From a stanza of the Navajo ‘Ghost Song’: Wana’yañ Ma’niye
Tata’ñka wañ ma’niye,
A’te he’ye lo,
A’te he’ye lo.
Now he is walking,
Now he is walking.
There is a buffalo bull walking,
There is a buffalo bull walking,
Says the father,
Says the father.
An infamous ranch called the Skinwalker Ranch lies in the heart of ancient Native American Lands in Utah. A number of Indian reservations surround the ranch, influencing residents in rich, traditional culture and the spirituality of their ancestors. Asazi, Fremont, Ute, Paiute, Shossone, and Uintah Indian legends speak of “portals” to the spiritual world, often fraught with forms of witchcraft.
There were two types of spiritual tribal shaman members: Medicine Men and Skinwalkers. Skinwalkers evolved into black magic, deception, and cursing, inflicting pain and suffering. They could not enter the dwellings of victims (unless invited in), but could lure them into the open where they could instill fear or harm. A Skinwalker was a shape-shifter, often a mortal man, but also a women or child, that could appear as an animal (a wolf, bear or eagle) extending those attributes and traveling by supernatural means.
A typical story involved a female Indian newspaper deliverer whose automobile was accosted by a “half man, half beast” with red eyes and a “misshapen” arm, opening her car door and trying to grab her baby. She managed to drive her car off, but the creature kept pace with her vehicle, and still attempted kidnapping. When she pulled into the parking lot of a convenience store, the patrons chased the creature away.
STALKING THE SKINWALKER
Copyright, Steve Erdmann, 2015.
This article was published in the April 21 through May 10, 2015 issues of UFO Digest.
It is published here with permission.
(Skinwalker Ranch: No Trespassing: Read at your Own Risk, Ryan Skinner, D. l Wallace, Create Space Independent Publishing Platform, www.skinwalkerranch.com (org), Charleston, S.C, November 13, 2014, 266 pages, $13.95.)
The Skinwalker Ranch (known for reports of hyper-mysterious happenings) “consists of 480 acres located in North-East Utah south of US Interstate 40, which enters Utah from North-Western Colorado, winds through miles of sparsely populated territory – interrupted only by the city of Ver Nal and passes through Ballard on its way west.”
The Ranch property is located along the southern border of the Unintah-Quray Indian Reservation near the Bottle Hollow Reservoir, north of the Ranch; Road 27505 leads from Hill Top Road east along the northern edge of the Ranch property. There is a North Gate, South Gate, and an East Gate. The ranch house is located in the north-east corner of the property.
The Skinwalker Ranch
BAASS AND BIGELOW
Many of the earliest strange events are related in Colm Kelleher and George Knapp’s 2005 book Hunt for the Skinwalker: Science Confronts the Unexplained at a Remote Ranch in Utah (Paraview Pocket Books, December 6, 2005).
Robert Bigelow of Bigelow Aerospace Advanced Space Studies (BAASS) bought the property in 1996 and established the National In statute for Discovery Science (NIDS) to investigate many of the incidents. About 2009, Bigelow entered into a short-lived agreement with the Mutual UFO Network (MUFON).
Gate Leading to the Skinwalker Ranch
Indian legends in that area bespoke of a Trans mutative creature, both half animal and half human. Some creatures took the form of “apparitions and whirlwinds.”
Earliest records indicate that a Ken Meyers and his wife Edith lived on the property from 1930s till 1987. Not much was reported about paranormal activity on the ranch then, but the local Indians had a “wage pool” as to how long the Meyers would stay “before being driven off.”
The Meyers had placed dead bolt locks on almost all the doors, even inside of the house. The Meyers also owned large and unfriendly dogs chained just outside the door leading into the house.
Another neighbor said one of his cows disappeared about 1996. And the man’s nephew, Dean Derhak of Salt Lake City, said he was riding a horse on his uncle’s property in 1980 when he saw a silver sphere on the ground of what later became the Sherman ranch.
“It was fairly big, about 30 to 40 feet wide. It looked like a bowl upside down,” said Derhak, who was eleven-years-of-age at the time. “It scared me and I took off.”
The farm was bought by Terry and Gwen Sherman in 1994. One of the first phenomena the Shermans noticed were geometric circles of varying diameters that appeared as if some heavy bodies left their impressions.
Further investigation, however, revealed three of the families living nearby have experienced unusual activity. The Uintah County Sheriff’s Office confirmed that John Garcia, who lives east of the ranch, reported two of his cows were mutilated earlier in 1996.
Some of the Sherman’s cattle were found to be mutilated, drained of blood; one was cored through the anus and gave off strange chemical odors. Four other cattle disappeared. One cow appeared to have been pulled up leaving scorched branches.
Roosevelt, Utah veterinarian Dan Dennis said that eventually ten mutilated cattle were reported on the Sherman ranch.
The Shermans also had their share of UFOs: strange light sightings and strange voices. Voices were heard coming from about 25 feet over the heads of two family members. Gwen Sherman witnessed a manned aircraft, and she had witnessed a figure over seven feet tall exit the craft.
At other times, a 40-foot object and a football-field-sized aircraft (both with multi-colored lights) were sighted. Baseball-sized blue lights were seen to ‘‘both emerge from and disappear into orange-colored portals, and behaved as if controlled…hovering…(then) high speeds.”
UFO Photographed on the Skinwalker Ranch
In one instance, after sending three of their dogs to chase the light, one of the dogs began crying out. Later, three “greasy blobs” were found in three “scorch spots.”
Residents in the area reported seeing a “gigantic” craft with many lights. UFO historian Joseph Hicks had investigated more than 400 similar sightings in the area.
Bigelow and NIDS had up to 15 scientists and PhDs working by 2001 at any one time on the Ranch.
A particular mutilation case involved a pregnant cow. Later, a large foot-ball-field-sized UFO was sighted. “Pete Pickup,” a NIDS investigator, noted that “while blood and tissue samples were still fresh,” a mutilated cow was found. The left eye and part of the left ear were removed “with a sharp surgical instrument.” The UFO was spotted on June 25, 2000 and had “intermittent flashing of a separate light source and making some rhythmic sound.”
BAASS investigator Dr. Colm Kelleher, who had a PhD in Biochemistry from Holy Trinity in Dublin, interviewed two Ranch investigators who photographed and recorded strange tracks. The two investigators (designated as investigators 1 and 2) reported a howl and a “distinct, foul odor” that the family reported to them. The smell was described as “very putrid sulfur, rotten flesh.”
Investigators next discovered and photographed strange tracks on the property (p. 51). The tracks appeared to have had a strange “gait” or step in the snow. An Indian administrator, who was very familiar with wild life trails, could not identify the tracks.
“And there was no snow kicked up in front of these tracks,” said investigator 1. “There was no snow kicked behind the tracks. Whatever left these tracks (that) we obtained video and photographs of, walked up not only with great dexterity but easily.”
Kelleher and the investigators discussed reports of a creature that was reported in the Fort Duchesne area, jumping “literally from roof to roof,” about four houses and then disappeared. The creature was described as a muscular, hairy creature with “big round eyes” and pointed ears.
Artist Depiction of the Skinwalker
“Whatever, it was proved elusive. The surveillance cameras that were installed atop telephone poles were attacked and dismantled, but whatever did it was invisible. Dr. Colm Kelleher of NIDS said, ‘We checked the time stamps on this pole versus this pole. We looked at when the camera lost power and nothing was on the tape. There should have been something visible because the range of these things is pretty good.’ As yet, the mystery of Skinwalker Ranch remains unsolved. Kelleher said, ‘If anything, it has created more questions that I had when I came into this thing.’”
BURIAL GROUNDS AND BALLS OF LIGHT
BAASS investigator collected reports of hovering lights, orbs of light, as well as reports of a “two legged creature, dog” – seen sometimes near Indian or tribal burial grounds along the mesa known as Skinwalker Ridge.
“…I asked Bob (a witness) about the smell associated with this dog creature because everybody has talked about his smell,” said one investigator. “Horrible, horrible smell.”
Ryan Skinner tells the readers about balls of light that landed with “black, thick smoke” that materialized into a “wolf.” Skinner says that sightings of the wolf “have been around the property for at least 30 years and there is a picture of it on the internet, and it hasn’t aged a day.”
The Wolf Spirit
A number of ‘Remote Viewers’ applied their talents and came to a varied and confusing picture: “The psychic images perceived both individually and collectively by the viewers are general and without much detail.”
“The phenomena is mostly hallucinations,” says Skinner, “there may be some spirits from Indian grounds – not too sure; I also believe what you see/experience is purely on what mind set you have.”
INVESTIGATORS: TRIPOD, HOBBY HORSE, AND OTHERS
Logs of investigators “Tripod” and “Hobby Horse” ran the gamut of mysterious events: a missing knife, a sighting of a blue UFO, orb phenomena, poltergeist happenings, mystery sounds, camera malfunctions, shadow images, and medium phenomena.
“On the other hand,” says Skinner, “both the Ouija Board experiment and the experiences provided by Rocky suggest a yet strong presence of the spirituality associated with the original Native American inhabitants of the region, and which manifests itself in the form of paranormal entities such as Shadow People and the Skinwalker.”
Investigator “Ranch Hand” speculated that the “presence” moves in and out of some “dimensional portal” and is “relative to the state of mind and level of the expectations of the individual.”
Depiction of a Skinwalker
Another investigator named “Rich” gave his suggestions as to what is taking place on the Ranch:
# The phenomena seems to be a “nexus” of all kinds of alien activity, the traditional as well as the atypical.
# Humans are the key to something that holds importance to them. They need ‘us’ to survive.
# Sometimes ‘abduction’ should be viewed as an universal, spiritual experience, maybe even a karmic contract.
FURTHER STRANGE INCIDENTS
Other Ranch investigators spoke of further paranormal happenings. “Jeremy K” told of his encounters: “My experience involve seeing strange lights, white, blue, red and faint cloudy lights. Also very weird noises in the river bottom near the line of cotton trees. I could actually hear something very large breathing, but with light feet. I would get within 20 to 30 feet of me and freeze.”
Ryan Skinner speaks about the reports of a mystery helicopter that he has also seen. The helicopter made no noise. Investigator “Jeremy K’ said on November 6, 2013: “We sat down and there was a completely blacked out helicopter flying above and around us. It was the weirdest thing. You couldn’t hear standard helicopter noises.” (p. 197.)
Skinner presents stories and testimonies from neighbors and Indians associated with the Skinwalker Mesa. Most offer interesting insights as to what could be happening there.
Using a typical UFO sighting as an example, Skinner shares some of his personal feelings about witnesses that seem indifferent to their contact with the paranormal.
“I never could fathom people’s reactions to seeing one of these things,” says Skinner. “It was like a mental defensive block or something. People for the most part absolutely where frightened to death. So they ignored it totally.”
Skinner tells of a UFO ‘disc’ hovering over a baseball game, for nearly twenty minutes, everyone looked once, and then ignored the UFO. “I can’t explain reactions like that, can you?” asks Skinner. “I wondered was it (the UFO) spraying those zombies with pixie dust or what?”
OTHER HOT SPOTS
The Utah Ranch is not the only “Hot spot” Skinner writes about. There are, apparently, other areas of concentrated paranormal activity about the globe, similar to the Skinwalker mesa. Skinner talks about a Texas ‘hot spot’ at the end of an airfield “runway” north of the Alabama-Coushatta Indian Reservation that once belonged to the Indians. It is now covered by extensive tracts of trees, brush and “some unidentified evil.” Like the Utah Ranch, similar phenomena decorated the site over the years.
“I am not convinced 100% whether this was all alien, or a mixture of the paranormal sort of a portal being used by many, many entities,” says Skinner. “It’s a dimensional thing, I guess. Makes one wonder whether or not some of the disc and other oddly shaped craft are simply vehicles which carry these beings from one dimension into another, not intergalactic spacecraft.”
Skinner concludes that paranormal activity, indeed, focused on the property:
“…most of it was categorized as aerial anomalies; the resident does acknowledge encounters consistent with Native American legend, specifically the manifestation of what appeared to be Indian spirits and the appearance of wolf-like entities.”
TROUBLE ON THE RANCH
BAASS had not been without its share of criticism, especially in its NIDS phrase. One of its more unsettling conflicts revolved around finding several “rods” on the ranch which investigators for NIDS and MUFON projected a story that they seemed to be the same Element 115 that Bob Lazar of Area 51 fame said that he worked with as a technician in Area 51’s hidden retrieved UFO lairs.
Aerospace scientist John Schuessler said that the rods were carbon and not element 115: “As for the rods found on the Skinwalker Ranch, I was on the NIDS Scientific Advisory Board back in those days and can verify that rods were found. They were not heavy Element 115 rods. Instead, they were thin carbon rods that are used in arc lamps to make very bright lights in field operations. I have personally used this type of rods in arc lamp operations many years ago.”
According to Schuessler, Element 115 would have been far too unstable to have existed in the wild, open ranchland.
James Carrion, MUFON, said this demonstrated a certain amount of carelessness that NIDS and BAASS investigators needed to avoid:
“It appears that once again in Ufology there are more questions than answers; common fare for a field where the waters are muddied but never cleared. If you consider yourself a truth seeker then perhaps it is time to take a stand against these forces of ambiguity that seek only to obscure the truth rather than bring it to light. It is time to promote truth and not mystery in a field that has too many mysteries already. It is time to reveal the truth by not compromising ethics or principles or by allowing truth to be censored. It is time to stop falling prey to fear and lies but instead to hunt the Skinwalker forces of deception in their own territory. Who is up for a hunting trip?”
[Tuesday, February 8, 2011]
(Bob Lazar never associated with the claim that Element 115 was found on the Skinwalker ranch. Many Fortean investigators claim, besides, that the jury is still out on the Bob Lazar question, as some of his claims seem to be vindicated over a period of time. Though Element 115 did not exist in 1989, subsequently it was invented and discovered in 2004, when Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory and the Joint Institute for Nuclear Research in Russia (JINR) discovered isotopes of Element 115, known as “ununpentium.”)
(Lazar continued to be believed by several researchers who felt that Lazar was truly involved in UFO projects, indicated by his passing of lie-detection tests and hypnosis and the testimony of researchers such as Norio Hayakawa, John Lear, Gene Huff, Mike Thigpen, Boyd Bushman and Terry Tavernetti, to mention a few.
Ryan Skinner discovered the government’s interest in the Skywalker Ranch: D.O.D/Department of Defense (http://skinwalkerranch.org/rank.html):
“This agency has been identified as providing funding via a research grant with Bigelow Aerospace for Skinwalker Ranch. We are unable and unwilling to provide evidence to support this claim. This funding was provided with the oversight of an unnamed high level politician, and several military advisors. Currently the understanding is that the agency has withdrawn funding, but will reallocate in the future. On a side note, three high ranking military officials have frequented the property on more than one occasion. One of these officers was a three star general and a CIA representative. The branch of the military that the general represents is unknown as well as his identity. However what is known is that a faction of the US government does fund research and security activity in conjunction with Bob Bigelow on the Ranch…Contact: it’s a black project and it is going to remain that way!”
Alfred Weber wrote in “Robert Bigelow’s and MUFON’s Hybrid UFO Investigation…” that Bigelow, MUFON and the FAA created a special UFO reporting form that they hope pilots will use to report aerial phenomena. A BAASS UFO hotline staff was on duty to receive UFO reports. One of the special areas, said Weber, that BAASS was interested in were “cases where physical effects of a UFO are reported or where ‘living beings’ are allegedly sighted or where ‘reality transformation’ is said to occur.”
The Star Team Impact Project (SIP) were to investigate “cases where physical effects of a UFO are reported or where ‘living beings’ are allegedly sighted or where ‘reality transformation’ is said to occur.”
Weber also discovered: “On examination of confidential BAASS-MUFON documents that were anonymously leaked to this reporter, it is clear that a clash of corporate and non-profit cultures and lack of mutual communication framework between an accounting-oriented corporate contractor and a mission-driven volunteer organization – rather than any wrong action – triggered the temporary suspension and review of the hybrid arrangement that parties in both organizations seem to want to continue.”
Billy Cox, a writer for The Herald Tribune, likewise gave a revealing summary of Bigelow’s plans in the paranormal industry (Wednesday, June 9, 2010):
“Robert Bigelow, the zillionaire hotelier who wants to build the world’s first private space station, doesn’t do much media…. In a nutshell: With NASA phasing out of the launch business, Bigelow’s aggressive development of inflatable habitation modules — and his willingness to invest up to half a billion of his own $$$ to make it happen — puts him at the forefront of the privatization of space. He and anyone else wanting to exploit the high frontier will need wheels to get there. And the Obama admin plans to spend $6 billion over the next five years to encourage the private sector to produce the next generation of launch vehicles.
“His space stations are not his only interest in space. ‘I’ve been a researcher and student of U.F.O.’s for many, many years,’ Mr. Bigelow said. ‘Anybody that does research, if people bother to do quality research, comes away absolutely convinced. You don’t have to have personal encounters.’
“Other views that run counter to mainstream science include a belief in the power of prayer and a disbelief in the Big Bang theory.”
Visions and sentiments imbued by the American Indian seem manifested on the Skinwalker mesa and synchronized with the dreams of Bob Bigelow:
The life of an Indian is like the wings of the air.
That is why you notice the hawk knows how to get his prey. The Indian is like that.
The hawk swoops down on its prey, so does the Indian.
In his lament he is like an animal. For instance, the coyote is sly, so is the Indian.
The eagle is the same.
That is why the Indian is always feathered up, he is a relative to the wings of the air.
– Black Elk, Oglala Lakota Sioux (1863-1950)
Perhaps Chief Crazy Horse’s lament goes to the heart of the matter:
Upon suffering beyond suffering:
The Red Nation shall rise again and it shall be a blessing for a sick world; a world filled with broken promises, selfishness and separations; a world longing for light again.
I see a time of Seven Generations when all the colors of mankind will gather under the Sacred Tree of Life and the whole Earth will become one circle again.
In that day, there will be those among the Lakota who will carry knowledge and understanding of unity among all living things and the young white ones will come to those of my people and ask for this wisdom.
I salute the light within your eyes where the whole Universe dwells. For when you are at that center within you and I am that place within me, we shall be one.
– Crazy Horse, Oglala Lakota Sioux (circa 1840-1877)
You can reach Steve Erdmann at firstname.lastname@example.org
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Gate Leading to the Skinwalker Ranch
The Skinwalker Ranch
UFO Photographed on the Skinwalker Ranch
Depiction of a Skinwalker
Chief Black Elk
Chief Crazy Horse
The Wolf Spirit
Alleged Triangle UFO reported to NIDS
Art Depiction of Skinwalker