The Navaho Project

by Tom Dongo

Editor’s Note: In the August issue, we interviewed Tom Dongo about strange UFO-related events that have been reported by a number of full-blooded Navaho Indians out in New Mexico. Now you can read this report that Tom has written concerning all of this high-strangeness.

Several years ago, I came across what I would consider to be one of the all time most unique events in the annals of UFO, alien and paranormal encounters. These events include three completely different races, or types of extraterrestrials, flying orbs of light, human abductions by aliens and black witchcraft. And I suspect that—somehow—all of these encounters had a common thread. They were interconnected.

These anomalous events took place near the center of the Navaho Nation in the winter of 2003. Unfortunately, due to obligations in Sedona (AZ) I have not been able to follow up on this other than to stay in contact with the key participants involved. They are all full-blooded Navahoes.

There are five people primarily involved. I have to include here that even though they exist at the poverty level (58% of Navahoes live-below-the poverty level) as do unfortunately many Native Americans, I early on found them to be exceptionally intelligent and focused people. I have no idea of the extent of their formal education, neither do I care nor have I asked.

The whole thing began for me when my close friend, Peter Gersten (UFO lawyer, Freedom of Information Act lawsuits, etc.) told me of an incident that had recently taken place on the Navaho Nation. Many of Peter’s clients are Navaho.

After hearing the story, I was intensely interested. And as I have said in several of my lectures around the west, the weirder it is, the better I like it.

We got specifics as to names and locations, made some contacts, loaded our gear and five of us piled into a SUV and drove up to the site. It was mid winter and nights on the Navaho Reservation can be harshly cold. I brought along the heaviest cold weather gear I own and in one hour of standing outside my hands and feet and exposed skin were numb. And I grew up in Maine where at times twenty below zero can feel warm.

I had, days before, heard some of the superficial details of the strange occurrences. But after a period of conversation with the Navahoes we got the story in its entirety. I am generally accredited as being an international expert in the UFO/alien/paranormal arena and what these people were telling us had my attention riveted. I had never run across anything quite like it in twenty-five years of research. Early on I conceded that they were not lying or simply making the stories up just to have a little fun with some white folks. I had been in the past caught up in many a hoax and this was not one. They were telling the story exactly as it happened with no embellishments.

For example, I asked one of the Navaho girls (who incidentally had such stunning beauty and poise it struck me that she would be a perfect poster girl for all Indian nations) what impressed her as being the strangest thing about the extraterrestrials. She had just told me that on numerous occasions she had encountered one particular species of alien, beginning when she was very young. More on that later.

Without a moments hesitation and with great excitement she replied, “Oh!...Their hands!!” “Their fingers were VERY long and looked like they were made of rubber!!” With that I was 100% convinced, because outside of some extraterrestrial’s large round or almond shaped eyes the hands of at least one humanoid race is the most fascinating to humans in face-to-face encounters.

By the way, even though there are rumors, I have never come across any even remotely credible evidence of non-humanoid aliens. They all are humanoid, one head, two arms, hands, two legs, feet, etc., and some super advanced human races resemble us so closely that you could sit next to one of them at Burger King and you would not notice anything unusual. I have personally heard some utterly incredible and wonderful visitation stories from a number of normal, average people who have met some of our brothers and sisters from “Out There.” It’s what keeps me in this crazy, confrontational and controversial business.

The peak of the Reservation activity happened in the mid-winter of 2003. It went on for about three and a half months. The great misfortune is that there were no experienced UFO researchers in the area with recording equipment who could have documented a potentially world altering event. The Navahoes involved knew next to nothing about established “mainstream” UFO literature or films and knew of no one to call except the local police. After several weeks they finally called the police, a number of times, for someone to please come out and see the phenomena for themselves. The experiencers were by now becoming fearful and desperate. The police at first blew them off as screwballs and gave some superficial promises. Finally, after seeing some of this activity themselves near their station several police officers went out to the location. They were as a result quite shaken at what they witnessed. It was exactly as the callers had been reporting.

Navaho Nation Police were contacted soon after by a researcher but the police would not say who the officers were or what they had seen. No police report could be found–they said. To a UFO researcher this scenario is an endlessly broken record. “Somebody” it seems, always gets to witnesses first in extremely impactful cases and makes the witnesses an offer they can’t refuse. This becomes almost a certainty when cell phones, police radios or distant computer databases are involved.

The entirety of this story is the following. I am not revealing the exact locations or the real names of the people involved to protect the site and the fragile privacy of the people involved. I will call them Mike, Patty, Larry, Rachel and Billy. Many, if not most, full-blooded Navahoes have taken English or Spanish names too in order to integrate better with the outside world. Some still keep their Indian names also.

Where the five experiencers live is barren, high desert with patches of scrub brush here and there and with a smattering of pinion pines scattered about. In the far distance a few white mobile homes or earth tone native hogans can be seen. The experiencers live a half-mile off the paved highway and the road leading to their homes is a wild roller coaster ride of ruts and bumps. In other words, a typical Indian driveway.

In the very beginning, they noticed one night what looked like the headlights of many cars moving about slowly and erratically in the far distance. It didn’t take them long to figure out that they were not headlights. These turned out to be singular spheres of white light, which have now been filmed around the world. This is a recent development in the last ten years that no one can explain. These are the same as the Marfa Lights which has made Marfa, Texas famous to UFO buffs. The big difference between the Marfa Lights and the Navaho Lights is that the Navaho Lights kept coming closer and closer and began to act in what I would term a rather aggressive manner. As far as I know this has not happened anywhere else in the world. These lights normally act in a very shy manner, very much like a curious, but shy animal. I personally have had hundreds of encounters with these intelligent lights. And as I have said many times before, they are probably a (new to us) life form we know absolutely nothing about. We saw five or six of these lights which were about two miles distant on that frigid cold night we drove up to the site. Another very odd occurrence associated with these Navaho Lights was that the Navaho Lights actually at times made an audible sound. One person said that the lights, “Made a sound like a car.” This was more noticeable when the lights were coming through trees. There is a small forest of pinion pines on higher mesas above the houses. Most of these lights in this occurrence were about two feet in diameter. In other places around the world they have been seen as small as six inches or as large as fifty feet in diameter.

The lights that the Navahoes interacted with numbered over a hundred on one particular night. If I remember correctly that was also the night that the police officers were there. These lights actually came right up to one of the houses several times. Again, this is extraordinarily odd behavior for these lights.

There are four or five houses in the general area and they are approximately two to four hundred yards apart. An uphill neighbor told us that one night he and six or seven others watched as a dozen or more of these lights flew slowly around and over a house down the hill. There were three people at the time in the lower house. Those three people were later able to describe to me vividly what happened, inside and outside of the house that night.

Logically, one would wonder at this point, did anybody have a camera? The answer is no. That’s the tragedy, if you will, of this whole thing. They had no still cameras of any kind, no tape recorders, no camcorders, no night vision equipment, nothing. They, as non-affluent people, don’t have the accoutrements most of us take for granted. I am absolutely convinced that this is precisely why the anomalous activity chose this remote area and the people who lived there for whatever agenda the mysterious “they” had.

During the height of these strange happenings, it was toward the end of February, one of the families had observed suspicious surveillance type activity by a late model white pickup truck. About a year before I had been warned to beware of new, white pickup trucks. My source was impeccable. I hadn’t mentioned this to the Navahoes and after two days the white truck activity stopped, much to my relief. Maybe it was nothing, but it was another piece to a strange puzzle.

Even as isolated as they are they do have electric power. They have home phones and some have cell phones. The home phones are supplied by the Navaho Nation and don’t always work reliably. It’s the same situation for cell phones because the towers are so far apart.

This next item is an extraordinarily touchy subject. I debated with myself for a long time on how to present it here and be as brief as possible. It is black witchcraft or Skinwalkers. The term Skinwalker originated in Brazil long ago (I have not had time to delve into this) and somehow got integrated into Southwest Indian culture. It is primarily a Navaho phenomenon but it seems Colorado Utes may also have participated. Outside of Voodoo (and perhaps Santeria) it is in my estimation the most dangerous subject that exists on this planet. In a meeting with a Navaho woman several years ago she said to me, “We can talk about this here (Flagstaff) but don’t EVER bring up the subject on the Reservation!”

So of course I decided to do a book on Skinwalkers. What followed was seven months of the worst bad luck I have ever had in my life. I don’t need to go into the details. Looking back, it all started when I finished the first chapter. On several occasions I remarked to people that it seemed I was under a Voodoo curse. I thought because of my extensive background and understanding of metaphysics and the paranormal I could insulate myself. It seems I may have been wrong. My bad luck in reality may have had absolutely nothing to do with Skinwalkers, but I have since shelved the book and have no intention of finishing it.

Black and also white witchcraft has been practiced by practically all of the Southwest tribes for hundreds of years, notably by the Pueblo tribes like the Zuni. Only a few scattered, small groups still practice any form of witchcraft today.

Skinwalkers are more notably known as shape shifters. Folklore has it that Skinwalkers can shape shift into animals such as coyotes, owls, eagles or a human like being which was portrayed in the movie Independence Day. Some enterprising scriptwriter did their homework. I have seen evidence that has proved to me that shape shifting is more than superstition and folklore. It seems that at least some practitioners can actually perform this feat.

In several of my presentations, I mentioned my involvement in Skinwalker research and I was utterly amazed at the animated reactions and interest in the subject by the audience. I was also amazed at how so many people had so much knowledge of the phenomena. It is indeed a truly fascinating topic. When I began research over a year ago a friend in Albuquerque called one night and said that famed Navaho tales novelist Tony Hillerman and actor Robert Redford were skinwalker researchers. They both live in New Mexico. She added that they had information that was not generally available, and would I like to meet them. I of course replied sure. It never happened, but I am confident it would have been interesting.

The Skinwalker connection with my Arizona Navaho friends was this. I had asked if they had ever heard a two legged being walking at night on their roof. For some unknown reason this is a hallmark of Skinwalker activity. Why that is, is unknown. They replied, “Oh yes. Many times.” My friends had no interest in the practice other than curiosity. There is a lot more, but if I go into it, it would pinpoint the exact location to many that have in-depth knowledge of the phenomena.

For those of you who now have a burning curiosity about the subject, go to Google or any search engine and type in Skinwalker. There are hundreds of pages on Skinwalkers on the Internet. However, as far as I know, no non-fiction books in English have ever been written on the subject. Wonder why?

Also, objects inside and outside of my friend’s house would levitate suddenly and spin rapidly in the air. This would go on for a few minutes and then the article would drop back to the floor. In one instance, a big axe near the front steps rose up about seven feet and spun rapidly for a time then dropped back to the ground. And, there are about sixty wild mustangs in the area. On several occasions, all of the horses were heard at night running at full speed out in the desert and it was obvious, they said, that something was chasing them. Oddly, this sort of thing is not that unusual in high strangeness episodes. One of these almost tame mustangs walked within several feet of us that night. The horse was pure white and almost Stone Age looking. A thing of the wild, huge and shaggy and free.

What made me decide to get fully involved in this situation was the following incident. One night, after many frightful nights that winter, frightful for they had no idea what they were dealing with or what they could do, Patty and Mike woke up in the middle of the night to some strange noises in the house. At one point they actually wanted to leave their homes but they had nowhere to go.

They step-dad, Larry, was asleep in a side bedroom and they thought he had gotten up and was in the kitchen. They quickly realized that was not the case. Patty and Mike listened intently to the noises that were coming from the kitchen. It didn’t take them long to figure out that something was very wrong. What really began to unnerve them was that Larry was making moaning and other vocal sounds they had never heard him make before. Larry was normally a very sound sleeper.

The strange sounds in the kitchen continued and became louder. Cupboard doors opened and closed and someone was obviously rummaging around in the pots and pans. They knew that somehow, someone had gotten into the always securely locked house. A neighbors dog barked frantically in the distance.

At this juncture I have to interject this statement. I have repeated it countless times in lectures and books and articles I have written. I met Patty and Mike in Flagstaff numerous times late that winter to see how things were going. They traveled to Flagstaff often. We have since become close, trusted friends. When Patty, out of the blue one day, told me about this incident she began to cry and could not stop. She was ok after fifteen minutes but my point is that extreme emotion is always an indication that a person is not lying. They are telling it just as it happened. Men or women, it does not matter. I have been through this with big strong construction worker types and truck driver types too.

To get on with the story, under the bedroom door Mike and Patty could see blazingly bright white lights moving back and forth out in the hallway. Then the doorknob started to turn slowly and someone was coming into their room. Not being able to think of anything else to do, they pulled te heavy covers over their heads and hoped the intruders would just go away. They were petrified with fear. They knew by now that something was very, very wrong.

An undetermined period of time passed and they next realized they were back in their bed. They had full movement now. Mike mustered his courage and jerked the covers off their heads. In the pitch black room were two glowing sets of eyes staring down at them. They think they passed out from fright and the next thing they knew it was bright daylight morning. The step-dad remembered nothing about the night before.

I have said during conversations with some of the top UFO researchers in the world that, whatever is going on, if it ever turns out that it is not UFOs and aliens, then it is still something utterly incredible, it’s real and we need to know what it is. If one takes the time to look, the evidence is powerful that something overwhelmingly awesome exists amongst us. I rarely run into skeptics anymore, used to be a running battle. I won’t spend three seconds with a skeptic now. If they look earnest, they will see.

While in this country the little green men jokes have subsided and more and more people believe in the existence of aliens and UFOs there is still a deep element of skepticism largely and purposefully instilled by our own government over the last fifty years. I have a retired acquaintance who held the highest security clearance issued by our government. He states flatly that the U.S. Government has been dealing directly, face to face, with extraterrestrials since before World War II.

In Russia UFOs are anything but a joke. I have a close friend, Dr. Valery Uvarov who is the head of a department in the National Security Academy, Russian Federation. He works directly under President Vladimir Putin. Much of Dr. Uvarov’s research is focused on UFOs and aliens. Russians treat UFOs as a dead serious subject of the utmost importance. Russia has never kept secrets on UFOs, even when Russia was the Soviet Union. During the Cold War the Soviet Air Force ordered its pilots to shoot down UFOs encountered over Soviet territory. After a dozen of Russia’s best Mig fighters were shot down in rapid succession by UFOs the military ordered its fighters to stay way clear of UFOs. In May of this year the government of Brazil issued a statement that UFOs and extraterrestrials exist and are visiting our planet. Brazil sharply criticized the U.S. Government for withholding UFO evidence that it has been keeping from the rest of the world.

One night Billy, a cigarette smoker, while visiting friends in Flagstaff had gone out to the front steps to smoke. It was a bitter cold night in Flagstaff and he had on only a tee-shirt. After having plenty of time to smoke a cigarette he still wasn’t back. His wife Rachel, and two others went looking for him. Billy was nowhere to be seen. They became panicky, they had no idea what had become of Billy. They split up and went looking for him. The apartment building borders on the Coconino National Forest. Almost an hour later Billy came walking out of the forest, there was eight inches of snow on the ground. He looked dazed and was pale with cold. They frantically asked, “Where were you?!!” All he could say was, “I was talking to three guys out in the woods.” He does not remember anything about the encounter. Three guys? Government or alien? Probably the only way to get the full story would be to hypnotize Billy.

The three types of extraterrestrials my Navaho friends encountered on the Reservation are as follows: late one evening of that winter, Patty, Mike and step-dad, Larry, heard some unusual sounds outside in the yard. They looked out a window and around the rear of their car were a dozen or more three foot tall humanoid beings looking at and examining the taillights on the car. The light was not good enough to see the being’s faces. A large, dark ship-like object was on a ridge in the far background. They turned away from the window and when they looked back the beings were gone.

All of the people I have talked to that live at the site report that on many occasions they have seen groups of different human like beings walking around out in the desert as if the beings are performing some sort of work. In fact, Rachel, a twenty five year old, said that beginning when she was a little girl she had often encountered one particular type of alien while out walking or taking shortcuts in the desert. She said they were not really friendly but they were not unfriendly either. She was close enough to be able to describe them in detail. She described them as being five and a half feet tall and wore uniforms. They had round heads, gray skin and very large round eyes and the long rubbery fingers. She was not able to communicate verbally with these beings but had a sort of instinctual understanding of them and about them. There is a lot more but I am not privileged to go into it here. I think it would make a wonderful future story. I am very much looking forward to speaking to Rachel much more about this. There just hasn’t been time.

The third type of alien was tall, about six foot and six inches in height and walked stooped over a bit. The one that was encountered was thin and wore a hooded garment that completely covered his face. This being spoke good English but would not allow his face to be seen. Billy pulled up next to him one night that winter as Billy was going up the road to his home. He drove along beside the being for a ways, talked to him for a minute or two then continued on. If the guy was human, why wouldn’t he look at least once at Billy? And where they live no stranger would be out for an evening stroll or walking the dog. A government Spook? Maybe, but not likely given all the other high strangeness activity taking place in the area at the time.

The primary reason for writing this article is that a small group of us would like to start a five year UFO research project on the 25,000 square mile Navaho Nation. On the Navaho Nation it would be a Navaho Project, managed and run entirely by Navahoes who are in place now. Several of us who have vast experience in UFO research would be in the position as consultants and advisors. Should a situation arise, through the network the best in the world could be involved in a very short matter of time. The ultimate decision and control would stay in Navaho hands. In the past little or no research or information on UFOs has come out of the Navaho Nation due to its closed nature. Probably other elements are aware of this as well. The time is right.

To simplify matters, instead of many donations we would prefer to have only one or two donors involved. Our estimations are that it would be in the neighborhood of $50,000. This for expenses only, no salaries are included. Otherwise the idea will be scrapped. For donor information only my email address is:

To conclude this article I will include this fascinating story I got several days ago while having coffee with a friend. She was from out of town and we met at a local coffee shop. During our conversation, I told her about The Navaho Project. She said, “I have got to tell you what just happened on the Navaho reservation.” She works for a large non-profit organization in southern Arizona that often deals with Navaho children with mental and learning disabilities.

The doctor that heads this organization was recently at a remote village on the Navaho Reservation. She was told of an amazing visitation. I give this story 100% credibility because of the doctor and the number of witnesses involved.

Evidently while a private ceremony of dancing, drumming and chanting was going on suddenly three very human like beings materialized near the dancers. Naturally everything stopped. Someone went over and asked who are you and why are you here?

One of the three replied that they were from the inner earth and simply wanted to watch and be a part of what the Navahoes were doing. The three stayed for a while and vanished as quickly as they had appeared.

Wouldn’t it have been something if a researcher had been there at the time or shortly after to document this amazing event?