Ghosts & the Paranormal – Chantal Apodaca looks at me and asks…”are you scared?” I look at her and calmly said…”yes.” What is there to be scared about at the Skinwalker Ranch? Lots of things, but before I talk about the ‘scary incident’, let’s start from the beginning.
Let’s look at the history of the Skinwalker Ranch. Skinwalker Ranch, also known as Sherman Ranch or Gorman Ranch, is a property located on approximately 480 acres (1.9 km2) southeast of Ballard, Utah that is allegedly the site of paranormal and UFO-related activities. Its name is taken from the skin-walker of Native American legend.
Claims about the ranch first appeared in the Salt Lake City, Utah Deseret News, and later in the alternative weekly Las Vegas Mercury as a series of articles by journalist George Knapp. These early stories detailed the claims that a family that had recently purchased and occupied the property experienced an array of inexplicable and frightening events.
Knapp and co-author Colm Kelleher subsequently authored a book in which they describe the ranch being acquired by the National Institute for Discovery Science (NIDSci) to study anecdotal sightings of UFOs, bigfoot-like creatures, crop circles, glowing orbs and poltergeist activity reported by its former owners. Special Note: It is rumored that the NIDS was formerly the O.S.I.R. (The Office of Scientific Investigation and Research) made famous by the TV series Psi-Factor hosed by Dan Ankroyd.
The ranch, located in west Uintah County bordering the Ute Indian Reservation, was popularly dubbed the “UFO ranch” due to its ostensible 50-year history of odd events said to have taken place there. Knapp and Kelleher cite the 1974 book The Utah UFO Display: A Scientist’s Report by Frank Salisbury and Joseph “Junior” Hicks, which details an earlier investigation into alleged UFO sightings in the Uintah County region, as partial confirmation of their account. According to Kelleher and Knapp, they saw or investigated evidence of close to 100 incidents that include vanishing and mutilated cattle, sightings of unidentified flying objects or orbs, large animals with piercing yellow eyes that they say were not injured when struck by bullets, and invisible objects emitting destructive magnetic fields. Among those involved were retired Army Colonel John B. Alexander who characterized the NIDSci effort as an attempt to get hard data using a “standard scientific approach”. However, the investigators admitted to “difficulty obtaining evidence consistent with scientific publication.” Cattle mutilations have been part of the folklore of the surrounding area for decades, but NIDSci founder Robert Bigelow’s purchase of the ranch and investigation funding was reportedly the result of his being convinced by stories of mutilations that included tales of strange lights and unusual impressions made in grass and soil told by the family of former ranch owner Terry Sherman.
In 1996, skeptic James Randi awarded Bigelow a Pigasus Award for funding purchase of the property for what he termed a “useless study” of “a ‘haunted ranch’ in Utah”.
A film, titled Skinwalker Ranch, was released in 2013, and is very loosely based on the folklore behind the ranch.
The stories that stay in my mind about the Skinwalker Ranch are the following. 1. The Gormans that lived on this ranch, came across a bullet proof wolf that was chewing on the leg of one of their calves. They shot at this wolf several times and it merely shrugged off the bullets and walked away. 2. The Gormans saw a RV drive away into the hillside and later morph into a UFO and fly off in the night sky. 3. A NIC scientist witnessed a portal open up in the sky and a Bigfoot creature came out of the portal and ran off into the woods. 4. There has been Shadow People, poltergeist activity at this ranch. So, you can see I am anxious to check it out myself.
When we drove through Salt Lake City, we were amazed at the beauty of this city. Salt Lake City has much to offer with the sites of Temple Square, the Tabernacle, Olympic Cauldron Park and much more.
When we reached Salt Lake City, we learned that the Skinwalker Ranch (near the towns of Roosevelt and Vernal in the Uintah Basin was 2 hours or 2 ½ hours away on Highway 40. When I got this news, I almost fainted. I already drove forever into eternity with Lisa helping me to drive. The weather didn’t look good, there is lightning everywhere. It’s now midnight, I feel the fatigue setting in. I ask my investigators if they are ready to get a hotel and try again tomorrow. Lisa says if the Sci Fi Channel’s Destination Truth paranormal team can endure the hardships that they do in various jungles, swamps in the world to seek out the truth, then we can endure the hard rains of Utah. I looked at Chantal and say: “Do you feel the same way Chantal?” Chantal: “Yes, Paul, we came too far to stop now.” I look at Lisa and Chantal and said they are both heroic paranormal pioneer scouts that have the courage and heart of a tiger. So be it, let’s get back into The Rift and trek ahead for our destination.
For California paranormal investigators, if you plan to investigate the Skinwalker Ranch, I suggest you drive first to Salt Lake City, get a hotel, rest up and then in the morning head over to Skinwalker Ranch, do not attempt to drive all the way to the Skinwalker Ranch. In fact Utah even has signs indicating they do not want fatigued drivers on their freeways.
The thunderstorm became intense, but I kept driving, there was times when I was driving at 5 mph. The music stopped, everyone was concentrating. You could cut the tension inside my car with a knife. Lisa looked petrified and terrified, Chantal no longer had a smile on her face. I asked, should I go back? Chantal and Lisa in unison….”no”. Driving through a thunderstorm through canyon roads was extremely dangerous and treacherous, many people have lost their lives on their way to the Uintah Basin at night (according to locals). The drive seemed to go on forever, my head was spinning with thoughts of disaster. Everything seemed to move in slow motion. Even though the rain was beating down upon The Rift, everything seemed unusually silent and surreal, it was like we were experiencing the Oz Factor. I could see the fright in the eyes of Chantal and Lisa. I can’t describe how terrifying the drive became, but there was no way of going back now, we had to move forward. I remember Shannon ‘Ms. Macabre’ McCabe’s call earlier this morning and how she was wishing us luck on this investigation. I remember Shannon’s laughter as I called her Dana Scully and she called me Fox Mulder. Shannon and I, always communicate on the cell phone and I always brief her about my unusual investigations. I have been on some treacherous investigations, but this must have been the worse and remembering the calming effect of Shannon’s laughter on the cell phone brought me back to normalcy. I trekked on, I asked the spiritual entities that look over my life to be with me and get me to my destination in safety.
Finally, we reach the Uintah Basin, we all clap in unison. We have made it and we were in all in one piece. We all just sat inside the car for a long while in silence, perhaps all of us were saying silent prayers. After the silence, we did the next hardest thing, getting Chantal’s gigantic tent up. Her tent is called ‘3 Room Cottage Cabin’. As the three of us are placing this tent up, we are all falling in the mud. At one point of time, I fall into the mud face down. I was wondering…does Destination Truth ever experience what we were experiencing, I fantasized about a 5-Star Hotel in Tahiti. It took about an hour to get the tent up in the hard rains of Utah.
We had a meeting inside the tent, we would all pull shifts watching the night skies. I would take the first shift. The ‘observer’ of the team would be equipped with a whistle. If we were to see anything unusual, the observer blows the whistle to awaken the rest of the team.
Equipment being used for this investigation: Digital Video Camera (borrowed from Shannon McCabe). Only used Shannon’s camera the next day. I decided not to use it this evening because of the rain. Regular 35 mm camera. Digital camera. Digital Audio Recorder. Binoculars. Laser pin lights (for signal communication to UFOs), 2 high powered flashlights (for setting up base camp and signal communication to UFOs).
During this night, we didn’t sleep well, 15 minutes of sleep here, 15 minutes of sleep there. During one point of the evening, we all hear an unusual animal cry, it was like a loud screeching sound and then ends with ‘wup, wup’. We heard the sound two times, the sound of…eeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee….wup, wup. I would love to consult with a zoologist and see if the zoologist is able to identify this animal sound. Listening to my recorder, it only picked up the sound of hard rain. The unusual animal sounds were heard at 3:24am. At 4:12am, Chantal was on watch, I was up and about again and we both saw a lightning explosion that later turned into the shape of a large ball, the first words out of my mouth was…”what the f?” I grabbed Chantal’s whistle and blew it and Lisa came out, the lightning explosion was no longer visible.
It was an incredible sight. I can see how perhaps the Ute Indians may see this as a portal. I believe that I witnessed ‘ball lightning’, a phenomenon that probably can be seen in states with severe weather patterns like Texas and Louisiana. It came out of nowhere and there was no way I was able to photograph this spectacular display of natural electricity.
With the thunderstorm continuing, clouds in the sky, this would be a poor night to observe paranormal phenomenon, but the ball lightning and the strange animal sound was very enticing and I wanted to go with another investigation the next evening. When the sun started to rise, Lisa came out of the tent sneezing and coughing. The storm caused her to become deathly ill. I knew I had to get Lisa and Chantal home. Lisa’s children called on my cell and were concerned about the bug she caught and did not want to see their mother catch pneumonia. I looked at Lisa and Chantal and said…”let’s pack it up and head back to California, we did our best.”
By Paul Dale Roberts, HPI Esoteric Detective
HPI (Hegelianism Paranormal Intelligence) International