Basin's history as UFO hot spot has turned many into believers
"Why can't there be? We live on this planet, why can't there be life on other planets?
We're going off visiting other planets, why can't they do the same?"
By Cheryl Mecham
Once called a UFO hot spot, the Uintah Basin continues to be the home of on-going scientific investigation on a ranch south of Fort Duchesne, where past residents reported strange balls of light appearing in the fields , unexplained sounds and smells. The paranormal events eventually drove the family off and the 400-acre ranch was sold to Las Vegas millionaire Robert Bigelow, founder of the UFO investigative organization, National Institute of Discovery Science or NIDS.
During the past four and a half years a team of scientists have set up shop at the ranch and have been searching the night sky and placid fields for evidence linking it to extraterrestrial activity. They measure and monitor radiation, magnetic fields and wavelengths of light 24 hours a day, reported Ed Yates, KSL's Science Specialist and reporter who visited the site recently.
While NIDS findings have not been released to the scientific community at large, a history of UFO sightings and livestock mutilations over the last 40 years witnessed by average folks have formed opinions concerning the possibility of extraterrestrial life.
Lapoint resident Fred Asay is one such believer. "Why can't there be? We live on this planet, why can't there be life on other planets? We're going off visiting other planets, why can't they do the same? I've haven't actually seen one myself, but I believe in them."
Dave Martin, now living in Phoenix, Arizona , but raised in the Uintah Basin said he believes in UFOs because, during the years of 1967 - 1970, he was an eyewitness to these phenomena. He described "big orange balls of light hovering over fields, then all of a sudden they're gone. "
"I've never had a sighting," said Katherine Richens, of South Myton Bench, "but, I've just been listening to everybody. There's too many stories from too many walks of life who have seen them."
Over the years Katherine has formed the opinion that extraterrestrials do exist, however, she doesn't believe in little green men, "I think they are people just like us."
Nicole Richens, Katherine's daughter was an eyewitness to a strange night sky phenomenon . While she and her cousin stretched out on their trampoline on South Myton bench she saw a light.
"I don't know if that's what it was a [UFO]. It looked like a comet, it was huge, it had a blue and green tail. Then it [the light] got really small and it started to move slowly. It moved in circles, then it abruptly stopped. We got scared. We ran into the house screaming."
Nicole said that she believes that the possibility of life from other planets visiting Earth, "definitely exists," echoing her mother's sentiments that too many people have had sightings.
After "20 years of truck driving," T. Rice of Vernal said he's " seen too much," evidence of unexplained flying objects not to believe in extraterrestrials.
"I was going down Highway 70 to Denver, it was about one o'clock in the morning and I saw a bright white lights that made square, three times in three different areas. I brought it to my wife's attention. She had no explanation for it," Rice said, noting that he wasn't frightened, just curious at the anomaly over the night sky.
"I've seen to many things that are unexplained. There's got to be something out there," Rice concluded.
Some folks believe that UFOs are just that unexplained flying objects, and remain skeptical of their origin, whether earth or Martian made, such as Terrie Young, and Peggy Kissling, who work at Prime Cut in Roosevelt.
"Obviously there's something going on, whether it's man made or the real thing. I don't know if there is or isn't, but there's got to be something going on or we wouldn't have scientists locked up ... but I don't know what," said Terrie, who lives in Myton.
"I've never seen anything here myself, " commented Peggy, a Bennett resident.
"If you haven't you just don't know, but my daughter and the neighbor boy were coming home. They came up on top of the first bench in Neola and saw whatever it was ... was hovering there. They said it was a round light. When they got home I had to drive him back home. He was afraid to go home by himself."
Long before Ray Maxon moved to Bluebell he was a resident of Coalville and it was there that he witnessed two sets of three lights hovering high in the night sky, showing red, green and white lights high above the earth. He called his wife out to see them. Then they decided to call the neighbors. The lights stayed motionless high above them as the neighbors gathered in their front yard.
"We called the Hansen Planetarium and asked them if anything weird was going on, any anomalies, they said there wasn't." Ray also called the sheriff's department, but no one turned up to investigate the phenomenon that the Coalville residents were witness to.
Ray brought out his spotting scope to better see the lights, but couldn't make out any shape beyond the brilliant steady beams that remained over Coalville for two hours, when they left it was just like someone "turning out the lights."
Hansen Planetarium called back, telling Ray that they could see the lights, but didn't have any explanation for him.
"The sighting was over eight years ago now, and Ray has never forgotten the curiosity and awe it inspired."
"It didn't even make it in the Summit County Bee," Ray mused, adding, "I haven't seen anything in the Basin."
Do you believe in UFOs? Even though the subject of UFOs and extraterrestrial life forms may be a matter of controversy, eight out of nine individuals approached on the street believe they exist.