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What Is Skinwalker Ranch? Are Skinwalkers Real? History & FAQs

What Is Skinwalker Ranch? Are Skinwalkers Real? History & FAQs

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Area 51 and the Bermuda Triangle aren’t the only places with high paranormal activity. In Utah, the Skinwalker Ranch is a famous hotbed for all things extra-terrestrial and supernatural.

At one time, Skinwalker Ranch was just that – a ranch, with farm animals and crops. But in the 90s, it became infamous for claims about shapeshifters and strange lights in the sky.

Many people have tried to tell the story of what’s going on at Skinwalker Ranch. But how much of it is real?

Read on to find out the history of Skinwalker Ranch and decide for yourself what’s real and what’s fake.

Is Skinwalker Ranch Real?

Skinwalker Ranch is a real place near Ballard, Utah where people have reported paranormal and UFO activity for decades.

Skinwalker Ranch has supposedly had cow mutilations, flying objects, mysterious, red-eyed animals, and magnetic fields.

The debate on whether all of these events really happened is still raging, but the location itself is not fake.

The ranch, also known as the Sherman Ranch, first became known for alien and other paranormal events around 1996. And the whole area, known as the Uintah Basin, has had UFO reports since the 70s.

There’s a lot of media claiming to document these phenomena, but plenty of people are skeptical as well.

Are Skinwalkers Real?

There has been no conclusive proof that skinwalkers are real. While some people do believe in skinwalkers and other cryptids, many believe they are just a myth.

Image of a skinwalker caught on camera at night
Supposed Image of a skinwalker caught on camera in Alabama

The idea of a skinwalker comes from the culture of the Navajo. The original term is “yee naaldlooshii” meaning “by means of it, it goes on all fours.”

But in general, the Navajo people are reluctant to share details about much of their culture to those outside of it. It’s likely there’s a much deeper meaning to skinwalkers in Navajo culture than the scary “boogeyman” non-Indigenous people have come to view them as.

History of Skinwalker Ranch

Prior to the 90s, none of the owners of the ranch reported anything strange. The paranormal history of the ranch begins with the Shermans.

The Shermans – 1994-1996

The Shermans, Terry and Gwen, bought the 512-acre ranch from the Myers family in 1994. One of their first encounters with something strange happened in their livestock pen.

A large animal, which, at first, they thought was a coyote or wolf, stalked toward the pen and grabbed a calf.

Terry shot at the animal with both a handgun and a rifle. He managed to hit it, but the Sherman’s claim the animal didn’t react as if it was hurt. It took the calf and left, but left behind a nasty smell, like rotting meat.

For months afterward, visitors claimed to see more strange animals in the woods. These sightings are likely what contributed to the “Skinwalker Ranch” nickname.

Mysterious image of Skinwalker Ranch

“Skinwalkers” are part of Navajo culture, where the belief is that they are people with the power to shapeshift into animal form. They gain this power through evil deeds, such as murdering a family member, and use their power for further evil.

But there’s more to Skinwalker Ranch than just strange beasts. Visitors also saw hovering and zipping lights in the sky, some orange, some blue.

The Shermans also say that some of their dogs were “incinerated” in the middle of the night. Their cows were also mutilated and “cored out” but in a precise way that a coyote couldn’t manage.

Robert Bigelow – 1996-2016

The Shermans only lived at the ranch for two years before selling to property magnate Robert Bigelow in 1996. The stories coming out of the Sherman Ranch fascinated Bigelow.

He himself had founded NIDSci, the National Institute for Discovery Science, the year before. He brought along a team and equipment for NIDS to the ranch and began conducting studies on the area.

Bigelow and his team claim to experience many of the same phenomena as the Shermans. But their equipment would often malfunction or even be purposefully sabotaged, supposedly by unknown entities.

NIDSci shut down in 2004, but soon after the US Defense Intelligence Agency (DIA) set up the AATIP, or Advanced Aerospace Threat Identification Program.

The government gave the program $22 million to conduct research into unexplained and possibly extra-terrestrial occurrences. With his government connections, Bigelow was able to be a part of that research at Skinwalker Ranch.

Brandon Fugal – 2016-Present

The AATIP was dissolved in 2012, and Bigelow sold Skinwalker Ranch to Brandon Fugal in 2016 for $500,000. Fugal continues to conduct scientific research on the ranch.

Over the years, the Skinwalker Ranch has been the subject of several documentaries, TV series, and movies. These include the found-footage film Skinwalker Ranch and a documentary film called Hunt For the Skinwalker.

Perhaps the most famous portrayal is the History Channel series The Secret of Skinwalker Ranch, which began in 2020 and released its fourth season in 2023.

Paranormal Activity At Skinwalker Ranch

The most common paranormal activity at Skinwalker Ranch includes lights in the sky, dead animals, creature sightings, and equipment malfunction.

The first unusual reports from Skinwalker Ranch came from Gwen and Terry Sherman in the mid-90s. First, they saw strange lights in the sky. They hovered high above the trees where it would be impossible for headlights to be. The Shermans also saw various flying objects, usually at night.

Terry and his son even say they snuck up on an object with lights one night. They waved their arms at it and the lights flashed three times before the object disappeared.

The men thought the object may have been trying to communicate with them.

Soon after, the Shermans began finding their cattle mutilated with surgical precision. There was often a strange chemical smell around the bodies.

Brandon Fugal and Travis Taylor posing for a photo at Skinwalker Ranch
Brandon Fugal (left) and Travis Taylor (right) at Skinwalker Ranch

They also saw large creatures in the dark that didn’t appear to be hurt when shot with bullets.

When Robert Bigelow took over the ranch, he tried using scientific equipment to record the strange happenings. Bigelow and his team claimed to see the same lights as the Shermans, but also found their equipment physically destroyed.

One NIDS team member at the ranch said he believed there was a “pre-cognitive sentient intelligence” at the ranch. This supposed intelligence knew what the team was going to try next and destroyed the equipment beforehand to stop them.

The docuseries The Secret of Skinwalker Ranch purports to have seen flying objects, experienced paranormal injuries, and equipment malfunctions.

Common Theories About What’s Going on at Skinwalker Ranch

The theories about what’s really happening at Skinwalker Ranch range from real extra-terrestrials, intentional fraud, government testing, and environmental toxins.

But, of course, there are plenty of skeptics as well who have their own ideas about what’s really happening.

Here are the most common theories about what’s going on at Skinwalker Ranch:

Theory #1: UFOs & Aliens

Many people believe that the strange lights and other phenomena seen at Skinwalker Ranch are caused by UFOs. There have been many reports of UFO sightings in the area, and some people believe that the ranch is a landing site for alien spacecraft.

Theory #2: Interdimensional beings:

Some people believe that the strange activity at Skinwalker Ranch is caused by interdimensional beings. These beings are said to be able to travel between different dimensions, and they may be responsible for the UFO sightings and cattle mutilations.

Theory #3: Shapeshifting creatures

The name “Skinwalker Ranch” comes from a Navajo legend about a creature that can shapeshift into animals. The legend says that the Skinwalker is a powerful evil spirit that can cause harm to people and animals.

Some people believe that the strange activity at Skinwalker Ranch is caused by Skinwalkers or other shapeshifting creatures.

Theory #4: Natural phenomena

Many believe that the strange activity at Skinwalker Ranch is caused by natural phenomena, such as ball lightning or electromagnetic fields. There are a number of natural phenomena that can cause strange lights and other unusual events, and it is possible that some of the reports from Skinwalker Ranch can be explained by these phenomena.

However, some of the reports from Skinwalker Ranch are very strange and do not seem to be easily explained by natural phenomena.

Theory #5: Hoaxes

Perhaps the most common theory about the entire story of Skinwalker Ranch is that it is a hoax. Individuals seeking attention, desiring to contribute to the ranch’s mystique, or wanting to profit from its reputation might have staged or exaggerated certain events.

While it’s challenging to prove this conclusively for all incidents, hoaxes are a common element in many high-profile paranormal hotspots.

Travis Taylor at Skinwalker Ranch
Travis Taylor at Skinwalker Ranch

Also, there have been many people who have witnessed strange things at Skinwalker Ranch, and some of these people are credible witnesses.

Theory #6: Government experiments

Some people believe that the strange activity at Skinwalker Ranch is caused by government experiments. They believe that the government may be conducting secret research on the ranch, and that this research may be responsible for the strange phenomena.

Theory #7: Combination of factors:

It is also possible that the strange activity at Skinwalker Ranch is caused by a combination of factors, such as natural phenomena, hoaxes, and government experiments. It is also possible that there is no single explanation for the phenomena, and that they are caused by a variety of different factors.

Can You Visit Skinwalker Ranch?

Skinwalker Ranch is currently unavailable for visitors and tours because the owner is conducting “scientific experiments.”

The Skinwalker Ranch website makes it very clear that the ranch is not open to the public while they conduct their own research. The owner also states that the public is not allowed to conduct their own experiments at this time.

However, they are open to assistance via email. They encourage people with ideas or suggestions about the ranch and its research to send their input to [email protected].

What Is The Future Of Skinwalker Ranch?

Skinwalker Ranch is still the setting of hit History Channel show The Secret of Skinwalker Ranch which just released its fourth season.

There’s no indication that the History Channel has cancelled The Secret of Skinwalker Ranch. However, they haven’t confirmed season five yet, either. Since the fourth season just premiered earlier in 2023, it may be too soon to announce a new season.

But it’s a popular show and people are still curious about exactly what’s happening at Skinwalker Ranch. So, it won’t be surprising if another season airs in the next year or so.

Video About Skinwalker Ranch