The Skinwalker Ranch, formerly known as Sherman Ranch, and popularly called the “UFO Ranch”, is a property that spans 2,000 square kilometers on the border of the Ute Indian Reservation in utah and has become internationally known as an area of paranormal and alien activities.
Reports of strange objects have been documented since the first European explorers arrived in the region in the 18th century, and since then there has been an untold number of strange and mysterious incidents that have never been resolved, as in 1776, when the Franciscan missionary Silvestre Vélez de Escalante wrote about strange fireballs appearing on his bonfire in El Rey.
The name Skinwalker refers to “yee naaldlooshii”, a word of origin of the Native American Navajo people, and refers to a supernatural entity, a type of sorcerer or witch who possesses the ability to transform into different beings, according to the culture of the Navajos.
The Ute tribe, who lived in the region for centuries, fought to drive out the Navajos invaders, who eventually left the site, but pleaded for a curse of a spirit that could take the form of a human wolf or some other animal.
According to Joseph Hicks, a retired science teacher and considered an expert on UFO sightings and unexplained occurrences of local history: “The Navajos lost the war and in turn cursed the Utes with the skinwalker, who is said to be a spiritual person, who turns into a wolf, and who would remain here to bother them. They ended up accepting it. And then the skinwalker appears to be on that ridge, which they now call the ‘Skinwalker Ridge’, which appears north of the pastures and is part of the ranch. The Utes don’t even get close or try to get close to him. They see him moving around the ridge. They don’t know if he has a house or something, but he’s often there. So they stay away and a lot of people don’t want to get into it.”
The History of the Skinwalker Ranch
The Skinwalker Ranch was created in 1905 by the Myers family, who built small dwellings in the northwest corner of the property, at the foot of Skinwalker Ridge, on the edge of the planting fields that exist to this day.
The original house was abandoned after the family moved into a house on the east side of the ranch, and although they never reported any occurrences, neighbors would have experienced strange events.
The property was changing ownership over the next few decades until the Sherman family bought and moved to the site in 1994 with the goal of raising cattle.
Upon arriving at his new property, Terry Sherman, his wife Gwen and their two children were curious about the impressive amount of locks that covered the doors and windows of the main house. There were locks on both sides of the doors and even in the kitchen cabinets and, at both ends of the house, iron pins and heavy chains had been installed.
The Sherman family believed that the former residents had placed guard dogs at the front and back of the house, but still had no idea why.
In June 1996, the Shermans shared with Zack Van Eyck, a reporter for the local newspaper Desert News, the strange events they witnessed over the 18 months of their stay at the property.
They reported mysterious circles on plantations, UFOs, repeated and systematic disappearance of their cattle, and even claimed to see Bigfoot-like creatures and hear strange noises constantly.
Terry also sent three of his dogs to chase bright blue balls, the size of baseballs, but the dogs disappeared into the forest and, at one point, each of them grunted loudly, followed by complete silence. The next day, all that was found in the forest was the burned soil, three pieces of meat and the burned.
This was the first time that the phenomena that occurred at the Skinwalker Ranch were revealed to the world.
Ninety days after the story was published, Terry Sherman sold the property for $200,000 to Robert Bigelow, the Las Vegas real estate mogul, UFO enthusiast and founder of Bigelow Aerospace, which operates in partnership with NASA, and who a year earlier had created the National Institute for Discovery Science (NIDSci), whose mission was to scientifically investigate supernatural phenomena. Bigelow was so impressed to read Zack’s article about The Skinwalker Ranch that he decided to buy it for research.
Robert Bigelow set up a 24-hour surveillance system on the ranch and convinced the Shermans to stay on the property for a few more years to help NIDSci researchers observe and document the unexplained events.
NIDSci, in partnership with the U.S. government, has studied the property for nearly two decades, however, the government program was canceled in 2011 and Bigelow stopped receiving funding for local research but kept the property constantly under surveillance.
Among those involved in the project was retired U.S. Army Colonel John B. Alexander, who characterized NIDSci’s effort as an attempt to obtain concrete data using a “standard scientific approach.” However, the researchers admitted “difficulty in obtaining evidence consistent with scientific publication.”
Officially, all the findings were kept confidential and to this day it is not known what was actually researched and their results.
However, journalist and researcher George Knapp was the only reporter authorized by Bigelow to enter the property and, along with Colm A. Kelleher, who for eight years worked as a project manager and nidsci team leader, using forensic science methodology to uncover scientific anomalies, published a book about the Skinwalker Ranch, titled “Hunt for the Skinwalker: Science Confronts the Unexplained at a Remote Ranch in Utah” in 2005.
According to Kelleher and Knapp, they have seen or investigated evidence of about 100 incidents that include missing cattle, sightings of unidentified flying objects or spheres, large animals with piercing red eyes that they say came out unharmed when hit by bullets, and invisible objects emitting destructive magnetic fields.
“The goal was not necessarily to determine the cause of unexplained events, but rather to properly observe and document events. Scientists and researchers didn’t have any preconceptions about what was there when they came in. In fact, I believe they were confident that they would be able to find out and explain it, but that’s not what happened. Regardless of what that was, that intelligence interacted with them in a variety of ways that are demonstrable and frightening,” says George Knapp, adding that it wasn’t a fun experience for some people who worked at NIDSci.
The researchers would have witnessed a portal that opened on the ground and a being that crawled out of it, disappearing into the night. “They saw a glow appear in the soil, in the pasture region. They looked closer, and it looked like a 1.5-meter-diameter pipe coming out of the ground. They saw a being crawling through the tube and then came out, got up and walked to disappear,” says Joseph Hicks.
In 2016, Bigelow sold the ranch for $4.5 million to Adamantium Real Estate Holdings, a company of unknown origin, and shortly after purchase, all roads leading to the ranch were blocked, the perimeter protected and blocked by cameras and barbed wire and surrounded by signs aimed at preventing people from approaching the property.
Adamantium Real Estate has commercially registered the Skinwalker and Skinwalker Ranch brand for entertainment services, creation, development, production and distribution of multimedia content, internet content, movies and television programs.
While The Skinwalker Ranch becomes the center of attraction for thousands of curious and paranormal enthusiasts around the world, some skeptics question all these strange stories behind the Skinwalker Ranch, saying that the Shermans lied about what they saw, and many even think they would be under the effects of a collective illusion.