For the most part, law enforcement does not give much credence to reports of paranormal activity. However, if you live on the Navajo Indian reservation and you call the Navajo Rangers they'll take your call just as serious as any other. Retired Ranger John Dover says paranormal cases only accounted for less than 1 percent of their investigations, but he considers them to be very significant.
Dover made it to the rank of Lieutenant before retiring and was in charge of supervising the Arizona and Utah side of the reservation. Dover says, "Our officers are all trained at the federal law enforcement training center, so they are recognized by the federal government as federal officers." Dover also completed criminal investigation training at the federal law enforcement training center in Glynco, Ga.
However, this training did not completely prepare them for some of the paranormal cases they investigated. Dover and his partner Stan Milford say they have rolled on reports of the usual paranormal suspects, such as ghosts, Bigfoot and UFOs, and they have also investigated sightings of creatures of Navajo lore, such as Skinwalkers who are believed to be witches that have learned to shape shift into animals.
Even though some may scoff at these reports, Dover says, "When you go into it as an investigator, you can't have your mind made up about anything. What you're looking for is evidence, and as the evidence collects you let the evidence speak for itself." He says they look for witness testimony to line up with the physical evidence, but they are careful not to immediately assume the witness is right or wrong. He also says that often a lot of these paranormal cases turn out to be very strong and if they were criminal cases the evidence would be enough to put someone in jail.
When I asked Dover if the Navajo people generally believe in things such as UFOs, he says he doesn't like the term "belief", because it is akin to saying you believe something without evidence. "In these cases people have seen enough [UFOs], [UFOs] that have landed, [UFOs] that have flown over, so often that it is just a fact of life." Dover and Milford have had enough UFO cases that they have often sought the help of the Arizona chapter of the Mutual UFO Network, the largest civilian UFO investigation organization in the U.S.
Some of these cases have been quite startling. Dover and Milford say that in one case a young woman said she was followed by a glowing orb while driving home at night. When she arrived home she saw what appeared to be a large rabbit where she usually parks. She ran inside and went to sleep, only to awaken with a headache. Upon examination of the car, the Rangers found electromagnetic effects which ran through the car right where the driver would have been sitting.
Even more exciting was the case of an old man who lives way out in the desert by himself. He saw what appeared to be a strange craft land and several entities come out of it. These beings came over and examined his house. The Rangers found him to be very credible, and they found strange circular pits in the ground around his house. The witness said the holes were not there before the incident.
Not all of these events have been UFO-related. Milford went on a ghost investigation where he witnessed coins drop from the air, a common occurrence in this location which is believed to be haunted. He says several of these coins fell on him. There were no indications that there were vents or holes in the roof where the coins could have come from. They just seemed to manifest out of nowhere.
Milford says he feels it is their duty as law enforcement officers to take all reports seriously. He says:
"In many of these cases people are frightened by what they have seen and that is really the bottom-line of why we investigate these cases. Because of the fact that my chief has basically told us that we will investigate a case when somebody comes forward asking for help and that is the bottom-line. They are asking for help and they are needing someone to turn to and someone to listen to them, and that is what we do."
Milford and Dover are like the Scully and Mulder of the Navajo nation, which is especially exciting for me. I was a big fan of the Tony Hillerman mystery novels whose protagonist was a Navajo tribal police officer, so I get extra giddy when the mysteries are real-life and paranormal. I say hats-off to Dover and Milford for their matter of fact approach to investigating these extraordinary cases and their courage in spite of the ridicule they say law enforcement personal often face when they investigate the paranormal.