Skinwalker Ranch

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Skinwalker Ranch
Skinwalker Ranch (10393732103).jpg
One entrance to the ranch
LocationUintah County, Utah, U.S.
Nearest cityBallard, Utah, U.S.
Coordinates40°15′29″N 109°53′18″W / 40.2581583°N 109.8883917°W / 40.2581583; -109.8883917Coordinates: 40°15′29″N 109°53′18″W / 40.2581583°N 109.8883917°W / 40.2581583; -109.8883917
Area512 acres (207 ha)
Owned by
  • 1934–1994 – Kenneth and Edith Myers
  • 1994–1996 – Terry and Gwen Sherman
  • 1996–2016 – Robert Bigelow
  • 2016–Present – Brandon Fugal, via Adamantium Real Estate LLC

Skinwalker Ranch, also known as Sherman Ranch, is a property of approximately 512 acres (207 ha),[a] located southeast of Ballard, Utah, that is reputed to be the site of paranormal and UFO-related activities.[1] Its name is taken from the skin-walker of Navajo legend concerning vengeful shamans.


UFO reports in the Uintah Basin were publicized in the 1970s.[1] Claims about the ranch first appeared in 1996 in the Salt Lake City, Utah, Deseret News,[2] and later in the alternative weekly Las Vegas Mercury as a series of articles by investigative journalist George Knapp. These early stories detailed the claims of a family that allegedly experienced inexplicable and frightening events after they purchased and occupied the property.


In 2005, Colm Kelleher and co-author George Knapp published a book[3] 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.[4]

Paranormal reputation[edit]

The ranch, located in west Uintah County bordering the Uintah and Ouray Indian Reservation, was popularly dubbed the UFO ranch due to its ostensible 50-year history of odd events said to have taken place there. 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".[5] 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 Robert Bigelow purchased the ranch for $200,000, this was reportedly the result of his having been 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.[6][7][8][9]


According to skeptical author Robert Sheaffer, "the 'phenomenon' at Skinwalker is almost certainly illusory. Not only was the several years long monitoring of 'Skinwalker' by NIDS unable to obtain proof of anything unusual happening, but also, the people who owned the property prior to the Shermans, a family whose members lived there 60 years, deny that any mysterious 'phenomena' of any kind occurred there". Sheaffer says "the parsimonious explanation is that the supernatural claims about the ranch were made up by the Sherman family prior to selling it to the gullible Bigelow". Sheaffer wrote that many of the more extraordinary claims originated solely from Terry Sherman, who worked as a caretaker after the ranch was sold to Bigelow.[10]

In 1996, skeptic James Randi awarded Bigelow a Pigasus Award for funding the purchase of the ranch and for supporting John E. Mack's and Budd Hopkins' investigations. The award category designated Bigelow as "the funding organization that supported the most useless study of a supernatural, paranormal or occult".[11]


  • 1934–1994 – Kenneth and Edith Myers
  • 1994–1996 – Terry and Gwen Sherman[12]
  • 1996–2016 – Robert Bigelow[12]
  • 2016–present – Brandon Fugal,[13] via Adamantium Real Estate LLC[14][15]

In 2016, Bigelow sold Skinwalker Ranch to Adamantium Real Estate LLC. After this purchase, roads leading to the ranch were blocked, the perimeter was guarded by cameras and barbed wire, and signs were posted that aimed to prevent people from approaching the ranch.[16]

Adamantium Real Estate, LLC, a Delaware limited liability company based in Salt Lake City, Utah, filed a U.S. Trademark application for the service mark "Skinwalker Ranch" on February 15, 2017 and was approved and registered on April 14, 2020, with the mark applicable to "providing recreation facilities; entertainment services, namely, creation, development, production, and distribution of multimedia content, internet content, motion pictures, and television shows."[17][18][19] An additional trademark filing to expand use on "cups and mugs, shirts and short-sleeved shirts, sports caps and hats" was filed by Adamantium Real Estate, LLC on June 21, 2021, and was approved and registered on July 12, 2022.[20]

In March 2020, Brandon Fugal, 46, Utah real estate tycoon, announced ownership of the ranch.[12]

In popular culture[edit]

Title Year Type Description
Lost Tapes 2009 TV A fictional portrayal of the ranch is featured in an encounter with a Skinwalker and the protagonists.
Joe Rogan Questions Everything 2013 TV Skinwalker Ranch is shown in Episode 5.[21]
Skinwalker Ranch 2013 Film Loosely based upon the folklore surrounding the ranch.
Hunt for the Skinwalker 2018 Film Documentary following the history of claimed phenomena at the ranch, including testimony from locals and friends of the Shermans.
Portals to Hell 2019 TV The Strawberry River Inn featured in the episode is situated a stone's throw from the ranch, and it is claimed to experience the same paranormal phenomena as Skinwalker Ranch.[22]
Project Blue Book 2020 TV Features Skinwalker Ranch in Season 2 Episode 7 including elements of various claims, such as a mysterious wolf and moving objects.
Ancient Aliens 2020 TV Mentions Skinwalker Ranch in connection to claimed shape-shifting beings and ancient astronaut theories. (episode: The Mystery Of Skinwalker Ranch)
The Secret of Skinwalker Ranch 2020-present TV A television series on History channel, featuring "a team of scientists and experts" that uses science and technology such as lasers, ground-penetrating radar, and drone thermography as they search the property, attempting to explain claims of UFO sightings, animal mutilations, and paranormal events. Season one consists of eight episodes.[23] Season two consists of eight episodes aired in March 2021. The show was renewed for Season 3 in June 2022[24] which consists of ten episodes.
Decoding The Unknown 2022 YouTube Episode "Skinwalker Ranch: The Secret isn't the Ghosts" with host Simon Whistler.[25]
Helicopter Tour of Skinwalker Ranch 2022 YouTube A video by Jeff Favignano showcasing the Skinwalker Ranch area in Microsoft Flight Simulator. The creator talks about the various anomalies at the ranch and also refers to the TV series "The Secret of Skinwalker Ranch". He also lands the Airbus H135 helicopter at the ranch and gets cinematic shots of the environment and experiments.[26]
Herd Culling 2022 Music The lyrics for the song "Herd Culling" from the Porcupine Tree album Closure/Continuation was inspired by Skinwalker Ranch.[27]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Actual acreage is uncertain due to possible later inclusion of the approach road(s)


  1. ^ a b Granum, Andrea (1978-09-04). "UFO Sightings Keep Uintah Basin Buzzing". The Deseret News. Retrieved 2020-03-25 – via Google News Archive Search.
  2. ^ Zack Van Eyck (1996-06-30). "Frequent Fliers?". Deseret News. Retrieved 2011-08-02.
  3. ^ 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)
  4. ^ Griggs, Brandon (2007). Utah Curiosities: Quirky Characters, Roadside Oddities & Other Offbeat Stuff. Globe Pequot. p. 102. ISBN 978-0762743865.
  5. ^ Whiting, Lezlee E. (April 22, 2006). "Mysteries of 'UFO ranch' in spotlight". Deseret News. Retrieved 2020-03-15.
  6. ^ Van Eyck, Zack (Oct 24, 1996). "Utah UFO research gets money boost". The Modesto Bee. Associated Press. Retrieved 24 February 2010.[dead link]
  7. ^ Why Utah's Brandon Fugal Bought an Otherworldly Ranch, and What He's Seen There: Part 1 TechBuzz, 3 May 2021. Retrieved 17 June 2021
  8. ^ Why Utah's Brandon Fugal Bought an Otherworldly Ranch, and What He's Seen There: Part 2 TechBuzz, 4 May 2021. Retrieved 17 June 2021
  9. ^ Zack Van Eyck (1998-08-10). "Private UFO study takes a public turn". Deseret News. Retrieved 2021-07-05.
  10. ^ Sheaffer, Robert (May 2020). "Claims About a Government "UFO Program". How Much is True?". Skeptic Magazine. Retrieved 12 August 2021.
  11. ^ Randi, James (1 April 1997). "The Pigasus Awards". James Randi Educational Foundation. Archived from the original on 14 March 2014. Retrieved 13 September 2018. Category #2, to the funding organization that supported the most useless study of a supernatural, paranormal or occult, goes to Robert Bigelow, of the Bigelow Tea family. Mr. Big low not only gave large sums of money to Harvard University's Professor John Mack and to million-seller author Bud Hopkins on the strength of their 'alien abduction' beliefs, but also purchased (for a purported $230,000) a 'haunted ranch' in Utah where UFO attacks and 'interdimensional portals' had shown up, in the wake of mysterious 'cattle mutilations.' Mr. Bigelow lives in a walled-in home in Las Vegas.
  12. ^ a b c Banias, M. J. (10 March 2020). "This Is the Real Estate Magnate Who Bought Skinwalker Ranch, a UFO Hotspot". Vice. Retrieved 2 April 2020.
  13. ^ Porter, Christie (June 7, 2022). "High Strangeness at Skinwalker Ranch". Retrieved July 4, 2022.
  14. ^ "Uintah County Property Search". Retrieved July 4, 2022. (search Adamantium Real Estate LLC)
  15. ^ "Unitah County Plat Map". (parcel search)
  16. ^ Murdock, Joshua (24 September 2016). "Skinwalker Ranch activity shifts from paranormal to prosecutable". Archived from the original on 2019-06-16. Retrieved 16 June 2019.
  17. ^ "U.S. Patent and Trademark Office - Trademark Status 'Skinwalker Ranch'". Retrieved October 27, 2021.
  18. ^ "U.S. Patent and Trademark Office - 'Skinwalker Ranch'". Retrieved October 27, 2021. (registration certificate, Apr 14, 2020)
  19. ^ "Skinwalker Ranch – Trademark Details". Justia Trademarks. Retrieved July 1, 2018.
  20. ^ "U.S. Patent and Trademark Office - Trademark Status". Retrieved October 27, 2021.
  21. ^ "Joe Rogan Questions Everything" Real Close Encounters (TV Episode 2013) - IMDb, retrieved 2021-03-31
  22. ^ "Strawberry River Inn". Travel Channel. Retrieved 2020-03-25.
  23. ^ "The Secret of Skinwalker Ranch". History (American TV channel). Retrieved 2020-03-30.
  24. ^ "Is Season 3 of The Secret of Skinwalker Ranch in the Works?". Retrieved 2021-07-05.
  25. ^ Whistler, Simon (Mar 17, 2022). "Skinwalker Ranch: The Secret isn't the Ghosts". YouTube. Decoding The Unknown.
  26. ^ Favignano, Jeff (Jun 24, 2022). "Helicopter Tour of Skinwalker Ranch". YouTube.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: url-status (link)
  27. ^ Prasad, Anil (July 2022). "Porcupine Tree: Collective Action".

Further reading[edit]

External links[edit]