dugway proving grounds

When Ray Peck walked out of his home in the about-to-be exceedingly appropriately named Skull Valley Of Utah on the morning of March 14, 1968, the first unusual thing he noticed was that the land had been blanketed by late-winter snow. The second unusual thing he noticed was a dying rabbit struggling to drag itself back to its burrow, as if a scene from Watership Down had escaped from his recurring nightmares and wriggled its way into reality. The third and fourth unusual things he noticed, respectively, were that the surrounding ranch was mysteriously peppered with dead birds and that entire flocks of sheep – thousands upon thousands of sheep – had simultaneously come to resemble sweater-wearing doornails.

March 14, 1968, was an unusual day in Skull Valley, is what we’re saying.

But, while Peck’s day had started out weird, it was about to take a screeching turn onto Batshit Boulevard. Soon, an Army helicopter from the nearby Dugway Proving Ground arrived and dumped out a stream of military scientists, who collected creature corpses and jabbed Peck’s rightfully terrified family with frightfully terrifying needles. They were gone as quickly as they had appeared, and, soon, rumors of bizarre military chemical weapon tests were running rampant throughout the community. The U.S. Army’s official answer to such allegations was, “Nu-uh, but we’ll pay for all your dead sheep, anyway.”

5 Real ‘Conspiracies’ Confirmed By People Swept Up In Them

Dugway Gothic
  • There are two types of people, Military and Mormon. You cannot be both. From time to time a man in an Army uniform walks into the church outside the gate. By the end of the meeting, he is smiling in a white shirt and tie, surrounded by his loving wife and 6 children. They’ve lived here for years, the glue that holds our community together.
  • The deer stare as you walk by. They let you get much too close. They are sick and hungry. Their ribs and bloated stomachs long for a meal. Almost imperceptively, one follows you home.
  • Do not plant food in your flower bed by the door. The deer will come, and you will never eat that food.
  • We must keep renovating the buildings, make them look new. The dust settles quickly. Tear down that home and build another in it’s place. Make sure there is never enough time between renovations for someone to live there. Just keep building.
  • There are strange lights in the sky over Ditto at night. “Testing,” that’s the excuse. FOUO, no talking about it. You laugh about how it looks like aliens. As long as you laugh and pretend the aliens are a joke, they leave you alone.
  • Too much overhead at work. We need less overhead. The aliens need to work on the ground and stop flying all over the place. At least they have a charge code.
  • Everything is empty. More people disappear every day. People say it’s government cutbacks, people being laid off. The houses seem so lifeless, official notes in the windows, empty driveways. Once, when you were walking along East 5th, you thought you saw a person in one of the houses. Your friend seemed to whisper “skinwalker” but then she wasn’t there. You haven’t seen her since.
  • The waiting list to come live in Dugway is enormous, never getting any smaller. Rent is steep, and everyone says it makes more sense to just live in Tooele and commute. You have never known anyone who wants to live on base. But the waiting list grows longer by the hour. Every once in a while a name is crossed off. No one ever moves in.
  • There is a dead sheep by the side of the road. Don’t breathe. Run.

March 13th, 1968

The Dugway Sheep Kill Incident

6,249 sheep died in Skull Valley, an area nearly thirty miles from Dugway Proving Ground’s testing sites. When examined, the sheep were found to have been poisoned by an organophosphate chemical. The sickening of the sheep, known as the Dugway sheep incident, coincided with several open-air tests of the nerve agent VX at Dugway. Local attention focused on the Army, which initially denied that VX had caused the deaths, instead blaming the local use of organophosphate pesticides on crops. Necropsies conducted on the dead sheep later definitively identified the presence of VX. The Army never admitted liability, but did pay the ranchers for their losses.