Science | February 3, 2020 5:31 am

Exploring the Bizarre History and Uncanny Present of Skinwalker Ranch

A place home to decades' worth of bizarre events

Cover detail from "Hunt for the Skinwalker"
The history of Skinwalker Ranch has been covered in movies, television and books like "Hunt for the Skinwalker."
Paraview Pocket Books

If you venture out to the Uintah Basin in Utah, you’ll see a very scenic landscape graced by blue skies and expansive views as far as the eye can see. You might also see a place that’s high on the list of many paranormal devotees and conspiracy theorists — a controversial location known as Skinwalker Ranch. This is a place that looms large in a particular corner of the imagination: it’s been the inspiration for television shows and movies, and it has a way of getting inside people’s heads.

At Vice, MJ Banias traveled inside the space, exploring its history and its current status. One thing’s for sure: Skinwalker Ranch is a place that has more mysteries than an entire season of The X-Files. (Or if you’re looking for a more current point of comparison, maybe Evil?)

The mysteries pile up from the outset — namely, that the current owner of the ranch invited Banias to visit on the condition that Banias not reveal their name. You might think that that sets a bit of a tone for what’s to come. You would be correct.

As far as the ranch’s history is concerned, Banias writes that bizarre and unexplained events abounded there for decades. When Terry and Gwen Sherman bought the place in 1994, things got even more bizarre:

…the Shermans alleged that their cows were mutilated with surgical precision in broad daylight and that their family was hunted by strange aerial objects and floating orbs of light. They heard disembodied voices, experienced poltergeist activity, witnessed horrible monsters emerging from portals, and claimed they encountered a wolf that, when shot several times by a high powered rifle at point blank range, did not die.

All of this was written about in the book Hunt for the Skinwalker: Science Confronts the Unexplained at a Remote Ranch in Utah

The facility located at the ranch now include a scientific outpost designed to detect and confirm sightings of, well, literal unidentified flying objects. But there’s something else strange afoot on the ranch. Banias writes that “[a]ccording to the ranch team, several times in the last few years, people on the ranch have become ill and some even required hospitalization.” The cause? Electromagnetic fields that behave bizarrely.

Skinwalker Ranch’s history is understandably fascinating, but its present is no less compelling — or, when examined from the right angle, unsettling.

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