; Phantoms and Monsters: Pulse of the Paranormal

Friday, April 12, 2013

Discussion: The Skinwalker Ranch

This Sunday, our guest on 'Beyond The Edge Radio' will be Christopher O'Brien, an investigative journalist who has extensively researched the infamous 'Skinwalker Ranch.' Because of this highly anticipated interview, I would like to offer the following post...which was original published in October 2011. At that time, an article was forwarded to me by its author Robert A. Goerman after it appeared in FATE. You can read about Goerman's research at robertgoerman.tripod.com and his book WEIRD HAPPENS Investigator Handbook - I have also included links to recent events at the Skinwalker Ranch.

In UFOs: Myths, Conspiracies, and Realities, author John B. Alexander Ph.D., a former Green Beret commander and developer of weapons at Los Alamos, New Mexico, elaborates upon a mystifying event that we first read about in Hunt for the Skinwalker: Science Confronts the Unexplained at a Remote Ranch in Utah by Colm A. Kelleher Ph.D. and George Knapp.

For readers unfamiliar with the narrative of the so-called “Skinwalker Ranch,” Terry Sherman purchased this 480-acre property near Fort Duchesne, Utah in the summer of 1994 with the intention of starting a cattle ranch business. Terry, his wife Gwen, and their son and daughter, fled the property in May of 1996. A succession of terrifying occurrences on their ranch had left the family anguished and afraid. If I were forced to limit my personal library to a single book about transient anomalies, Hunt for the Skinwalker would be my hands-down choice.

Enter the National Institute of Discovery Science (NIDS). Founded in 1995 by real-estate developer and aerospace entrepreneur Robert T. Bigelow, NIDS was established to research and advance scientific study of anomalies. Bigelow bought the Sherman ranch in 1996 and Colm Kelleher set up shop. George Knapp was the only journalist allowed to personally witness and document the NIDS effort.

The NIDS team eventually installed three telephone poles in one of the pastures. Each was topped with a sophisticated package of sensors and a combined total of six standard surveillance cameras. These researchers kept hard copies of the 24/7 time-stamped recordings and monitored them for extraordinary activity.

On July 20, 1998, it was observed that the trio of cameras on telephone pole #1 had stopped recording. A cursory inspection revealed that somebody had badly sabotaged this reconnaissance equipment. Wiring was ripped out forcibly. One section of cable was missing and analysis of the remaining cable showed that it had been slashed with a knife. Each set of wires (the video and power feeds) from the three cameras had been separately wrapped in heavy-duty duct tape and then carefully secured to the utility pole with several windings of that same durable binding before entering sturdy PVC tubing (anchored to the pole with U-clamps) and going underground at the base of the pole. Now the PVC pipe rested twisted and mangled at the foot of the pole and every inch of duct tape was gone. Adhesive residues from the duct tape were unmistakably visible on the dangling wires and pole. Videotapes from the camera array on telephone pole #1 did not reveal perpetrators but disclosed that these three cameras almost simultaneously lost power at 8:30 P.M. on the previous night.

Someone on the NIDS research team suddenly realized that one of the cameras on telephone pole #2, about two hundred feet away, was aimed directly at the “scene of the crime.” That recording would undoubtedly expose the identity of the vandals. A mad dash resulted and, sure enough, the available daylight was sufficient for the event to be clearly and duly recorded for all to see. But all that was visible on this tape as it passed that fateful 8:30 P.M. time-stamp was the pristine stillness of the telephone pole and cattle munching peacefully in the pasture beyond. With multiple rounds of digital enhancement of the video, the resolution became good enough to see the tiny red lights on the bottom of each camera lose power at exactly 8:30 P.M. This was absolute proof that the trio of cameras on telephone pole #1 definitely lost power while under continuous video surveillance.

This event made entirely no sense. The perpetrators who ripped the wiring out of the cameras at exactly 8:30 P.M. should have been obvious on this videotape.
As an investigative scholar of the unknown and unexplained, I believe that several important questions remain to be resolved…

First of all, we need to know if the resolution of the surveillance video allowed the NIDS investigators to clearly determine the distinction between the PVC pipe and duct tape wound around telephone pole #1 in perfect condition versus the vandalized state. If a clear and marked transformation could be plainly seen, when was the destruction first confirmed on the surveillance videotape? Was it by the time-stamped dawn’s early light of the following morning? Or was it before darkness set in on that Sunday evening of July 19, 1998?

Were these perpetrators invisible? Was the video surveillance of the destruction of this equipment like “watching” time-lapsed invisible vandals at work? Going frame by frame in viewing the time-stamped surveillance video, can it be determined how many frames (or how long it took) for this sabotage to take place?

If the surveillance video recorded the destruction of this equipment as “instantaneous,” that suggests a case for Tempus Interruptus or that the local space-time continuum was interrupted. Think in terms of that popular device in science fiction where the character is able to “suspend” time and move freely about that “frozen” moment making changes. This also may explain how lights, objects, and creatures/entities might be able to “blink” in and out of our reality at will. For illustration purposes, imagine that our own space-time existence is like a four-dimensional “movie” that can be “paused” allowing “actors, et cetera” to mysteriously enter or walk off the “set.” Maybe our question should not be “Where do UFOs and monsters go when they disappear in plain sight?” Maybe we should be asking “When do they go?”

By his own admission in UFOs: Myths, Conspiracies, and Realities, John Alexander was one of the first scientists to pull a watch at the Skinwalker Ranch. In Chapter 14: Considerations, Speculation, and Puzzles Addressed, he confirms and addresses this baffling act of vandalism. “As all cameras were recorded with date and time stamps, the exact time of the damage was known. The extent of the damage was significant,” he writes, before particularizing that the “wires leading to camera one were affixed to the pole by a large amount of duct tape (probably about half a roll). That duct tape was totally missing. Anyone who has worked with such tape can attest to how hard it is to remove that material. Further, near the ground, the wires had been protected from animals by being encased in PVC tubing and held to the pole via U-clamps. The PVC had been pulled loose from the pole and the U-clamps were again missing.”

John Alexander adds significant details that were not previously reported. He describes the cameras as “strategically placed on the ranch taking time-lapse photography 24/7. Each camera snapped a frame every second and a third, day and night.”

Referring to the segment of the wire that had been cut and was missing, Alexander states that “tests on the remaining segments of wire suggested that a rusty instrument had made the cuts.” What sort of demented individual carries a corroded knife? Why might this be important?

“Coincidentally,” Alexander informs us, “the cattle just happened to have been grazing right around the camera one pole at that same moment. They did not move in any excessive or excited manner.”

This lack of nervousness by the cattle might be noteworthy. Terry and Gwen Sherman once watched as something unseen to them under the noon sun terrorized a single cow before it plowed through the herd and parted those cattle like the Red Sea. There were also reports of invisible creatures that could roar ferociously and splash wildly in a stream. On the opposite end of the weirdness spectrum, there were also several encounters with various visible but unusual animals that proved impervious to gunfire and that could disappear without a trace in mid-stride.

Now comes my favorite part of the vandalized cameras mystery in UFOs: Myths, Conspiracies, and Realities

John B. Alexander concludes: “Considering the amount of physical damage that occurred, for the entire event to have happened in a little over a second (or between video frames) is simply out of the question.”

Why would this learned gentleman (who was probably privy to the viewing and analysis of the original time-stamped time-lapse video photographs) even suggest such a thing?

This violent act of vandalism to the surveillance cameras brings to mind the inexplicable set of circumstances that involved the horrific mutilation of a newborn calf on this same Utah acreage. The gruesome crime happened one sunny morning just a stone’s throw and heartbeat away from Terry Sherman as he tagged new arrivals to the herd. We agree with John Alexander’s assessment that “the notion that some team of people raced across an open field and was able to conduct this extensive amount of surgery in a short time is highly improbable.”

Both events involved some level of intricacy and difficulty. Both events were completed undetected in plain sight. Both events seemed to be accomplished in an impossibly short time or in that temporal space between tick and tock.

Did NIDS capture video evidence of Tempus Interruptus? - Thanks to Robert A. Goerman

UFOs: Myths, Conspiracies, and Realities by John B. Alexander Ph.D.; hardcover; 336 pages; Thomas Dunne Books; First Edition (February 15, 2011) ISBN: 0312648340

Hunt for the Skinwalker: Science Confronts the Unexplained at a Remote Ranch in Utah by Colm A. Kelleher Ph.D. and George Knapp; paperback; 320 pages; Paraview Pocket Books (December 6, 2005) ISBN: 1416505210



In the mid 1990's, a rancher and his family decided to purchase a 480 acre piece of isolated property in the Uinta Mountains region of Northeastern Utah with the intent to raise cattle. Soon after, the family began experiencing various forms of paranormal activity on the property and in their home. This is the true story of the Skinwalker Ranch. The name Skinwalkers comes from the Navaho's belief about shape-shifting witches who come from the 'other side'.

The Sherman family spent nearly two years at the Skinwalker ranch before the stress from their experiences caused them to put the property up for sale. In that time their cattle were being mutilated, their dogs were found incinerated, and the family reported seeing strange objects with lights hovering over their property. The Shermans were also terrified by the ongoing poltergeist-like activities happening inside their home. Doors often slammed shut, objects would disappear and later reappear, and strange sounds were heard coming from beneath their property that resembled movement of heavy machinery. The family even claimed to have encountered a number of strange creatures on their property on several occasions. Creatures resembling Bigfoot, the alien from the movie Predator, and wolf-like animals were all reported with great detail. Mr. Sherman even recalled shooting at a large wolf-like animal while it was trying to attack one of the calves just days after moving to the ranch. According to Mr. Sherman, the bullets had no effect and the animal ran off. Two years of this and the family called it quits.

The property sold and was purchased by The National Institute for Discovery Science when they caught wind of the strange and terrifying paranormal events unfolding at the ranch. NIDS, which funds studies into the paranormal, set up a team of scientists and sent them to the ranch to study the phenomena reported there. According to researchers George Knapp and Colm Kelleher, along with other scientists there, they witnessed beings coming through 'portals' on the property and numerous other bizarre phenomena. In 2005, Hunt for the Skinwalker: Science Confronts the Unexplained at a Remote Ranch in Utah was published detailing their findings at the ranch.

More recently, a Utah based radio talk show host named Steven Rinehart claimed to have visited the ranch in 2006. He took photographs of the ranch and pictures of strange footprints he found in the snow there. I read that his pictures are online along with directions to the ranch, but I found neither.

Now, a number of explanations have been given by skeptics on this issue. Some of the skeptics claim that this is the site of a U.S. military testing area and all the activities there are a result of that. The skeptics have also stated that peoples imaginations with the Skinwalker Ranch have been vivid ones turning the ordinary into something out of this world. Also a mass hallucination by the family and researches was another explanation given.

In the end, I think that it is up to the individuals who read the book and have researched the Skinwalker Ranch to determine what they believe based on the information provided. - Encounters With The Unexplained

A more recent George Knapp article - Las Vegas Based Scientists Study 'Skinwalker Ranch'

NOTE: Here are other sources for information on the Skinwalker Ranch - Is A Utah Ranch The
Strangest Place On Earth?
and Skinwalker Ranch.org. This supposed incident occurred since this the original post - Skinning the Skinwalker: Secrets of Bob Bigelow’s spooky Utah ranch and this followup Bigelow Aerospace Lethal UFO Extraterrestrial Battle Rumor Exposed. Here's an article denying the attack - Sources deny battle with extraterrestrial aliens at Bigelow Skinwalker Ranch..Lon

The Utah UFO Display: A Scientist's Report

The Real Men In Black: Evidence, Famous Cases, and True Stories of These Mysterious Men and their Connection to UFO Phenomena

Exploring the Darker Side of America... Strange Highways: A guidebook to American mysteries & The Unexplained

Join Eric, Lon and Sean as we present investigative journalist Christopher O'Brien. Get ready for another interesting broadcast at 'Beyond The Edge Radio!'

From 1992 to 2002 investigative journalist Christopher O'Brien investigated hundreds of unexplained events reported in the San Luis Valley — located in South-central Colorado/North Central New Mexico. Working with area county law enforcement officials, ex-military members, ranchers and an extensive network of skywatcher/investigators, he documented what may have been the most intense wave of unexplained activity ever seen in a single region of North America. His ten-plus year investigation resulted in the three books of his “mysterious valley” trilogy, Mysterious Valley, Enter the Valley: UFOs, Religious Miracles, Cattle Mutilations, and Other Unexplained Phenomena in the San Luis Valley and Secrets of the Mysterious Valley. His field investigation of UFO reports, unexplained livestock deaths, Native American legends, cryptozoology, secret military activity and the unique folklore, found in the world's largest alpine valley, has produced one of the largest databases of unusual occurrences gathered from a single geographic region. His latest book Stalking the Tricksters: Shapeshifters, Skinwalkers, Dark Adepts and 2012 was released by Adventures Unlimited Press in 2007, distills his years of field investigation and research into an ingenious unified field theory that addresses the apparent interrelatedness between divergent paranormal phenomena. His new book, Stalking the Herd: Examining the Cattle Mutilation Mystery to be published this Fall will be the first comprehensive book examining the various theories concerning the on-going cattle mutilation mystery.

O’Brien has appeared on numerous TV shows and radio programs around the world including, Ancient Aliens, Coast to Coast, UFO Hunters, Inside Edition, Extra, Sightings, Encounters, Unsolved Mysteries and his investigations have been featured by the History, Learning, Travel and Discovery Channels, the BBC, Nippon TV, the Associated Press, Denver Post, Albuquerque Journal, Fate, UFO Magazine and many other publications and media outlets. His film It Could Happen Tomorrow won two 2012 EBE film festival Awards — for Best Feature film and The Peoples Choice Award. O'Brien is co-host of the popular radio program The Paracast. Website - Our Strange Planet

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