Skinwalker Ranch: Everything to Know About Infamous UFO Site

Sherman Ranch has become an entire subsection of UFO research on its own, and its legend has only grown in the telling.

With UFOs and extra-terrestrials clogging the headlines these days, a lot of increased attention has been placed on "Skinwalker Ranch," and it's a subject that you can't just brush up on overnight. There are years of theories and information about UFOs and unidentified aerial phenomena (UAP) in general, with a particularly deep rabbit hole encompassing Skinwalker Ranch. Here's a modest subject introduction and why it remains fascinating to so many people.

Skinwalker Ranch is a nickname for Sherman Ranch, a property located in Uintah County, Utah, southeast of the town of Ballard. It is known as a hotspot for paranormal activity including UFO sightings, extra-terrestrial encounters and other mysterious non-human interactions. The nickname "Skinwalker Ranch" alludes to legends from the Navajo Nation's culture, which include stories of nefarious witches possessing animals, disguising themselves as animals or transmuting themselves into animals. These witches were considered pure evil with no redeeming qualities. The ranch shares a border with the Ouray Indian Reservation.

Paranormal reports began cropping up in the Uintah Basin in the 1970s, but Sherman Ranch was not directly implicated in mainstream reports until 1996 when nearby news outlets first mentioned the ranch. The first reports covered the experiences of the family that owned the ranch at the time. The reporters behind those stories were soon inundated with similar accounts going back half a century.

The stories from the ranch generally fell into a few categories: UFO sightings including physical craft and orbs of light, sightings of mythical animals with monstrous characteristics and cattle mutilation or disappearance. In some instances, witnesses said that UFOs emitted destructive magnetic fields or precipitated other odd phenomena, while some claimed that the cryptozoological animals they saw were immune to bullets.

Another important factor that makes Skinwalker Ranch unique in UFO circles is that it has been thoroughly studied – ostensibly with modern scientific methods, although that is hotly debated. In 1996, wealthy businessman Robert Bigelow purchased the ranch through his National Institute for Discovery Science (NIDSci) for the express purpose of getting to the bottom of the odd reports there.

Over the years, reports of investigations at Skinwalker Ranch have enthralled some readers while not convincing others, often with just enough doubt left behind to justify another visit with new tests. However, interest from conspiracy theorists definitely spiked when Bigelow sold the property in 2016 to a developer called Adamantium Real Estate LLC.

Adamantium blocked the roads to the ranch and did its best to surround the property with barbed wire, cameras and signs warning against trespassers. This led people to wonder if there was something new happening at the ranch and if it was being intentionally hidden. The company soon trademarked the name "Skinwalker Ranch" and obtained legal approval to open recreational and entertainment facilities there, sell branded merchandise and produce new content about the ranch's lore.

This move to capitalize on the ranch's infamy coincided with increasing media depictions. There was the 2013 film Skinwalker Ranch followed by the 2018 documentary Hunt for Skinwalker. In 2020, History's Ancient Aliens dedicated an entire episode to Skinwalker Ranch and soon after that History launched an entire series called The Secret of Skinwalker Ranch. There are also books, podcasts and entire social media forums dedicated to the subject.

History is airing The Secret of Skinwalker Ranch Season 4 right now on Tuesdays at 9 p.m. ET. It goes over stories from the ranch and attempts to investigate them in extreme detail. You can stream previous episodes on Netflix, Hulu, Discovery+, the History Channel app or on Philo.