michael Grosso, psychologist Kenneth Ring, among others, argue that there are separate realities inhabited by other intelligences and that humans can sometimes access these places. The central question is whether these separate realities are real, external, and physical in any sense, and whether they somehow tie in to human consciousness. 

Certain events that took place at the ranch suggest a possible link among shamanism, human consciousness, and whatever force was operating there. The Gormans became convinced that the phenomena eavesdropped on them and often reacted to what they said. One example was the “transfer” of four two-thousand-pound bulls into a tiny trailer. This event happened almost immediately after Ellen Gorman’s private conversation with her husband in which she expressed extreme apprehension at the idea of losing the animals. Was this sheer coincidence? If not, how could their conversation have been overheard in a vehicle on a remote ranch? After scores of similar coincidences, the Gormans ended up believing that the intelligence knew what they were thinking and could even anticipate what they were going to do. 

It is tempting, therefore, to speculate that a link existed not only with the Gormans’ physical presence on the ranch but also with their mental states. A similar link apparently took place with a team of scientists at Lawrence Livermore Laboratory in California during the 1970s when they were testing the famous Israeli psychic Uri Geller. The scientists, all of whom had top secret security clearances, began to experience all manner of weird phenomena, both in their homes and at work shortly after they began to study Geller. Suddenly, gray flying saucers would materialize inside their homes or labs. Huge birds would turn up at the end of their beds, strange metallic voices would speak to them by telephone, and other objects would become visible and float in the air in front of them. It was as if some sort of doorway to another world had been opened for them. Only after they stopped studying Geller did their lives return to normal. Were these strange occurrences diagnostic of some kind of “disturbance” in the field of consciousness? 

There is some evidence to suggest that forms of meditation (and therefore altered states) were connected to the appearance of anomalous phenomena on the ranch. The “Predator incident” of early 1996 appears to have been provoked by an individual’s conscious attempt at meditation. And a little over a year later, less than sixty minutes after an hour-long meditation by an investigator, a creature crawled through a tunnel of light in midair at exactly the same spot where the meditation had taken place. But human consciousness at the opposite end of the spectrum from the stillness of meditation apparently also provoked anomalous events. Just prior to the purchase of the ranch by NIDS, Tom Gorman says that an incoherent woman arrived one day in 1996. As the woman got out of her car and began talking to Tom in the front yard of the homestead, a nearby tree began to shake violently and the leaves began to rustle loudly despite a total lack of wind. Suddenly the woman, who admitted to being mentally disturbed, began to scream loudly and pointed at the tree. She described the presence of legions of demons and monsters in the shaking tree. Tom couldn’t see the “demons,” but he could plainly see the whole tree shaking. After ushering the crazed woman off the property, the tree returned to its previous stillness. Tom thought that somehow the woman’s unhinged mental field had disturbed something in the environment and provoked the “psychic” outburst in the tree. 

Eventually, after being exposed to scores of bizarre but unrepeated events, some members of the NIDS Science Advisory Board began to hypothesize that a sentient, precognitive, nonhuman intelligence occupied the ranch. One board member even suggested that this intelligence was engaged in deliberately provoking emotional reactions in the residents, perhaps in order to utilize those emotions in some way. This notion is not so far-fetched given the Gorman family’s long held suspicions that something or someone was watching them constantly and was aware of their every thought and movement. The cat-and-mouse mind games experienced by the NIDS researchers, the trickster like interference with the dog runs in the summer of 1997, and the chilling destruction of our surveillance cameras in 1998, an event that was captured on videotape, all lent support to the notion that some kind of manipulative intelligence was present. While it is admittedly difficult to establish the existence of such a precognitive, nonhuman intelligence, the thought was never far from the minds of those of us who walked those fields, day and night, for so many years. 

One of the more celebrated proponents of alternate realities and their link to states of human consciousness was John Mack, a Harvard University professor of psychiatry and author of two widely read books on the phenomenon of alien abduction. Mack studied some two hundred cases of alleged alien abductions over a ten-year period before a drunk driver in London killed him in October 2004. Over time, Mack had come to believe that many of the events reported by persons who claimed to have been subjected to so-called alien abductions actually occurred in other realms or dimensions that humans had somehow accessed, though not at a normal level of consciousness. Mack saw overlaps between the alternate realities occupied by shamans and the world from which these “aliens” came to terrorize their “victims” during alien abductions. 

The experiences that Mack’s patients reported were visceral, vivid, and powerfully disturbing. On many occasions they were life changing. The visitors emerged from another world or else pulled the victim into a separate reality where they performed sometimes very painful examination procedures reportedly involving, at times, the collection of bodily fluids. In many instances, the victims were forcibly examined without their consent; a situation tantamount to kidnapping. Mack believed that these powerful traumatic experiences, if eventually accepted by the victims, were the doorways for spiritual evolution. Many abductees say they received instruction from their abductors about the systematic destruction of Earth and the need for ecological awareness, a sort of “alien boot camp” concerning the necessity for taking better care of the natural world. Mack eventually concluded that the abduction experiences were not happening physically but were associated with some other level, dimension, or reality that was either a part of human physical reality or could easily influence it. 

The “inner world” nature of these experiences is further strengthened by the recent work of psychiatrist Rick Strassman. In one of the few scientific studies of its kind, Strassman studied the effects of injecting the hallucinogen N-N-dimethyltryptamine (DMT) into sixty volunteers at the University of New Mexico between 1990 and 1995. The research was funded by the National Institutes of Health and followed extremely rigorous research protocols and human subject methodologies. Strassman was startled to discover that a large number of his subjects experienced meetings with “alien beings” and nonhuman intelligences following injections of DMT. The details of these meetings were remarkably consistent among the subjects, though none of these experimental volunteers were allowed to compare notes prior to being interviewed. 

To Strassman, the almost identical “hallucinations” experienced by different subjects in their encounters with the “aliens” seem to imply that the subjects experienced some kind of objective reality as a result of the DMT injections. He hypothesized that perhaps DMT was able to open a perceptual doorway into other “dimensions” where the human mind could meet and communicate with the denizens of these realities. In Strassman’s words, “I suggest DMT alters the receiving qualities of the brain, and employ a television analogy. Personal healing occurs by an enhancement of ‘contrast and focus’; invisible worlds and entity contact takes place by changing reception of ‘channels’ to include dark matter and parallel universes.” Strassman points out that the human brain makes DMT naturally. This leads him to speculate that perhaps, under certain circumstances, in certain states, the human brain might increase its levels of endogenous DMT and so make it easier for the “alien abduction” experience to take place. 

Or could an external agency manipulate the DMT levels in the human brain in order to make journeys to other worlds possible, or alternatively, such that the denizens of other worlds could cross over into ours? Or was some unknown environmental variable on the Utah ranch, perhaps very low frequency electromagnetic radiation, responsible for triggering DMT cascades in the brain? Was such a mechanism responsible for some of the incidents? It would have been interesting to conduct regular and comprehensive blood chemistry monitoring of all the ranch residents and investigators. Did they have elevated levels of DMT? Were glucocorticoid stress hormones elevated? Although we discussed performing such blood tests, they were never carried out. 

Shamans, who apparently have the ability to cross over into other worlds at will, also report having DMT-like experiences. Michael Hamer, who is arguably the father of Western shamanism, learned to be a shaman while living among the Jivaro Indians in the Ecuadorian Andes and the Conibo Indians in the Peruvian Amazon. He had a very interesting, and perhaps relevant, vision of an “alien intelligence” that was directly intertwined with human consciousness. It happened in the early stages of his exploration into shamanism. 

“Now I was virtually certain I was about to die,” he noted after entering an ayahuasca-induced trance. (Ayahuasca is a hallucinogenic drink made from the bark of a South American vine; it contains several psychoactive ingredients, including DMT.) “As I tried to accept my fate, an even lower part of my brain began to transmit more visions and information. I was ‘told’ that this new material was being presented to me because I was dying and therefore ‘safe’ to receive these revelations. These were secrets reserved for the dying and the dead, I was informed. I could only dimly perceive the givers of these thoughts: giant reptilian creatures reposed sluggishly at the lowermost depths of the back of my brain, where it met the top of my spinal column. I could only vaguely see them in what seemed to be gloomy, dark depths. Then they projected a visual scene in front of me. First they showed me the planet earth as it was eons ago, before there was any life on it. I saw an ocean, a barren land and a bright blue sky. Then black specks dropped from the sky by the hundreds and landed in front of me. They flopped down, utterly exhausted from their trip, resting for eons. They explained to me in a kind of thought language that they were fleeing from something out in space. They had come to planet earth to escape their enemy.” 

Hamer continued: “The creatures then showed me how they created life on the planet in order to hide within the multitudinous forms and thus disguise their presence. Before me, the magnificence of plant and animal creation and speciation—hundreds of millions of years of activity—took place on a scale and with a vividness impossible to describe. I learned that the dragon-like creatures were thus inside all forms of life, including man. They were the true masters of humanity and the entire planet, they told me. We humans were but receptacles and servants of these creatures. For this reason, they could speak to me from within myself” 

Hamer’s encounter might link to Jacques Vallee’s hypothesis that the phenomenon represents a technologically advanced control system that may reside on this planet and that the control system is responsible for the displays of the UFO. This control system seems to interact with humans on multiple levels, from the nuts-and-bolts level all the way through to the psychic level. Vallee hypothesizes that inner changes as well as long-term societal transformations that are inspired by the assorted encounters with this control system are far more significant than the physical trappings of the encounters themselves. Though the control system seems to operate for reasons that are opaque, mysterious, and largely unfathomable by human beings, its “productions” may have an agenda to “educate” human societies over an extended period of time. The appearance of the Virgin Mary at Fatima and at Lourdes might be examples of this control system’s productions. The question is: Were the events at the Utah ranch another one of their “productions”? 

There are, in fact, some profound shamanic overtones to what the Gormans experienced. The parallels to a story told by a Siberian-born medical doctor named Olga Kharitidi are quite obvious. Kharitidi spent many years practicing psychiatry in Novosibirsk, then a technological center in Siberia. While accompanying a friend of hers who was seeking a healer, Kharitidi found herself in the company of a shaman from the Siberian mountains of Altai. During her friend’s encounter with the shaman, Kharitidi witnessed events that defied her understanding of physical reality. As a trained psychiatrist in the Western medical model, her first impression was that she might be experiencing a psychotic episode as she watched the shaman perform “impossible” feats. She says that it was not uncommon to see UFOs or other unusual aerial phenomena appear in the sky just as the shaman was beginning to “access other worlds.” The shamans in Kazakhstan supposedly pay little attention to these UFO-like manifestations. They seem to regard them as distractions from their mission of journeying to and contacting “other worlds.” In fact, the shaman explained to Kharitidi that the UFOs were the equivalent of wallpaper or window dressing around the entrances to these other worlds and should not be the focus of the effort. 

Most of the possible links between consciousness and anomalous phenomena remain at the anecdotal level, and our investigation of the events at the Utah ranch did not dramatically change that. Were denizens from another dimension playing a cat-and-mouse game with the Gormans and us? Or were these denizens who haunted the ranch simply skilled in the art of camouflage? Was an unknown force from an “inner world” attempting to manipulate consciousness? While our efforts and experiments to answer these questions did not succeed in any definitive sense, it wasn’t for a lack of trying.

Chapter 31 

Revolutionary Science

In February 2002, as most of the paranormal activity at the Gorman ranch slowed to a mere trickle, NIDS scientists received a calling card of sorts, a little reminder that weird things could still happen. A perfect circle appeared overnight in a shallow, ice-covered pond not far from the main house. 

The circle was carved into the ice, approximately one-quarter inch deep and just under six feet in diameter. It was mystifying how this could have been done, let alone why. The ice was so thin that any sort of weight on top would have broken it. There were no footprints in the mud that surrounded the pond, except hoof prints from the cattle that grazed nearby. 

The NIDS team reacted as scientists should. Close examination of the circle indicated that the counterclockwise motion of a sharp object had delicately carved a circular impression in the ice and had caused ice shavings to accumulate at the edges of the grooves. The investigators collected the ice shavings from the circle and some from a control spot elsewhere on the ice and placed them into sterile test tubes for later study. All shavings from the ice circle as well as controls were subjected to elemental analysis by X-ray fluorescence to look for any residues, possibly metallic, from whatever sharp instrument had so delicately carved out the ice circle. The tests yielded nothing of note. The scientists also took readings for magnetic fields, electrical fields, and radiation in a hundred-yard radius around the ice circle. They checked the cattle and the surrounding environment for any unusual markings or tracks but found none. 

Ice circles have periodically been found in other parts of the world. In Russia, much larger circles have been seen and photographed on frozen lakes. Witnesses claim that the deep impressions were caused by UFO-like craft that were seen touching down. As far as we know, though, there are few precedents for the small, fragile carving that appeared in the ice pond on the ranch, although a short time later a family from Connecticut sent NIDS a photograph of a perfectly drawn twenty-foot-diameter circle in the ice outside their home. However the ice circle on the ranch was accomplished, it required a deft touch to make the carving without breaking ice so thin. And for what purpose? Was it meant as a teasing reminder that while NIDS might be close to giving up on the ranch for the lack of significant activity, the intelligence behind it all was still around, still unseen, and still a mystery? 

Four centuries ago, the predecessors of modern scientists were struggling to move beyond the “magic” and “magical thinking” that were inherent in alchemy. Since the age of enlightenment, there has been an ever-increasing gap between the scientific method and mainstream science’s attitude toward anomalies. Today’s science establishment conveniently forgets that Sir Isaac Newton, one of the icons of modern scientific thought, spent far more of his time studying and writing about alchemy than he did about physics. 

When faced with the mystery of the ice circle, the NIDS scientists reacted as they were trained and in full compliance with the rules of modern science. They took samples, searched for clues, and analyzed what physical evidence was available. Yet it is likely their colleagues would excoriate them for giving even a moment’s thought to something so weird and seemingly insignificant. Scientists today generally shun anomalies. The weirder the anomaly, the greater the professional stigma against studying it. Nevertheless, the study of anomalies is central to the discovery process in science. Studying anomalies can open important doorways through which science can enter while traveling toward revolutionary discoveries.[just looking at the scientific field as an outsider, it does not strike me as very logical to be so close minded to one's passion DC]

There is a distinction between “normal science” and “revolutionary science.” In his controversial book, The Structure of Scientific Revolutions, Thomas Kuhn argued that the majority of scientists engage in normal science. They stand on the shoulders of giants from the previous generations and rarely make giant leaps forward. Kuhn writes, “Normal science does not aim at novelties of fact or theory, and when successful, finds none. New and unsuspected phenomena are, however, repeatedly uncovered by scientific research and radical new theories have again and again been invented by scientists.. .Discovery commences with awareness of anomaly, i.e., with the recognition that nature has somehow violated the paradigm-induced expectations that govern normal science.” Of course, Kuhn was referring to experimental anomalies, not necessarily the physical anomalies found on the Gorman ranch, but his message still applies. 

The lessons that Kuhn drew for the experimental anomalies that pop up during the practice of “normal science” are equally well suited to science’s first hesitant attempts to study the physical anomalies that abound in the “paranormal.” The latter anomalies are simply more extreme versions of what Kuhn had in mind. 

According to Kuhn, there are a small number of revolutionary scientists. These often lonely individuals or groups are engaged in creating paradigm shifts or in the creation of new scientific disciplines. They are the solitary people on the road less traveled who often have to endure the hostility or marginalization by colleagues. But, according to Kuhn, the scientists engaged in revolutionary science are the ones who make a difference. They make possible the giant leaps forward. They are the visionaries. 

As might be expected, Kuhn’s book, when it was first published, led to a firestorm of criticism because it insulted the hard work of the majority of scientists who are engaged in “normal” science. And, of course, most scientists prefer to think of themselves as the harbingers of new paradigms. But the majority of scientists are, according to Kuhn, mere technicians, elaborating upon, or tinkering with, the ideas of those who have gone before them. Kuhn called this process of normal science “puzzle solving.” 

Any investigation of paranormal events would certainly be categorized as revolutionary science. After all, such phenomena do not have any precedent according to scientific studies and superficially appear to break the laws of science. When a scientist begins approaching these extreme anomalies, there are huge risks, not only to his or her career but also to the work itself, since it necessitates the adaptation of scientific methods to a topic where predictions, theory, and previous experimental evidence are either absent, scanty, or incomplete. It is in this strange land that the scientist must learn to navigate while at the same time try to persuade his or her colleagues that such a study has inherent value and is not a complete waste of time and effort. In approaching something that has no precedent, great care must be exercised against gullibility while at the same time maintaining an open mind. For many scientists, walking this fine line is impossible. 

Yet we argue that the study of extreme anomalies can follow the same rules that Kuhn laid out for experimental anomalies. The study of extreme anomalies has great value in accelerating the discovery process. The scientific method is built on precedence, repeatability of experiments, and having enough data to make testable predictions. When a phenomenon under study refuses to obey these rather narrow strictures, what happens? What happens when a possibly intelligent phenomenon refuses to be predictable? Does a scientist walk away? Should the NIDS team have simply pretended that the ice circle never appeared, or that the calf dismemberment was a figment of their imagination? 

Is it possible to utilize the scientific method to study an intelligent, extreme anomaly? Herein lies an enormous challenge that is made doubly difficult if the majority of one’s scientific colleagues do not even accept the reality of the phenomenon under study. Publication of data in scientific journals becomes difficult. Presentation of data at scientific conferences becomes impossible except for those marginalized societies that are devoted to studying these phenomena. And to put it bluntly, these societies are poorly attended, have almost no funding, and exist at the boundaries of the scientific community. In other words, they have no impact or influence on science or on how it is conducted. 

Obtaining grants to study or research these phenomena is impossible without publications in mainstream science journals, which in turn becomes impossible if there are insufficient resources to gather the data. These factors that accumulate in the sociology of science make the task of initiating the study of anomalies extremely difficult. 

Political perceptions and peer pressure contribute to the reticence of scientists to tackle unpopular topics. In March 2005, the Associated Press reported the results of a study conducted by researchers at three major universities. The study found that many, if not most, scientists and researchers shun controversy when choosing research topics. They avoid topics that might be frowned upon by colleagues, concerned that their professional reputations might suffer. More than half of the scientists interviewed said they felt constrained by informal and unspoken rules about what should and should not be studied. In addition, of course, the federal government, which controls the bulk of all science research dollars, frowns upon controversial research projects. Federal funds for research into paranormal topics are all but nonexistent. Small wonder then that so many modern scientists choose to stick with “safe” research projects and goals. 

The advent of NIDS with comparatively large resources due to the philanthropic generosity of real estate and aerospace entrepreneur Robert Bigelow aimed to at least remove the lack of resources from this part of the equation. However, even with substantial resources, scientists at NIDS still had to face the daunting task of studying something for which very few previous hard data existed. In fact, there was little or no hard data even to suggest the existence of these phenomena. Whatever reliable information existed was scattered across multiple, generally low-quality science journals. The challenge faced by the NIDS scientists was to come up with some methodologies that might address these meager precedents. In doing so, it was very necessary to walk that intangible line between gullibility and overdone skepticism that might result in missing the boat altogether. 

In approaching the study of extreme anomalies, it has become possible to recognize that there is essentially no difference between the gullible believers and the extreme skeptics. Although superficially both camps seem poles apart and frequently attack each other, in reality both groups are the same in many respects. Both have abandoned the cautious attitude of the scientist and both have stopped thinking critically. Both are in fact equally useless, as they tend to impede, and even sabotage, the study of extreme anomalies. Both the true believer and the knee-jerk skeptic have the effect of muddying the water and of obscuring the fragile data in a deluge of noise. Both extreme points of view contribute to the reluctance of mainstream scientists to plunge into the study of anything that is even remotely tainted by the paranormal label. 

The penalty for violating the unwritten prohibition against investigating forbidden topics can be harsh, even for well-established professionals. John Mack, a brilliant Harvard psychiatrist and Pulitzer Prize winner, was nearly run out of academia when his interest in alleged alien abductions became common knowledge. Mack was not only subjected to a fifteen-month-long inquisition by university lawyers and skeptical colleagues that threatened to strip him of his tenure and his job, he also became the butt of jokes and the object of ridicule among contemporaries who simply could not fathom how someone of his stature could suggest that “reality” may not be what it seems. He was accused of being a UFO nut and true believer, a scientist who had abandoned the sacred protocols of his profession. 

“It’s often said that I’m a believer and have sort of lost my objectivity. I really object to that,” Mack told a TV interviewer, “because this is not about believing anything. I didn’t believe anything when I started, I don’t really believe anything now. I’m come to where I’ve come to clinically. In other words, I worked with people over hundreds and hundreds of hours and have done as careful a job as I could to listen, to sift out, to consider alternative explanations. And none have come forward.” 

Mack survived his inquisition, with considerable assistance from Harvard Law professor Alan Dershowitz, and he continued his research until his untimely demise. Instead of pulling back from controversy, he plunged forward into more controversial territory. He came to believe that there was some sort of connection among all manner of so-called paranormal activity, including telepathy, remote viewing, psychokinesis, near-death experiences, spirit manifestations, crop circles, shamanic journeys, UFOs, the power of prayer, and much more. Mack came to advocate the ultimate blasphemy —a new concept of reality. 

“Taken together, these phenomena tell us many things about ourselves and the universe that challenge the dominant materialist paradigm,” he wrote. “They reveal that our understanding of reality is extremely limited, the cosmos is more mysterious than we have imagined, there are other intelligences all about (some of which seem to be able to reach us), consciousness itself may be the primary creative force in the universe, and our knowledge of the physical properties of the physical world is far from complete. 

The emerging picture is a cosmos that is an interconnected harmonic web, vibrating with creativity and intelligence, in which separateness is an illusion.” 

Mack came to believe that although the scientific method is valuable, even essential, for studying those phenomena that make up the material world as we understand it, the rigid structure of modern science simply can’t cut the mustard when it comes to evaluating other realities or those phenomena that seem to straddle the known world and “unseen realms.” In contrast, the NIDS team resolutely stuck to the tenets of the scientific method. NIDS conducted an excursion into what Jacques Vallee elegantly described as “forbidden science,” but the scientific method remained intact even though the experimental terrain became surreal. 

The ranch in Utah offered the possibility of a laboratory of unusual happenings, none of which were easily classifiable. It is easy to understand why science has always stayed away from studying these subjects. How does one begin? Why should these subjects be studied? We argue that one answer is that these anomalies do indeed offer a window into studying potentially new models of physical reality, as well as offering new directions in physics and psychology. And studying anomalies offers scientists the potential to build a bridge into new areas and disciplines where science can operate. No phenomenon really breaks the laws of science. A new phenomenon may create a disturbance in the status quo, it may open doors toward establishing new theories, and in doing so it may force scientists who are willing to venture into uncharted territory to break truly new ground. 

For about four hundred years there has been a divide between the physical world and the “metaphysical world.” The former is the province of scientists and the latter is the domain of theologians and mystics. Tradition has it that never the twain shall meet. But is this really the future for humanity? Science can continue only so long to ignore phenomena that literally invade people’s lives and that have fundamental effects on the worldview of millions of people around the world. 

The gap between the direct life experience of many people and the reality that is recognized by science is leading many to adopt an “anti-science” attitude. In the past thirty years, a growing segment of society has begun to view science and scientists with distrust and suspicion. Scientists are increasingly associated with the development of unbridled technology and a lack of ethics or morals. The discovery and deployment of the atomic bomb, of genetically engineered organisms, of biological weaponry are all laid at the feet of scientists and science. 

The development of these technologies, some of which the public regards as having spiraled out of control, is seen as a reflection of hubris and arrogance in science. And at the same time, science ridicules and trivializes a lot of profound, but anomalous, experiences. People cannot help but wonder at the truth capacity of science if it completely denies the reality of a large number of their own experiences. Public opinion polls show that science and scientists are increasingly out of step with the people’s worldview. 

Though the benefits of conducting revolutionary science are obvious, it has frequently been argued, often persuasively, that the events on the Utah ranch did not necessarily lend themselves to classical hypothesis-driven scientific methodologies. A more appropriate methodology, given the phenomena we faced, might have been one utilized by the intelligence agencies (which in turn is based on scientific principles). This intelligence approach to the problem was explained a few decades ago by Jacques Vallee in his classic work Messengers of Deception. In that book, Vallee introduces a “Major Murphy” who enunciates some of the basic principles and approaches that the NIDS staff agreed should be followed more closely in the Utah ranch investigations. It is worth quoting the initial conversation between Vallee and Major Murphy at length. 

Then he posed a question that, obvious as it seems, had not really occurred to me: “What makes you think that UFOs are a scientific problem?” 

I replied with something to the effect that a problem was only scientific in the way it was approached, but he would have none of that, and he began lecturing me. First, he said, science had certain rules. For example, it has to assume that the phenomenon it is observing is natural in origin rather than artificial and possibly biased. Now, the UFO phenomenon could be controlled by alien beings. “If it is,” added the Major, “then the study of it doesn’t belong in science. It belongs in Intelligence”Meaning counterespionage. And that, he pointed out, was his domain. 

“Now, in the field of counterespionage, the rules are completely different.” He drew a simple diagram in my notebook. “You are a scientist. In science there is no concept of the ‘price’ of information. Suppose I gave you 95 per cent of the data concerning a phenomenon. You’re happy because you know 95 per cent of the phenomenon. Not so in Intelligence. If I get 95 per cent of the data, I know this is the ‘cheap’ part of the information. I still need the other 5 per cent, but I will have to pay a much higher price to get it. You see, Hitler had 95 per cent of the information about the landing in Normandy. But he had the wrong 95 percent!” 

“Are you saying that the UFO data we use to compile statistics and to find patterns with computers are useless?” I asked. “Might we be spinning our magnetic tapes endlessly discovering spurious laws?” 

“It all depends on how the team on the other side thinks. If they know what they’re doing, there will be so many cutouts between you and them that you won’t have the slightest chance of tracing your way to the truth. Not by following up sightings and throwing them into a computer. They will keep feeding you the information they want you to process. What is the only source of data about the UFO phenomenon? It is the UFOs themselves!” 

Some things were beginning to make a lot of sense. “If you’re right, what can I do? It seems that research on the phenomenon is hopeless, then. I might as well dump my computer into a river.” 

“Not necessarily, but you should try a different approach. First you should work entirely outside of the organized UFO groups; they are infiltrated by the same official agencies they are trying to influence, and they propagate any rumor anyone wants to have circulated. In Intelligence circles, people like that are historical necessities. We call them ‘useful idiots.’ When you’ve worked long enough for Uncle Sam, you know he is involved in a lot of strange things. The data these groups get are biased at the source, but they play a useful role. 

“Second, you should look for the irrational, the bizarre, the elements that do not fit.. .Have you ever felt that you were getting close to something that didn’t seem to fit any rational pattern, yet gave you a strong impression that it was significant?” 

The events that occurred on the Utah ranch certainly gave us the impression that they were significant. 

So Major Murphy was perhaps correct. This research project was beyond a simple scientific problem that was amenable to standard hypothesis-driven science. It involved hunting a very wily quarry. And NIDS constantly had to accept the possibility that any information acquired in this hunt was only the information that the intelligence (assuming that we were in fact dealing with an intelligence) wanted us to have. The phenomenon became much more elusive when NIDS took over the property in August 1996. Tom Gorman believed that the phenomenon took extraordinary measures to become much more opaque and hidden almost immediately after NIDS assumed control. 

Our attempt to target a wily and deliberately evasive research subject is perhaps unprecedented in scientific research but is the norm in the cat-and-mouse games of espionage and counterespionage. For example, hunting the skinwalker transcended what wildlife scientists normally do to hunt or track wild animals because the target of the NIDS hunt proved over and over its capacity to keep a couple of steps ahead of us. According to Major Murphy, the art of intelligence gathering and the techniques of counterespionage are much more appropriate when dealing with active deception. 

A second main ingredient in Major Murphy’s advice suggests that NIDS should follow a more proactive, and less reactive, stance toward the phenomenon. One example of our proactive strategy had its genesis in a nugget of information Tom Gorman acquired during his protracted interactions with the phenomenon. He found that whenever he made changes to the topography on the ranch, for example by removing a tree line, or by digging a new irrigation ditch, there would be fresh appearances of mysterious flying objects. So NIDS tried several times to provoke the phenomenon by digging. In several instances neighbors reported sightings of a low-flying orange object that disturbed the animals within forty-eight hours after we had dug large trenches in symmetrical rows. But in no case did the surveillance cameras that constantly recorded the airspace above and on the ranch pick up the flying object. Nor were NIDS personnel able to provide visual corroboration of the object even though the object was said to be heading toward the Gorman property. 

The NIDS team decided to take this proactive approach a step farther by attempting to initiate a direct dialogue with the phenomenon. Ideas were kicked around about possible ways to communicate with “the entity” or how to encourage it to communicate with us. In one experiment, we placed see-through Perspex boxes containing pictorial and alphabetic patterns at various points around the property. The premise, as slim as it might seem, was that the unknown intelligence might try to communicate directly with us by manipulating the letters or pictures in the boxes. Unfortunately, nothing happened. In retrospect, the experiment might seem far-fetched and overly hopeful, but we were navigating uncharted waters, looking for out-of-the-box ideas. Experimentation, after all, is supposed to be a fundamental component of the scientific method. 

The investigation of the phenomena at the Gorman ranch was an ambitious if unconventional example of what science is supposed to do. Explore the unknown. Ask questions about the unexplained. Poke around and see what happens. Honest inquiry into unanswered questions is—or should be—a textbook definition of what science does. 

But finding answers is not always part of that definition even when engaged in “normal” science. Making sense of the big picture is a tall order. Though we can eliminate a few of the hypotheses— hoax, group hallucination, and tectonic strain theory—there is simply insufficient data to be able to select a likely solution to the events among the remaining possibilities. Part of the reason for this is the incredible variety of paranormal experiences we encountered at the Skinwalker Ranch. That was one of the most unsettling aspects of our investigation. It’s as if some cosmic puppet master had written a laundry list of every spooky phenomenon of modern times and then unleashed them all in a single location, resulting in a supernatural smorgasbord that no one could possibly believe, even less understand. The events were random and unpredictable, and never happened more than once in the same place or in the same way. 

If there is an intended message or lesson in all of this, what could it possibly be? Needless to say, everyone who played a part in the investigation has logged many a sleepless night while pondering this central question without arriving at a satisfactory answer. 

Today, the types of events recorded in this book are still occurring around the United States and in other parts of the world. They remain unexplained. And science continues to look the other way. 


More than seventy years ago, the brilliant physicists Werner Heisenberg and Niels Bohr were involved in emotional shouting matches about how best to reconcile the “impossible” world being described by the equations of fledgling quantum mechanics with the world that we all live in. Since then, the physical models and mathematical constructs that are published in peer-reviewed journals have only become stranger, more bizarre, and almost frightening. They describe a universe that few of us would ever experience without having a nervous breakdown. 

Traversable wormholes, parallel universes, and extra-spatial dimensions all seem fascinating to us while we are sitting in our armchairs watching PBS or the Discovery Channel. These TV programs can be assimilated relatively comfortably, and then we go to bed, wake up in the morning, and go to work. The ideas, we think, have little or no bearing on the “real world.” They are merely abstract physics concepts and have no real effect on our lives. 

But suppose they intruded into our lives? Suppose that, against our will, we were plunged into a world where traversable wormholes were staring us in the face from only one hundred feet away. Suppose that, as happened to the Gorman family, we saw a completely different sky from another world on the other side of that wormhole? Suppose we came up against bizarre creatures and monstrous denizens of the “underworld” as they walked freely around our property? How would we react if the concepts of extra dimensions and parallel universes were interfering with our daily lives in a frightening and completely unpredictable manner? What then? Suppose we were suddenly living in a reality where we were certain that some nonhuman intelligence was aware of our every word and move and seemed to have a fascination with toying with us. What if these intelligences began introducing terrifying animals onto our property from other dimensions and, conversely, what if they stole our cattle and transported them into another dimension, never to be seen again? 

This may have actually happened to a ranching family in remote Utah and, under the radar, possibly happened dozens of times around the United States to other ranching families. These families did not go in search of the bizarre, nightmarish realities they encountered. They are normal citizens who are concerned with paying the mortgage and spending time with their children. 

Mainstream physics journals now describe time travel, macroscopic extradimensional spaces, and zero-point energy as serious topics. They are not part of some realm of fantasy. Rather, they appear to be legitimate ways of describing the real world, admittedly a world that few of us get to see. “Throughout mankind’s cultural history,” notes Hal Puthoff of the Institute of Advanced Studies at Austin and arguably one of the preeminent theoretical physicists in the world, “there has existed the metaphysical concept that man and cosmos are interconnected by a ubiquitous, all-pervasive sea of energy that undergirds, and is manifest in, all phenomena. This pre-scientific concept of a cosmic energy goes by many names in many traditions, such as ch’i, ki or qi (Taoism), prana (yoga), mana (Kahuna), brakah (Sufi), elan vital (Bergsonian metaphysics), and so forth.. .Contemporary physics similarly posits an all-pervasive energetic field called quantum vacuum energy, or zero-point energy, a random, ambient fluctuating energy that exists in so-called empty space.” According to Puthoff, the sea of energy described from personal experience by some mystics is the same zero-point energy field described by the mathematical equations of breakthrough physics. 

But again we must confront the question: Is this realm of existence to be accessed intellectually only by the arcane equations of breakthrough physics or by the single-minded self-discipline of the mystic? Is 99.9 percent of mankind shut out from experiencing the full dimensions of physical reality? If the events described in this book have any merit, the answer is obviously no. It is ironic that an apparently unbridgeable void exists between the strange reality experienced on the ranch and the realities of multiple parallel universes and dimensions and traversable wormholes that are read by physicists in mainstream physics journals every month. 

Our collective perception of reality isn’t what it used to be. The spectacular and relentless march of scientific progress has resulted in dramatic changes in our perception of the world around us. Slightly more than a century ago, scientists believed they were close to a full explanation and description of the universe. The principal building block of the universe, they believed then, was a mysterious substance known as ether. As theoretical physicist Stephen Hawking notes, the ether theory quickly collapsed, science moved forward, and “the world has changed far more in the last one hundred years than in any previous century.”

Humanity has experienced dramatic upheavals in its perceptions of reality several times in the past, but these earlier paradigm shifts are mere pebbles trickling down a hill compared to the tectonic blockbusters that loom just ahead. Mankind is on the cusp of a fundamental, mind-blowing, allen compassing change, a revolution that could dwarf all previous transformations. 

Early humans, scratching for food and scrambling for survival, looked at the stars and had no idea what those twinkling lights in the sky might be. The first civilizations deified the stars and ascribed to them the personalities and powers of gods. Centuries later, Greek philosophers changed this worldview when they determined that stars are heavenly bodies whose movements circled Earth, still perceived then as the center of the universe. That prevailing paradigm shifted dramatically again when, a few hundred years later, Copernicus dared to suggest that Earth revolves around the sun, and that our sun was but one of many. The advent of the printing press helped usher in this Copernican paradigm, although the eventual shift in the collective perception was long and bloody. 

Our current paradigm has led to a realization that there are millions of other galaxies in the vastness of the known universe. The larger the universe gets, it seems, the smaller and less important we humans appear. As one novelist put it, the history of astronomy is the history of increasing humiliation. Now the inferiority complex of our species may be due for another jolt, one that could change our view of reality far more profoundly than the previous paradigm shifts. 

Think of how much of our view of reality has changed in our own lifetimes. Just a few years ago, no planets were known to exist outside of our own solar system. Scientists had reason to believe they might be out there somewhere but had no confirmation. By 2004, there are more than one hundred known extrasolar planets. Astronomers now accept that the planetary model of our solar system is likely the norm, which means, conservatively, there could be one hundred billion stars with planetary systems of their own in our galaxy alone. Observations from the Hubble telescope have shown that some of these planetary systems could be thirteen billion years old, almost three times as old as our little neck of the interstellar woods. “Innumerable suns exist,” wrote Giordano Bruno in 1584. “Innumerable earths revolve around these suns in a manner similar to the way the seven planets revolve around our sun. Living beings inhabit these worlds.” 

Of the untold number of planets out there, how many might be suitable for the development of life? Not long ago, scientists believed that ours was likely the only world in this solar system to have ever supported life. By one current estimate, there could be two billion so-called Goldilocks planets, worlds that are neither too hot nor too cold and that, presumably, could support life as we know it. 

Mainstream scientists generally acknowledge that the discovery and confirmation of extraterrestrial life would be among the most profound developments in human history. It would once again dramatically change how we look at the world and at ourselves. But a discovery of another sort could usher in a paradigm shift, of even greater impact, so mind-boggling, so world shattering that none of us would ever be the same. The general public doesn’t know it, but this shift, far subtler than a sudden discovery of ETs, is already under way. Cutting-edge scientists now accept its basic premises, although its profound significance is a long way from acceptance or even general understanding by the world at large. 

It is hard enough for nonscientists to envision a single universe as vast as our own, one that was seemingly created out of nothingness in a single big bang some fourteen billion years ago. But what happens to our collective view of reality when the word filters down to the rest of us that our universe is only one of many? Today, the prevailing view among quantum physicists is that there is an infinite number of other universes, and that the structure of these universes may be far more exotic than we can fathom, involving parallel dimensions that are almost beyond the comprehension of our best minds. This concept is known as the multiverse or many worlds theory, and it has gained widespread acceptance in scientific circles. 

“Is there a copy of you reading this article,” asks physicist Max Tegmark in a recent issue of Scientific American, “a person who is not you but who lives on a planet called Earth, with misty mountains, fertile fields, and sprawling cities, in a solar system with eight other planets. The life of this person has been identical to yours in every respect. But perhaps he or she now decides to put down this article without finishing it, while you read on. The idea of such an alter ego seems strange and implausible, but it looks as if we will just have to live with it because it is supported by astronomical observations.” 

Tegmark and other leading physicists have now concluded that there are an infinite number of other worlds, other universes, other versions of each of us, living out lives that may vary from our own perceived existence by only the slightest detail. The roots of this theory have been around nearly eighty years. In the 1920s, physicists began to try and unravel the mystifying weirdness of quantum theory, which seemed to make sense in explaining the behavior of atoms but made little sense in explaining the visible world of people, cars, buildings, and other solid physical objects. Since that time, the world has carried on as if Isaac Newton’s laws are still in effect, as if Einstein’s relativity is the only way to explain reality. But the cold, hard truth of mathematical computations combined with rigorous observation of how things really work in the universe have slowly, gradually forced science to re-evaluate the fundamental nature of reality itself. 

The first step toward reconciling the profound differences between the microscopic world of quantum theory and the macroscopic world of relativity came in 1957 when a Princeton graduate student named Hugh Everett proposed that atoms and objects can, in fact, be in more than one place at one time. This was a major leap toward an explanation of the many worlds version of reality. It set into motion a thirty-year paradigm shift in which physicists gradually came to accept that our universe is a far stranger place than what we all learned in our school textbooks. By the 1990s, prominent articles in the mainstream press and in respected journals such as Physics Letters, Physical Review, and others openly addressed the fantastic possibilities of the multiverse paradigm. Scientists recognized that 90 percent of the physical universe is essentially invisible to any instruments we can devise. The fundamental inability of scientists to measure or predict the position and momentum of any elementary particle is clearly at odds with what science is supposed to do. A new theory was clearly needed. 

Terms like dark matter and dark energy entered the scientific vocabulary in recent years. If 90 percent of the matter in the universe cannot be seen or detected, scientists asked, where is it? In response to this simple question, a concept known as string theory has gained gradual acceptance. According to string theory, the way to reconcile the existence of so much dark matter is to consider that it exists in parallel dimensions or alternate realities, invisible or undetectable by us. Depending on the version of string theory, there exist either eleven dimensions or twenty-six dimensions. Our own world consists of three known dimensions, or a fourth if you count time. The more exotic string theory version of reality did not immediately win over the skeptical world of science, but by 1999, an informal survey of leading physicists found that a majority now favors the multiverse concept. 

“In other words,” says science writer Marcus Chown, “physicists are increasingly accepting the idea that there are infinite realities stacked together like the pages of a never-ending book. So there are infinite versions of you, living out infinite different lives in infinite parallel realities.” Obviously, the significance of this sea change in scientific thought hasn’t come close to percolating down to most of the rest of us. 

“The quantum theory of parallel universes is not some troublesome, optional interpretation, emerging from arcane theoretical considerations,” writes Oxford physicist David Deutsch in his book The Fabric of Reality. “It is the explanation—the only one that is tenable—of a remarkable and counterintuitive reality.” 

The idea is widespread. “We physicists no longer believe in a Universe,” says Michio Kaku. “We physicists believe in a Multiverse that resembles the boiling of water. Water boils when tiny particles, or bubbles, form, which then begin to rapidly expand. If our Universe is a bubble in boiling water, then perhaps Big Bangs happen all the time.” 

Max Tegmark concurs: “The concept of the multiverse is grounded in well-tested theories such as relativity and quantum mechanics. It fulfills both the basic criteria of empirical science: it makes predictions and it can be falsified. Scientists have discussed as many as four distinct types of parallel universes. The key question is not whether the multiverse exists but rather how many levels it has.”[there are seven evolving super-universes encircling the central universe of perfection,together they form the Grand Universe.The Earth is part of a relatively new local system in the 7th evolving super-universe DC] 

Obviously, this is heady stuff and will not easily be assimilated into the general understanding of the public at large. Imagine, then, some of the more exotic possibilities of this theorem. If the universe is truly infinite, and an infinite number of other realities consisting of parallel dimensions and alternate universes are real, then everything that could happen is happening somewhere. Scientists speculate that there are universes where the laws of physics as we know them do not operate. Some universes must teem with life. Others must be completely dead. There are universes where time runs backward. The people there go to bed, then work backward through their day, taking off their pajamas and backwardly putting their suits and ties back on, walking in reverse back to their dinner tables, shuffling back to their cars for the reverse drive from home to their workplace, and ultimately back to the moment when their alarm clock went off that morning. In such a world, clocks not only run backward, but water glasses that are accidentally dropped and shattered on a kitchen floor miraculously reassemble in the hands of the person who dropped them. 

In the same vein, alternate versions of history are played out in these parallel worlds. Somewhere, Hitler conquered the planet and buried the story of the Holocaust; Abraham Lincoln was killed while splitting logs and never became president; Bill Gates gave up on computers and drifted into a crack cocaine habit that landed him in prison; dinosaurs survived the impact of a killer comet, evolved into intelligent beings, and are now kicking back in their BarcaLoungers as they slam a few Reptile-Lite beers. Somewhere, a team of monkeys with typewriters has written the great American novel, along with a string of hit sitcoms. 

Have you ever wondered what your life would be like if you had gone to a different school, accepted a different job, married a different person? In the multiverse, all of those other things have happened or are happening, and each of those individual alternatives has millions of its own parallel realities, different from the others by the nearly immeasurable factor of a single atom or quantum. Somewhere, a version of you is enmeshed in a completely different reality for the simple reason that the “you” in that other world had a ham sandwich for lunch instead of tuna, or because you had the flu on the fateful day when crazed eighth graders sprayed your junior high school with automatic weapons. Somewhere, as implausible as it might seem, a version of you is the CEO of Time Warner and is married to Carmen Electra. Lucky you. Or lucky other you. 

Proponents of the multiverse theory do not emphasize such fanciful scenarios when defending their idea. It’s tough enough to champion a drastic revision of our fundamental understanding of reality without slipping off into what seems like the realm of science fiction. But this is precisely the point. The looming paradigm shift these scientists advocate is so fundamentally weird, disconcerting, and unbelievable that its acceptance by the larger public will take decades, or, based on previous experience, centuries. It isn’t a subject that can easily be explained over dinner or even in a semester of physics lectures. Nonetheless, it appears to be true.[THE SCHEMATIC PART seems correct,human nature is tripping them up when it comes to explaining it.It does not have to be about you or me when it comes to parallel universes.It is enough to know that circumstances are different in said universe for the better or perhaps worse(personally I have condescended myself as far as I need in my study of Eternal Life) then what we have experienced here in the flesh at this moment.For me to understand now that Life never ends is enough for me to work at bettering myself, so that all opportunities are open to me for learning and growing as a Son of God in what is referred to presently as the Future...DC]   

“Space appears to be infinite in size,” writes Max Tegmark. “If so, then somewhere, everything that is possible becomes real, no matter how improbable it is.” 

What does any of this have to do with the events at the ranch in Utah? After all, millions of us have watched highbrow science shows on the Discovery Channel or PBS while stretched out on our living room couches. We’ve heard the sound bites from prominent thinkers as they spoke of parallel universes, extra spatial dimensions, and traversable wormholes. We’ve rented the movie Contact and rooted for Jodie Foster as she overcame jealous rivals, religious zealots, and budget-minded bureaucrats in her pursuit of the ultimate truth about the structure of reality. And we are comfortable in our assimilation of these entertainments. We watch them, then click off the tube, go to bed, get up in the morning and drive to work, as if none of this has anything to do with our real lives. Abstract physics concepts might be a pleasant diversion on a Tuesday night, but they sure don’t pay the bills on Wednesday. 

But what if these fantastic scenarios suddenly intruded into our lives in direct, unmistakable, and frightening ways? How would we react if we were forcibly dragged out of our psychic comfort zone into a world where wormholes were staring us in the face from only one hundred feet away? What if those wormholes revealed to us an alien sky from another world, an incomprehensible glimpse of an alternate reality, as we stood in shock in our own front yard? What if bizarre creatures, long-extinct prehistoric beasts, and futuristic flying machines somehow seeped into our mundane existence from some other place and systematically assaulted our loved ones, our possessions, and our most basic concepts of reality? 

Add to this seemingly improbable set of circumstances the presence of a pervasive, sometimes malevolent, nonhuman intelligence, an invisible trickster who knows our every thought, anticipates our every move, and seems intent on toying with us, terrifying us, and screwing with our daily lives, a presence that orchestrates a relentless, perverse, and unpredictable campaign of all-out psychological warfare, a campaign that ultimately makes us question our own sanity. Imagine the grotesque mutilation of prized livestock, the brutal incineration of family pets, frightening intrusions by disembodied voices and shadowy figures into the sanctity of a family’s home, and inexplicable manifestations by unknown beings that cannot be harmed by guns or bullets. That’s clearly what happened at the ranch in Utah. 

What if it happened to you?

references and source

Part 1 Windswept House A VATICAN NOVEL....History as Prologue: End Signs

Windswept House A VATICAN NOVEL  by Malachi Martin History as Prologue: End Signs  1957   DIPLOMATS schooled in harsh times and in the tough...