UFO Shadow Man Bigelow
And The Utah
Ranch From Hell
From Stig Agermose <>
Excerpted from
Where the Steers and the Aliens Play
By Sean Casteel
©1998 FATE Magazine - August 1998
The story of multimillionaire Robert Bigelow is surrounded by the kind of mystery, intrigue, and conspiracy charges that typically fuel the UFO community's rumor mill. Some observers call him a generous benefactor who has nothing to hide. Others label him a manipulative puppetmaster who uses his money as a weapon and hordes the paranormal research data he once promised to make public.
Very little is known about Bigelow. Even the source of his fortune remains a mystery. Some say he is of the Bigelow Tea family, while others claim he made his money in Las Vegas real estate. Another rumor has it that the death of his son several years ago brought about his passionate interest in the paranormal, the mystery of survival after death, and UFO phenomena.
There are also foreboding rumors that when crossed, Bigelow responds through emissaries who threaten violence -- or worse. Accusations of bribery are commonly tossed around. Even more common are the whispers that Bigelow's public posture of secrecy points to covert connections to the CIA or other government agencies. Bigelow's determined silence in the press only further fuels the speculation.
But once in a while even Bigelow makes a move that unavoidably brings him into the public eye. Bigelow's purchase of a ranch in isolated eastern Utah perfectly illustrates how he operates: moving in with large sums of money and quickly covering his trail to keep it hidden from prying eyes.
The tale begins with Terry and Gwen Sherman, the ranchers who in 1995 purchased a large tract of Utah land -- and got much more than they bargained for.
Home on the Range
The family found their new ranch unusual from day one, according to UFO researcher Christopher O'Brien, who was one of the first to arrive on the Sherman case. "The house had sat empty for seven years. Any house that sits empty for even a month or two in this area is completely cannibalized to the ground. This place -- no one would touch it," says O'Brien.
The house looked like it had been vacated hastily the day before, and all the doors in the house had deadbolt locks. A central corridor could be locked on both ends, and a closet in that hallway could be locked from the inside. "It was very spooky -- like a Stephen King novel or something," says O'Brien.
The strangeness didn't end there. In July 1996, the Shermans made news by going public with claims of seeing several types of UFOs on their land. According to Zack Van Eyck, a reporter for Salt Lake City's The Deseret News, the Shermans reported having three cows mutilated and several others missing, and finding strange impressions in the soil and circles of flattened grass. They saw lights emerge from "doorways" that seemed to appear in the air. One night, as Gwen Sherman was driving home, she was chased by strange red lights. On another occasion, Terry Sherman and his son waved to a black craft, reportedly the size of a football field, and then felt they had received some kind of response from it. Terry, viewing the craft through a scope from about 400 yards away, supposedly saw a tall, dark figure get out.
Enter Robert Bigelow, who flew to Utah soon after the reports and offered to buy the ranch for about $200,000. The Shermans accepted the offer and bought a smaller ranch about 15 miles away, where they hoped to escape the upsetting events that plagued them for more than a year.
Zack Van Eyck tells FATE about the Shermans' dire need to unload the ranch. "Bigelow's been a savior to them because he got them off the ranch," he says. "I really am impressed with the Shermans. They had chances to sell the ranch; Terry told me that a guy from Colorado wanted to buy it. Terry just didn't feel comfortable, because he was afraid that this guy and his family would go in and have the same experiences. So Terry, not wanting to put any other family in that position, really had no choice but to sell to someone like Bigelow."
An article in Spirit magazine by David Perkins described the Shermans' experience on their last day at the ranch. The night before, they had locked all the doors and gone to bed. "The next morning they awoke to find their bedding covered in blood," Perkins wrote. "They [each] had a one-eighth-inch deep 'scoop mark' in the same place on their right thumbs. The ranch from hell had managed to nick them one last time."
Once he acquired the ranch, Bigelow reportedly hired a pair of scientists and a veterinarian to take up residence there. They would conduct research under the umbrella of the National Institute of Discovery Science (NIDS), a private research organization formed by Bigelow in October 1996.
Beyond these facts, little else is known. Bigelow maintains a strict silence with the media, and his hand-picked assistant and spokesman John Alexander has granted the press no details into the nature of the research. Terry Sherman, now employed by Bigelow to maintain the ranch, told The Deseret News he could no longer comment on his experiences because of a non-disclosure agreement he had to sign.
So here lies the core of the Sherman ranch mystery: What is Bigelow hiding behind his tidy legal agreement that he doesn't want to make known to the UFO community and the public? Is that secrecy imposed, as some have suggested, because of covert connections to the military or government? Or are Bigelow's motives much more personal?
Find out more in the August 1998 issue of FATE.
Sean Casteel has reported on UFOs and alien abductions for nearly ten years. His interview with Heaven's Gate member Rio DiAngelo appeared in the July issue of FATE.
Copyright © 1998 FATE Magazine P.O. Box 64383, St. Paul, MN 55164-0383

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