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Listen to ““THE SKINWALKER RANCH: Home to UFOS, Real Werewolves, and Living Dinosaurs” #WeirdDarkness” on Spreaker.
IN THIS EPISODE: (Weekend Dark Archives episode previously released July 25, 2018) *** In the ranching heartland of America, a mysterious plot of land has been dubbed “the strangest place of earth.” If tales are to be believed, Skinwalker Ranch is an epicenter of extraterrestrial activity, surrounded for decades by disproportionate amounts of UFO sightings and paranormal phenomena. Native Americans in the area believe the ranch is plagued by evil creatures known as Skinwalkers, while others claim to have seen UFOs, crop circles, and unexplainable lights. The Skinwalker Ranch is a weird place. Located near Ballard, Utah, it’s long been the source of tales of monsters, space ships, and other bizarre phenomenon.
STORY AND MUSIC CREDITS/SOURCES…
Nina Strolich for The Daily Beast: http://bit.ly/2X2LP0r
Kara Goldfarb for All That’s Interesting: http://bit.ly/2CtAZqE
Juliet Bennett Rylah for All That’s Interesting: http://bit.ly/36NAGot
Andrea Granum, The Desert News, 1978: http://bit.ly/33AqEoH
George Knapp, The Las Vegas Mercury, 2011: http://bit.ly/33Mq6vW
Background music provided by EpidemicSound and AudioBlocks with paid license. Music by Shadows Symphony (http://bit.ly/2W6N1xJ) and Midnight Syndicate (http://amzn.to/2BYCoXZ) is also sometimes used with permission.
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“I have come into the world as a light, so that no one who believes in me should stay in darkness.” — John 12:46 *** How to escape eternal darkness: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2IYmodFKDaM
THE SKINWALKER RANCH
People tend to gravitate towards those they have things in common with, like-minded communities. Apparently, it’s no different for un-human like creatures. Skinwalker Ranch, has come to be known as a site where spottings of UFOs, monsters, and other strange creatures are common.
In 1994, Terry and Gwen Sherman and their children moved themselves and their cattle into the 480-acre ranch south of Fort Duchesne, Utah.
Within two years, they had sold the ranch, desperate to leave behind the paranormal torment they claim they’d been bombarded with. The Shermans took to radio and newspaper media outlets to share their experience of the bizarre things they had witnessed on the ranch. These tales included doorways appearing in midair with light emerging from them, the mysterious vanishing and mutilations of cows, and crop-circle-like patterns in the pasture and soil.
“For a long time we wondered what we were seeing, if it was something to do with a top-secret project,” Terry told the Deseret News in 1996. “I don’t know really what to think about it.”
The family described a ship the size of multiple football fields and strange blinking lights. The soil on their fields had large impressions flattened into the grass.
There were voices speaking in strange languages that seemed to emanate from thin air.
Terry spotted a figure “over seven feet tall” standing next to an object.
Cows would disappear into thin air and others would be found killed and mutilated. In total, 14 expensive cattle were taken from the 80-head herd. After chasing a bouncing ball of light, three of their dogs were never seen again.
Local retired high school teacher Joseph Hicks had been researching the area’s paranormal sightings since observing a flying object with his students in 1951.
The piece of land hosting the Shermans’ ranch was notorious for mysterious sightings and over the years he had chronicled hundreds of sightings.
In his studies, Hicks found that the Native American Ute tribe who had called the area home for thousands of years had folklore of mysterious “skinwalker” creatures. The particular patch of ranchland had long been deemed cursed and forbidden. It earned the name Skinwalker Ranch.
In 2002, Hicks told journalist George Knapp—who wrote the definitive ranch history for the Las Vegas Mercury—that the Uintah Basin region was so rife with extraterrestrial occurences that an estimated half of the population had witnessed UFO activity.
A few weeks after the 1996 Deseret News article came out about the ranch’s mysterious occurrences, a reclusive Las Vegas hotelier flew to meet the Shermans and struck a deal to buy the property for $200,000.
Robert T. Bigelow had made his fortune in the Budget Suites of America hotel chain and was well known for the interest and money he had spent to legitimize paranormal investigation.
The year before he purchased the ranch, he had poured millions of dollars of his own money into founding the National Institute of Discovery Science as a scientifically strict research lab to investigate extraterrestrial activity.
Moving the team to the Skinwalker Ranch, NIDS quickly built an observation post, strung the property with video cameras and hired researchers to observe it 24 hours a day, turning it into a scientific research laboratory.
It chronicled multiple bizarre events, including otherworldly animals.
As Bigelow described to Wired in a rare interview, he came from a family of believers. His grandparents first saw a UFO in 1947, when driving across the Nevada desert.
Through his childhood and later in life, he was fascinated by the paranormal, interviewing people who said they had spotted extraterrestrials and digging into government information.
“I have an enormous amount of data from a lot of different sources that give me some pretty strong convictions about the authenticity of the existence of anomalous phenomena, such as UFOs,” he told Wired.
In founding NIDS, he pulled in a high-caliber staff, including Colonel John Alexander, a NATO adviser who previously headed the non-lethal weapons testing at the Los Alamos National Library.
But with strained funding and a slowdown of paranormal sightings at the ranch, NIDS shut down in 2004.
In its final findings, it concluded the type of objects spotted flying over Utah and elsewhere were not consistent with covert American military aircraft.
Bigelow then transitioned his focus into space tourism, starting Bigelow Aerospace, a company that has struck deals with NASA.
A spokesperson for Bigelow Aerospace said the company had “no comment relative to Skinwalker Ranch.” The project may have been dismantled, but it’s said that Bigelow still owns Skinwalker Ranch, leaving the aliens in peace.
But Bigelow and the Sherman family weren’t the first ones to discover strange activity at Skinwalker Ranch. An article in the Desert News from 1978 reported that residents of the area spotted a dome-shaped UFO surrounded by a glowing green light.
Here is that article… https://news.google.com/newspapers?id=s4MOAAAAIBAJ&sjid=-X8DAAAAIBAJ&pg=7074,598612&hl=en
In yet another bizarre twist, tales of creatures roaming the Utah property extend even further back, relayed mostly in the oral histories of the Ute tribe. The tribe’s reservation is located in the area and members have long believed that Skinwalkers have inhabited the land around the ranch since the 1800s. Hence the name Skinwalker Ranch.
The definition of a skinwalker varies from version to version but typically is depicted as an evil and powerful creature who has the ability to take the form of various animals. It is believed that to become a skinwalker a person must commit the gruesome task of killing one of their family members. Little else is known about skinwalkers, as those who believe in their existence are fearful of discussing them.
According to reports by local media, Adamantium Real Estate acquired the Skinwalker Ranch in April 2016 and has since encountered many issues with trespassing. “We just have so many problems with trespassers and people down here and vandalism, and it’s very, very scary,” said the now caretaker of the property.
As unfortunate as it is for the owners, it can’t come as much of a surprise. Given its history, it’s no wonder that believers or the curious would want to check out Skinwalker Ranch for themselves.
It’s not just UFOs and extraterrestrials that supposedly visit Skinwalker Ranch though.
The Sherman family claims that a number of their cows were mutilated. One such cow had no signs of injury, not even bleeding, other than a hole bored through its eye. Others cows were found sliced up, with organs or other body parts carefully removed. In each case, the Shermans found no blood. A number of other cows, as well as six cats, vanished without a trace. Ranch dogs, meanwhile, were fearful of an unknown presence.
In another instance, the Shermans returned home to find four bulls packed into a trailer. When discovered, the bulls snapped out of a trance and became upset. No one could figure out how four bulls ended up in the trailer, which was locked, and small enough that getting just one in proved difficult for the ranchers, let alone four.
So the legend goes, just after the Sherman family moved to the ranch, they were approached by a huge, friendly wolf. Not long thereafter, the wolf attacked a calf, prompting the rancher to strike it with a stick, to no avail. He shot the wolf with a .357 Magnum, which produced no results. The wolf was shot two more times with the magnum, then several times with a hunting rifle, with no result. Eventually, the wolf left of its own accord. The rancher followed its tracks, which simply came to an end, as though the wolf ceased to exist as it walked.
Throughout their time there, members of the family claimed to see other large wolves and canine beasts.
As told on radio show Coast to Coast AM, the Sherman family spotted blue orbs on the property. In once instance, the father set three dogs on the orb, which ducked away from them each time they approached, leading the animals further and further away from the ranch. Once out of sight of the ranch, the rancher heard the dogs yelp, but did not pursue them out of fear. In the morning, the rancher went to investigate, and found three circles of burnt grass with goo in the middle, supposedly all that remained of the dogs. PETA is now officially anti blue orb.
Poltergeist activity was reported by the Sherman family shortly after their run in with the bulletproof werewolf. According to a segment on Coast to Coast AM, a paranormal radio news program, the matriarch of the Sherman clan stated she often came home with groceries, unpacked them, and later discovered all the food repacked in shopping backs.
The family also reported missing or moved objects, such as a hairbrush found in the freezer when it had last been seen on the bathroom counter. The Shermans heard voices in a language they could not understand, and spotted shadows in the house.
The Sherman family reported seeing a number of bizarre animals, including a beast that looked similar a hyena on steroids. According to journalist George Knapp, Sherman saw the creature attacking one of his horses, but as he approached, it disappeared, leaving behind only claw marks on the horse’s legs.
This same varmint may have been seen by others. The wife of a local cop noticed a similar creature at Skinwalker, and a visitor to the ranch spotted a brutish animal that ran 100 yards in a matter of seconds and roared loudly.
The Ute tribe believes Skinwalkers inhabit the land surrounding the ranch. Skinwalkers are evil witches who can turn into animals such as owls, wolves, foxes, and coyotes. A regular witch becomes a Skinwalker by murdering a family member. Little else is known about them, as the Ute don’t like to discuss them.
For a 2002 article for the Las Vegas Mercury, George Knapp spoke with Junior Hicks, who had catalogued a number of paranormal events in the area. Hicks explained:
“[The Utes] think the Skinwalkers are powerful spirits that are here because of a curse that was put on them generations ago by the Navajos. And the center of the whole legend is this ranch. The Utes say the ranch is the path of the skin walker. Tribe members are strictly forbidden from seeing foot on the property. It’s been that way for a long time.”
According to SkinwalkerRanch.org, a website documenting all the entities encountered at the ranch, the Dark One is extremely rare. This being is possibly human, a shaman trapped in an alternate timeline. Those who have seen the Dark One describe him as a silent Native American peering through the portal to another dimension. Some believe he opened the portal.
When most people hear Skinwalker Ranch, they think of Utah. However, there’s one in Connecticut, too. The CT ranch is located in Litchfield Hills and, according to ghost hunters Paul and Ben Eno, bears several similarities to the Utah site.
The family that lives at Skinwalker CT claims to have seen UFOs and ghosts. Paul called the location a “genuine crossroads of the multiverse” and states that all manner of human and non-human creatures seem to be “sharing the same physical space but within their own parallel worlds.”
Few have claimed to have encountered a mysterious portal, but those who have say it exists on the ranch, and it appears in the form of a bright orange or blue light that lasts for about 10 seconds at a time and hovers 500 to 1,000 feet in the air.
The theory is the orange portal allows beings to pass into and out of our world from another dimension, while the blue allows vehicles to pass. If true, this could be how the bulletproof werewolves and massive hyenas entered and vanished from the ranch. If you believe in that type of thing.
Some believe giant snakes lurk in the Bottle Hollow Reservoir, very near Skinwalker Ranch. The indigenous Ute people believe in the snakes, and tribal police have reported several bizarre drownings in Bottle Hollow.
One man claims that a woman he went swimming with after dark one night was pulled beneath the water and drowned by a snake. In the book Hunt for the Skinwalker, a tribal police officer attests to personally seeing a snake.
“It would swim straight down from the marina and go all the way down to the bottom end,” he said. “You could see it on moonlight nights. I [saw] that, well, everybody, the other guys have seen the snake in there too.”
A unnamed witness claims to have seen a mysterious squid on the ranch, as depicted in a sketch. Very little is known about this creature. It is perhaps related to the giant sea snake sightings, though this is mere conjecture; details of the supposed encounter are extremely scarce.
The Sherman family often found crop circles laid out in triangular patterns. They also reported finding neat, perfectly proportioned spherical holes in the earth. They never figured out what or who caused these markings, but noted that it would be unlikely for them to miss a human visitor sneaking up the solitary road leading to the property.
Of course, UFO sightings are the most commonly reported extraordinary phenomenon at Skinwalker. The Shermans stated they saw several unexplained aircraft, as well as blinking lights, and heard strange voices speaking an otherworldly language. Numerous cattle were also mutilated during their ownership of the ranch, which many attribute to aliens interference.
According to the Daily Beast, Joshua Hicks, a teacher who claimed to have seen a UFO, believes about half the local population had spotted a UFO at some point.
As mentioned previously, The National Institute for Discovery Science (NIDS) was founded in 1995 by Vegas hotel owner Robert Bigelow. It specialized in studying the paranormal. Bigelow bought Skinwalker Ranch after reading a 1996 article on unexplained phenomena in the area by jouranlist George Knapp. Knapp and NIDS Deputy Administrator Colm Kelleher eventually wrote a book together called Hunt for the Skinwalker. NIDS closed in 2004, as paranormal activity at the ranch died down.
As if to punctuate the point, the phenomena at the ranch seemed to constantly evolve. One of the most recent incidents occurred on a cold morning in February. The caretaker for the property was patrolling the grounds early in the morning. As he walked past a watering hole, he noticed an odd circular impression in the thin ice that had formed overnight. Something had carved a perfect circle in the ice. The circle was just under six feet in diameter and seemed oddly reminiscent of the crop formations seen in English wheat fields.
The cuts extended only a quarter-inch into the ice and the ice itself was perhaps another quarter-inch thick. The question arises, how could this have been done? Someone standing on the muddy bank would have left footprints. The only prints were cattle tracks. The ice itself was so thin that it could support almost no weight and certainly would have cracked and broken if someone stood on it. Could someone have suspended themselves above the ice patch and then somehow carved a perfect circle? How, and more importantly, why? NIDS staffers, following the scientific method, collected and analyzed ice shavings from the spot, took readings for magnetic fields and EM radiation, checked for tracks throughout the area but found no clues. There is no natural explanation for such a subtle event, and it has never been reported again.
NIDS employees compiled a confidential report containing information about all the assorted incidents on the ranch. Reading this report will make the hair stand up on your neck. To date, the researchers have recorded seven distinct incidents involving magnetic abnormalities. Simply put, their compasses went nuts while out on the range. The needles of the compasses either spun out of control, or pointed straight down at the ground. No one has a reasonable explanation.
Of all the strange incidents at the ranch, this one may take the prize. It occurred on the night of March 12, 1997. Barking dogs alerted the team to something lurking in a tree near the ranch house. Tom Gorman grabbed a hunting rifle and took off in his truck toward the tree. Two NIDS staffers followed in another vehicle. Up in the tree branches, they could make out a huge set of yellowish, reptilian eyes. The head of this animal had to be three feet wide, they guessed. At the bottom of the tree was something else. Gorman described it as huge and hairy, with massively muscled front legs and a doglike head.
Gorman, who is a crack shot, fired at both figures from a distance of 40 yards. The creature on the ground seemed to vanish. The thing in the tree apparently fell to the ground because Gorman heard it as it landed heavily in the patches of snow below. All three men ran through the pasture and scrub brush, chasing what they thought was a wounded animal, but they never found the animal and saw no blood either. A professional tracker was brought in the next day to scour the area. Nothing.
But there was a physical clue left behind. At the bottom of the tree, they found and photographed a weird footprint, or rather, claw print. The print left in the snow was from something large. It had three digits with what they guessed were sharp claws on the end. Later analysis and comparison of the print led them to find a chilling similarity–the print from the ranch closely resembled that of a velociraptor, an extinct dinosaur made famous in the Jurassic Park films. (For the record, no one at NIDS is saying he shot a velociraptor. They don’t know what it was.)
If the Skinwalker Ranch and all I’ve told you isn’t strange enough, it goes over the cliff with a professional wrestler. Wrestler, politician, and conspiracy theorist Jesse Ventura took on the Skinwalker Ranch in an episode of Conspiracy Theory with Jesse Ventura, a show with a terribly enigmatic title.
In a nutshell, the government knows about the aliens. According to Ventura and friends, who present very little evidence to back up their claims, Robert Bigelow, who owned the ranch after the Shermans, found proof of, or even had direct contact with, aliens. What’s more, Bigelow’s organization, Bigelow Aerospace, is in cahoots with the government and might even be building a space hotel.