Skinwalker Ranch is a property located in Utah. There are a few discrepancies in what the true name of the ranch is, as the Skinwalker Ranch title is something of a nickname, but it is said to be located in the Uinta Basin, about an hour’s drive from Ballard, Utah, a small town with a population of less than 600.
It is said to be a UFO hotspot, as well as a magnet for many paranormal anomalies. Its name comes from the Native American shape-shifters, skinwalkers, beings said to switch between human and beast form through means of an animal pelt and magic. There are several areas throughout the state where strange happenings are the norm. The odd occurrences in this area started long, long ago, the first recordings and attempts at understanding what was going on were recorded in the 1950’s by a local science teacher.
The teacher’s name was Junior Hicks, and he recorded some 400 UFO sightings in the basin and around the ranch. He was not the only one to see these things, either. They did not go unnoticed by the other locals. Even the schoolchildren Hicks taught would sometimes come to him with fantastic tales about objects in the sky. There were times, too, when the whole class could observe UFO’s hovering outside from the schoolroom windows in broad daylight. For these people there was no doubt that there was something out there, and at the forefront of the investigation was Hicks, who recorded every single sighting he could.
During his investigations, he stumbled across some unnerving things about the Skinwalker Ranch area specifically. Speaking to some of the Ute Indians, the basin’s original inhabitants, they referred to the area around the ranch as the “path of the skinwalker”, and would not go near it for any reason, believing the land to be cursed by the Navajos.
Naturally, the ranch has passed from owner to owner as a result of the spooky occurrences and rumors surrounding it. For a long time, throughout the 70’s and 80’s, no reports flooded in because the owners would just leave without warning, not speaking to anyone on the way out of town. It wasn’t until she Sherman family purchased the land that more and more details came to light.
Some of the confusion stemming from the ranch’s true name comes from the Sherman’s. It has been called Sherman Ranch and Gorman Ranch, which was a pseudonym used by the Sherman’s for some time when they reported the incidents, a move made to preserve appearances and business prospects. Terry Sherman was a wealthy cattle-breeder, his methods relatively new and upcoming at the time, and definitely successful. They bought the property, undaunted and puzzled by fact that none of the previous inhabitants deigned to keep the place for very long. It had been abandoned for several years at the point the Sherman family moved in.
As soon as they moved in they noticed many odd things about the place. All of the doors and windows had bolts and locks on both sides, including kitchen cabinets, closets, drawers. They found large chains attached to stakes at both ends of the house, something that both baffled and frightened them, as they seemed to have no purpose, yet had obviously been installed for a reason.
The very first day, as they were unloading the cattle, the Sherman family was visited by a wolf. They spotted it watching the proceedings from several yards away, and to their surprise it came up to them as a semi-shy dog might. The wolf even let them pat it several times before turning and grabbing the muzzle of a calf through the corral. Terry Sherman whacked it a few good times with the flat edge of an axe, but it didn’t budge. He struck it several times for real, but the animal neither reacted or released the calf.
The Sherman’s oldest son came forward with a revolver, shooting the wolf point-blank in the side. Still, it did not react. He emptied the gun into it as his father went and got the hunting rifle. Finally, it released the calf. It watched them all with a puzzled, if slightly amused expression as the father took aim and shot it. A bit of the wolf’s flesh flew off, but it still did not react. After a few more shots it turned and loped casually off into the woods. They attempted to track it, but after a short distance the tracks just vanished completely. This incident was the first of many even stranger things that would happen to the Sherman family.
Nearly every night they would spot strange lights in the sky. Sometimes the pastures would be lit in the evenings, as though it were a football field. There was no visible light source. Other times they would see bright shafts of light shooting up toward the sky or weird orange or blue spheres darting around the property. Three cattle dogs of Terry’s charged off after one of the blue lights, never to be seen again. It was evening when the dogs disappeared, and Terry sensibly chose to wait until morning before investigating. All he found were three piles of greasy ashes, no sign of the light or the dogs.
Haunting-like occurrences plagued them as well. Odors, voices out of thin air, while the majority of the experiences seemed to take place outside, a good deal of them happened within the confines of the Sherman’s own home. Gwen Sherman returned home from grocery shopping one evening and after meticulously sorting the groceries, she retreated to the bathroom. When she returned, she was startled to discover that all of the groceries were back in the grocery bags, as though she had not touched them. She had clear memories of putting them all away. Suddenly those deadbolts on the cupboards made sense.
In addition to all this, the Sherman’s also periodically spotted abnormally large wolves roaming the property, something that shouldn’t happen given that wolves were not native to that area. Gwen Sherman even stated that she had seen one taller than her car, a Chevy Chevette. None were as friendly and curious as the one from the first day, though they remained a constant presence in their lives as they continued to live there.
It was no surprise that after two years the family abandoned the ranch altogether, cutting their losses and looking for more promising prospects elsewhere. Gwen was fired from her job for spreading her stories of what was happening around her farm, and her husband had taken a big loss after the deaths and mutilations of several cattle over the course of their two-year stay.
Drawn by the stories from the Sherman family, the National Institute for Discovery Science bought the property and kept a team out there for several years, recording many different and fantastic things over that time period. One of the scientists stated that the place felt like it was some sort of entity, an ever-changing thing that treated those who set foot on the land to new and frightening experiences each time.
Between 2002 and 2006 there was a noticeable lull in activity, leading to the research team to be pulled out of the area for a good while before returning again to stay from 2007 onward, when the activity picked up again. The property is now fenced off and is under constant surveillance. Nobody is allowed in, as the research has been deemed “dangerous” to the public. Anyone who asks around neighboring ranches, however, is sure to hear even more tales of unexplainable lights in the sky, or wolves several times larger than they should be.