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Skinwalker Ranch: Why the True Story Is Even More Disturbing

The story behind Skinwalker Ranch continues to baffle the researchers.
The story behind Skinwalker Ranch continues to baffle the researchers.

Skinwalker Ranch has been referred to as a supernatural location. Some people have called it “cursed.” Terry Sherman’s family of four moved to the land in northeastern Utah that is now popularly referred to as “Skinwalker Ranch” 18 months after purchasing it.

Terry Sherman was so alarmed by the events on his new cattle ranch that he soon sold the 512-acre plot, eager to get rid of the cursed land.

In June 1996, he and his wife Gwen revealed their terrifying encounters to a local reporter. The Shermans claimed to have witnessed enigmatic crop circles, UFOs, and their cattle’s routine and recurrent mutilation—done so in an oddly medical and bloodless manner.

The gate to the Skinwalker Ranch

The gate to the Skinwalker Ranch

Robert Bigelow, a Las Vegas real estate tycoon and UFO enthusiast, purchased the property for $20,000 three months after the report was published.

Bigelow set up a 24-hour surveillance of the ranch under the guise of the National Institute for Discovery Science to elucidate the paranormal allegations.

Although some of the researchers claimed to have witnessed paranormal activity in the book Hunt for the Skinwalker: Science Confronts the Unexplained at a Remote Ranch in Utah, which was the result of their surveillance, they were unable to obtain any tangible physical proof to back up the Shermans’ extraordinary claims.

Adamantium Real Estate, who purchased the ranch again, has since sought trademark protection for the term “Skinwalker Ranch.”

Had the Shermans exaggerated what they had seen? Or under the influence of a group delusion? Their stories are difficult to accept without proof, but they are common.

The newspaper article on the Skinwalker Ranch

The newspaper article on the Skinwalker Ranch

Over the years, the Uinta Basin in eastern Utah has seen so many strange occurrences that some extraterrestrial enthusiasts have nicknamed the area “UFO Alley.” According to local filmmaker Trent Harris, “you can’t throw a rock in Southern Utah without striking someone who’s been kidnapped.”

In fact, Hunt for the Skinwalker claims that strange objects have been seen in the sky ever since the first European explorers arrived: Silvestre Vélez de Escalante, a Franciscan missionary, reported about weird fireballs over his campfire at El Rey in 1776.

And naturally, indigenous peoples lived in the Uinta Basin before the arrival of the Europeans. Today, “Skinwalker Ranch” borders the Ute Tribe’s Uintah and Ouray Indian Reservation.

Were the Shermans observing phenomena that local Native Americans had observed decades earlier?

What Happened At Skinwalker Ranch?

On their ranch, the Shermans didn’t only spot sky-borne UFOs. They also reported seeing strange, huge creatures, including a wolf three times the size of a typical wolf, and Terry repeatedly shot with a rifle at close range, seemingly with no effect.

Then, on the evening of March 12, 1997, a biochemist working for Bigelow’s National Institute for Discovery Science claimed to have seen a big humanoid monster spying on the research team from a tree. This was after the ranch had been auctioned off.

The creature was around 50 yards away, safely watching the crew from a position 20 feet up in a tree, as he described in Hunt for the Skinwalker.

Armed guard patrolling the Skinwalker Ranch

Armed guard patrolling the Skinwalker Ranch

Kelleher referred to “the enormous beast that lay unmoving, almost carelessly, in the tree.” The sole sign of the beast’s presence was the unwavering eyes’ penetrating, yellow light as they fixedly looked back into the light.

The thing vanished after Kelleher fired a weapon at it. Then, I noticed a single, distinct oval track with a diameter of about six inches, deeply sunk in the snow patch. It appeared unusual: one huge print in the snow with two pointed claws sticking out from the back that extended a few inches deeper.

It almost resembled a bird of prey, possibly a raptor print, but it was enormous and, based on the print’s depth, came from a very heavy creature.

A shape-shifting figure from Navajo tribe tradition known as “Skinwalker” has been mentioned in connection with numerous reports of human-like entities. The Navajo considers Skinwalkers to be equivalent to werewolves: wicked witches with the power to change into any species.

Navajo Nation was 400 miles south of Sherman’s family property, nevertheless. It was close to Ute country. According to historian Sondra Jones, author of Being and Becoming Ute, when the Utes and Navajo did encounter one another, it resulted in a tense relationship.

One of the remaining sheds at Skinwalker Ranch

One of the remaining sheds at Skinwalker Ranch

Jones says, “It was not friendly. The Navajo were more violent; they enslaved individuals and kept Ute slaves.” At present-day Pagosa Springs and Durango, there was direct conflict when the Navajo tried to advance into Ute territory.

There are still elements of the ranch that make sense in the context of Ute lore, even though Skinwalkers are not a part of the Ute religion.

At Bottle Hollow, a 420-acre man-made reservoir on adjacent Ute land filled with fresh water in 1970 by federal government mandate, other unusual occurrences have occurred right next door.

A policeman witnessed a big light enter the reservoir in 1998 before emerging and taking off into the night sky. Four young (non-Indian) males witnessed a blue-white orb enter the artificial lake one night in 2002 while on the reservoir’s beach.

According to the Hunt for the Skinwalker, the luminous ball dove into the water just a few feet from the shore, then reappeared seconds later in a new form: a shimmering, maneuverable belt-shaped shaft of light.

Skulls of cows are erected to keep intruders away at the Skinwalker Ranch

Skulls of cows are erected to keep intruders away at the Skinwalker Ranch

The belt of light performed a brief airborne dance of writhing before zipping away quickly and hugging the earth before vanishing beneath the summit of Skinwalker Ridge.

According to Ute’s belief, the supernatural phenomena that appear at Bottle Hollow make sense. According to Jones, springs and specific streams among the Utes “were reservoirs of negative force… You would be dragged in by malevolent spirits or ghosts that would emerge from the water.

Mysterious Cattle Mutilations at Skinwalker Ranch

Warning: In this part, heavy viewer discretion is advised.

The herders who discovered the dead cattle were in awe. The animals’ tongues, udders, anuses, genital organs, and ears had all been routinely removed, apparently with a clean, sharp instrument. Their bodies have been rendered bloodless.

There were no footprints, tracks, or signs of the usual opportunistic scavengers in the area.

Only the state of Colorado reported over 200 instances of cattle mutilation between April and October of 1975. It was no longer only a topic for tabloids; rather, it had gained national attention.

The Colorado Associated Press named it the state’s top story that year. Floyd Haskell, a senator from Colorado at the time, requested assistance from the Federal Bureau of Investigation.

The cattle mutilation at Skinwalker Ranch

The cattle mutilation at Skinwalker Ranch. Uncensored image can be accessed here.

The number of cases grew steadily throughout the American heartland during the 1970s. And in 1979, the FBI finally began looking into several crimes that had allegedly occurred on New Mexico’s Indian territory, following thousands of reports of cow mutilations that resulted in millions of dollars worth of animal losses.

Harrison Schmitt, a science-minded U.S. senator from that state who holds a Ph.D. in geology from Harvard and was an Apollo 17 astronaut, organized a contentious public symposium on the matter that contributed to the pressure.

The FBI’s investigation disproved the theory that something weird was happening. According to a statement released by the Bureau on January 15, 1980, “none of the recorded incidents has featured what appears to be mutilations by other than common predators.” The inquiry was then ended.

Locals vehemently disapproved.

According to Sheriff George A. Yarnell of Elbert County, a rural region south of Denver, “I’ve been around cattle my entire life, and I can sure tell whether it’s been done by a coyote or a sharp weapon,” he told The New York Times in the fall of 1975.

The mutilations at Skinwalker Ranch is same in almost all cases

The mutilations at Skinwalker Ranch is same in almost all cases. Uncensored image can be accessed here.

The 1970s and the US were not the only countries to see mysterious animal mutilations. Similar incidents involving sheep, cows, or horses have been documented as recently as 2019 and as far back as the early 17th century. However, the incidents from the 1970s received the greatest attention.

In general, there are two schools of thought on cattle mutilation: those who believe it is an inexplicable phenomenon and others who believe it is simply a disguise for normal cattle deaths.

Those have expressed divergent views on the conceivable explanation in the camp of the unexplained. According to some law enforcement agencies, the animals were being maimed by individuals as part of odd, almost religious ceremonies.

The Royal Canadian Mounted Police attributed the mutilations to an unnamed cult in 1980. Meanwhile, the Department of Criminal Investigations in Iowa claimed that Satanists were responsible for the mutilations.

Were the US Military Involved?

According to reports from the impacted rancher towns, the mutilations frequently happened in tandem with sightings of enigmatic, unmarked UFOs. Some ranchers who sustained the worst losses thought the mutilations had been carried out by the federal government, maybe as part of biological weaponry research.

The Nebraska National Guard ordered their helicopters to cruise at 2,000 feet (instead of the usual 1,000 feet) for their protection because alarmed ranchers had started shooting at aircraft. The anger toward the government became so intense.

Others have attributed the blame to unknown earthbound species. Rancher Terry Sherman lost several cattle to mutilation at Skinwalker Ranch after purchasing the 512-acre property in 1996.

The ranch is located in northeastern Utah and is the topic of the book Hunt for the Skinwalker: Science Confronts the Unexplained at a Remote Ranch in Utah.

Those mutilations occurred at the same time as several odd encounters: Sherman witnessed a wolf-like creature that was three times the size of a typical wolf and impervious to rifle fire in one instance, and a researcher witnessed an unusual humanoid with piercing yellow eyes spying on him from a tree in another.

Since then, several incidents have taken place there.

One of the many cattle mutilations at Skinwalker Ranch

One of the many cattle mutilations at Skinwalker Ranch. Uncensored image can be accessed here.

Others connect the mutilations to potential alien visitation. Linda Moulton Howe is a filmmaker, science reporter, and Stanford-educated author. She has examined more than 1,000 incidents of animal mutilation and received an Emmy award for her 1980 documentary A Strange Harvest.

Howe eventually concluded that extraterrestrials were probably involved in her 1989 follow-up book, An Alien Harvest: Further Evidence Linking Animal Mutilations and Human Abductions to Alien Life Forms.

The horse “Lady,” which was discovered dead and half-skinned in September 1967 at a ranch in Alamosa, Colorado, was one particularly striking case tying animal mutilation and aliens together.

Judge Charles Bennett of the local superior court noticed three orange rings in the sky within 24 hours of the incident, in which the animal’s brain, lungs, heart, and thyroid were neatly ripped out. Meanwhile, two sheriff’s deputies claimed they were being followed by an orange globe that was floating in the air.

Some medical professionals provide considerably more uninteresting justifications for animal mutilations. Veterinary pathologists note that scavengers frequently consume an animal’s soft tissue first, which may help to explain why a dead bovine frequently has missing external organs.

Meanwhile, bloodlessness may be caused by livor mortis: When an animal dies, the heart stops beating, and the blood stops flowing, which causes the blood to settle by gravity and leave some surface areas of a carcass looking “bloodless.”

The cattle mutilation from Colorado. See the striking similarities

The cattle mutilation from Colorado. See the striking similarities. Uncensored image can be accessed here.

The sheriff’s office in Washington County, Arkansas, experimented in 1979 when it left a dead cow in a field for 48 hours and discovered that it resembled the ostensibly dismembered ones quite a bit. Its skin had torn in an incision-like manner due to bacterial bloating, as has been mentioned in several ranchers’ reports.

Meanwhile, the animal’s internal organs had been cleaned out by maggots and blowflies.

According to agricultural historian Michael Goleman, autonomous, small-scale ranchers may have been able to vent their economic angst and hostility at government meddling in agriculture through the tales of cattle mutilation in the 1970s.

Goleman asserts that inexplicable cattle fatalities have always been a feature of ranching and that there was no increase in annual animal mortality during the alleged mutilations compared to either before or after. However, most mutilation reports surfaced while the cattle sector was in shambles.

The similarities in the mutilations is uncanny

The similarities in the mutilations is uncanny. Uncensored image can be accessed here.

The U.S. government shipped much grain to countries with food shortages in the 1970s, which increased the cost of cow feed at home. President Richard Nixon occasionally froze domestic beef prices (and other meat) to fight inflation simultaneously.

The American National Cattlemen’s Association president testified before the Senate Agriculture Committee in 1975 that the cattle ranching business had experienced “operational losses of $5 billion, with a fall in inventory value of $20 billion.”

Goleman uses the fact that states like Colorado and New Mexico, which had higher percentages of small ranches most vulnerable to certain governmental practices, had the alleged ’70s mutilations occur most frequently as support for his claim. Despite having by far the most cattle in the nation, Texas reported much fewer instances of the phenomenon.

According to Goleman, public panic seems more likely to be the cause than paranormal activity because the mutilations were geographically and chronologically focused.

Next, read about the Unsolved Disappearance of Amy Lynn Bradley from a Cruise Ship. Then, about Cindy James, the Woman Who Was Stalked for 07 Years!


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Written By

Abin Tom Sebastian, also known as Mr. Morbid in the community, is an avid fan of the paranormal and the dark history of the world. He believes that sharing these stories and histories are essential for the future generations. For god forbid, we have seen that those who forget history are doomed to repeat it.

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