If you ever visit Ballard in Utah, be sure to venture through Sherman Ranch. As unenthusiastic and mundane as its name might sound, these 512 acres of semi-parched land are home to many extraterrestrial and paranormal hauntings. For several decades it had around-the-clock security claimed to be funded by the Pentagon to study the happenings. Though those years proved futile to the government, locals stand firm on their accounts of witnessing those unnatural activities.
They talk of wormholes stretching between dimensions and of luminescent flashes dominating the night skies of the ranch, said to glow for many seconds at over 1000 feet above the farmhouse. The lights, the residents are convinced, are teleportation ports between alternate realities, and once in a while, curious aliens are said to visit the Sherman Ranch.
While there is little evidence to promote the claim, Junior Hicks, a teacher, recalls his encounter in 1951 with a metallic flying saucer hovering in the morning over the ranch while all the students and teachers stood witness with gaping mouths. For 50 years, over 100 paranormal incidents have been reported in that part of Uintah County. This included sightings of UFOs skirting the sky, cattle maimed and disappearing, crouching monstrosities lurking in the yard with hides so thick the bullets ricocheted off it, and invisible barriers hurling off humans.
The native Navajo community believes it to be the work of evil witches that have rampaged the Sherman Ranch after transforming into Skinwalkers. The story was eagerly studied by Robert Bigelow, the founder of the National Institute for Discovery Science, after he bought the site for $200 thousand from Terry Sherman, who later worked as its caretaker, always ready with a story or two up his sleeve about the creatures that prowled the ranch.
Skywalkers Or Skinwalkers
Muse to the documentary series “The Secret of Skinwalker Ranch” and the 2013 film “Skinwalker Ranch”, the place is believed to be plagued by Skinwalkers, thus its new name. With the recurring accounts of cattle mutilations in the mid-90s, often bloodless, and the appearance of brightly lit red eyes hovering throughout the landscape, many are sure that the place is indeed cursed. Some disregard the native explanation and hold on to the older explanation that rose in the 70s that aliens have made the area their meeting point.
Cries that do not belong to the owners have been heard late at night. Items have been claimed to have produced magnetic fields of their repelling people from touching them. Though the place was bought by Bigelow, the search was disbanded in 2004, but with the accounts of skinwalkers wandering the regions and hunting cattle regained media attention, it was immediately changed hands to Brandon Fugal in 2016, who has continued the quest.
The Skinwalkers Of Navajo
Unlike skin-changing creatures across other mythology, the Navajo skinwalkers have no good associated with them. Called “yee naaldlooshii” in the native language of this ancient North American culture, it means “He who walks on all fours“. The creatures are thought to be the work of witches, called ‘ánti’įhnii. They believe those who practice witchcraft go through this metamorphosis after killing one of their blood. Most of these indigenous beliefs are not shared by foreigners since the local communities think that those who do not understand their culture find their folk beliefs difficult to maneuver and handle.
Especially with recent inappropriate inferences to the Navajo culture and skinwalkers, the concept has come to be known amongst the folklorist communities as a matter of cultural interest. In the region, coyotes and other morbid creatures are the ones thought to be chosen by these evil beings to transform into. Hunters and locals are encouraged not to carry animalistic pelts or ornaments that signify those animals.
Illusion Or Facts?
Skeptics like Robert Sheaffer declare the hauntings to be a complete hoax. He considers that decades of monitoring of the land by NIDS (National Institute for Discovery Science) should have yielded verification of these entities, which it not even once did. Furthermore, the family preceding the titular owners—the Shermans—denied all paranormal activities the ranch has been associated with over the centuries, they say not once in their 60-year stay did anything remotely suspicious happen to them as long as they resided there.
The claims are thought to have been fabricated by the Sherman family, specifically Terry Sherman, to sell their ranch at a higher price on the market, to its next owner Bigelow. A rather humiliating award was given to Robert Bigelow in 1996 on the April Fools by another famed skeptic, James Randi, to mark his funding (rather wasting of money) of the research conducted by Budd Hopkins and his associate John E. Mack which proved to be utterly useless. The award was called “Pigasus”, in the image of a pig with wings.
A group of voices, though, do not completely knock the incident off as a setup. Psychiatrists propose that maybe the Shermans or the other “eyewitnesses” were not lying. Folie à deux, the French phrase for “folly by two”, is the condition where two or more share the same or similar psychosis.
People suffering from this disorder are seen to be members of the same family—like the Shermans—or people who live nearby. So, it might mean that the hauntings have been collectively imagined by them and the people living around the ranch, and to them, it has been the truth. Which in turn means, they were not lying. Hoax or truth, hundreds of people visit the ranch each year to look for its secrets themselves.