There are countless sightings of UFOs across the globe – everywhere from Bolivia to Antarctica.
But there’s one “hotspot” that seems to attract more than its fair share of mysterious goings-on.
Informally dubbed “Skinwalker Ranch”, the 512-acre plot is about a hundred miles southeast of Salt Lake City, Utah, in the US.
Officially called the Sherman Ranch, it received its “Skinwalker Ranch” nickname because of the sheer quantity of paranormal events that have occurred there.
It’s at the centre of UFO sightings, cattle mutilation events, and crop circles going back at least 50 years.
Farmer Tom Gorman told authors Colm Kelleher and George Knapp that in 1994 he had seen a giant wolf on the land, bigger than any known wolf living today.
When it attacked one of his cows, he says, he shot it three times at close range with a .357 magnum pistol. The animal wasn’t wounded and remained completely calm, even when Tom followed up with a few rounds from his US Army-issue Springfield rifle.
Even more strangely, when Tom and his sons tried to track the huge beast, it disappeared – with its tracks in the soft ground coming to an unexplained end.
Records of UFO sightings in the area go much further back. There’s an account of a “cigar-shaped” object seen floating over the Utah countryside by a teacher and his 30 students in 1951.
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But as well as “monster wolves” and “spacecraft”, the area is also known a wide range of other unexplained phenomena, including alleged sightings of Bigfoot, and terrifying shapeshifting demons known in Native American mythology as “Skinwalkers”.
“It all seems to be concentrated on the ranch,” says local historian Junior Hicks. “The [Native Americans] don’t mess with it. They have stories about that place that go back fifteen generation. They say the ranch is in the ‘path of the skinwalker’.”
Terry Sherman, who owned the ranch in the mid-1990s, says he and his family witnessed at least three distinct types of UFO patrolling the ranch: a small “box-like” aircraft that made a noise like a fridge emitted a white light, a 40-foot-long object and a huge “mothership” which he saw was the size of several football fields.
On one occasion he spotted a completely silent triangular black aircraft about 40ft across hovering about 20ft above the ground – apparently searching for something using powerful “disco light” beams.
He also claimed to have seen circular “doors” that opened in mid-air, as if someone or something was entering an invisible aircraft. He says that three perfectly round areas of flattened grass that appeared in one of his fields around 30 feet apart suggested something heavy had landed there.
It’s not just the people living on the ranch that have seen strange things. ”I’d estimate over 10% of the population of the Uintah Basin has seen something,” says Hicks. “I think what’s happening is we are being visited from beings from another world or some other place. I think primarily it’s research and exploration.”
Leland Mecham, who lives a few miles away in Neola, has seen a number of strange things in the sky. In the 1970s, he claims he saw a “gigantic” object that seemed to be scanning the landscape using beams of coloured light. It then shot off at incredible speed.
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“There’s no way it was swamp gas or balloons like everybody tries to pass it off,” he says. “I was probably as skeptical as any man alive, but when I saw these, in my opinion, they had to be operated by somebody. It couldn’t be any other way. And I don’t think there’s anything we’ve got that could move that quick.”
But Sherman, after several of his cattle died with strange “laser-like” circular wounds, couldn’t afford to continue farming the ranch and sold it to UFO researcher Robert Bigelow.
Bigelow’s National Institute for Discovery Science conducted round-the-clock video surveillance of the ranch for several years. But his project failed to produce any hard physical evidence for the strange sightings that people have claimed to make at the ranch.
Colm Kelleher, who had been working for the Instutute, did see what he says was a large humanoid creature spying on the researchers from the branch of a tree on the property: “The large creature that lay motionless, almost casually, in the tree,” he said. “The only indication of the beast’s presence was the penetrating yellow light of the unblinking eyes as they stared fixedly back into the light.”
Aliens? Demons? Creatures from a parallel dimension? Perhaps it’s none of these, but something that’s very hard to explain is still happening in the remote Utah countryside near Skinwalker Ranch.