The Bishop and the Little People

What a Catholic clergyman in New Mexico experienced may remind some of uncanny visitations — supernatural or extraterrestrial — but there were other elements at play. These became better known after Bishop Donald Edmond Pelotte made an unusual 911 call to the police on September 27, 2007. Pelotte, 62, told the phone operators that in his hall were "...gentle little people, about 3 to 4 feet tall, [...] wearing Halloween masks...."

The McKinley Metropolitan Dispatch Authority log noted that Pelotte, of the Roman Catholic Diocese of Gallup, New Mexico, spoke of hiding in the closet while all this was happening. He gave the operators differing accounts. One of his stories was that a single little person first visited and then the rest followed. The time period was in question too.

When the Gallup police arrived, they found no one but Pelotte at his home, where the Bishop had been recuperating.

Pelotte had taken a fall at his home on July 22, 2007, and he told Timoteo Lujan, the Deacon who found him, that he had fallen. Emergency room physicians, though, assumed Pelotte had been attacked. He had suffered serious head injuries, the facial injuries of which inhibited his speech as of July 27 at Phoenix's John C. Lincoln Hospital. (He had no problem recognizing hospital visitors at that time.) Treatment was conducted at hospitals and recovery centers in Arizona, New Mexico, Texas and Florida. There was in August a controversy over whether police photos taken on July 23 of the injured Pelotte were part of the public record. This came after media outlets requested access to them. The question was still about whether he had been beaten or had suffered an accident.

Back in 2004, a former seminary student named Derek Kolb had told police that he had attempted to poison an elderly Catholic sister so that he could get more attention from Father Thomas Malkowski, and in 2005 Kolb threatened to kill Pelotte. The situation concluded with a series of hearings on Kolb's probation revocation. Deacon Lujan made it known that Pelotte had worried about Kolb. Pelotte had received an apology card from Kolb in mid-2007.

Finally, during mid-December 2007, Pelotte announced that he was taking a medical leave of absence from his duties, and had informed officials at the Vatican. A formal announcement was made on January 3, 2008. This was followed by his resignation as Bishop of Gallup, New Mexico, in late April.

As far as the media was concerned, ambiguities remained. Not apparently discussed was how Pelotte's perceptions were affected by his massive head injuries and their aftermath — except for the early news stories of his being aware of his surroundings and people while in the hospital. Despite its traumatic beginnings, the eventual news story about Pelotte and his possible visitors was often treated almost as if it were a joke.

The type of experience Pelotte's alleged encounter appeared to be, as well as its location, did not go unnoticed. Tom Barnes, who posted on Scott Dodge's blog at, pointed out on May 2, 2008, that what Bishop Pelotte told the police was a "CLASSIC UFO abduction report...." Barnes also mentioned that New Mexico is "the UFO abduction capital of the world!"

— Douglas Chapman


Scott Dodge's blog,, 4/30/08 and 5/2/08

Catholic-Hierarchy News,, 4/30/08,, 12/14/07,, 9/30/07 (revised 10/1/07)

The Diocese of Gallup in New Mexico and Arizona,

Gallup Independent,, 7/27/07

Free New Mexican,, 8/9/07

Catholic News Agency,, 7/31/07

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