Status #73854

HIGH STRANGENESS AT THE SKINWALKER RANCH Two hundred pounds! That's how [...]

Las Vegas, Nevada
via The Full Circle Project

Two hundred pounds! That's how much the wolf approaching Tom Gorman must have weighed!

"They just don't get this big,” Tom’s mind raced. And yet, before the Gorman family stood a beast on all fours that was chest-high to a six foot tall man. Even more bizarre? The wolf — if that's what it was — seemed completely tame.

Ed, Tom's father, extended a quivering hand, petting the rain-slicked fur of the monstrous beast. Abruptly, the massive creature raced for a nearby corral, engulfing the head of one of Tom's prized Angus calves. With powerful force, the enormous predator worked its squealing captive partially through the bars of the enclosure.

Tom bolted forward, kicking the monster, while Ed attacked the abomination with a Louisville Slugger.

Tad, Tom’s son, tossed a Magnum pistol to his father. Without hesitation, the rancher fired three slugs into the bloodthirsty animal. The wolf seemed unfazed, yet relinquished its death grip on the calf.

Tom squeezed the trigger a fourth time, placing a round in the monstrosity's heart. The first shot should have killed the creature, much less the following three bullets. Yet, the anomaly sat peacefully, gazing back at the herdsman.

Tad handed Tom his .30-06 — a rifle that can slay elk. The cattleman pumped another two rounds into the wolf. A hunk of shoulder flesh and fur ripped free from the animal. The beast merely turned and trotted away.

Tom and Tad raced after the anomaly, which accelerated quickly, escaping behind a grove of Russian Olive trees. The father-son pair were able to follow the beast's trail to a clearing 25 yards from a nearby river. It was there the animal's tracks simply vanished, as did the wolf, itself.

Although this may seem a work of fantasy, the above incident was one of several experienced on the Skinwalker Ranch — an isolated homestead in northeastern Utah.

For the Gorman family, this wasn't the last encounter with the wolves, either. Ellen Gorman, Tom's wife, would be visited by another member of the oversized pack, this one a good head taller than her Chevy Chevette. In fact, the beast was so large it was forced to lean down in order to peer through the driver's side window, as Ellen slowly entered the outskirts of her ranch property.

But the wolves were only the beginning. Over a period of 18 months, the Gormans witnessed a deluge of the paranormal, including cattle mutilations, dimensional doorways, ethereal beast encounters, poltergeist activity, spook lights and UFO sightings.

It was 1994, and Tom Gorman had just purchased 480 acres of homestead in the Beehive State, hopeful the transition from small town New Mexico would be a positive one for him and his clan. A more wholesome existence — herding prized cattle in God's country — should be just what the Gormans needed. Little did Tom know he was relocating his family to perhaps the most renowned anomalous hotspot on the planet. It would soon be theorized this region of Utah may be a rift between dimensions, through which all sorts of enigmas found foothold. To the Gormans, however, the ranch became a nightmare. By 1996, the family was ready to sell the place for a song, as had the owners before them.

Navajo hierarchy includes an individual known as the medicine man, highly renowned for his knowledge of positive healing. According to legend, an evil counterpart — called the Skinwalker — also holds place within tribal tradition. A familiar trait of this immoral half-man, half-spirit is its ability to transform into any animal. Hence, its name.

Whether or not this folklore is true, the rash of unexplained activity on the ranch in question is difficult to deny. Equally mysterious is the fact many local Native Americans refuse to set foot on the homestead, for fear of negative reprisals from unknown forces.

Trouble began for the Gormans almost immediately after moving to the Skinwalker. Ellen questioned her own sanity, as she would set cooking utensils down in the kitchen of her new home, step outside for a breath of fresh air, and return to find the items missing. Equally disconcerting was discovering the implements somewhere strange, like the freezer or microwave.

Displaced objects became commonplace around the Gorman household, as Tom's 70 pound post digger vanished, only to reappear later, lodged high within a tree.

Ellen would often arrive home from the grocery store, stock what she'd purchased, leave the kitchen, and return to find the items she'd shelved spread all over the floor.

Strange headlights began appearing on the property in the dead of night. During one such incident — annoyed that anyone might trespass upon his land — Tom approached the source of the illuminations; what appeared to be an RV-type vehicle. As Gorman neared, the machine receded into the darkness, gliding over 50 foot tree lines, before noiselessly disappearing into the night.

With an increase in bizarre activity around the Skinwalker, so too came an expansion of Tom's curiosity. On more than one occasion, Gorman found himself creeping surreptitiously about his property, stalking anomalies.

One evening, Tom discovered a massive aircraft hovering silently above the ranch, as if searching for something. Although initially pegging the vehicle as a cross between an F-117A Nighthawk and a B-2 Stealth Bomber, Gorman quickly realized the awesome machine was noiselessly floating 20 feet off the ground. Tom became frightened when he accidentally made a noise, and the craft whirled around to face him. The rancher held his breath, and the silent vessel vanished into the darkness.

A separate incident found Gorman witness to a large rift in the sky over his property. In time, all four members of the family would view these apparent holes in the atmosphere. Often near dark outside, daylight appeared inside the fissures.

Even more unsettling was the time Tom observed a large, black, triangular object emerging from one of the openings. To the rancher, it appeared he was getting a rare glimpse at something from an alternate dimension entering his own existence. This type of speculation was painful for a devoutly religious family to consider, but what else could explain such bizarre anomalies?

During the winter of '94, the herdsman found himself on horseback, following the trail of one of his top breeding cows through the snow. By the animal’s gait, Gorman surmised the heifer had been desperate, and running at full speed. But running from what? The cow's were the only tracks as far as the eye could see. When Tom followed the trail to a massive clearing, what he witnessed chilled him to the bone. There, in the middle of an open expanse, the frenzied imprints stopped, with no sign of the animal anywhere. What type of force was powerful enough to lift a half-ton head of livestock into the sky during a driving snowstorm? Gorman would never see the cow again.

For a herder who prided himself on perfection, the loss of one animal per year was too much to bear, let alone the four that would simply vanish in similar fashion over the next three months. It was when numerous heads of cattle turned up mutilated that Tom became seriously concerned for his family's livelihood. Even more frustrating was the fact the animals were being killed and disfigured in broad daylight, often minutes after the Gormans had seen them alive.

Along with the ubiquitous fear of financial ruin came a different type of terror. This particular horror manifested itself in the form of spook lights. Normally an illumination that disappears when pursued, in the case of the Skinwalker's enigmatic effulgence, the orbs were aggressive, flying mere feet from both Tom and Ellen. What's more, the lights appeared manufactured, with glass housing containing blue liquid. On numerous occasions, the Gormans were left cowering as the orbs navigated around them, apparently capable of evoking extreme anxiety.

June 1996 brought a stranger to the Gorman property. Hearing tale of the area's mysterious attributes, a tall, blonde man appeared one day, asking if he could meditate on the land. Although Tom was hesitant, the visitor's near pleading led the rancher to acquiesce. Gorman took the stranger to a clearing a mile from the house, where the man began his introspection.

In the distance, the herder became aware of a cowbell resonating. The sound puzzled Tom, as none of his animals wore the crude devices. Behind a nearby copse of trees, Gorman could see something moving at a high rate of speed. Something big.

Continuing his meditation, the visitor paid no mind, as a monstrous wraith — mired in translucent waves — broke from the woods. Before Tom could warn his guest, the enormous beast towered over the blonde man, bellowing forth a thunderous reverberation. Jarring from his reverie, the stranger scrambled backward in terror. The huge anomaly returned to the cover of trees in mere seconds. It took the rancher several minutes to calm his distraught visitor. Needless to say, the man vowed never to return to the Skinwalker Ranch.

In Tom's mind, the episode validated the immense power of what he and his family were up against. The sight of the creature looming above the meditating man also proved the forces at work may no longer be hesitant to harm humans. Gorman's worst misgivings were justified after a group of blue, fear-inducing orbs appeared on the property one evening. Curious to see what might transpire, the rancher unleashed three of his dogs on the whirring objects. Within moments, he realized he had made a grave mistake. The spook lights proceeded to lead the canines behind a growth of trees, and systematically incinerated the animals. It was at this point Tom understood he would be putting his family in tremendous danger, should they remain on the property. Within hours, the Gormans had vacated the ranch.

Shortly, thereafter, Tom sold his homestead to the National Institute for Discovery Science (NIDS). Funded by Las Vegas real estate mogul, Robert Bigelow, NIDS was a collaboration of expert investigators hellbent on probing the paranormal.

Armed with a pair of Ph.D. accredited scientists and a group of top-tier technologists from multiple disciplines, the organization headed out to the ranch to see what they could find. In the meantime, the Gorman family relocated to a diminutive farmstead 25 miles away. Tom Gorman signed on as ranch manager of the Skinwalker, in order to clarify the mystery surrounding the property.

NIDS began their tour of the homestead with an investigation of four cattle mutilations. Tom lead the team to a pair of circular cavities in the ground, he claimed were remnants of inexplicable aircraft.

With a full briefing of anomalous events, NIDS hashed out a course of action. For the first time, whatever mysterious presence was inhabiting the area became the prey, as opposed to the pursuer.

Although many involved in the project argued advanced technology was the key to success, an opposing faction concluded low-end surveillance would yield optimal results. Tom sided with the latter of the two camps, explaining the only time he got the drop on the strangeness was when he employed minimal electronic equipment.

Despite Gorman's recommendation, an extensive network of devices was deployed to ensnare enigmas not only in the UV spectrum, but also the electromagnetic, as well as the magnetic.

A pair of reconnaissance teams — armed with a multitude of surveillance equipment — were sent into the field on a nightly basis. Both squads consisted of one or two paranormal researchers and at least one scientist. An advisory board of 15 top scientific minds would fly into Las Vegas for regular debriefings from the field investigators.

Apparently, the Gormans' old ranch wasn't the only property alive with paranormal activity, although it did seem the epicenter of the bizarre disturbances. The team recorded numerous consultations with local residents who had experienced the unexplained.

One horrific account came from a Mr. Gonsalez, who had discovered a cow — two of its legs broken — lying in a field on his property. Fearful the animal was in shock, Gonsalez raced to his ranch house, and retrieved a blanket with which to keep the creature warm. When the herdsman returned five minutes later, the heifer had vanished. Cattle in the aforementioned condition can't just move on their own.

Perplexed, the rancher returned home. An hour later, Gonsalez was astounded, as he peered out his window and viewed the same cow 50 yards from her original position. This time, when the man examined the animal, all four of her legs were broken. Gonsalez theorized the heifer must have been lifted into an aircraft on two separate occasions, and dropped from considerable altitude.

Why, then, hadn't the cattleman heard nor seen the surmised flying machine? His land provided no place for aerial vehicles to hide.

Three nights following the Gonsalez interview, NIDS would experience an enigmatic encounter of their own. On November 13th, at 1:30 AM, two crew members witnessed a brilliant, yellow light racing toward them from a nearby ridge. Emitting no sound, the luminance circled the investigators before speeding off into the darkness.

As temperatures dipped below zero, the investigative group headed for the warmer confines of Las Vegas, but remained on call. January 21, 1997 found a frenzied Tom Gorman reporting bizarre injuries to three calves, sustained during a severe snowstorm the previous evening. Conditions this drastic would have prevented predators from venturing into the open and attacking the animals, who were kept inside a closed corral. Yet, photos showed a cow with a shredded ear, and two more cattle with holes poked in their eyelids.

On March 10th, Tom informed NIDS something inexplicable had dismembered a prized calf during the day, while he and Ellen were in close proximity. According to the cattleman, neither he nor his wife heard nor saw a thing.

Five hours later, three members of NIDS had flown in from Vegas and were examining the carcass of the dead beast.

Whatever killed the calf had been exceedingly powerful, able to rip the animal's leg bones from their knee sockets. Even more peculiar was the fact the creature's four severed appendages were positioned methodically around the body, itself. The internal organs of the cow were missing, and not a single drop of blood remained in, on or near the beast. NIDS' veterinarian determined one of the animal’s ears had been sliced off by a razor-sharp instrument.

Three of Gorman's dogs — no strangers to tracking predators — had subsequently huddled in their kennels, refusing to come out for food or water. The fourth canine had raced off in the direction of the calf's killer, and would never be seen again.

With the partial NIDS team on site, another incident rocked the property after 11 PM, when the remaining dogs began barking maniacally. In response, Gorman and the crew jumped into the ranch manager's pickup, and raced onto the homestead. Viewing a cow in trouble, Tom aimed his vehicle at a nearby tree. That's when all four present saw two massive, reflective eyes gazing forth from the darkness. Braking to a halt, Gorman grabbed his rifle and fired a shot at whatever was hidden in the foliage 20 feet above the ground.

The eyes blinked out. Tom raced to the spot beneath the tree, only to discover the area empty. The rancher would once again catch sight of the creature, and fire two more rounds into it. Again, the anomaly would vanish, leaving the four men cautiously searching for what Gorman described as a 400 pound beast. Although there were no traces of blood, a pair of huge tracks, with apparent talons, were discovered in the snow.

Tom informed NIDS he had seen a pair of creatures; one in the tree, the other on the ground. Able to fell a predator from 500 yards, he claimed to have hit both beasts; the first with the initial round, the second with the last two.

NIDS was left with almost no physical evidence to substantiate their encounter. This trend would prove indicative of the group's overall experiences at the Skinwalker. Anomalous events never followed any pattern. Thereby, scientists were unsure where to focus their data collecting equipment. Still, investigative teams were able to corroborate one another's reports, ensuring researchers something beyond their comprehension was occurring.

Neighbor testimony lent credence to the supernatural origin of what was happening. If the Gormans were fabricating a lie, their efforts were thorough. To achieve such a feat, collusion with countless acquaintances would have been necessary.

The scientists began to feel as if some type of force was toying with them. During one particular instance, a researcher spotted a massive, black entity moving through a copse of trees in front of him. Whatever he gazed upon was large enough to block out the stars. The man began screaming.

Racing to their colleague's side, the investigators discovered their associate bewildered and horrified. The frazzled scientist claimed whatever he encountered had somehow penetrated his mind, informing him it was watching the team. The individual — an esteemed academic — appeared to have his entire belief system shaken.

Among the more prevalent enigmas witnessed by NIDS were inexplicable lights displaying malicious intent. Such was the case when a pair of mysterious, blood-red spook lights attacked Tom's herd, causing the animals to race headlong over a 15 foot cliff. When all was said and done, two more cows would be injured, one would die, and a fourth would be aborted.

It should be noted the most common UFO witnessed throughout history is the mysterious light. Lest one forget the unexplained "foo fighters" observed by Allied and Axis pilots, or the strange spheres ineffectually tracked by radar and fighter jets over the White House in 1952.

On the evening of August 25, 1997, while surveying the ranch, two scientists witnessed a glowing opening in the distance. From within the portal, a black, faceless 400 pound humanoid emerged, dropping onto the ground and escaping into our current dimension. Moments later, the opening vanished. The entity disappeared, as well, but only from view, as the men realized they were alone, in the dark, with a being from another reality.

Cautiously, the scientists set out to acquire evidence from their sighting. Although the creature never manifested again, the pair of researchers did detect a distinct odor in the vicinity where the beast had crawled on its stomach and elbows. A thorough search for footprints revealed nothing, as the ground in the region was too hard to absorb impressions.

In time, NIDS scientists mounted six CCTV cameras at one of the more active regions on the property. One evening, Tom noticed three of the devices were no longer working — their electronics violently gutted. Fortunately, an undamaged camcorder had been pointing toward the vandalized cameras. As a result, whomever, or whatever eviscerated the equipment should have been caught on video. Upon examining footage from the operating camcorder, NIDS was astonished to find no unusual activity on the tape, even during the time stamp displayed at the moment the three other devices were destroyed.

Eventually, activity on the ranch dissipated, even though anomalous encounters continued in the Uinta Valley. Despite the fact the members of NIDS witnessed the enigmatic whilst at the Skinwalker, they felt they had missed their opportunity to capture evidence validating these experiences.

The fear emitting from the Gormans was almost tangible, whereas NIDS displayed a more intrepid demeanor. The assemblage of scientists hunted anomalies, while Tom and his family were the hunted. The Gormans had minimal technology at their disposal, as opposed to the barrage of electronics employed by the researchers.

Had these variances in approach produced the disparity in results?

In the words of one NIDS delegate, "We know so little in terms of what the overall scope of these phenomena are that it's just embarrassing to try and make some conclusions at this point. Imagine that you have a phenomena that is very selective as to how it exposes itself and to whom. So if you have a tailgate, football stadium-type of atmosphere and everybody's got hot dogs and hamburgers and they're barbecuing and waiting for the UFOs to come down, I don't picture a continuation of the activity."

In conclusion, the National Institute for Discovery Science spent eight years on the Skinwalker Ranch. Such exhaustive field research is unparalleled in the realm of the paranormal. NIDS is certain the enigmatic disturbances on the farmstead were not the result of an elaborate fabrication by the Gorman family, themselves.

Tom and his clan are "rock-solid, firmly grounded, honest people." The Gormans never amassed a dime from their story. Neither did their neighbors. In fact, numerous ranchers in the region lost considerable capital due to cattle deaths. In addition, "dozens of the most disturbing incidents were personally witnessed and documented by NIDS scientists and researchers. The Gormans did not — and could not — manufacture them."

Tom and his family have subsequently moved out of state. To this day, they refuse to grant interviews.

Could whatever enigmas once present at this Hotspot of High Strangeness have been so intelligent, they orchestrated who would experience them?

The answer to this question, as well as so many others regarding the Skinwalker Ranch, currently eludes us.



Kelleher, Colm, Ph.D.; Knapp, George. (2005). Hunt for the Skinwalker: Science Confronts the Unexplained at a Remote Ranch in Utah. Pocket Books, a division of Simon & Schuster, Inc. ISBN: 1416505210

Online Sources:

National Institute for Discovery Science:…

Path of the Skinwalker:…

Scientists at NIDS Study Anomalous Phenomena:…

Skinwalker Ranch:…

Skinwalker Ranch [2]:

— Hugh Mungus

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