Down a long dirt road in Utah is a rugged stretch of ranchland that just may be the strangest place on Earth.
Skinwalker Ranch—also known as the Sherman or Gorman Ranch—occupies around 480 acres in Uintah County, Utah, and is beset by reports of paranormal activity.
The property borders the Ute Indian Reservation and its eerie reputation dates back to native folklore. Amongst the tribe there’s a belief that the area has been tormented for hundreds of years by non-human, shape-shifting beings called “skin-walkers.” To the Utes, the site is cursed, known as the “path of the skin-walker.
In 1994, Terry and Gwen Sherman purchased the property in hopes of establishing a cattle ranch there. The couple’s first encounter with the paranormal came on the day they moved their furniture into their new home. As they worked, a large wolf appeared in a nearby cow pasture. The animal seemed strangely untroubled by the Shermans’ presence. Then, as quickly as it had come, the wolf bit into the leg of a calf.
Terry grabbed his rifle and shot the animal at close range. But the wolf was unfazed. Terry shot again, then again, yet the creature remained standing. When the smoke finally cleared, the animal simply trotted away—with no trace of blood.
For the Shermans, this was merely the beginning of their strange experiences at Skinwalker Ranch. The family would wake up to find crop circles scorched into the ground near their home; groceries were mysteriously repacked and reorganized throughout their kitchen; once, after a set of bulls went missing, Terry discovered the animals crammed into a disused trailer in a seemingly hypnotized state; another time, Terry saw what he believed to be an RV pull into the driveway—as he approached, the vehicle simply lifted off the ground and flew away.
Disembodied voices chattered at the family in strange languages. Cows repeatedly vanished only to turn up killed and mutilated. After chasing a floating orb of light, a trio of ranch dogs disappeared into the night.
Needless to say, the Shermans did not find the ranch a particularly welcoming place. Every family member had trouble sleeping and, when they did sleep, they were troubled by nightmares. In the morning, the Shermans awoke and discussed their identical dreams. To ease their minds, the family began sleeping together in the main room of the house.
Luckily, after just two years, the Shermans were offered a deal they were only too happy to accept. In 1996, they sold their land and left the property for good.
Just who could be interested in purchasing such a mysterious place? Robert Bigelow, founder of the National Institute for Discovery Science (NIDSci), a privately funded (and now defunct) research organization of ufology and the paranormal.
For more information on the Skinwalker Ranch check out Colm Kelleher and George Knapp’s book, Hunt for the Skinwalker: Science Confronts the Unexplained at a Remote Ranch in Utah, in which they chronicle the investigations conducted on the property after it was purchased by NIDSci.