When we made our excursion into Dark Canyon, we passed by the newly established Bottle Hollow Resort, recently constructed by the Ute Indians, abutting the Skinwalker Ranch. Dedicated in 1970 by Paul Harvey, the motel and convention center at Bottle Hollow was built with federal money to help the Northern Ute Tribe with economic diversity and to provide jobs for tribal members.
The resort was an attractive oasis in the eastern Utah desert. Its convention center hosted business meetings where U.S. congressmen gathered to talk about the Central Utah Project. A sparkling swimming pool was the perfect site for fashion shows in the early 1980s. In the summer, Bottle Hollow Resort was also home to a popular local community dinner theater and numerous high school reunions. The dramatic decline of the oil boom in the Uintah Basin in the late 1980s, also brought the eventual abandonment of the Bottle Hollow Resort by the Ute Tribe. Most of the resort was demolished in 2009.
The name “Bottle Hollow” came about in an unusual fashion. In the late 1800s, soldiers from nearby Fort Duchesne, forbidden to drink on the post, traveled to the nearby Strip (present day Gusher, Utah, vicinity) to obtain alcoholic drinks. The Strip was a no-man's land, situated on the boundary of the Ute Reservation and state land, where the law had no jurisdiction. Numerous saloons thrived there, including one operated by the outlaw Elza Lay, where the soldiers could buy drinks unmolested. On their way home to the fort, they tossed their empty bottles into a hollow which soon filled up them, gaining its name “Bottle Hollow.”
Among the many other attractions of Bottle Hollow Resort was a reservoir. Today the Bottle Hollow reservoir covers some 420 acres and is a popular fishing spot. The reservoir has a mysterious legacy of its own, one that seems inextricably linked to the Skinwalker Ranch. The Utes have long believed that Bottle Hollow is inhabited by one or more large aquatic snakes, something akin to the sea serpent legends that are attached to other, much older bodies of water around the world.
Eyewitness reports of serpent sightings in the reservoir date back almost to the time when Bottle Hollow was first filled with water. Obviously, the reservoir isn’t old enough to be inhabited by a Paleolithic oddity that somehow survived into modern times. But what are we to make of the statements made to us by several seemingly honest witnesses, people who didn’t want any public attention whatsoever?
One eyewitness was a tribal police officer who said, “We used to see things crawling around in the water that looked like giant snakes. [It] would swim straight down from the marina and go all the way down to the bottom end. You could see it on moonlit nights. I seen that, well, everybody, the other guys have seen that snake in there too.”
Tribal police officers say an inordinate number of drowning cases have occurred in Bottle Hollow over the years, and at least some of them are unofficially attributed to the presence of the mystery snake. One case that was investigated by police involved the death of a Ute woman who was swimming at night with a male companion. Witnesses on the beach said the woman screamed that something in the water had grabbed her and was pulling her under. Her companion told officers that he dove under the water and grappled with a huge snake in an effort to free the woman, but she was dead by the time he got her back to the surface. Obviously, there are other potential explanations for what occurred that night, but the witnesses on the beach supported this version of the event and investigators took the report seriously.
There are also numerous accounts of strange lights that have been seen entering and leaving the waters of Bottle Hollow. In 1998, a police officer reported that he saw a “large light” plunge into the middle of the reservoir and then quickly exit before flying away into the night sky. The witness did not remember whether the object made any kind of splashing sound during its entry or emergence from the dark water. In 2002, four young white men said they had recently been on the beach with their dates when a blue-white ball of light flew out of the darkness from the direction of the Skinwalker Ranch. The glowing ball dove into the water just a few feet from the shore, then emerged seconds later. The mystery object had changed its shape while submerged, the witnesses said. From the original ball shape that entered the water, it emerged as something resembling a shimmering, maneuverable belt-shaped shaft of light. After performing a brief writhing aerial dance, the belt of light zipped away at a high rate of speed, hugging the ground before disappearing below the top of Skinwalker Ridge. After questioning the four men at length about their backgrounds and the sighting itself, it was concluded that they were honestly describing the event to the best of their abilities. They certainly weren’t seeking publicity and they requested that their names not be made public.
The foregoing leads us to another Ute legend closely related with bodies of water – the “Water Babies.” Even prior to their removal from Utah Valley to the Uintah Reservation in 1865, the Utes maintained that Water Babies existed in Utah Lake. The Ute Indians told stories of a mysterious race of dwarves who lived in the lake. They referred to them as “Water Babies” because of their clever tactics in luring people to their deaths. They would make sounds very reminiscent of crying babies. Concerned people would take off into the lake in an effort to locate and rescue the endangered babies within, only to be dragged down into the depths by the nefarious Water Babies.
If one managed to escape the clutches of these devilish dwarves, they wouldn’t be in the clear. A huge, predatorial, man-hating monster also lived in the lake. The first sighting by a white man occurred just at the tail end of the Civil War, when a resident reported being chased to the shore by a thirty foot reptile, which then turned around, joined another huge beast, and swam off. Shortly after, another man claimed to see a huge reptile with the head of a dog patrolling the waters of the lake. In 1870, some fishermen found a large, strange skull with tusks protruding from it in the water. Sightings occurred steadily throughout the late 1800s through the 1920s, before they died down.
The Utes brought the legend of the Water Babies with them to the Uintah Basin, and soon lakes and rivers and streams were part of the legend. There are various Utah Indian tales relating how these water beings came into existence. According to one account published by the Uintah-Ouray Ute Tribe in the book Stories of Our Ancestors, Pawapicts came into existence as the result of a wrestling match between a very stout man named Pahahpooch and Wildcat. It is possible that this account and other similar tales were attempts on the part of the Native Americans to explain what happened to their people who had drowned.
Before challenging Wildcat to a wrestling bout, Pahahpooch had thrown all of his other contestants and had never lost a contest. When the prearranged match began, the two grappled beside a large expanse of water. The feline creature eventually threw Pahahpooch into the middle of the lake and said, "You will stay in the water all the time now and people will call you Water Indian."
Pahahpooch's life in the water must have been a very lonely one, and eventually he tempted or forced others into the water to become Water Indians like him. Then it became the task of the new Water Indians to lure other people into the water or swallow them and carry them into the depths. The lakes or streams into which they were submerged became the victims' homes.
Utes apparently believed Pawapicts came in various shapes and sizes. Most Ute accounts agree that they had long black hair and cried like infants. However, Ute sources quoted in Anne M. Smith's book, "Ute Tales," variously described them either as being the size of a man's hand or as large as a three or four-year-old child. Sometimes, they even appeared in the shape and size of an alluring full-grown woman.
These last mentioned creatures, like their human counterparts, sometimes trapped their victims by using devious methods. In one story, a young man went to the river and watered his horses. He felt overcome with fatigue and went to sleep on the bank of the stream. When the man awoke, he became aware that someone was lying beside him. He opened his eyes and saw a seductive woman in a green dress lying next to him. He fell in love with her, and she coaxed him to go with her under the water to meet her people. His family never saw him again.
Some of the tales in Smith's book reveal personal experiences Utes had with these inhabitants of the deep. For example, John Duncan, a Ute whose Indian name was Red Sunrise, related a story of a Water Baby that lived near Vernal. From Smith's book:
“There used to be water babies in the water down near Vernal. They cried like babies. They were about the size of a three-year-old child. One boy did not believe the tales of the water babies. He wanted to see one. He would not believe what his family told him. He did not know these water babies were bad.
“John [Duncan] went fishing with this boy. They saw a water baby nearby, which was drying. The boy wanted to go back and look at it but John was frightened and did not want to go. The water babies were on a flat rock. They had long hair. When the boys came near they dived into the water. The hair floated on top. When the water babies went under the water, the water started to rise and the boys ran away. That was the only time John saw water babies.”
There are numerous accounts of sightings of the Water Babies and water monsters. Moon Lake, especially, is replete with ancient Indian legends about these creatures. It is said that on calm, moonlit summer nights, one can hear the Water Babies crying, and many people have reported seeing the wake of the “Moon Lake Monster” on the surface of the lake.
In an interview with Rodger Bolton, he related the following story:
It was a cold moonless night when the young warrior awoke to the strange echoes of the night. He quickly began to start his fire and make sure that his weapons were close by. As he listened to the strange noises, he kept thinking he heard babies crying out by the waters edge, but he thought that it couldn’t be because he had seen no sign of anybody around the Green River area.
“The young warrior began watching the water to see what was making the crying noise. He then remembered a story that his grandfather had told him before he left to find himself and to prove his manhood. 'Beware of the weepings and wailings that you hear at night, especially by the water’s edge, for the water babies will pull you in and take you to their underwater village never to return.' Being young and full of adventure, he thought to himself 'I will go and see what is really making this crying noise, for I do not believe these stories of these so-called water babies. They can’t pull me into the river never to be seen again, for I am strong and a good swimmer.'
“Autenquer went down to the Green River’s edge and began scanning the water until at last he thought he saw something floating in the calm water. Autenquer began to wade out in th3e water when he felt something grab his leg and pull him under. A million thoughts raced through his mind, but the one that was most important to him at this point was air. He began fighting the thing that had his leg. Finally it spoke to him saying, 'My name is Antero; I am a water baby. I have come to take you to my house, which is down deep.' Antero was small, about the size of a two-year-old. He had long black hair and wore a beaded breechcloth around his waist. Seeing that he had no choice but to go, Autenquer sighed to Antero, 'I will go with you if you will let me go to the surface and get some food and some air to fill my lungs.' Antero agreed to this; but when Autenquer reached the surface, he very quickly began swimming to the shore. He jumped out of the water and ran to his rifle and bow and arrows. He began shooting at Antero, but he couldn’t kill his opponent, so he quickly left the place and went down stream to where he thought the water babies wouldn’t find him. Here he set up camp again and went to sleep. The young Autenquer vowed to never be dumb enough to see if a baby was crying for its mother. He also vowed never to be outsmarted or out-fought by anyone ever again.”
Whatever connection there is – if any – between the Water Babies and the Skinwalker is unknown, but it is important to remember that among the Utes there is little doubt that the two legends are intertwined.
During the late sixties and early seventies I had the great privilege and pleasure of befriending an old Ute Indian named Wash (Wass). He was a remarkable old gentleman who surpassed the century-mark when he died. He was the son of William Wash (1865-1928), one of the most remarkable of the Ute Indian leaders. William Wash's Indian name was recorded variously as Naam-quitch, Ot-tum-bi-asken, and Witch-chee-wig-up. He was called Wash's Son, William Wash, and William Wash, Jr., to distinguish him from his father, also named Wash.
Wash's father William Wash never became a formal political leader of his people, yet his success as a rancher gained him the recognition and respect of both Utes and whites at the Uintah-Ouray Reservation. Agency officials called him one of the more "progressive" full-blood individuals of the Uintah band, one of three Northern Ute bands to share the four-million acre reservation. Yet Wash frequently frustrated these same agents by rejecting the progressive and acting in what they considered to be very "traditional" ways. Until his death in April 1928, he moved between two cultural worlds on the reservation. He was what was called an "intermediary" or a "middleman," one of the new or transitional types of leader to arise during the early reservation years.
My friend Wash agreed to help me gain information from his people about the Lost Rhoades Mines (before my collaboration with my cousin, Gale Rhoades) and accompanied me not only to interviews with many of the elders, but also to historic sites important to the Ute people. Of even more interest to me were Wash's own personal reminiscences, filled with color, adventure, and first hand accounts of events important to the Ute people.
Wash accompanied me to an alluvial fan-type valley at the head of Rock Creek. He walked me around the flat, at the same time recounting an event that had occurred there many years earlier, concerning the massacre of a group of Spanish miners. The Spaniards had camped in the mountains for many months, taking gold out of one of the lost mines, and smelting it down in makeshift kilns into gold bars.
The Utes watched the Spaniards all summer and in the fall, as they began to prepare to leave and return to Taos, New Mexico, from whence they came, and were in the process of loading gold bars onto pack mules for the journey, the Spaniards were suddenly surrounded by the Utes and killed. The Spaniards had left behind a wagon load of unprocessed rich gold ore in addition to the gold bars. The Indians got busy and dug a deep hole near the center of the flat, drove the wagon over it, broke the wagon wheels, and dropped the gold ore into the hole, which they quickly covered. According to Wash, the braves then rode their horses back and forth across it to hide any signs of digging or concealment.
Wash had a wry sense of humor, which was demonstrated to me the day he walked with me around the flat where the massacre had occurred. Thinking I had him right where I wanted him – on the site – I asked him where the wagon was concealed on the flat. He replied with a grin, “Oh, we walk right over top of it earlier today.” We had walked around the entire flat and he knew I could not locate it.
The mules carrying the gold bars were killed, Wash said, and their feet cut off, because in Ute tradition, the mules could never return to carry off the gold without feet. He said their feet had been tossed into nearby Rock Creek. In more recent years, several mule shoes and even a skeletal leg and hoof has been discovered in the silt of a sandbar in Rock Creek.
I asked Wash what had become of the gold bars removed from the mules' packs. He informed me that a number of Ute women had been delegated to carry the bars over the ridges to Brown Duck Lake and toss them into the deep end of the lake. I asked him if any of the gold bars had ever been recovered.
“Just one,” he replied.
“Who recovered it?” I asked anxiously.
Then Wash told me his remarkable story.
Wash went to Brown Duck Lake one summer with the intent of retrieving one or more of the gold bars. He located the deep end of the lake. He knew that the squaws who tossed the bars into the lake could not have tossed them very far due to their weight, so he waded out until he was waist deep in the cold water, and then bent over, sticking his head under water until he finally located the square outline of several gold bars. He had cut a long pine branch with a fork at the end, and he maneuvered this beneath the water until he managed to get it under one of the bars. Then, little by little, he tugged the heavy bar back to the shore.
This is where Wash's story gets strange. He said that just as he pulled the gold bar onto the shore of the lake, there was a large splashing sound at the far end which garnered his attention. He saw what he described as a monster swimming rapidly towards him. It resembled a huge snake, four or five times larger than a man, with fins on it back and a forked tail. He appeared to be very serious in his description and any suggestion that it might have been something else did not shake him from his version. The monster swam furiously towards him, he said, and I asked him what he did. His reply was a wry “I ran like hell.” He hesitated briefly then smiled and said, “I took the gold bar with me.”
To prove his story, Wash later showed me the gold bar, which weighed 85 pounds and had several Spanish symbols carved into it. Wash explained that the symbols gave the location from which the gold had been mined, but he wouldn't elaborate further.
What does Wash's “monster” have to do with the Skinwalker? Brown Duck Lake is some miles north of the Skinwalker Ranch and there seems to be no apparent connection. However, Wash added to his story by saying that the monster of Brown Duck Lake was originally a Water Baby created by the Skinwalker to protect the gold bars. The sounds made by the lake monster, he said, sounded like a baby crying.
Wash also made the following statement: “White people say that the Skinwalker is just an Indian legend. Indian say maybe white man's religion is just a legend. Skinwalker is real. Skinwalker has killed many of my people. We all the time protect ourselves from him. My people never go where he lives, because when they leave that place, the curse follows them and kills more people. That is my belief. That is what I know.”
Another event, closely connected to the Skinwalker Ranch, was the advent of the Buffalo Soldiers. The Buffalo Soldiers were black troops, so-called “Buffalo Soldiers” because the Indians noted their resemblance to the animals, in color and curly hair. On 23 August 1886, Major Frederick Benteen (best remembered for his participation in the Custer Massacre), riding at the head of black Troops B and E of the 9th U.S. Cavalry, arrived at the confluence of the Duchesne and Uintah rivers, having traveled a total of 650 miles, part of the distance by train, the rest on horseback, from Fort McKinney, Wyoming Territory, to help build and garrison a new army post to be called Fort Duchesne. Chief Sour, head of the Uintah band of Utes, sent 300 braves to lay an ambush for them, but the troops, forewarned, managed to evade them.
Chief Sour was initially extremely angry at the presence of the black soldiers, whom he greatly mistrusted, but in short time the Buffalo Soldiers ingratiated themselves with the Utes and convinced them that they were there to protect them, not to harm them. The Utes came to accept them as friends and welcomed them into their lands.
The Buffalo Soldiers were, ironically, Freemasons, and they soon held meetings and secret rituals in the area adjacent to the Skinwalker Ranch. When several of the members of the black troops died, the Utes generously allowed them to build a small cemetery nearby. One other salient point about the Buffalo Soldiers and the strange occurrences in the vicinity of this graveyard is worth mentioning. A geologic feature now known as Skinwalker Ridge contains an unusual carving, which was discovered by Tom Sherman and was later examined by the scientific team that would investigate the ranch. It’s an inscription located several feet below the top of the ridge, as if someone had hung suspended from the rim in order to carve it into the rock. It is a Masonic symbol, more than one hundred years old, and remains as a strong indication that the Buffalo Soldiers may have visited the Skinwalker Ranch a long time ago.
Sightings of unusual paranormal events – especially UFO sightings – are still occurring at or near the ranch on a regular basis. The Ute Indians have been witness to many of these events, but for the most part they seldom speak of it. There have been exceptions.
Mary Reed Harris (1858-1960) told me that her late husband, Henry Ernest “Ne Toots An” Harris (1859-1945) was followed the the Skinwalker while on a hunting trip in the Uintah Mountains. Harris and several of his companions saw the Skinwalker on a ledge above Deadman Lake, and later, when they returned from their hunting trip, they saw his tracks in a muddy trail where he had been stalking them. They were wolf tracks, but as large as a man's foot.
My father, Edward Boren, told me the following story about the Skinwalker. He was raised on the reservation, spoke the Ute language fluently, and was privy to many of their stories and traditions.
Old Two Horn was a man much feared by both Utes and white men, but especially the latter. Two Horn (whose Indian name was Nah Paas) – so named because of the horned headdress he often wore – dressed in coyote skins, kept his face painted, and delighted in frightening tourists who rode the coaches that stopped on the reservation for sight-seeing. He would approach a tourist, come alarmingly close to them face to face, grimace and let out a yelp that caused the unnerved tourists to run away.
Two Horn had an avocation: he lived in a little shack near the top of Farm Creek Pass in the Uintahs, and spent each and every day sitting on a flat rock at the top of the pass, guarding it from intruders. It was widely known that he guarded a gold source, perhaps one of the Spanish mines, and that he drove white men from entering the area by dancing and gyrating with a spear in his hand and threatening them with “the curse of the Skinwalker.” He didn't have to frighten off the Utes; they already feared him and firmly believed that he was in legion with Skinwalker. They avoided him completely. He added to their fears by claiming that the Skinwalker was his father.
In more modern times, Ute sightings of paranormal activity are even more frequent. One example is the following account.
Fort Duchesne, a few miles northeast of the Skinwalker Ranch, is the headquarters of the Northern Ute Tribe. In 2012, tribal member Corey Serawop was working as a house manager in an addiction treatment center on the reservation. At about 6 a.m. on a foggy Sunday in February, he was doing rounds when he noticed the televisions were losing their signal. Shortly after that, the lights suddenly went off.
“Oh, man. The mothership is here,” he joked to the center’s nervous employees and clients.
Suddenly, red, blue, and green lights appeared outside. Serawop, assuming they were from a passing emergency vehicle, opened the door to investigate. He quickly realized that the lights were originating not at ground level, but above the building where he worked . He and a female client walked to a basketball court about 25 feet away from the building, looked up, and saw a craft.
“There was no noise. It was quiet and had lights coming off it, and they were flashing blue, red, green,” he said.
As he moved to get a better look, the light turned red and was so bright he and his female companion had to put their hands over their eyes to see. Serawop described the craft as dark grey and about the size of a small plane, but enveloped in a cloud that formed around it.
“Hey, that’s a fucking UFO,” he remembers telling the woman. He was excited by the encounter more than fearful, he said. Something told him that he shouldn’t be watching this and he needed to go back inside, which he did. He excitedly related to others in the building what he had seen and walked to the other side of the building to get a better look at the UFO.
A voice told him that he shouldn’t be doing this because he’d miss his family. Serawop felt unsure whether it was his own thoughts or if something inside the craft was communicating with him via his mind. Serawop was spooked and remained in the building with the doors locked. When he later went to record his rounds, he noticed that during what seemed like a few minutes he spent investigating the UFO, 30 to 45 minutes had transpired.
The electric company later reported that the power loss was caused by a blown transformer, but Serawop talked to other people who lived in the area, and many of them saw not one, but two UFOs that morning, he said. One passed over Serawop’s uncle’s house, causing a vibration that made the people in the house feel ill. Serawop’s uncle described the craft as looking the same as the one Serawop saw, but with a crackling electricity at the center.
Serawop said that sightings of strange lights are not uncommon on the reservation, and stories of unusual entities abound. He has seen glowing orbs moving around the buildings, and others, he said, have seen tall, shadowy figures move through hallways. On one occasion, Serawop and his brother went to a local cemetery to clean their family’s graves. They found what looked like a child’s footprints and as they followed them, the footprints transformed into canine paw prints before they disappeared entirely. All of this has made him a firm believer in ghosts.
As for sightings on or near the ranch, Ryan Skinner, who now operates SkinwalkerRanch.org, said he has had several encounters around the Skinwalker Ranch. Having seen mysterious lights on the highway, Skinner and several friends initially thought they were tribal police cruisers, only to discover that there were no vehicles in sight. On another occasion, he watched a ball of light drop down to the ground, transform into a black, smoky mist, from which emerged a wolf.
Ryan Burns was a fly fishing guide living in Salt Lake City in the mid-1990s. While touring the Uintah Basin one day he found himself near the ranch. He was shocked to see a UFO near the ridge line just behind the ranch. When he stopped to watch it, he saw an elderly Indian man shuffling down from atop the bluff near the craft and approaching his car. Burns rolled down the window and asked the man if he needed a ride. He did not respond, but he opened the door and slid in.
Burns doesn't remember anything that happened after that moment. He was found by local authorities, catatonic and hanging out of his truck suspended by his seat belt, at Bottle Hollow Reservoir. After an investigation by authorities, they determined that he was neither drunk, on drugs, or passed out, and facetiously told him that he had been “nabbed by the Skinwalker.”
Burns was captivated by the events occurring around the Skinwalker Ranch and when interest in the ranch took off about 2005, he began to return to the site, eventually purchasing a small parcel of land in the Basin that ufologists call the “southern vantage point,” a popular place for watching the paranormal phenomena near the ranch.
“It’s a magical place, and to not be able to visit it legally is difficult for somebody to wrap their head around if you’re really connected to the area,” he said.
Together with a group called Space Wolf Research, Burns investigates what they believe is an inter-dimensional area using cameras and other equipment. They claim to have witness such things as a gold cart being mysteriously relocated on the property, as well as tall, shadow-like people behaving like beasts.
Robert Bigelow, who bought the Skinwalker Ranch from the Shermans in 1996, brought in paranormal and scientific investigators until he sold the ranch in April 2016 to an at-first undisclosed purchaser. Bigelow sold Skinwalker Ranch for $4.5 million to “Adamantium Holdings,” a shell corporation of unknown origin. Since this purchase, all roads leading to the ranch have been blocked, the perimeter secured and guarded by cameras and barbed wire, and surrounded by signs that aim to prevent people from approaching the ranch.
The new purchaser of the ranch managed to maintain his anonymity for the most part until the debut of the 2018 documentary film The Hunt for the Skinwalker, recounting the story first published by George Knapp and Colm A. Kelleher in 2005. The new owner of the ranch appeared in the film anonymously, his voice distorted and showing only his dark silhouette.
Recently, in the ground breaking documentary The Secret of Skinwalker Ranch, the new owner made his debut for the first time, revealing himself as Brandon Fugal. Fugal is no stranger to Utahns. He is a multi-millionaire who, as the co-founder and owner of Coldwell Banker Commercial Advisors, was credited for making the firm recognized for 14 years in a row as the number one office internationally for the Coldwell Banker Commercial brand. Since an acquisition by Colliers International in 2018, Fugal's office has continued to be the number one commercial real estate firm in the Intermountain West.
Fugal continued the tradition of the investigation into the paranormal phenomena of the ranch and its environs, perhaps even more intensely than before. He has invited the interests of the government and military on a much wider scale than previous investigations, as well as more sophisticated scientific equipment.
Very recently, on Sunday, 25 July 2021, Brandon Fugal and ranch manager Thomas Winterton appeared on the Coast to Coast radio program, ironically hosted by none other than George Knapp, to whom credit must be given for bringing full awareness to the happenings on and around the Skinwalker Ranch. Granted, I am somewhat biased, because I consider George Knapp a personal friend since my own appearance on Coast to Coast, and have only the highest regard for his knowledge and professionalism.
George Knapp is Nevada's best-known journalist. For 20-plus years, he has served as anchor, chief investigative reporter, and commentator for KLAS TV, the CBS affiliate in Las Vegas. He is a six-time Emmy winner, has earned the AP's Mark Twain award for news writing seven times, and twice was given the Edward R. Murrow award for Investigative Reporting. His reporting on Nevada's infamous Area 51 military base was selected by UPI as Best Individual Achievement by a Reporter in 1989. He also writes an award-winning weekly column for a Las Vegas newspaper.
Equally qualified is Knapp's co-author of the book Hunt for the Skinwalker, Colm Kelleher. Colm A. Kelleher, Ph.D., is a biochemist with a fifteen-year research career in cell and molecular biology. Following his Ph.D. in biochemistry from the University of Dublin, Trinity College in 1983, Kelleher worked at the Ontario Cancer Institute, the Terry Fox Cancer Research Laboratory, and the National Jewish Center for Immunology and Respiratory Medicine. For these past many years he has worked as project manager and team leader at a private research institute, using forensic science methodology to unravel scientific anomalies.
In the Coast to Coast interview, ranch owner Brandon Fugal and ranch manager Thomas Winterton discussed the mysterious occurrences there, particularly as they were portrayed in the latest season of the reality show The Secret of Skinwalker Ranch. The two guests shared accounts of the unusual incidents that took place during their own time at the ranch, as well as those previous to their arrival.
Fugal pointed out that, contrary to popular belief, reports of mysterious activity at the 512-acre ranch go back almost one hundred years. More recently, cattle mutilations, electromagnetic disturbances, and UFOs have all been encountered, he said, and Winterton agreed. Even Winterton himself suffered a serious injury to his head at the ranch, which, he noted, appeared to have no cause or explanation. In addition, Dr. Travis Taylor, a member of the Skinwalker team, claims to have been exposed to dangerous radiation while at the ranch.
As to what's behind the high volume of unusual phenomena at Skinwalker, Fugal remarked that he believes that a number of entities could be at work, which could include extraterrestrial, multidimensional, and spiritual forces. He related that he and his team continuously seek to improve their methods and technology in order to provide the public with the most accurate and up-to-date information about what goes on at the ranch.
Fugal claims that he and his team have experienced unexplained phenomenon. “Those first six months of owning it I really saw nothing myself that would lead me to believe that there was anything unusual. Well that all changed. I had multiple witnesses with me on an occasion where we saw what can only be described as an unidentified flying object, a craft forty, fifty-foot-long silver disc hovering right above the mesa. Right in front of us. This wasn’t just a blinking light in the sky or something that was a little bit ambiguous. This was a solid object that appeared out of nowhere (and) could move in the blink of an eye and over a twenty second period perform maneuvers that I believe defy any propulsion physics that we’re acquainted with.”
When asked if the military is actively involved at the ranch, Fugal replied: “I am not at liberty to discuss details regarding various investigations, briefings that are going on at present relative to the Ranch. But I can tell you that when certain phenomena are being recorded, are being observed, are being monitored, how do I say this, what is being witnessed at the Ranch has significant national security implications...”
In summation, what are my opinions of the Skinwalker Ranch phenomena? I am not totally convinced of the veracity of some of the claims, but what I have personally witnessed convinces me that something is going on there, and who can say what it is? Do I believe in the existence of UFOs? Absolutely. I have seen them with my own eyes. Let us not forget the maxim of British cosmologist and astrophysicist Martin Rees: "Absence of evidence is not evidence of absence."