Skinwalker Ranch, also known as Sherman Ranch, is a property located on approximately 512 acres (207 ha) southeast of Ballard, Utah, that is reputed to be the site of paranormal and UFO-related activities. Its name is taken from the skin-walker of Navajo legend concerning vengeful shamans.
|Location||Uintah County, Utah, U.S.|
|Nearest city||Ballard, Utah, U.S.|
|Area||512 acres (207 ha)|
UFO reports in the Uintah Basin were publicized in the 70s. Claims about the ranch first appeared in 1996 in the Salt Lake City, Utah, Deseret News, and later in the alternative weekly Las Vegas Mercury as a series of articles by investigative journalist George Knapp. These early stories detailed the claims of a family that allegedly experienced inexplicable and frightening events after they purchased and occupied the property.
In 2005, Colm Kelleher and co-author George Knapp published a book in which they describe the ranch being acquired by the National Institute for Discovery Science (NIDSci) to study anecdotal sightings of UFOs, bigfoot-like creatures, crop circles, glowing orbs and poltergeist activity reported by its former owners.
The ranch, located in west Uintah County bordering the Ute Indian Reservation, was popularly dubbed the UFO ranch due to its ostensible 50-year history of odd events said to have taken place there. According to Kelleher and Knapp, they saw or investigated evidence of close to 100 incidents that include vanishing and mutilated cattle, sightings of unidentified flying objects or orbs, large animals with piercing red eyes that they say were unscathed when struck by bullets, and invisible objects emitting destructive magnetic fields. Among those involved were retired US Army Colonel John B. Alexander who characterized the NIDSci effort as an attempt to get hard data using a "standard scientific approach". However, the investigators admitted to "difficulty obtaining evidence consistent with scientific publication".
Cattle mutilations have been part of the folklore of the surrounding area for decades. When NIDSci founder Robert Bigelow purchased the ranch for $200,000, this was reportedly the result of his having been convinced by the stories of mutilations that included tales of strange lights and unusual impressions made in grass and soil told by the family of former ranch owner Terry Sherman.
According to skeptical author Robert Sheaffer, "the 'phenomenon' at Skinwalker is almost certainly illusory. Not only was the several years long monitoring of 'Skinwalker' by NIDS unable to obtain proof of anything unusual happening, but also, the people who owned the property prior to the Shermans, a family whose members lived there 60 years, deny that any mysterious 'phenomena' of any kind occurred there". Sheaffer says "the parsimonious explanation is that the supernatural claims about the ranch were made up by the Sherman family prior to selling it to the gullible Bigelow". Sheaffer wrote that many of the more extraordinary claims originated solely from Terry Sherman, who worked as a caretaker after the ranch was sold to Bigelow.
In 1996, skeptic James Randi awarded Bigelow a Pigasus Award for funding the purchase of the ranch and for supporting John E. Mack's and Budd Hopkins' investigations. The award category designated Bigelow as "the funding organization that supported the most useless study of a supernatural, paranormal or occult".
In 2016, Bigelow sold Skinwalker Ranch for $4.5 million to shell corporation Adamantium Holdings, LLC. After this purchase, roads leading to the ranch were blocked, the perimeter was guarded by cameras and barbed wire, and signs were posted that aimed to prevent people from approaching the ranch.
Adamantium Real Estate, LLC, a Delaware limited liability company based in Salt Lake City, Utah, filed a U.S. Trademark application for the service mark "Skinwalker Ranch" on February 15, 2017 and was approved and registered on April 14, 2020, with the mark applicable to "providing recreation facilities; entertainment services, namely, creation, development, production, and distribution of multimedia content, internet content, motion pictures, and television shows." An additional trademark filing to expand use on "cups and mugs, shirts and short-sleeved shirts, sports caps and hats" was filed by Adamantium Real Estate, LLC on June 21, 2021, and is pending approval and registration.
In March 2020, Brandon Fugal, 46, Utah real estate tycoon, announced ownership of the ranch.
|Lost Tapes||2009||TV||A fictional portrayal of the ranch is featured in an encounter with a Skinwalker and the protagonists.|
|Joe Rogan Questions Everything||2013||TV||Skinwalker Ranch is shown in Episode 5.|
|Skinwalker Ranch||2013||Film||Loosely based upon the folklore surrounding the ranch.|
|Hunt for the Skinwalker||2018||Film||Documentary following the history of claimed phenomena at the ranch, including testimony from locals and friends of the Shermans.|
|Portals to Hell||2019||TV||The Strawberry River Inn featured in the episode is situated a stone's throw from the ranch, and it is claimed to experience the same paranormal phenomena as Skinwalker Ranch.|
|Project Blue Book||2020||TV||Features Skinwalker Ranch in Season 2 Episode 7 including elements of various claims, such as a mysterious wolf and moving objects.|
|Ancient Aliens||2020||TV||Mentions Skinwalker Ranch in connection to claimed shape-shifting beings and ancient astronaut theories. (episode: The Mystery Of Skinwalker Ranch)|
|The Secret of Skinwalker Ranch||2020-present||TV||A television series on History channel, featuring "a team of scientists and experts" that uses science and technology such as lasers, ground-penetrating radar, and drone thermography as they search the property, attempting to explain claims of UFO sightings, animal mutilations, and paranormal events. Season one consists of 8 episodes. The show was renewed for season 2 in March 2021.[verification needed]|
|Decoding The Unknown||2022||YouTube||Episode "Skinwalker Ranch: The Secret isn't the Ghosts" with host Simon Whistler.|
Category #2, to the funding organization that supported the most useless study of a supernatural, paranormal or occult, goes to Robert Bigelow, of the Bigelow Tea family. Mr. Bigelow not only gave large sums of money to Harvard University's Professor John Mack and to million-seller author Bud Hopkins on the strength of their 'alien abduction' beliefs, but also purchased (for a purported $230,000) a 'haunted ranch' in Utah where UFO attacks and 'interdimensional portals' had shown up, in the wake of mysterious 'cattle mutilations.' Mr. Bigelow lives in a walled-in home in Las Vegas.