Skinwalker Ranch, facts vs. fiction about the property itself

Georgie Mihaila
11 Min Read
Photo credit: Oscity / Shutterstock

Have you ever heard of Skinwalker Ranch?

This mysterious location in Utah has gained a reputation for being a hotbed of paranormal activity and unexplained phenomena.

From sightings of strange creatures to UFO sightings and poltergeist-like activity, the stories surrounding Skinwalker Ranch have captivated the imaginations of paranormal enthusiasts and skeptics alike.

But how much of it is fact, and how much is fiction?

In this article, we delve into the realm of the unexplained to separate fact from fiction when it comes to Skinwalker Ranch and tell you all there is to know about the property itself, where it’s located, who owns it, and more.

And just for the fun of it, we’ll explore some of the history and legends surrounding this infamous location that have contributed to its mystique.

Healing circle at the Skinwalker Ranch in Utah. Photo credit: dai345 / Shutterstock
Healing circle at the Skinwalker Ranch in Utah. Photo credit: dai345 / Shutterstock

Whether you believe in the supernatural or approach these stories with a healthy dose of skepticism, join us as we peel back the layers of mystery surrounding Skinwalker Ranch. Get ready for a captivating journey into the unknown!

Where it’s located

Set in the Uinta Basin, the most northerly section of the Colorado Plateau sections, Skinwalker Rach is a patch of land in eastern Utah — located southeast of Ballard — that has gained worldwide notoriety due to the many paranormal stories said to have taken place here.

Spanning an impressive 512 acres (the equivalent of 207 hectares), the ranch borders the Uintah and Ouray Indian Reservation.

Skinwalker Ranch on the map. Photo credit: Google Maps

Who owns Skinwalker Ranch?

After being owned by the Myers family for a lengthy six decades, Kenneth and Edith Myers sold the ranch in 1994 to a couple, Terry and Gwen Sherman, who planned to settle down here and turn it into a loving country home.

But after several weird encounters, which included a potential skinwalker apparition, as well as flashing lights and mysterious objects in the sky, strange circles in their fields, and countless cattle mutilations, the Shermans decided to sell the property two years after buying it.

They then passed it along to eccentric billionaire and paranormal-enthusiast, Robert Bigelow.

The businessman, who owns Budget Suites of America and is the founder of Bigelow Aerospace, bought Skinwalker Ranch in 1996 for only $200,000.

He used it as a home base for his National Institute for Discovery Science (NIDSci) — an organization Bigelow started to fund the research and study of various fringe sciences and paranormal topics, most notably ufology.

See also: How the Stanley Hotel in Colorado inspired Stephen King’s ‘The Shining’

Now, NIDSci operated as a research hub on the grounds of Skinwalker Ranch for almost a decade (it disbanded in 2004), and Bigelow continued to own the property for 12 more years after that. But he never captured any concrete proof of the weird phenomena that take place here.

That’s likely the reason why he was ready to part ways with the property in 2016 when he sold it to a buyer later identified as Utah real estate mogul Brandon Fugal.

The current owner of Skinwalker Ranch is Brandon Fugal, the Chairman of Colliers International in Utah and one of the most prominent businessmen and real estate developers in the Intermountain West.

A former EY Entrepreneur of the Year – Western Region and Chairman and co-owner of Colliers International in Utah, Fugal’s purchase was rather unexpected.

But it soon paid off, as the businessman had some great ideas for the ranch.

It is the most unusual real estate play that I’ve ever had involvement in and it’s ended up becoming a very intriguing science project as well.”

owner Brandon Fugal told local publication Utah Business

Fugal ushered in a new era at Skinwalker Ranch.

He closed it off to the public, tightened up security, hired a team of researchers to study the anomalies that take place here, and blocked all roads leading to the ranch.

“I was interested in taking the research forward and installing my own team of scientists and researchers in order to truly get to the bottom of what was happening on the Utah property,” Fugal said. “I think Mr. Bigelow saw me as a worthy successor and steward of the property, and that we’re only a few hours away from the property and have the resources to continue his work.”

But Fugal also saw the profit opportunities.

As a hotbed of paranormal and UFO activity, Skinwalker Ranch had the potential to bring in consistent revenue, so Fugal’s Adamantium Real Estate, LLC filed a U.S. Trademark application for the service mark “Skinwalker Ranch” on February 15, 2017, with the mark applicable to “providing recreation facilities; entertainment services, namely, creation, development, production, and distribution of multimedia content, internet content, motion pictures, and television shows.”

And soon after that, The Secret of Skinwalker Ranch was born — a long-running History Channel television series that investigates the claims of UFO sightings, animal mutilations, and paranormal events that took place here.

The legends and folklore surrounding the ranch

Skinwalker Ranch has a long history of legends and folklore that date back centuries.

Native American tribes in the region have passed down stories of shape-shifting creatures known as Skinwalkers, who have the ability to transform into animals at will. According to legend, Skinwalkers possess dark magic and use their powers for malevolent purposes.

These tales have been intertwined with the ranch’s history, with reports of strange occurrences and encounters with supernatural beings — hence the name.

Some witnesses claim to have seen humanoid figures running alongside their vehicles, while others speak of hearing disembodied voices and seeing shadowy figures lurking in the darkness.

While skeptics argue that these stories are nothing more than superstition and exaggeration, the sheer number of eyewitness accounts and the consistency of the descriptions cannot be easily dismissed.

Movies, TV shows, and books about Skinwalker Ranch

Known as a hotbed of paranormal activity and reported UFO sightings, there have been various movies, TV shows, and books that explore or are inspired by the Skinwalker Ranch’s many mysteries. Here are some of the most famous ones:

Movies & TV shows

  • “Hunt for the Skinwalker” (2018): This documentary is based on the book of the same name and explores the strange occurrences reported on the Skinwalker Ranch.
  • “The Secret of Skinwalker Ranch” (2020–present): A reality TV series on the History Channel that follows a team of scientists and experts as they investigate the paranormal activities on the Skinwalker Ranch.


  1. “Hunt for the Skinwalker: Science Confronts the Unexplained at a Remote Ranch in Utah” by Colm A. Kelleher and George Knapp (2005): This is a book that details the scientific investigation into the strange phenomena at Skinwalker Ranch.
  2. “Skinwalker” by Ryan Skinner (2005): A fictional novel inspired by the myths and legends surrounding the Skinwalker Ranch.
  3. “The Utah UFO Display: A Scientist’s Report” by Frank B. Salisbury (1974): Although not focused solely on Skinwalker Ranch, this book by a plant biologist discusses various UFO sightings in Utah, including the region around the ranch.

Post Malone also stopped by for a visit

While we already know that Skinwalker Ranch isn’t open to visitors, celebrities don’t always play by the same rules.

And rapper Post Malone — who’s a Utah resident himself and a self-proclaimed paranormal enthusiast — reached out to owner Brandon Fugal and asked to tour the property back in February 2021.

It’s not easy to say no to one of the biggest recording artists on Earth, so Brandon happily walked Post Malone through the ranch, giving him a front-row seat to the most scientifically studied paranormal hotspot in the world.

And while at it, Malone made a new friend in Brandon.

Post Malone and I were introduced through mutual friends and business associates, and became friends as he is extremely interested in the paranormal with the dream to visit the ranch.”

Owner Brandon Fugal told local news outlets

Well, here’s to hoping Skinwalker Ranch will soon be opening its grounds to visitors who don’t have celebrity status. There are plenty of us who’d like to experience the ranch’s mysteries up close.

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With a decade-long career as a digital content creator, Georgie started out as a real estate journalist for Multi-Housing News & CPExecutive. She later transitioned into digital marketing, working with leading real estate websites like PropertyShark, RENTCafé and Point2Homes. After a brief but impactful stint in the start-up world, where she led the marketing divisions of fintech company NestReady and media publisher Goalcast, Georgie returned to her first passion, real estate, and founded