If you want to know what the REAL X-files are all about, try visiting the Uintah Basin these days. For the first time, a group of scientists and former lawmen are investigating so-called UFO and paranormal events which may have forced a Utah family to sell their 400 acre ranch.
Science Specialist Ed Yeates has a special report.
Off and on for more than four decades, residents in the Vernal-Roosevelt area have seen and heard things go bump in the night.
One family in particular couldn't take it any more and decided four years ago to sell their ranch to a Las Vegas millionaire who has made it his business investigating the paranormal.
"THEY LIVED IN A STATE OF FEAR, SO MUCH SO AT THE TIME THEY JUST WANTED TO GET OUT OF THERE."
Hard to believe this tranquil piece of land could prove so chaotic to a family living near Roosevelt. But it did. Across these fields, they heard strange sounds, smelled peculiar odors and saw what appeared to be moving balls of light in the sky.
"THESE BALLS OF LIGHT WOULD APPEAR AND ACTUALLY DRIVE THEIR HERD OF CATTLE CRAZY AND DRIVE THEM OUT THROUGH THE FENCES AND INTO OTHER FIELDS."
Real or imagined, enough was enough. So four and a half years ago, this family which prefers to remain anonymous left the state - selling their 400-acre ranch to Las Vegas millionaire Robert Bigelow. Bigelow is the founder of a UFO investigave organization called the National Institute of Discovery Science, or NIDS.
The only people on this land now are those from NIDS. Dr. Eric Davis admits there's NO smoking gun yet, but the group's charter demands investigation. "The truth is out there or HERE in this case - or it's not!"
DR. ERIC DAVIS, Ph.D. / AEROSPACE PHYSICIST, NIDS: "WE'RE FULL-TIME PAID SCIENTIFIC STAFF OF SCIENTISTS AND INVESTIGATORS ANSWERING TO A SCIENCE ADVISORY BOARD. WE'RE FULL-TIME. WE'RE HIRED SPECIFICALLY TO PROFESSIONALLY DO THIS ROUND THE CLOCK EVERYDAY."
NIDS investigators measure and monitor radiation, magnetic fields, even wavelengths of light, looking for anything "out of the ordinary."
ED YEATES, SCIENCE SPECIALIST: "BUT IT'S NOT JUST THE ONE RANCH. THE PRESENCE OF NIDS IS NOW BEING FELT ALL OVER THE UINTAH BASIN. IN FACT, THROUGHOUT THE WHOLE COUNTRY."
NIDS employs former lawmen who handle every paranormal incident like a crime scene. Investigator Roger Pinson carefully collects evidence and interviews witnesses, just as he once did as a security officer in the Air Force.
ROGER PINSON, SPECIAL INVESTIGATOR, NIDS: "I CAN LOOK AT THEIR EYES. I CAN LISTEN TO THEIR VOICE, ANY NUMBER OF THINGS THAT MIGHT INDICATE TO ME THAT THEY'RE TELLING ME THE TRUTH OR THEY'RE GIVING ME A DECEPTION."
Two years ago, NIDS spent $10,000 alone on the death of a mutilated cow near Roosevelt. Teams dusted for prints, made plastercasts and conducted expensive toxicology tests. Researchers say blue gel found at the scene is STILL under investigation.
While NIDS does its thing, it's business as usual in Roosevelt. But there are a lot of people out here who've seen strange things over the years.
23 years ago, Verl Haslem who was then a branch vice president for First Security Bank joined others recounting a large moving pulsating ball of light in a clear night sky.
VERL HASLEM, RETIRED BANK EXECUTIVE: "AS IT STARTED OFF AND GAINED SPEED, THE COLOR OF THE LIGHT CHANGED."
After all these years, Verl Haslem still says he saw what he saw. And so did his wife sitting next to him, as they drove down this country road towards their home.
"IT WILL BE VERY VIVID IN MY MIND AND MY WIFE'S MIND TOO, I'M SURE RIGHT THROUGH UNTIL THE DAY WE DIE."
"IT WAS REAL. IT WAS THERE AND IT WAS VERY PLAIN TO SEE."
LEA HASLEM, "I WAS REALLY QUITE FRIGHTENED. IT KIND OF SHOOK ME UP BECAUSE I REALIZED I WAS SEEING SOMETHING THAT JUST WASN'T THE ORDINARY."
Whether you're a believer or a skeptic, as most people are, NIDS would still like to hear from you IF you see or experience something "out of the ordinary."
NIDS has the money to back it up and will spend whatever it takes to investigate.
To contact NIDS in Utah call (435) 545-2466
or call the 24-hour hotline from anywhere in the US (702) 798-1700
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• Story originally published