Gabriel ‘Gabe’ Valdez passed away in his sleep at home in Albuquerque, New Mexico aged 67, on 7 August. Here he is on the right, alongside our mutual friend Project Beta author Greg Bishop.
Retired for some years, Gabe was a much-respected and honoured New Mexico State Police Officer and Gaming Control Board Investigator, based for many years around Dulce, New Mexico. It was here, during the mid-1970s, that Gabe took a lead in investigating a rash of bizarre cattle ‘mutilations’, conducted by persons unknown, and a wave of seemingly-connected UFO sightings. As a result, he was drawn into the sad and strange story of physicist and UFO enthusiast Paul Bennewitz, as told at length in Mirage Men.
John Lundberg and I met and interviewed Gabe twice at his home, where he was unfailingly friendly and generous with his time. Gabe had clearly been a fearless lawman, but he was still uncomfortable talking about the complex story that he’d uncovered around Dulce and the looming Archuleta Mesa, making at times for an awkward interview. Gabe believed that he had discovered a clandestine military operation and felt sure that his research back in the 1970s and ’80s had drawn the attention of some unpleasant characters, leading to his phone being tapped, amongst other things.
While no doubt some natural animal deaths were mistakenly attributed to the unseen mutilators, there’s a great deal of evidence, much of it pieced together by Gabe and his fellow investigators, pointing towards an organised programme of some kind. Although its true purpose remains unclear, over the years writers and researchers have connected the cattle deaths to the monitoring of radiation leaks or viral contagion and secret biological weapon tests, as well as to the inevitable extraterrestrials, Satanic / Masonic / Illuminati / NWO activity and, more mundanely, human poachers.
I’d like to think that one day we’ll learn what was really going on around Dulce, New Mexico, no matter how sinister, or prosaic, it really was. In the mean time, hats off to Gabe Valdez, a man who put himself on the line and made the concerns of his community his own.
Here are the Wikipedia and FBI pages on the mutilation wave, the now defunct National Institute for Discovery Science’s cattle mutilations archive – Gabe did research for the group – and an interesting NIDS paper connecting the deaths to an American BSE epidemic. Be prepared to open a steaming can of worms.
For those seeking a more digestible summary of the mutilation phenomenon, after the break I’ve posted some video featuring Gabe, and extracted material from Mirage Men about his research.
Here’s Gabe talking about his cattle mutilation research in the 1976 film UFOs It Has Begun (no that’s not him in the dress, press play to start the sequence):
And here he is quite recently, discussing the mutilations with Norio Hayakawa, containing more detail about suspected military involvement:
And by way of tribute, an extract from Mirage Men about Gabe and his Dulce investigation:
‘Back in the 1970s, Valdez’s investigation had focused on the ranch of Manuel Gomez, whose cattle had suffered particularly badly; alongside dead and mutilated animals he’d found caterpillar tracks, bits of paper, measuring tools, syringes, needles and a gas mask. One site was covered with radar-reflecting chaff, some of it stuffed into the dead cow’s mouth. Some of the animals had broken bones and what appeared to be rope marks on their limbs, suggesting that they had been hoisted up then dropped back on to the ground. Whoever was doing this to the cattle, they were organized, and human.
As in Montana, the mutilations coincided with a rash of UFO sightings, and Valdez and his fellow officers had several close shaves with strange flying machines. On one occasion Valdez’s team cornered an orange light in a field; as they approached, the light went out. Then, although they could see nothing, they heard a muffled sound like a lawnmower engine pass over their heads. Another time Valdez and two colleagues ducked beneath an object that he described as disc-shaped, rotor-less, and dazzlingly bright. Valdez described the noise it made as it flew over them as ‘put-put- putting’ or ‘ticking’ – hardly the sound of advanced alien technology.
The intensity of the mutilations around Dulce had also drawn the interest of Howard Burgess, a retired Sandia Labs scientist, and one night in July 1975 he, Valdez and Gomez, the ranch-owner, followed a hunch to see whether or not humans really were behind the attacks. By shining an ultraviolet lamp on to the backs of a sample of a hundred cattle, the trio found that some of them had been marked with a substance that showed up only under ultraviolet light. The marked cattle were all between one and three years old and came from a particular breed: the same one as the dead animals found on Gomez’s land. Gomez quickly sold off all the animals that fitted the mutilation profile.
Based on their discovery, the three men pieced together a modus operandi. The selected cattle were being marked with water-soluble UV paint containing potassium and magnesium; this suggested that the marking was done quite soon before the operation was to take place. Under cover of darkness, whatever aircraft that the team employed would fly over the region and identify the marked animals using a blacklight beam that was invisible to any observers. The selected animal was tranquillized, probably from the air with a rifle, and then the mutilation operation was performed, either on the ground or, as Valdez believed, after the victim had been hauled to another location – hence the rope marks on some of them. Valdez told us that the mutilators had their surgery-cum-laboratory in one of many disused mine shafts on top of the Archuleta Mesa. Their grisly work over, they then returned the animal to the pastures, mutilated and drained of blood, to be found by an unlucky rancher.
Although Valdez’s enthusiasm for the subject was clear, so was his anxiety; at one point he hinted to us that he had found the entrance to a military facility on top of the Mesa, but he quickly backed away from the subject when asked for more information. Valdez clammed up like this a few times, as if he felt he’d said something he shouldn’t. We later learned that there was good reason for his hesitance: while conducting his investigations back in the 1970s he’d become convinced that he was under surveillance, a suspicion borne out by the discovery of a microphone ‘bug’ in his telephone handset.
What Valdez did tell us was startling enough: he thought that the military had been flying helicopters into the Dulce area from Fort Carson, an army installation about 300 miles to the north, near Colorado Springs, and using the Archuleta Mesa as a staging post for their mutilation missions. He also suggested that ‘real’ UFOs – flying saucers – were being flown alongside the mutilators’ own aircraft, perhaps by another government agency, in order to obfuscate matters further, or at least to confuse the locals. That one confused us, too.’
Read more in Mirage Men