The term gaslighting means to manipulate someone by
psychological means so they question their own sanity. Gaslighting is a
form of psychological abuse for the purpose of control. Not just the
individual but also the masses can be gaslit into believing that which
is blatantly red, is white, or what is down is up, or what is plainly
observed – never happened. This is not a possible Orwellian dystopian
future – it is happening now.
We live in a world of
this real or does someone want us to believe it is real? Between foreign
adversaries pushing disinformation on social media or domestic politicians
manufacturing culture wars, or the entertainment media constantly feeding us
fiction as fact; we find ourselves in the fight of our lives – not a physical
brawl – but an all-out information warfare throw-down.
Each of these manipulators has an agenda for terraforming our reality.
Adversaries and politicians seek to divide us, and the media companies look to
reap mass viewership. But what if the manipulator is our own National Security
apparatus and the manipulation is in the name of “freedom”? We can look at
similar abuses in the past to understand that the ends don’t always justify
the means. The Church Committee final report established that “Intelligence
agencies have undermined the constitutional rights of citizens, primarily
because checks and balances designed by the framers of the Constitution to
assure accountability have not been applied.”
One example of such abuse is the very sad story of Paul Bennewitz, who
was manipulated by Air Force Office of Special Investigations (AFOSI) agent
Richard Doty and UFO researcher William Moore into believing
something about UFOs that was not real, contributing to Bennewitz’s mental
breakdown. In Doty’s case, this was allegedly done in the name of National
Security, and in Moore’s case, allegedly in the name of cultivating inside UFO
sources. You can read all about it in Greg Bishop’s book:
Project Beta: The Story of Paul Bennewitz, National Security, and the
Creation of a Modern UFO Myth
But have you heard about the sad manipulation tale of
Joseph Junior Hicks?
Junior was the co-author along with Dr. Frank Salisbury of
The Utah UFO Display, a book that documented the numerous UFO sightings
in Utah’s Uintah basin. A Jr./High School science teacher for 33 years,
primarily teaching the local Ute tribe children, Junior began collecting
close-encounter UFO stories from the local community where he had lived all
his life. A confidant who never ridiculed anyone, Junior faithfully recorded,
without judgement, what Uintah basin citizens recounted of their encounters
with the other worldly.
I met Junior Hicks in 2009 when visiting the Uintah basin, at the invitation
of Dr. Salisbury who was updating his co-authored book, and together we
visited the neighbors that bordered the Skinwalker Ranch (SWR). This, after
Billionaire Robert Bigelow, the then SWR owner, refused our request to
visit the ranch itself. Those precious days spent with Dr. Salisbury and
Junior had an enormous impact on me and directly led me to break ties with
both Bigelow and MUFON over what I perceived to be manufactured manipulations
of the UFO subculture. I wrote about my decision and reasoning in 2011 in this
Hunting the Skinwalker: Note that as Junior had told me in confidence, I did not reveal his name
and called him “Brad” in the 2011 post.
At that time, Junior told me about his work on SWR, but what really piqued my
interest was him recounting that after a cow was mutilated on the SWR
property, strange metal rods were found nearby. Junior said that he was told
by a NIDs scientist who happened to work at Area 51 (pay attention as this
will be important later) that the rods were made of Element 115. If you are
asking yourself, what is Element 115, then Google the Bob Lazar story
and the bogus claims he made of allegedly working at S-4 (Area 51) and tales
of reversed-engineered alien spacecraft. You can also read about it on
this blog post
I posted back in 2020:
But it was only after getting into a “who’s really telling the truth” contest
with current SWR owner Brandon Fugal as told
that I began to fear that Fugal was trying to whitewash the SWR with a
revisionist paranormal “forever” history.
Perhaps, in Fugal’s case, telling an unsubstantiated tale that SWR is
“special” in the Uintah basin would justify for paid subscribers their access
to the paywall/merchandise-hawking “Skinwalker Ranch Insider” site.
Fortunately, the paywall has a free 7-day trial and so I subscribed to access
the “exclusive” content that a “transparency” loving multimillionaire, for
some reason just can’t make available free of charge.
On the site are seven video interviews with Junior Hicks from the year before
he passed away on June 7, 2020, at the age of 92. I found two things
enlightening about these video interviews. First, Junior discussed his
interactions with former SWR owners Terry and Gwen Sherman and Robert
Bigelow and present owner Fugal but did not once talk about any interactions
with the Myers family who leased/owned SWR from 1934-1994.
Let’s put this first point into context. Junior lived his whole life in the
Uintah basin, having been born in Cedarview, Utah on June 19, 1927. He was the
UFO guy of the basin, the go-to confidant for anyone who had a UFO tale to
tell. Junior collected over 400 close encounter cases during his decades in
the Uintah basin, but somehow the X that marked the spot of paranormal central
which the revisionists want you to believe is Skinwalker ranch is not the
focus of his co-authored book. Junior’s time on the ranch can be only traced
back to when after the Shermans bought it.
So, Fugal’s charm offensive at trying to prove a “decades” long paranormal
history of the ranch fizzles because it simply can’t be substantiated, at
least not by the guy who would know best – Junior Hicks. But that’s not even
the focus of this story.
Second, Junior provided much more detail on the metal rods than he revealed in
2009. Let’s get back to Element 115 and why that is important.
When Junior told me the story in 2009, he called the scientist who gave him
this information, a “NIDS scientist who worked at Area 51”. The video
As Junior recounted in the interview, the Shermans were raising hybrid cows
on SWR. Terry Sherman asked Junior to come out one day to investigate a
recent cattle mutilation on the ranch. Junior brought his daughter along on
the mute investigation.
Before arriving at the ranch, Junior received a phone call from a scientist
out at area 51, who told Junior of some of the things happening at the ranch
and that there could be a portal that could open in the ground, warning
Junior to be careful. The scientist told Junior to bring a compass along and
to monitor the compass. If the compass needle froze in place, Junior needed
to leave quickly because something was about to happen that would cause him
harm and if it occurred where he was standing, he may not come back.
Junior examined the mute, and on his way back to the truck, the compass
needle started rotating around and then stopped and got stuck. Junior told
his daughter to run to the truck.
Later, Terry Sherman, when examining the mute, found a 6 inch long, 1 inch
diameter metal rod on the ground that was heavy, and he put in his pocket.
Junior returned to SWR the next day and Terry showed Junior the rod. Terry
tried to whittle the rod with his pocketknife to no avail and tried to hit
it with a hammer but all it did was nick the hammer and the anvil. Terry
heated the rod with a torch, and after taking the torch away, the rod would
become cold again. Terry called Bigelow and Bigelow flew out on his private
plane. There were three scientists there at the same time and Bigelow took
the rod to be analyzed.
Bigelow came back after a few days and Junior asked if the rod had been
analyzed. Bigelow responded that it was a part from an old-fashioned
battery. Junior told Bigelow he didn’t believe that because a battery part
could be whittled. Bigelow responded that he didn’t want people to get
excited about it (apparently to explain why he lied).
Then Bigelow lined up all the scientists in a line on their hands and knees,
to crawl across the pasture to see what else they could find in the
direction of the mute. Five more rods were found in the search, with three
of them shorter than the rest (about 3 inches long and the diameter of a
Junior later asked Bigelow if these newly found rods had been analyzed and
Bigelow said they were parts from an old searchlight used during WW2 to spot
aircraft. Junior just happened to have a friend that had one of these old
spotlights and he confirmed it could not have come from that. Junior went
back to Bigelow and said that’s not the answer. Bigelow said we will have it
analyzed for sure, but we don’t want a lot of people to know about it.
In the meantime, Junior got another call from the Area 51 scientist who told
Junior that the rod that had been found was called Element 115 and that it
was the power source for the UFOs.
Bigelow wanted to borrow Junior’s case files and compare them to cases from
the ranch. Bigelow picked out 30 that he thought were like NID’s files.
Junior thought Bigelow was covering up what was going on at the ranch and he
(Bigelow) didn’t want anyone else to see what was going on. Junior also said
he thought that the scientist at area 51 knew more perhaps than Bigelow did.
Every time Bigelow came to the ranch from Las Vegas, he would take Junior to
dinner to discuss the ranch. Junior told Bigelow the rods were element 115
and powered the craft and when they were depleted of their power, they were
ejected from the craft. Bigelow was skeptical and said he didn’t know
anything about that. The rods then disappeared but Terry Sherman had taken a
picture of the first rod and Junior still had the photo.
Bigelow told Junior that he had positive proof that there was an underground
base under the ranch, but the base was now abandoned. What is left is just
paranormal activity in the absence of the UFO drivers. Junior believes the
paranormal and the UFOs are connected. Junior himself hadn’t witnessed
himself much at all. Junior also said he had never signed an NDA.
So here is what I find intriguing in Junior’s video interviews. First, that
Junior had an alleged inside source at Area 51 who was feeding him information
about the ranch. Information that Junior would then relay to Bigelow. Yet, in
2009 he called this source a “NIDS scientist” who happened to work at Area 51.
So, I was surprised to learn that Junior considered this unnamed scientist to
be independent of Bigelow and who allegedly knew more than Bigelow about what
was going on.
Second, Bigelow can’t stop gaslighting Junior on the rods. First, they are a
car battery part, then parts from an old WW2 searchlight, then they disappear
altogether. Meanwhile the alleged NID’s/Area 51 scientist is telling Junior
exactly what they are – a non-existent at the time Element 115. To add
psychological insult to injury, Bigelow then tells Junior about the definitive
underground alien base under the ranch.
Third, much to my surprise, Junior had not signed an NDA. I would venture
probably the only person ever to be affiliated with Bigelow not to have signed
one. So, when Junior told me in 2009 in confidence about the NIDS scientist
and Element 115, I assumed he was doing so because he was under NDA, but it
turned out he was not. Evidently, Bigelow did not mind at all who Junior was
What kind of game was being played here?
Whatever the “play” was, it appears that the thrust of it was to convince
Junior of the bogus Bob Lazar story as having some basis in fact. Whether to
simply add on to the UFO folklore pile or as part of a counter-intelligence
campaign to obfuscate the real down-to-earth high-tech aircraft that Area 51
was harboring, the alien mythology of both Area 51 and SWR were being shoved
down Junior’s throat in a good-cop (the transparent Area 51 scientist) / bad
cop (gaslighting, secretive, concealing Bigelow) back and forth, aimed at
manipulating Junior’s beliefs in the process.
So, in the end, how did this affect Joseph Junior Hicks? Unlike Paul Bennewitz
who already suffered from a mental illness that Doty/Moore helped nudge over
the edge, Junior was too centered, honest and sure of himself to cause any
real psychological damage. But the intent was to manipulate his beliefs and
from that perspective it succeeded – an abuse perpetrated on an honest
And therein lies the problem. How many thousands of Joseph Junior Hicks have
had their beliefs similarly psychologically manipulated in the process by
forces who believe the ends justify the means? These are the central questions
that must be honestly examined and answered by the UFO fact-finding mission
that Congress suddenly finds itself on. A reckoning is long overdue.