Some sixty miles to the north east of Portland, Oregon and at the base of Mount Adams lies the ECETI ranch – the home of James Gilliland. I first became aware of James and ECETI whilst surfing the internet several years ago, and it quickly became evident that many people in the community were highly skeptical of James’ claims and the years of footage taken here. I wondered how many of these people had actually visited the ranch, and how many final opinions – like many these days – were formed solely by sitting in front of the computer. So with all of this swirling around in my head, I decided to bite the bullet, put all of this endless speculation to one side, and go and see for myself.
So, on one of the last truly great summer weekends of 2010, my friend Jenna and I set off on the short but absolutely breathtaking journey from Portland, Oregon to Trout Lake, Washington. After an hour or so of driving, one of the lesser known snow-capped mountains of the Pacific Northwest rolls into view – Mount Adams… something that was to provide a focal point for the duration of our trip here.
Arrival at the remote ECETI Ranch is announced by a large wooden sign with more than a passing resemblance to Native American design. On embarking on the drive towards the ranch itself we pass tent after tent of guests camping and signs warning against trespass. My imagination runs riot – wondering if we are entering a ‘UFO cult’ of the sort that one occasionally hears about on the news (usually only after some tragic incident). The first thing one notices is that there are a lot of visitors’ cars here. Closer to the house, the second thing one notices is that mountain again! From what is quaintly labeled ‘the skywatch field’ the view of Mount Adams is stunning. In fact, the whole journey from Portland has been so incredible for scenery that I find myself thinking that regardless of whatever else may happen today, this has already been a really worthwhile experience.
James Gilliland greets us and the first port of call is a trip to a field on the far side of the property to see his yaks (including babies). I am struck by the calmness of this place and I find myself going back to this thought throughout my visit here. On the day of our visit a Yi Gong workshop is being held in the large building and this accounts for some of the vehicles parked up front. James and I assemble on a small mound under some trees and begin our interview whilst facing Mount Adams, which dominates the entire setting.
First impressions are that this is a man who is at peace with himself. He is instantly likeable, even though right away his claims seem outrageously wild and ‘out there’. He says that they are in touch with at least five races of extra-terrestrials in the same matter of fact way that I would ask someone to pass the milk. I try to stay focused. I admit that I am usually highly skeptical of anyone who seems to have so many detailed answers to the universe and its mysteries; however, I never once get the impression that this man doesn’t believe what he is saying or is being intentionally misleading or untruthful.
Lorin Cutts and James Gilliland.
The annual ECETI conference had been held only a few weeks prior to my visit, and it was during that time that some incredible video footage was shot. The footage was some of the best ever shot at ECETI – and in fact some of the best I’ve seen in recent years – so I jump straight in and ask James about this.
JG: We had two hundred people here for the conference. About three hundred attended, but two hundred got involved in the intention experiment to connect and bring [the aliens] in. We did this meditation to bring them in, and everybody felt the energy – it was like intense energy in the room. People were crying, and having heart openings, it was really powerful. Then we walked outside and the ship flew right over the top of the building. It was pinkish orange and looked crystalline. A guy named John Riley who’s a Lockheed engineer filmed it.
According to James, there are at least three pieces of footage of this event and hundreds of photographs. It’s an odd feeling when confronted with such stark accounts of extra-terrestrial contact. On the one hand you spend half your life looking for this kind of account, yet when confronted with even the chance of this my default mindset is to want to call into question much of it. Even though I’ve watched some of the footage of this event and been mightily impressed by it, I still feel this caution. After all, what we are talking about here is Close Encounters of the 5th kind: two way communication.
James has mentioned in several interviews that he believes there is a media lockdown on what happens at the ECETI ranch, that members of the UFO community are blacklisting the events that go on there, including the footage from the conference.
JG: I took all of that footage you saw and I gave it to Peter Davenport at the National UFO Reporting Centre and he’s totally censored everything. Filers Files, another big one, I sent all of them to him, didn’t hear a peep, sent them again. Then he sent this thing out asking for donations. I said I’d love to donate but first I want to hear why you are censoring all of the footage from here, photographs with 200 witnesses and the video – and we haven’t heard a peep back from him. In the UFO community it’s sad, but there’s a lot of jealousy and a lot of competition. They don’t want answers, they want to keep the question alive. I wrote a letter of resignation to the UFO community. I said, we’ve bought you all the evidence. I’ve never seen so much jealousy and back stabbing – everything [they] are doing is totally contrary to contact. We’re getting more censorship from the UFO community than we are from the mainstream press. Everybody I talk to is just fed up with the fear, and the greys, the dark-side, the negativity.
LC: Perhaps part of the problem is that you have a load of people wanting and searching for a scientific answer to all of this, and maybe by its very nature it isn’t going to be purely scientific. It might be more spiritual, or perhaps both. So if you don’t give some people a kind of nuts and bolts answer then they don’t like it.
JG: Yes, they want nuts and bolts proof of a non-physical event.
I have the thought that perhaps the UFO community is divided into two groups. The first is made up of people who are seeking spiritual answers to the phenomenon – I call them the ‘nuts’ (no pun intended). The second group is seeking scientific answers – these are the ‘bolts’. The two groups seem completely at odds with each other. Perhaps our science will one day explain spirituality anyway, or at least the two will overlap. I think of retired Lockheed Martin scientist Boyd Bushman and what could be called his very new-agey, quasi-spiritual way of speaking after god-knows-what he’s been researching behind closed doors for several decades.
I asked James how he ended up here in this wonderful setting, about his own personal journey and his past experiences. For a man who started out in a career in commercial real estate in California, this is an unexpected turnout.
JG: Well I had experiences even when I was a kid, but I didn’t understand what they were about. When I was five I had bronchial pneumonia and they told my parents I was going to die. A woman dressed in blue kept appearing to me and she’d stroke my head and pull me out of it. That was my first paranormal experience. [Later, as an adult] I was out in the ocean body-surfing and had a drowning accident. I got slammed by three sneaker waves, then gave up, went through the tunnel that everybody talks about. That kind of created an open door. After this, my focus was to create a retreat centre, a healing center, I wasn’t looking for UFOs.
That’s not to say James wasn’t interested in UFOs back then.
JG: As a kid, I was raised in the high desert, we saw them all the time. Later [I lived] in Apple Valley and right down the road from us, Ralph Ring and Otis Carr were building their ship. I saw that experiment, I saw it light up the whole sky, lit the whole mountain up.’
LC: So what made you choose this place, Little Mountain Road?
JG: I had visions, real clear visions of this place. I saw that mountain and I saw the river and in the visions I saw the words ‘little mountain’, and I couldn’t understand why when I see this huge mountain in front of me. The history of this place here goes back to the Native Americans. They have a legend that there is a crystalline city here and there’s a doorway and whenever someone was sick or wounded they’d take them up and drop them off. These beings would come out and get them and take them in and bring them out healed.
James points out that Mount Adams is, of course, intrinsically linked with the UFO subject. The mother of all sightings (that coined the phrase ‘flying saucer’) occurred in 1947 when Kenneth Arnold lost sight of his UFOs over… yes… you guessed it – Mount Adams.
The list of visitors to ECETI over the years is quite impressive. From rock stars (Robbie Williams), film stars (Danny Dyer) to UFO stalwarts (Wendell Stevens, Bob Sallas, Dr Michael Salla, Alfred Webre, Brooks Agnew, Dolores Cannon, the Above Top Secret crew.. to the mainstream news media (Sean Hannity, Fox News, Paranormal State).. and engineers and scientists from NASA, Boeing, and Lockheed Martin.
LC: Do many people leave here disappointed?
JG: No, none of them do. I haven’t heard one of them say that, they are just blown away when they come here. When Paranormal State were here they were very impressed, I said at 10 o’clock the ships would appear in the east and it happened. We did it when Hannity came from Fox News, said there’d be ships in the east and they appeared. We’ve done that repeatedly, it shows there’s telepathic contact. Witnesses, film, I don’t know what else they need.
LC: Have you had much interest from government agencies?
JG: Yes, we’ve had every agency up here: FBI, CIA, NASA.
LC: They just posed as guests or visitors?
JG: Yes, and then they just started confessing and spilling the beans. They went back and quit their jobs (laughs). Things happen here… and they went back and they were changed, they couldn’t function anymore.
LC: So what about phone tapping?
JG: Oh yeah, there’s that. I just did a radio show for LA. They had four lines coming into the station and all four got disconnected’.
LC: Talking of radio, you also do a radio show.
JG: Yes, I do two actually. One is on BBS Radio on Saturday evening ‘As You Wish’, and the other one is on World Puja’ on Tuesdays. I broadcast from my studio here.
LC: So what’s next for ECETI and the ranch?
JG: Stage two is in limbo right now, we are probably going to need to get some major legal assistance. We really want to grow this into a template or blueprint on how you could live a totally spiritual life in harmony with nature and each other but also enveloping the highest technologies at the same time. These beings [visiting us] are extremely advanced. Very, very spiritually and technologically advanced beings, so we have to rise to the occasion, strive for enlightenment, to be able to hang out and connect with these beings.
LC: When you say beings do you believe they are inter-planetary or inter-dimensional or both?
JG: All the above. Inter-dimensional, there’s time travel going on, 3D activity, the whole enchilada. Dr J. Allen Hynek did research [on Mt Adams] and Greg Long wrote a book about it. Right in the middle of the mountain a light opens up, things come out of it.
LC: And you think that’s some kind of door?
JG: Yes, it’s definitely a door. [I’ve been] up there, there’s a huge lava face – that’s all there is, nothing can go up or down there.
LC: How often do you see the door open up?
JG: About three or four times a year, but lately it’s opening up a lot and things are coming out of it.
I mention that I recently read that Yakima was statistically in the top five of biggest UFO hotspots in America, which is only eighty miles to our north east as the crow flies. Perhaps what James and others are experiencing here at Mount Adams relates to this. I am hopeful that Jenna and I will see something that evening when we join James and others in the skywatch field. James is unequivocal.
JG: Oh yes, you’ll see some things. Definitely.
Jedar The ECETI Wonder-Dog.
At this point we are visited by James’ dog Jedar; we watch as he chases a frisbee over a little stone maze in a patch of grass next to us. This gives me a little time to gather up my thoughts after these cosmic revelations and focus on something altogether more down to earth. James tells me Jedar has his own Facebook page, and even he is part of the contact! Apparently there is a photo of him out in the field with two laser type lights coming out of his eyes.
James begins to describe some of the healing events that have taken place at the ranch over the years, and as I listen to him it suddenly strikes me that for the first time in over four years my tinnitus is almost gone! This nearly knocks me out of my seat. I can’t even begin to explain how freaked out I am, but also how completely overjoyed I feel. I had literally forgotten what peace sounded like.
We continue to talk but I am finding it hard to keep my composure and concentrate on what James is saying. I am so astounded at the lack of any ringing in my ears that I have to tell him what is happening to me. He reacts with a complete lack of surprise and goes on to calmly relate instance after instance of seemingly miraculous healings that have occurred here over the years.
JG: Johnny Anonymous, when he was here he could hardly walk. His back was all messed up, he had no feeling in his leg. Well, he got a healing from one of the ships that came in. He left his camera rolling as he was getting healed and he captured the sound of one of the ships coming in. People come here and get blown wide open; all the spontaneous healings that happen here, the inner contact – that’s the main thing here for me. The UFOs flying over and buzzing us and powering up is just the bonus.
I am at a loss for words. Perhaps, whatever is at work here had sensed my skepticism and decided to play a little cosmic joke on me. Over the course of the next few hours my tinnitus returned, but I still cannot fathom what happened on that mound as I basked in the late afternoon sun whilst talking to James and looking at that mountain.
After dark we arranged to meet up with James and the guests in the skywatch field. Before James arrived, Jenna and I were sitting quietly amongst the small crowd and looking up at the stars. We couldn’t have picked a more perfect night. No moon and a completely clear sky made for ideal sky-watching conditions. Within a couple of minutes we were both amazed to see a couple of bright lights power up directly above our heads and then spin off and disappear, exactly like the ones I had seen online on the ECETI footage. To say I was a little stunned would be an understatement.
James then appeared with his legendary night vision glasses and passed them to me to take a look. The first thing I noticed was that there was indeed a lighter section on the mountain. This area of light seemed to pulse slowly, and at one point Jenna actually saw a flash with the naked eye. James confirmed that this is the so-called ‘door’ on the mountain. We saw a few random lights in the sky that appeared and disappeared around the mountain, and observed some fast moving lights through the night vision goggles that were not visible with the naked eye. But the best was yet to come.
With my head still reeling with what had happened earlier; and having seen some very interesting anomalies in the sky and on the mountain, I decided to try an experiment. If there was genuinely something other-wordly happening here, then now was the time to ask for proof. In my head, and unknown to everyone else in the field, I said ‘show me’. At that exact moment a large white light appeared just to the right of Mount Adams. After a couple of seconds it blinked out. I was simply awestruck. I didn’t tell anyone that I had asked for this, yet most of us saw it. This was by far the biggest and brightest light we saw all evening. The hair on my arms and on the back of my neck stood on end. I could not believe what had just happened.
The large arrow is where we saw the largest, bright light. The smaller arrow indicates approximately where the flashes and illuminated part of the mountain was through the night-vision lenses… the alleged ‘door’ that James talked about (also seen on a return visit in 2011).
The implications of what is happening here are enormous. I had come here with a healthy degree of skepticism, yet how could I rationally explain these things? These were my experiences, not something I had read about on the internet; nor was it some grainy, indistinguishable light in the sky on a shaky camcorder viewed on youtube. These were things seen with my own eyes, experienced with my own mind.
And through all of this, Mr Gilliland watched on, passing around the night vision glasses and cracking inter-galactic jokes. I worried that in my excitement I was hogging the night vision glasses. Remembering my manners, I attempted to hand them back to James, but he refused ‘I get to see this stuff all the time,’ he told me, smiling.
Jenna and I leave the ranch totally amazed at what we had experienced. Perhaps we had crossed the line and disappeared down the rabbit hole? I can’t begin to explain my experiences, and I certainly can’t verify many of James’ claims. But what I can say from a personal level is that there is definitely something going on at the ECETI ranch. Exactly what it is, I have no idea. Like all good mysteries, much of what happened here kicks up many more questions than answers.
James is reflective on the whole thing:
‘It’s time to stop with all the competition, the petty bickering and the back-stabbing and start unifying. If we don’t, the other guys – the disinformation agents – don’t have to do a thing. This isn’t about me, it’s not about the other people here. It’s bigger, much bigger. We’re never going to learn the truth until we can learn to all work together’.