What is Skinwalker Ranch, and What’s Really Going on There?

Utah’s Skinwalker Ranch, located in the Uinta Basin, is a unique and mysterious place with a rich history of UFOs and extraterrestrial beings. Despite the numerous stories, no hard evidence has been released to confirm the true nature of the phenomenon. The property has been the subject of several books and a History Channel show. The mystery of the ranch’s origins and the numerous stories it has to offer remains a mystery, but it is a fascinating and intriguing place to explore.

History of Skinwalker Ranch

The Utes and the Navajo

The land, traditionally inhabited by the Ute Tribe, is known for its ominous name, “skin-walker.” The term comes from Navajo legend, which describes evil witches who can shapeshift into animals or humans. The Ute tribe’s story involves unleashing skin-walkers upon their enemies during hostility, and these creatures still stalk the land today. Although not well understood outside Navajo culture, this legend inspires scary stories.

The Shermans

The Sherman family, who purchased a ranch in 1994, experienced spooky events during their time there. They encountered a large, unidentified wolf in their yard, which they shot multiple times but did not damage. The wolf eventually disappeared, and the Shermans reported seeing flashing lights, mysterious objects in the sky, circles in their fields, and voices floating overhead. The family decided to sell the ranch in 1996, just two years after they bought it, as they believed the idea of shapeshifting witches in the Uinta Basin was not a plausible explanation. The Shermans’ experiences at the ranch were not limited to a single incident, but they were a testament to the spooky nature of the area.

Robert Bigelow and NIDSci 

Robert Bigelow, founder of the National Institute for Discovery Science, bought Skinwalker Ranch in 1996, a haunted ranch that was later turned into a research hub for NIDSci. Skeptics argue that most evidence for paranormal activity on the ranch comes from the Shermans, who sold the ranch to a millionaire known for his interest in UFO research. However, the Shermans didn’t milk Bigelow for all he was worth, selling the ranch for around $200,000, an average price for a home at the time.

NIDSci researchers shared stories of mysterious creatures with otherworldly eyes and cattle mutilations, including one that occurred in broad daylight. Their lack of evidence could serve as evidence itself, as their expensive audio and visual equipment failed to capture what several eyewitnesses had clearly seen. NIDSci disbanded in 2004, but maintained ownership of the property until 2016. When Skinwalker finally changed hands, it was passed off to a group that would experience similar anomalies and frustrations as NIDSci.

Brandon Fugal and the History Channel

In 2016, Bigelow sold Skinwalker Ranch to Brandon Fugal, a Utah real estate mogul, who remained anonymous for four years. In 2020, the History Channel recorded a reality TV show on the property, titled “The Secret of Skinwalker Ranch.” The show follows Fugal’s attempts to bring scientific approaches to the ranch’s mysteries, surrounded by a team of experts and a grown man named Dragon. The current occupants of Skinwalker Ranch have found more questions than answers, such as why electronic equipment malfunctions, unexplained illnesses, and the strangeness they feel on the ranch.

Other Local Tales

Skinwalker Ranch residents share a strong belief that their experiences are real, with hundreds of reports of UFOs and unexplained phenomena since the 1950s. They report seeing bright lights in the sky, often resembling a doorway or portal, and giant flying objects. Some neighbors have also reported seeing cows struck by lightning without scorched earth. One group reported moving their car without tire tracks in the desert sand, while another group had to get coffee for Dragon every day. These experiences highlight the skepticism and belief in the supernatural in the Uinta Basin.

What’s Really Going On?

Theory #1: People are deceiving to Get Money

Robert Sheaffer, a skeptic, believes the Skinwalker phenomenon to be illusory, as no proof has been found after years of monitoring and previous owners claim no supernatural events have occurred. Sheaffer suggests the Sherman family invented the story before selling it to Bigelow, with many extraordinary claims coming from Terry Sherman. In 1996, Bigelow was awarded a Pigasus Award for supporting supernatural investigations. Ufologist Barry Greenwood criticized the $22 million research program led by James Lacatski in 2023, citing the lack of documentary evidence and Skinwalker’s business of selling belief and hope.

Theory #2: Extraterrestrial Visitors

The popular theory about Skinwalker anomalies, including bright lights, flying objects, strange voices, electrical disturbances, and cattle mutilation, suggests that our flying friends may be secretive, possibly filming a docuseries.

Theory #3: Interdimensional Visitors

The “Marvel Cinematic Universe” theory suggests that UFOs originated from a parallel dimension or universe, causing the lights in the sky to appear like portals. This theory, which is similar to Theory #2, could explain the anomalies in the vicinity.

Theory #4: Geophysical Processes Causing the Brain to Hallucinate

Neuroscientist Michael Persinger’s theory suggests that geophysical forces, such as tectonic shifts and seismic activity, can affect the brain responsible for hallucinations. This theory suggests that people’s experiences at Skinwalker are due to increased seismic activity, leading to shapeshifters, UFOs, and portals. Despite being out-of-the-box, this theory is the most likely explanation for these phenomena.

Can You Visit Skinwalker Ranch?

Skinwalker Ranch, located on private property, requires invitations from the owners and is a tough UFO-spotting destination. A nearby campground offers UFO-themed ATV tours, while state parks in Uinta Basin like Steinaker, Starvation Reservoir, and Red Fleet State Parks offer UFO-spotting opportunities. While no promises are made about flying saucers or mysterious lights, visitors can enjoy stunning scenery, friendly locals, and a breathtaking star blanket.

Where is Skinwalker Ranch?

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