Skinwalker Ranch

Skinwalker Ranch, also known as Sherman Ranch, is a property located on approximately 512 acres (207 ha) 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 shaman.

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 Holdings


UFO reports in the Uintah Basin were publicized during the 1970s.[2] Claims about the ranch first appeared in 1996 in the Salt Lake City, Utah, Deseret News,[3] 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.


Colm Kelleher and co-author George Knapp subsequently authored a book[4] 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.[5]

Paranormal reputationEdit

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. 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".[6] 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 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.[7]

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. Randi called the effort a "useless study of a [sic] supernatural, paranormal or occult".[8]


  • 1905-1916 -- Monk Shavanaugh
  • 1914-1945 -- Henry Litster
  • 1934–1994 – Kenneth and Edith Myers
  • 1945-1961 -- Benton Locke
  • 1994–1996 – Terry and Gwen Sherman[9]
  • 1996–2016 – Robert Bigelow[9]
  • 2016–Present – Brandon Fugal, via Adamantium Holdings.

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.[10] In 2017, the name "Skinwalker Ranch" was filed for trademark through Justia Trademarks. The trademark was issued in 2018.[11] In March 2020, Brandon Fugal, 46, a Utah real estate tycoon, announced that he is the owner of the ranch.[9]

In popular cultureEdit

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.[12]
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.[13]
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 2020-2021 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 8 episodes.[14] The show was renewed for season 2 in March 2021.[15]


  1. ^ "UFO Sightings Keep Uintah Basin Buzzing". The Deseret News. 1978-09-04. Retrieved 2020-03-25 – via Google News Archive Search.
  2. ^ "UFO Sightings Keep Uintah Basin Buzzing". The Deseret News. 1978-09-04. Retrieved 2020-03-25 – via Google News Archive Search.
  3. ^ Zack Van Eyck (1996-06-30). "Frequent Fliers?". Deseret News. Retrieved 2011-08-02.
  4. ^ 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)
  5. ^ Griggs, Brandon (2007). Utah Curiosities: Quirky Characters, Roadside Oddities & Other Offbeat Stuff. Globe Pequot. ISBN 978-0762743865.
  6. ^ Whiting, Lezlee E. (April 22, 2006). "Mysteries of 'UFO ranch' in spotlight". Deseret News. Retrieved 2020-03-15.
  7. ^ Van Eyck, Zack; Associated Press (Oct 24, 1996). "Utah UFO research gets money boost". The Modesto Bee. Retrieved 24 February 2010.[dead link]
  8. ^ Randi, James (1 April 1997). "The Pigasus Awards". James Randi Educational Foundation. Archived from the original on 14 March 2014. Retrieved 13 September 2018.
  9. ^ 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.
  10. ^ 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.
  11. ^ "Skinwalker Ranch – Trademark Details". Justia Trademarks. Retrieved July 1, 2018.
  12. ^ "Joe Rogan Questions Everything" Real Close Encounters (TV Episode 2013) - IMDb, retrieved 2021-03-31
  13. ^ "Strawberry River Inn". Travel Channel. Retrieved 2020-03-25.
  14. ^ "The Secret of Skinwalker Ranch". History (American TV channel). Retrieved 2020-03-30.
  15. ^

Further readingEdit

External linksEdit