Faith. Hope. Love. Most people would not expect those words to be associated with Skinwalker Ranch which is said to be “the most scientifically studied paranormal hotspot on the planet,” according to the ranch’s official site. When current owner Brandon Fugal first visited the ranch, he observed animal bladders and carcasses posted at its fence perimeters apparently to keep evil entities from escaping outside its boundaries. Despite this graphic sight, the reputation of curses, and stories of paranormal events, Fugal’s motivation for purchasing the property is steeped in faith, hope, and love.
Skinwalker Ranch Changes Name
Previously known as the Sherman Ranch and the UFO ranch, it was rebranded as “Skinwalker Ranch” to align with the location’s indigenous roots. Brandon Fugal describes the landscape as surprisingly beautiful and worthy of an old western movie background. Skinwalker Ranch lies in the centre of the geological depression known as the Uintah Basin in the state of Utah. Spanning 512 acres, it is located south of the Uintah Mountains and southeast of the city of Ballard. It borders the Ute Indian reservation and is surrounded by tribal land. The only access to the ranch is a gated road which Fugal applied to have declared private.
The area is rich in Native American history and folklore and replete with petroglyphs carved into its rock faces and within its caves sometime before 1200 AD. These ancient drawings tell strange and violent stories about the experiences of those who inhabited the land many years ago, including depictions of severed heads, giants, and other mysterious horned figures, portals and pathways. What did the ancient civilizations witness here? Could these be the very first reports of UFO sightings? Was this rock art created to warn future generations?
The ranch gets its name from the malevolent shapeshifting witches of the Navajo people, called skinwalkers. Skinwalkers are believed to be shamans who sold their souls in exchange for the ability to assume different forms and for immortality. It is said that during the American Civil War(1861-1865), the Ute tribe ousted the Navajo people from the area. In revenge, the Navajo placed a curse on the Ute ensuring they would be forever terrorized by skinwalkers.
What Really Scared the Shermans Away?
From 1934 to 1994, the land was owned by Kenneth and Edith Myers. They lived on the property until Kenneth’s death in 1987. Edith stayed on the property until 1992 when she moved to an old age home. After Edith died in 1994, Garth Myers and his sisters inherited the property and sold it to cattle rancher Terry Sherman and his wife Gwen.
According to Fugal The Myers reported several occurrences on the ranch. Retired deputy Sheriff Kris Porritt provided testimony that he responded to several incidents on the ranch in an official capacity involving strange & disturbing events/activity during Myers’ ownership, and considered Kenneth Myers a friend. This was later contested in an interview with Frank B. Salisbury, author of the book, The Utah UFO Display, Garth Myers denied any kind of UFO activity on the property during the sixty years his family lived there. Clearly, the testimony holds more weight than statements made in a media interview.
The subsequent owners, the Shermans, told a different story. The Shermans owned the property from 1994 to 1996. After living on the ranch for less than two years, the Shermans went public with claims that they had been the victims of numerous frightening paranormal incidents since the day they moved in. Investigative journalist George Knapp detailed the Shermans’ accounts in a series of articles published in the Las Vegas Mercury newspaper. The pieces included descriptions of unexplained cattle mutilations and disappearances, strange objects in the sky, crop circles, and encounters with wolf-like creatures.
Skinwalker and George Knapp
Is it a coincidence that George Knapp has a connection to the individual who would eventually buy the property from the Shermans? Knapp worked with the National Institute of Discovery Science (NIDS), which was founded by well-known Nevada billionaire, real-estate developer and owner of Bigelow Aerospace, Robert Bigelow. He is also well-known for his passion to discover an afterlife. Recently, in 2021 he created the Bigelow Institute for Consciousness Studies and offered $1 million in prizes in a competition for essays “for presenting the evidence for survival of human consciousness after bodily death.”
After the Shermans’ claims were publicized in 1996, Bigelow immediately purchased the property from them for $200,000, apparently less than what they paid for it. The Las Vegas Sun confirmed that the Shermans moved to another property only 15 miles away and that Terry Sherman took a caretaker job on the ranch. This raises some questions: If the events they experienced were so frightening and disturbing, why didn’t the Shermans move farther away than a mere 15 miles? Why did Terry Sherman return to the ranch to accept employment from Bigelow as a caretaker?
The year before purchasing the Sherman Ranch, Bigelow formed the National Institute for Discovery Science (NIDSci) to enable scientific research of the paranormal. The events reported by the Shermans caught Bigelow’s attention. Twenty-one years later, it would be revealed that those details also caught the attention of the United States government.
The New York Times broke the story in 2017 with details about the Advanced Aerospace Threat Identification Program. It was formed in 2007 and dissolved in 2012 after spending over $22 million in funding to study UFOs. According to Fugal, Robert Bigelow became part of the program after former Senator Harry Reid and officials from the U.S. Defense Department visited the ranch.
A Christian Skeptic Buys Skinwalker Ranch
During Bigelow’s twenty years of ownership, Bigelow invested massive resources into the research carried out by NIDSci. At some point, while Bigelow owned the ranch, he participated in discussions with Brandon Fugal. Fugal maintains that although the property was not for sale, this was not just another real estate deal. Bigelow was seeking a successor to its stewardship, and he chose Fugal. Perhaps Bigelow and Fugal bonded over their shared certainty of the existence of an afterlife. Under his company, Adamantium Real Estate LLC, Brandon Fugal anonymously purchased Skinwalker Ranch in 2016.
Brandon Fugal was born on April 1, 1973. He is a successful and prominent businessman, chairman and co-owner of Colliers International in Utah, a top commercial real estate firm, and he was previously named EY Entrepreneur of the Year. Fugal was raised by his parents in the religion of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints. Somewhere along the way, Fugal became fascinated with science fiction as evidenced by the name of his company, Adamantium, paying homage to Marvel Comics. Adamantium is a fictional indestructible alloy and that of which Marvel character Wolverine’s claws are made.
Brandon and Skepticism
Despite his keen interest in science fiction, Fugal claims to have been a skeptic when he bought Skinwalker Ranch. However, his skepticism didn’t stop him from reinforcing the existing security systems put in place by the previous owner. He installed additional cameras, motion detectors, and a 24-hour patrol.
His reasons for elevated security include keeping people out for their own protection from unknown dangers. Fugal doesn’t allow his own children to visit the property. He told Utah Business, “I have four kids but they have never been to the ranch,” Fugal says. “The danger is real, and we have to approach the ranch with a degree of reverence and caution.”
Science Steps In
Fugal also put together his own multidisciplinary team of scientists, engineers, and military personnel to embark on “the greatest science project of all time” he says in an episode of Jessop’s Journal – ABC4 News. This team includes his friend, Bryant “Dragon” Arnold, installed as the Chief of Security for the ranch. In a 2020 tweet, Fugal reveals that he met Arnold in 1992 while on a missionary assignment in Hawaii.
Soon several team members began to experience strange occurrences. They reported acute medical episodes, electromagnetic anomalies, high levels of radiation, and equipment malfunctions. Tom Winteron, the ranch’s maintenance superintendent, suffered three unexplained serious head injuries.
However, Fugal himself hadn’t witnessed nor experienced anything unusual, preserving his skepticism for the first six months of his ownership of the ranch. Then, in the Autumn of 2016, while outside with a group of others, Fugal witnessed his first UFO. He reported that it was a silver object approximately 50 feet long that hovered in the sky before disappearing with inexplicable propulsion movements. “I can’t unsee that.”, Fugal says. He became a believer or as Fugal prefers, “an experiencer.” The event was not caught on any devices due to battery power drainage occurring in the hour prior to this sighting.
“My perception of the world and universe has been forever changed by my experiences. Now, I believe the adventure of owning this "paranormal" property is just beginning.” - Fugal’s article in Newsweek.
A Hit Show Is Born
Following his purchase of the ranch, it was 4 years later that he admitted he owned the ranch. Consequently, after that time Fugal began negotiations with producers at The HISTORY Channel to create a new television series called The Secret of Skinwalker Ranch.
In his own words, he stated “I owned the ranch for nearly 4 years before agreeing to go public in conjunction with the docuseries, allowing television cameras for the first time."
Initially, he insisted on keeping his identity as the owner of the ranch anonymous for fear that it might damage his business reputation. Fugal says that he also demanded that the show would only report the truth of the events at the ranch and that his own team would play themselves, rather than a cast of actors. He also insisted on having the final cut on the content that would be broadcast. The wheels for the new show were set into motion and Fugal became a co-executive producer.
Skinwalker’s A Brand
On February 15, 2017, Adamantium Real Estate, LLC filed two trademark applications with the United States Patent and Trademark Office. The trademarks Skinwalker and Skinwalker Ranch were both registered for use in association with “Providing recreation facilities; Entertainment services, namely, creation, development, production, and distribution of multimedia content, internet content, motion pictures, and television shows.” Later, on June 21, 2021, Adamantium filed another trademark application to expand the use of the Skinwalker Ranch trademark to cover its use on products such as “stickers”, “cups and mugs” and “Shirts and short-sleeved shirts; Sports caps and hats”.
The Secret of Skinwalker Ranch first aired on The HISTORY Channel in 2020 and immediately became a hit. The show is now in its third season and has documented numerous strange and mysterious phenomena. In Season 1, after a young cow is found dead, Fugal’s team of investigators view the security camera footage. The footage shows a UFO directly above the cow prior to it dropping dead.
Season 3 Of Skinwalker Ranch
More recently, in Season 3, Fugal and his team gather around a table with journalist George Knapp and former Governor of Utah Gary Herbert (2009-2021), who Fugal says has been an important part of elevating the formality of this research. The group has gathered to review the 3D photogrammetry results of the property. The results reveal solid vertical structures suspended in the sky above the ranch. Fugal states, “It appears we are triggering contact in some way shape or form, and it’s manifesting itself above the ranch in a very profound way.”
Could these structures represent the disappearing portals that have been alleged around the Skinwalker Ranch property? Are they what the ancient petroglyphs were attempting to depict? What is the role of the former Governor of Utah in these investigations? Is the U.S. Government still secretly involved in programs at the ranch? Are military decisions being made as a result of Fugal’s findings?
In Brandon’s Words
“The scientific investigation at Skinwalker Ranch continues 24/7/365 with full-time onsite professionals and is the most significant privately funded research program of its kind on the planet. Now in our 4th season of filming the docuseries, we have brought more 3rd party professionals than ever before, with a diversity of skills, resources & technology platforms being deployed in service to documenting the reality of the phenomenon. Understanding the origin and agenda of what is being observed is a high priority.”
When Science and Religion Live Together in One Mind
Growing up in the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints, Brandon Fugal was raised to believe in the spirit world. “We lived before we came to earth, and we will continue to live after we die,” as stated on a Latter-Day Saints website. When asked by Doug Jessop if he feels a conflict between his religious beliefs and his scientific endeavors at Skinwalker Ranch, he asserts that there isn’t a conflict and that purchasing the ranch is in alignment with his faith. With a perspective that religion and science are complementary, Fugal and his ranch may hold the key to proving the existence of other dimensions. Even before the late Stan Lee of Marvel Comics popularized the concept of a “multiverse" consisting of thousands of separate universes, Christianity and other religions already supported the existence of another dimension: the spirit world. If there’s one, perhaps there are more.
“My goal with Skinwalker Ranch is to bring together a multidisciplinary group of people for the purpose of using science and technology in order to prove that we are not alone in the universe and that there is more to our existence than meets the eye.” - Brandon Fugal in an interview with Joe Murgia of UFO Joe
Fugal admits that he is compelled to find hard evidence of a multidimensional universe. He also told UFO Joe that he was considering expanding his investigations to the study of consciousness. Such studies would reach beyond the materialist view of humans whilst adhering to the third-person perspective of scientific pursuit.
If Fugal can show empirically that other dimensions exist, then it follows that one of those dimensions could be the spirit world. It could also lead to substantive proof of an afterlife and the presence of angels among us. Fugal’s goal is to have data to confirm that we are not alone in the universe and that we are part of an intelligent design. His research findings may unlock unlimited possibilities for the future of mankind and accelerate the evolution of theology. In a time when we are experiencing divisiveness amongst ourselves, Fugal’s research has the potential to unite us as one race, the human race, and to restore our faith, hope, and love for one another.
What do you think is going on at Skinwalker Ranch? Is the U.S. Government operating secret programs again and making contact with extraterrestrial beings? Have both angels and aliens found the doorway into our world? Or has Brandon Fugal found the doorway into theirs?
Correction, (Fri Sept 30, 2022): A previous version of this story was corrected with information gained directly from Brandon Fugal. The editorial team has made the necessary corrections, and thank Brandon for the clarification. We incorrectly stated that Myers never reported phenomena at the ranch when testimony from an officer of the law proved otherwise. Fugal also confirmed the correct timing of his public admission.