Wednesday, December 01, 2021

Claims of Paranormal Activity at Skinwalker Ranch, Campfire Tales?

Claims of Paranormal Activity at Skinwalker Ranch, Campfire Tales?

Dead Men Tell No Tales

     It is not nice to speak ill of the dead, but even more so if you are calling them a liar, since they are no longer around to defend their reputation. Recently, I had a discussion with Brandon Fugal, current owner of the Skinwalker Ranch in Utah where he suggested that Dr. Garth Myers, deceased, was lying about the nonexistent long paranormal history of the ranch, as detailed in Dr. Frank Salisbury’s book: The Utah UFO Display.

In 2009, Salisbury interviewed Garth, whose brother Kenneth Myers and sister-in-law Edith Myers lived on the ranch decades longer than the Sherman family – the Shermans being the first to claim strange activity. On page 218, Garth states:
James Carrion
By James Carrion
“I can tell you right off that my brother died in April of 1987. My sister-in-law lived alone there until about 1992. She died in March 1994. And I can tell you unequivocally that up to 1992 there had never been and there never were any signs of that [UFO and similar activity].”

On Page 219, Garth continues:

“The next thing I knew I get this information that there were UFOs, and he [Terry Sherman] was scared to death, and then this man in Las Vegas phoned in and was going to buy it…

All I know is, about a month or six weeks after he bought it, Bigelow called me on the phone and wondered why we hadn’t told anybody about the UFOs. I told him they didn’t get there until [Terry Sherman] got there, and he said: ‘UFOs were coming there, and you had dogs keeping the people away.’ And I said all they had at most were two dogs, and the last time my sister-in-law lived there five years with a three-legged dog and part of the time with no dog at all, and there were no UFOs. And he said ‘Oh, you’re not telling me the truth.’ I said, “If you don’t believe it, I guess we don’t need to talk and more,’ and that was about it.”

When Salisbury asked Garth Myers if it were possible that his brother and sister-in-law didn’t tell him about UFO activity they were experiencing. Garth vehemently denied it:

“He said he was very close to his brother (in spite of the age difference), knowing every detail of their lives. After his brother died, he kept in very close touch with his sister-in-law – many visits and close emotional ties as he worried about her living there alone. He feels totally confident that his brother and sister-in-law would have told him about any strange activity, especially under the circumstances.”

Fugal however doesn’t believe Garth, stating: “Garth Myers was not truthful and was purposely misleading in his statement to Salisbury. As reported by Gwen Sherman, Garth Myers acknowledged and confirmed strange activity on the property historically to them, even though he never really spent time there.”

Fugal continued: “I am simply relating the facts, as presented by first-hand witnesses, including numerous recent statements from the co-author of Salisbury’s book [Junior Hicks], which contradict Garth Myer’s statement.”

I’ll get to Gwen Sherman’s allegations and Junior Hicks a little bit later but first let me respond to Fugal stating that Garth never really spent time on the ranch. Per Dr. Salisbury, on page 220: “Remember, however, that he [Garth] was there himself (as a teenager) for three summers without seeing any UFOs.”

In addition to the many visits over a five-year period to check on his sister-in-law after his brother died, Garth also checked in on the ranch during the two-year period it was vacant after Edith left. I would say that constitutes time on the ranch.

Dr. Garth Myers was no country simpleton, but was a M.D. in pediatric neurology, having spent most of his career at the LDS Primary Children’s Hospital and having worked for the State Department of Health. Garth’s obituary mentions that he was from the greatest generation having served in WW2. “His parents taught him to work hard and to accept responsibility for his actions. Honesty and integrity were expected.”

If only he was around so he could confirm all of what was revealed in Salisbury’s book: the time spent on the ranch, the zero strange activity, the close relationship with his brother and sister-in-law and the Bigelow phone call, but unfortunately dead men tell no tales.

The pro-paranormal Skinwalker investigators like Ryan Skinner and Brandon Fugal want you to believe that the ranch always had paranormal activity on it, and if anyone tells you differently, they are lying. They reach their immovable position, not with firsthand knowledge of what the Myers experienced while on the ranch for six decades but based on stories they have collected from adjacent property owners, other investigators, or just other strange stories from the surrounding community. Let’s examine each source.

Skinwalker investigator Ryan Skinner believes Garth Myers was lying and bases that position on interviewing others who told him so. Skinner cites Gwen Sherman’s testimony that Myers was being less than truthful. As proof, Skinner presented a snippet of the interview here:
Ryan Skinner's Interview Snippet
Gwen Sherman states:
“Garth was not one of my favorite people. He knew what was going on there and sold it to us putting my children at risk. So, my opinion of him is extremely low. He pulled into the yard one day and asked how things were going [and] we started asking him questions. Quote: ‘I hoped it had gone away and wouldn’t bother you.’ Asked why we asked we told him everything we had experienced. Cattle mutilations go on everywhere there’s cattle. Junior Hicks might have names. He was the local who would gather up UFO info.”

This is interesting from two perspectives. First, Gwen is accusing Garth of knowing that Skinwalker was paranormal central when selling the property to her family – thereby lying through omission. Fugal and Skinner however, directly accuse Garth of lying to Salisbury when denying any activity took place on the ranch while brother Kenneth and sister-in-law Edith lived there.

Second, if Gwen is to be believed, this would imply that her family had already experienced some activity, and at some point, after experiencing that activity, had an encounter with Garth after the property already had passed hands. Why would Garth have “pulled into the yard one day” after having already sold the property?

Garth lived in Salt Lake City and would have had to drive over 2 ½ hours to the ranch to have this encounter with Gwen. Why? To appease his conscience for having omitted the paranormal aspect of Skinwalker when selling it? None of this is explained or analyzed by Skinner. Gwen Sherman perhaps can still elaborate, given that I believe, she is still in the land of the living.

Gwen’s clarification pending, there is one glaring detail that calls her entire testimony in question. In Salisbury’s book, page 224, Salisbury recounts his interview with Terry Sherman, Gwen’s husband.

“The witness [Terry Sherman] basically supports Garth Myers’ version of the history of the ranch. So where did the exaggerated version – the ranch as the center of UFO activity – come from? This was a version that Bigelow learned early, as indicated by his calling Garth Myers a liar when Garth would not confirm it. Although I have some suspicions, I don’t know where the embellished story originally came from. (I’m assured that it did not come from Zack Van Eyck, the Deseret News reporter.).”

So here we have a conundrum that neither Fugal nor Skinner would comment on – how can we reconcile Gwen Sherman’s testimony of confronting Garth for knowingly lying via omission with Terry Sherman’s testimony confirming Garth’s account that there was no strange activity on the ranch prior to their purchase? Either the wife or the husband is not telling the truth. Remember that Terry was interviewed in 2009 whereas the alleged Garth-Gwen encounter would have had to occur from 1994-1996 while she still lived on the ranch.

Ryan Skinner however takes his accusations against dead men a step too far – accusing both Garth AND Dr. Frank Salisbury of an outright cover-up – based on their adherence to the Mormon faith.

“Frank Salisbury was forthright about his religious bias towards ‘UFOs’. Stating it’s not a part of his ‘belief structure’, & ‘not something he wants to be involved with. As an LDS Bishop, Garth had even more reason to cover up Kenneth's blasphemous UFO claims for religious reasons.”

“Garth due to his overzealous devotion to the Church as a LDS Bishop wanted to distance himself from aliens and demons clearly...”

When I pointed out to Skinner that Brandon Fugal was also an adherent of the LDS faith and therefore by Skinner’s reasoning could also be complicit in an anti-UFO coverup, Skinner did not respond. In addition, anyone reading Salisbury’s book will come away with the impression that despite being a science minded person (professor emeritus at Utah State University), Frank leans more toward the belief that UFOs are real manifestations, and in no way was he hell-bent on covering them up because of conflicting religious beliefs. If only Frank or Garth was around to confront their accusers, but sadly, dead men tell no tales.

According to documents that Fugal/Skinner found, Kenneth and Edith Myers leased the ranch from a Henry Lister in 1934. Lister then sells the property to a Benton Locke and Locke subsequently sells the property to Edith Myers in 1961. Let’s review this ownership chain for a second.

The Myers leased and lived on the property for 27 years before buying it – yet they made the purchase even though they knew it was paranormal central? They deliberately continued to live there despite the alleged dangerous activity to humans and animals taking place on the ranch? Fast forward some 26 additional years later to 1987 when Kenneth Myers died, and Edith Myers continued to live on the ranch ALONE for five whole years, till she moved off the ranch in 1992. Either the alleged paranormal forces on the ranch took a liking to the Myers, or there is something amiss here.

In 1994 the Sherman family bought the property from Garth Myers, the executor of the estate, after Edith Myers died the same year. The Myers lived there a total of 58 years; the Shermans, only two, having sold the property to Robert Bigelow in 1996. It is those two years when the Shermans owned the property, that are documented as a real-life horror story in the Kelleher/Knapp book: The Hunt for the Skinwalker.

Skinner alleges that the adjacent neighbors, the Winn and the Garcia families had numerous strange stories to tell about the ranch. When in 2009 I interviewed along with Dr. Salisbury, both families, as documented in the second edition of The Utah UFO Display, they revealed far less sensational accounts than Skinner has collected. Neither family appeared to be holding back any information in 2009.

Salisbury on page 240 of his book, points out why Charles Winn’s testimony to Skinner may be flawed:

“Charles said that for a long time he denied any special activity there, but now he had become convinced, mostly on the basis of stories he had heard.”

“…it is hard to know how much Charles knew by personal witness or how much he had heard. He had clearly read The Hunt for the Skinwalker”.

For high strangeness cases, firsthand testimony is paramount, but one must be careful to corroborate that the accounts have not been embellished or appropriated by assimilating other’s experiences. As I pointed out earlier, Charles’ own firsthand paranormal experience on the ranch did not even meet the bar of high strangeness.

In a recent exchange with Skinner, he even conceded that perhaps Skinwalker was not the epicenter of strange activity in the Uintah basin, although his web site continues to promote this idea. But if you read both The Hunt for the Skinwalker and Skinwalkers at the Pentagon, you would come away with the impression that the ranch was the X that marked the spot of high strangeness in the Uintah basin. If you are thinking, big deal, so what if the Skinwalker Ranch is not the epicenter, I have $22 million dollars’ worth of reasons to differ.

Fugal went further and alleges that Junior Hicks, the coauthor of The Utah UFO Display, knew firsthand of what the Myers experienced on the ranch, stating “We have countless hours of video testimony from Junior Hicks attesting to all of these things & confirming contradictions, from 2016 until shortly before he died last year.” When I asked him to publish Hicks’ interviews so I could ascertain what exactly was said regarding the Myers time on the ranch, Fugal’s response was: “We are editing it all right now. Everyone present, can attest to his testimony.”

Until those videos see the light of day, I will put Hicks’ confirmations of pre-Sherman activity in the unknown column, especially since Hicks had an opportunity to reveal the same information to Salisbury, so it would make it in the book, but chose not to? Salisbury on page 225 of the book discussed Hicks’ interaction with the Shermans but there is no mention of Hicks’ direct interactions with the Myers. Unfortunately, Junior Hicks died in 2020 and can’t confirm any of this. Dead men tell no tales.

So, who among the living can confirm that Kenneth and Edith Myers experienced high strangeness yet chose not to mention any of that activity to even their closest relative, Garth Myers? The witness that both Fugal/Skinner rely on is Retired Uintah County Deputy Sheriff, Kris L. Porritt who in a video interview claims to have witnessed strange activity in his interactions with Kenneth Myers on the ranch.

Porritt claims he knew Kenneth Myers because they both had a shared fascination with horses and that they became good friends. In his video interview, Porritt claims that Kenneth had locks and chains on everything, including the refrigerator and cupboard. When asked about the locks, Porritt claims that Kenneth Myers told him of alien visitors and that things came up missing and things came up dead. Ryan Skinner who was on video with Porritt, asked if Kenneth could see the aliens, to which Porritt responded that Kenneth could feel their presence.

Porritt also recounted a tale he claimed to have witnessed firsthand. Allegedly, Kenneth couldn’t find three heifers; Porritt arriving to help in the search but finding no tracks. There was a shed on the property that both men tried to push open, but it wouldn’t budge. Porritt looked through a crack in the door and told Kenneth that he wasn’t going to believe it, but his heifers were in there. To which Kenneth responded that the animals couldn’t possibly fit in that shed. When the door somehow opened, Porritt claimed that the three heifers were stacked one on top of the other in the small shed. Kenneth then said the heifers were dead, but Porritt said no; they are still alive because the snot is still running out of their noses. Porritt asked Kenneth to get a glass of water and dump it on their heads which brought the animals back to life.

Now that sounds downright spooky, but it also sounds an awful lot like the story told in The Hunt for the Skinwalker, Chapter 16, Hunt for the Bulls:

On the afternoon of April 2, Tom and Ellen [pseudonyms for Terry and Gwen Sherman] had set off toward the west end of the ranch on a routine mission to spot and count the animals. As they passed the bull enclosure, both of them looked fondly and proudly at the four burly bulls in the corral. They truly were magnificent beasts, two each of pure black Simmental and Black Angus, each weighing more than two thousand pounds. With muscles rippling healthily beneath the shiny black coats that perfectly reflected the setting afternoon sun, the animals made the Gormans proud. Ellen said wistfully, “I would go out of my mind if I lost any of those animals.” Tom nodded in agreement as they drove west on the narrow dirt track past the corral.

Forty-five minutes later they drove back. All the animals seemed to be accounted for, yet they could not shake that nagging feeling of unease. An unnatural calm hung over the property, broken only by the sound of the truck engine. Abruptly Ellen screamed and pointed out the windshield. Tom hit the brakes, fearing he was about to run over something. He followed her finger and gasped. The corral was empty. Tom’s stomach knotted. Each of those four registered bulls was worth thousands of dollars. They were irreplaceable. Tom looked into Ellen’s tear-stained face.

They stopped the truck by the empty corral, and he got out to search for some evidence that the four magnificent animals could have left behind. Tom’s knees felt weak. There was no sound as he walked around the corral.

Tom walked around looking at the footprints in the corral. The animals had been there only forty-five minutes ago. Ellen was sobbing in the truck. His search meandered over to an old small white trailer located at the west end of the corral. There was no entrance to the trailer from the corral except a door that was tightly locked and hadn’t been opened in years. As he passed the trailer, he glanced in.

Tom froze. All four animals were standing silently, crammed into the tiny space. They seemed frozen hypnotically and appeared to be barely conscious. Tom, with relief flooding through his veins, yelled loudly for Ellen. At the same time, he banged forcefully on the side of the metal trailer. The noise seemed to break the silent spell. Instantly, all four animals appeared to wake up. They began kicking and bellowing to get out of the narrow, confined space. Within seconds the four huge animals went berserk and devastated the interior of the trailer. Finally, a metal door was kicked out and instantly all four animals tumbled blindly out the broken door and began stampeding in a panic.

I’ll leave it to you to decide whether Porritt witnessed the heifers in the shed, or like Charles Winn, came to believe he had, after reading stories and assimilating those stories into his own experiences.

Porritt in a separate Facebook post stated:

“In the early 80's l was an Uintah County Deputy Sheriff and lived on and was assigned to the west side of the county. In a period of about three months, I responded to five separate incidents involving Mr. Myers cattle none of which were mutilated by any type of animal. They were surgically operated on, and different body parts removed. It was done in a way that could not have been done with the technology that we have today. There was also two other Ranches that it happened on.”

The problem with Porritt’s statement is the lack of confirmation data. There should be police reports that back up both Porritt’s investigations and the details of the mutilations. Per Ryan Skinner, however, “when we contacted the local county about the records, we found out they had all been destroyed (due to age, not conspiracy).” In addition, Porritt’s comments on surgical precision and advanced technologies sounds a lot like the UFO community’s take on cattle mutilations.

Unlike Fugal and Skinner, I am not calling Porritt a liar, but the only one who can confirm the veracity of either the stacked heifers in the shed or the 1980s cattle mutes is Kenneth Myers, who died in 1987, and dead men tell no tales.

So herein lies the problem with confirming a long history of high strangeness on the Skinwalker Ranch. Kenneth and Edith Myers would be the ones to know if their 58 years of living on the ranch were punctuated with just the normal sounds of a country ranch setting, or the blood curdling screams of mutilated animals and shapeshifting Skinwalkers and things that go bump in the night, but they are no longer with us. Neither is their brother Garth Myers who knew them best and denied any strange activity whatsoever.

On the flip side of the long paranormal history debate, Gwen Sherman’s testimony is at odds with her husband’s, and the alleged Junior Hicks testimony has yet to make it to the public domain. Complicating all of this is that The Hunt for the Skinwalker has been out long enough that its stories have been inculcated into the cultural fabric of the Uintah Basin and make suspect any alleged testimony as possible assimilated experiences.

So until Gwen/Terry can reconcile their conflicting accounts and Fugal releases the Hicks' videos, don’t let anyone try and convince you they have unequivocal evidence of strange activity on the Skinwalker Ranch prior to 1994; as they don’t. In the end, the truth of what occurred on the ranch has died out with the passing of each participant, leaving us with just campfire stories to ponder, and lamenting that dead men tell no tales. Now on to other high strangeness. If you have had the experience of a Billionaire call you out of the blue and try to convince you of something you know is not true, I want to hear from you!

1 comment :

  1. It's not just the ranch. The entire Uintah Basin has a long history of assorted strangeness.


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