Skinwalker Ranch

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Coordinates: 40°15′29.37″N 109°53′18.21″W / 40.2581583°N 109.8883917°W / 40.2581583; -109.8883917 Skinwalker Ranch, also known as Sherman Ranch, is a property located on approximately 512 acres (2.072km²) southeast of Ballard, Utah that is allegedly the site of paranormal and UFO-related activities. Its name is taken from the skin-walker of Navajo legend concerning malevolent witches.


Claims about the ranch first appeared in 1996 in the Salt Lake City, Utah Deseret News,[1] and later in the alternative weekly Las Vegas Mercury as a series of articles by journalist George Knapp. These early stories detailed the claims of a family that had recently purchased and occupied the property, only to experience an array of inexplicable and frightening events.


Colm Kelleher and co-author George Knapp subsequently authored a book[2] 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.[3]

Paranormal reputation[edit]

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. Knapp and Kelleher cite the 1974 book The Utah UFO Display: A Scientist's Report by Frank Salisbury and Joseph "Junior" Hicks, which details an earlier investigation into alleged UFO sightings in the Uintah County region, as partial confirmation of their account. 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".[4] 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 billionaire Robert Bigelow's purchased the ranch for $200,000, this was reportedly the result of his being 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.[5]

In 2016, Bigelow sold Skinwalker Ranch for $4.5 million to “Adamantium Holdings”, a shell corporation of unknown origin. After this purchase, all roads leading to the ranch have been blocked, the perimeter secured and guarded by cameras and barbed wire, and surrounded by signs that aim to prevent people from approaching the ranch[6]

In 1996, skeptic James Randi awarded Bigelow a Pigasus Award for funding the purchase of the ranch and support Harvard University's Professor John Mack and author Bud Hopkins investigations, for what Randi called a "useless study of a [sic] supernatural, paranormal or occult".[7]


The ranch was sold by Bigelow to a private corporation, Adamantium Real Estate, LLC, in 2016. In 2017, the name "Skinwalker Ranch" was filed for trademark through Justia Trademarks. The trademark was issued in 2018.[8]

In media[edit]

A 2013 film entitled Skinwalker Ranch is loosely based upon the folklore surrounding the ranch.


  1. ^ Van Eyck, Zack (June 30, 1996). "FREQUENT FLIERS?". Deseret News. Retrieved 2 August 2011.
  2. ^ Kelleher, Colm & Knapp, George: Hunt for the Skinwalker: Science Confronts the Unexplained at a Remote Ranch in Utah (Paraview Pocket Books, 2005 ISBN 1-4165-0521-0)
  3. ^ Griggs, Brandon (2007). Utah Curiosities: Quirky Characters, Roadside Oddities & Other Offbeat Stuff. Globe Pequot. ISBN 9780762743865.
  4. ^ Whiting, Lezlee E. (April 21, 2006). "Mysteries of 'UFO ranch' in spotlight". Deseret News. Retrieved 24 February 2010.
  5. ^ Van Eyck, Zack; Associated Press (Oct 24, 1996). "Utah UFO research gets money boost". The Modesto Bee. Retrieved 24 February 2010.[dead link]
  6. ^ Murdock, Joshua (24 September 2016). "Skinwalker Ranch activity shifts from paranormal to prosecutable". Uintah Basin Standard. Retrieved 16 June 2019.
  7. ^ Randi, James (1 April 1997). "The Pigasus Awards". James Randi Educational Foundation. Archived from the original on 14 March 2014. Retrieved 13 September 2018.
  8. ^ "SKINWALKER RANCH - Trademark Details". Justia Trademarks. Retrieved July 1, 2018.

External links[edit]

  • - Property maps and updates from local researchers investigating the ranch
  • - Article comparing the phenomenon to the region's Native American Ancestral heritage and religious practices