Site Long Associated With Tales Of The Paranormal Is The Focus Of A Decidedly Earthbound Photo Show
Among the U.S. sites that fascinate paranormal-activity enthusiasts, Nevadas Area 51 and New Mexicos Roswell are more famous, but Skinwalker Ranch boasts the most colorful name. The eastern Utah property, the subject of an online photo show organized by the University of Maryland Art Gallery, evokes the Navajo myth of a vengeful shaman who can assume the forms of other creatures. Thats great branding for a place that has long been associated with tales of UFOs and other unverified phenomena, and that has recently been the subject of a factually dubious History Channel series, The Secret of Skinwalker Ranch.
Its too late to do this, but the best way to approach photographer Christopher Bartels The Skinwalker Ranch Portfolio would be in complete ignorance. The 80 pictures are divided into four thematic sections and display many aspects of the 512-acre tract. Its a starkly beautiful high-desert landscape characterized by big skies and small curiosities, notably the sort of Indian artifacts Bartel has hunted all his life. The skillfully composed and lighted photographs capture many aspects of the place where Bartel worked as a security officer from 2010 to 2016, while then-owner Robert T. Bigelow allegedly undertook a Pentagon-funded inquiry into supposed mysteries on his land.
Heres the non-spoiler alert: The pictures show nothing thats paranormal, extraterrestrial or in any way unexpected.
Who Believes In Ufos
Greg Eghigian, professor of history at Penn State University, studies the history of UFO sightings and claims of alien contact. “For a long time now, most people have been aware that UFOs carry in tow with them a legacy of speculations bordering on the fantastic, the incredible,” he told Newsweek. “So, when someone says they saw a UFO, it seemsto many, at leastto imply that the witness must also be buying into all those speculations, no matter how outlandish they might be. Thus, a leap in thinking, an assumption, is often made, attributing all sorts of unconventional beliefs to witnesses even if they themselves don’t share those views.”
Eghigian said scientists are trained to be skeptical about speculative theories and the reliability of human judgment. They tend to believe knowledge occurs incrementally. “By and large scientists believe that time needs to be taken to investigate claims, to not get caught up in fads and hype and to let the data speak for itself over time,” he said. As a result, scientific research into UFOs is something of a non-starter.
Academic surveys about the people who see UFO sightings have been carried out, however. From the 70s and 80s, a picture started to emerge. People who said they had seen UFOs tended to have had a higher education, were white, male and middle class”a group that has also historically dominated UFO organizations,” Eghigian said.
Is Skinwalker Ranch Real Or Fake History Of Utah’s Ufo Location
Is Skinwalker Ranch real or fake? The paranormal location is explored on the History channels The Secret of Skinwalker Ranch.
On 4 May 2021, The Secret of Skinwalker Ranch returned for its sophomore season. There are ten episodes expected in season 2, which will take us all the way through until summer.
In this season, we are introduced to some more paranormal activities at Skinwalker Ranch. The general public still has questions about the ranchs legitimacy, so weve done some digging.
Find out about the history of Skinwalker Ranch here.
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Skinwalker Ranch: Angels & Demons
Skinwalker Ranch is a 500 acre property in eastern Utah. Its also supposedly one of the most haunted places on Earth. For 20 years, the ranch was owned by Robert Bigelow, a real estate millionaire obsessed with the paranormal. Bigelow claimed the ranch to be a hotspot for UFOs, poltergeists, and all kinds of monsters. But no evidence to support any of this has ever been presented.
In 2016, Bigelow sold the ranch to another real estate millionaire with a passion for the paranormal Brandon Fugal. And Fugal claims to finally have the goods. Evidence. Proof. He produces a reality TV show on The History Channel called The Secret of Skinwalker Ranch, which claims to show real paranormal phenomena, proving that the spooky legends of the ranch are actually true.
The Basement Office host and producer, Steven Greenstreet, reached out to Brandon Fugal and asked if he could come to the ranch and see this phenomena for himself. Greenstreet was surprised when Fugal enthusiastically accepted. Fugal said Greenstreet could come to the ranch, that he would show him everything and that he would answer all his questions. So The Basement Office host got on a plane and began his journey.
Ufos The Pentagon And A Move To The Mainstream
The idea of UFO sightings was largely seen as quackery for decades. People who claimed to have had encounters with them were often dismissed and ridiculed.
This has slowly started to shift, however, with the release of Pentagon documents about UFO sightings that show there was an effort to keep track and record unexplained events. UFOunidentified flying objectdoes not mean aliens.
The U.S government also set up the Unidentified Aerial Phenomena Task Force in 2020 as part of the Office of Naval Intelligence to standardize and collect information about UAP sightings. It said the task force would be examining unauthorized aircraft where “the observer cannot immediately identify what he or she is observing.”
“The Department of Defense established the UAPTF to improve its understanding of, and gain insight into, the nature and origins of UAPs,” it said. “The mission of the task force is to detect, analyze and catalog UAPs that could potentially pose a threat to U.S. national security.”
In June 2021, NASA chief Bill Nelson told CNN he did not think UFO sightings were a case of optical illusions. He said that while he does not think UFOs are aliens visiting Earth”I think I would know”the sightings reported by Navy pilots are a mystery.
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How Skinwalker Ranch Became A Hotbed Of Paranormal Activity
Image courtesy of Prometheus Entertainment
Reports persist of UFOs, crop circles, cattle mutilationand shapeshifting creatures impervious to bullets.
Some have called it a supernatural place. Others have deemed it cursed. Terry Sherman got so spooked by the happenings on his new cattle ranch that 18 months after moving his family of four to the property now known by many as Skinwalker Ranch in northeastern Utah, he sold the 512-acre parcel away.
He and his wife Gwen shared their chilling experiences with a local reporter in June 1996: Theyd seen mysterious crop circles, the Shermans said, and UFOs, and the systematic and repeated mutilation of their cattlein an oddly surgical and bloodless manner. Within three months of the storys publication, Las Vegas real estate magnate and UFO enthusiast Robert Bigelow bought the property for $200,000.
WATCH: Full episodes of The Secret of Skinwalker Ranch online now.
Image courtesy of Prometheus Entertainment
Under the name the National Institute for Discovery Science, Bigelow set up round-the-clock surveillance of the ranch, hoping to get to the bottom of the paranormal claims. But while that surveillance yielded a book, Hunt for the Skinwalker: Science Confronts the Unexplained at a Remote Ranch in Utah, in which several of the researchers claimed to have seen paranormal activities, they were unable to capture any meaningful physical evidence supporting the Shermans incredible stories.
Skinwalker Ranch: Possibly The Spookiest Place On Earth
Posted: Oct 31, 2020 / 11:41 AM EDT
Posted: Oct 31, 2020 / 11:41 AM EDT
MYSTERY WIRE Now that youre in the Halloween spirit, the spookiest place in the country might be in Utah. Scientific studies suggest that place is Skinwalker Ranch in the rural northeastern part of the state.
For as long as humans have lived in the Uintah Basin, theyve been seeing strange things in the sky. In the 1970s, Utah State professor Frank Salisbury wrote a well documented book about hundreds of UFO sightings in the basin.
But the strangeness goes way beyond mystery aircraft. For 15 generations, indigenous tribes, including the Utes, have referred to this sandstone ridge as being in the path of the skinwalker. They consider the skinwalker a malevolent spirit and a shapeshifter.
The ridge overlooks a picturesque property now known around the world by its nickname Skinwalker Ranch. It easily ranks as the most intensely studied paranormal hotspot in history.
Dr. John Alexander retired from Army intelligence as a colonel and was part of the first scientific study of the ranch under the umbrella of NIDS, the National Institute for Discovery Science.
Alexander was a colonel in Army Intelligence and continues to work as a consultant to the Department of Defense. After earning a PhD, Alexander was directly involved with the U.S. Armys psychic warrior research program and then became one of the first employees of NIDS.
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Local Native American Lore & Skinwalkers
The Uinta Basin, where Skinwalker Ranch is located, covers a large area in northwest Utah. Hundreds of years ago, the Ute and Navajo were the two major tribes that populated the land. They’d had an uneasy relationship for years, sometimes allying with each other, sometimes conducting raiding parties on each other and taking slaves. The relationship between the two tribes deteriorated completely during the Civil War when the Ute betrayed the Navajo by allying with Kit Carson, a U.S. Army soldier tasked with leading a brutal campaign to oust the Navajo from their lands. With the help of the Ute and other tribes, the occupation was successful the Navajo surrendered and were forced to march to a reservation in Fort Sumner. The Ute eventually moved to the reservation in the Uinta Basin.
The Ute have been convinced ever since the Navajo had laid a curse on the land in retaliation for their betrayal. Since that time, the land and Ute tribe been haunted by what they call “skinwalkers,” malevolent, shapeshifting witches of Navajo lore, who, in the Uinta Basin, take the form of giant wolves and other creatures. The Ute believe Skinwalker Ranch, named for those skinwalkers, is right in the path of the monsters and largely avoid going to the ranch or entering its territory. Interestingly, however, ancient rock art of the tribes of the region have depicted strange animal-human hybrid creatures since well before the Civil War.
Why The Secrets Of Skinwalker Ranch Dont Stay On Skinwalker Ranch
According to the owner and the lead investigator of Skinwalker Ranch, phenomena from the paranormal hotspot have followed researchers home.
Historys The Secret of Skinwalker Ranch features ongoing investigations into one of the countrys most mysterious locales.
The titular ranch allegedly experiences paranormal activity regularly from UFOs and cattle mutilations to incarnate voices and poltergeistsand sometimes several at the same time. Strange occurrences on the ranch have been the focus of several scientific investigations, including from a secretive program housed in the Pentagon. What is not as well known is that some investigators claim the paranormal phenomena follow them home. Brandon Fugal, the elusive owner of Skinwalker Ranch, spoke with Den of Geek about how what happens at Skinwalker Ranch doesnt always stay there.
Fugal is a prominent businessman and real estate developer in Utah. He first heard about the Skinwalker Ranch at a local bookstore.
The ranch was first brought to my attention when I was at Barnes & Noble, back in 2006, and saw Dr. Colm Kelleher and George Knapps book Hunt for the Skinwalker on the shelf, Fugal says. I actually bought it and read it on the weekend. I found it to be very interesting.
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Fugal says he had developed a relationship with the two science advisors during another effort that I had been involved with a decade ago.
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What Are Skinwalkers Inside The Navajo Legend
So, what is a Skinwalker? As The Navajo-English Dictionary explains that the Skinwalker has been translated from the Navajo yee naaldlooshii. This literally means by means of it, it goes on all fours and the yee naaldlooshii is merely one of many varieties of Skinwalkers, called ántijhnii.
The Pueblo people, Apache, and Hopi also have their own legends involving the Skinwalker.
Some traditions believe that Skinwalkers are borne of a benevolent medicine man who abuses indigenous magic for evil. The medicine man is then given mythical powers of evil, that vary from tradition to tradition, but the power all traditions mention is the ability to turn into or possess an animal or person. Other traditions believe a man, woman, or child can become a Skinwalker should they commit any kind of deep-seated taboo.
Wikimedia CommonsThe Navajo believe Skinwalkers were once benevolent medicine men who acheived the highest level of priesthood, but chose to use his power to inflict pain.
The Skinwalkers are described as being mostly animalistic physically, even when they are in human form. They are reportedly near-impossible to kill except with a bullet or knife dipped in white ash.
Little more is known about the purported being, as the Navajo are staunchly reluctant to discuss it with outsiders and often even amongst each other. Traditional belief portends that speaking about the malevolent beings is not only bad luck but makes their appearance all the more likely.
Stories Of The Mythical Skinwalker
Before he left the property, Terry Sherman reported seeing a wolf three times bigger than normal at one point. He shot it three times with a rifle at close range to no avail. And after Bigelow bought the property under the National Institute for Discovery Science, things got stranger.
Biochemist Colm Kelleher said that on the night of March 12, 1997, he saw a big humanoid figure perched on a tree. It was observing the research team.
Prometheus EntertainmentRobert Bigelow sold the property to a company called Adamantium Real Estate Holdings in 2016.
The large creature that lay motionless, almost casually, in the tree, Kelleher said. The only indication of the beasts presence was the penetrating yellow light of the unblinking eyes as they stared fixedly back into the light.
Kelleher said he fired at the figure before it vanished, but not before he noticed how it looked. The shape had sharp claws and resembled a predatory bird. He said it looked heavy. This description and later reported sightings seemed eerily reminiscent of Navajo legend.
According to The Navajo-English Dictionary by William Morgan and Leon Wall, the word skinwalker in Navajo translates to yee naaldlooshii, meaning by means of it, it goes on all fours. The tribe is reluctant to discuss the legend with outsiders, making it all the more mysterious.
And with the ranch being 400 miles removed from Navajo Nation, the lack of answers made the sightings even more intriguing.
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A Return To Skinwalker Ranch
The latest season on Skinwalker Ranch sees investigators examine anomalies in the sky about a mile above the “Triangle Area.” The team invites former members of the U.S. military connected to the “Tic Tac” UAP and they simulate a phenomenon so it appears above the ranch.
Travis Taylor, the scientist involved in The Secret of Skinwalker Ranch, told Newsweek he got involved in the program through mutual connections with Fugal: “We’ve found that there is absolutely some type of strange phenomenon or phenomena taking place that generate microwaves, radio waves, gamma ray radiation, ground vibrations, UAP/UFO appearances, strange sounds, and many other things that we simply can’t explain.”
“There is not a singular explanation. It is possible that there are ‘bad human actors’ causing some of it, but there is a lot of it that the technology just doesn’t exist that could explain it. I have no current working hypothesis that can be experimentally tested. So, we think of things we can test and do that. Like the Aerosmith song says we just ‘chip away at the stone’ until we get to something.”
Asked about the skepticism most scientists would have regarding Skinwalker Ranch, Taylor said his peers can either “follow the scientific method” or “ignore a part of the world/universe around them.”
The Secret of Skinwalker Ranch Season 3 begins on The HISTORY Channel on May 3 at 10 p.m. ET.
Take A Look Back In Time On The Ranch
Over the years weve found, received and curated historical images that represent what life was like on the ranch well before any scientific investigation began.
Well be adding to this section as more pictures are discovered and scanned, so check back often!
Children in front of the creamery
Bunkhouse – Homestead 2
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Where Is Skinwalker Ranch
Skinwalker Ranch is a real ranch based in Utah. The ranch has a long history, dating back to the early 1900s. It also goes by the name Sherman Ranch.
The massive ranch is located in Ballard, Utah. It spans over 500 acres of land in the states northern region, known as the Uintah Basin.
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One conspiracy theory that fascinates me is the mystery of Skinwalker ranch, the area just seems like a UFO & paranormal hotspot. There seems like too many things thats happened to be fake
The Skinwalker In Skinwalker Ranch
A view of one of the old homesteads from the top of the mesa on Skinwalker Ranch.
Image courtesy of Prometheus Entertainment
Repeated sightings of humanlike creatures have led some to invoke the name Skinwalker, a shape-shifting character from Navajo tribal folklore. Among the Navajo, skinwalkers are like werewolves: evil witches who can transform themselves into the creatures of their choosing.
But Shermans family ranch was 400 miles north of Navajo Nation. It was next to Ute territory. And when the Utes and the Navajo did cross paths, it was an acrimonious relationship, explains historian Sondra Jones, author of Being and Becoming Ute.
It was not friendly, Jones says. The Navajo were more aggressive people they took slaves, they had Ute slaves. And there was direct conflict when the Navajo attempted to move up into Ute territory, at modern-day Pagosa Springs and Durango.
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