George Knapp, Investigative Reporter-Dec 21, 2005, 09:24 PM CST
A team of scientists based in Las Vegas has been conducting a study that may be different from anything that's ever been tried. The research is focused on a ranch in rural Utah where, for 50 years or more, paranormal activity has been reported, including UFOs, Bigfoot, mutilated animals and poltergeists. Some call the place Skinwalker Ranch, and George Knapp of the I-Team is the only journalist allowed to visit the property.
Oil executive Gregory Todd is one of the hundreds, if not thousands of northeastern Utah residents who've seen weird objects -- call them UFOs -- over their homes in the past 50 years. The Utah basin has also been a hotbed of other strange activity including Bigfoot encounters and mutilated animals.
In a basin known for an array of unexplained phenomena, the epicenter of high strangeness seems to be a picturesque spread known to many as Skinwalker Ranch. Native Americans who live near the property advise members to steer clear because, they say, this is the path of the skinwalker, an evil force.
The last family to live on this spread lasted only 20 months. From the first day back in 1994, they were terrorized by an unseen intelligence that played mind games with them, shadowy figures inside their house, objects that moved on their own, disembodied voices and bad things happening to their animals beginning with cattle and bulls that disappeared and others that were carved up with surgical precision in broad daylight. A gigantic wolf that attacked one of their calves was tracked through the mud, but the tracks simply stopped as if the animal had evaporated into thin air. Three dogs were vaporized after while chasing blue orbs of light in a pasture.
In 1995, the ranch came to the attention of NIDS, the National Institute for Discovery Science based in Las Vegas. NIDS bought the property and began an unprecedented scientific study. Observation posts were built. Video cameras were installed and operated. Scientific personnel and former lawmen were on the property 24-7 for 8 straight years. Dr. Colm Kelleher headed up the NIDS study.
Dr. Colm Kelleher said, "We probably have, if you count all the pre-NIDS and post-NIDS incidents, close to 100 different incidents. If you look at all of them, the one thing that jumps out is how unreproducible they are."
In other words, nothing ever happened the same. The scientists would spend all night out in the darkness and witnessed dozens of UFOs and odd balls of light. They also encountered large unknown animals, including ones that emerged from tunnels of light in the fields. Whatever it was proved elusive. The cameras that were installed atop telephone poles were attacked and dismantled, but whatever did it was invisible.
Dr. Colm Kelleher said, "We checked the time stamps on this pole versus this pole. We looked at when the camera lost power and nothing was on the tape. There should have been something visible because the range of these things is pretty good."
NIDS still owns the ranch, but it appears the phenomena have gone underground, as if weary of being hunted. As yet, the mystery of Skinwalker Ranch remains unsolved. Kelleher said, "If anything, it has created more questions that I had when I came into this thing."
The ranch remains off limits to outsiders. Visitors -- from this world anyway -- are not welcome.
George Knapp and Colm Kelleher have co-written a book about the ranch. It's called Hunt For The Skinwalker .
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