Location: Southeast of Ballard, UT
Now known as Bigelow Ranch, previously known as Skinwalker Ranch, and Sherman Ranch, is a property located on approximately 480 acres, southeast of Ballard, UT that is allegedly the site of paranormal and UFO related activities. Its name is taken from the skinwalker of Native American legend. It was so plagued by UFOs and other strange phenomena that its one time owners, Terry & Gwen Sherman, were wanting to get rid of it, and did... to Robert T. Bigelow. Who was intrigued by the mysterious activities.
Bigelow is a hotel and aerospace entrepreneur. He owns the hotel chain Budget Suites of America and is the founder of Bigelow Aerospace. He bought 51% of UFON to enable him access to all new and archived data and sole owner of NFIDS to which the FAA routes ALL UFO reports. Finally, he built and owns his own private space station, to and from he travels by X-plane.
The unusual events include: cattle mutilations, cattle disappearances & other animal events, UFOs & their occupants, Inter-dimensional portals or vortecies & Floating balls of light.
Former owners of the ranch, The Shermans, experienced events from the first day they moved in. Multiple locks & bolts on exterior doors maybe should have been a clue? The Shermans spotted an extremely large wolf out in the pasture. It cautiously made its way across the field, and timidly approached them as if it were a long lost pet. It had rained previously, and they recalled the wolf smelled like a wet dog as they were petting it. In time, it strolled over to the corral and grabbed a calf by its snout, attempting to pull it through the corral bars. Terry Sherman and his father began beating on the wolf's back with sticks but it wouldn't release the calf. Terry grabbed his .357 Magnum from the truck, he is both an experienced marksman, and a big game hunter of considerable respect, and shot the wolf at point blank range, with no noticeable effect. He fired again into the wolf, which then let go of the calf but stood looking at them as if nothing had happened. He shot it two more times with the pistol. The big animal backed off a bit, but showed no sign of pain, injury or blood. Awed by this, Mr. Sherman retrieved a hunting rifle and shot the wolf again, once more at close range. The wolf should have been killed...with 5 slugs, a moose would be killed. The fifth shot caused some hair and flesh to drop off the wolf, but it still didn't seem wounded. After the sixth shot, the wolf sauntered across the field into a muddy thicket.
Sherman & his dad tracked it for about a mile, following its paw prints through the mud, but the tracks suddenly ended, as if the wolf had simply vanished into thin air. Returning to the corral area, he examined the chunk of wolf flesh and says it looked and smelled like rotten meat. Terry made inquiries among his neighbors, but no one seemed to know anything about any tame, over sized wolves in the area. A weeks later, his wife encountered a wolf of such size, its back was parallel with the TOP of her window as it stood beside her car. The wolf was accompanied by a canine type animal that she couldn't identify.
Over the next two years, an assortment of weird animals was reported by the Shermans & neighbors. While driving into the ranch on a bright afternoon, The Husband & wife saw something attacking one of their horses. It was described as "low to the ground, heavily muscled, weighing perhaps 200 pounds, with curly red hair and a bushy tail." and somewhat resembled a muscular hyena and seemed to be clawing at their horse, almost playing with it. Terry got within 40' of the animal but says it literally vanished before his eyes. They checked the horse and found numerous claw marks on its legs. ( Some months later, the wife of a deputy sheriff reported seeing a similar muscular, reddish beast running across the property.)
Another visitor to the ranch had a more ominous encounter in the middle homestead. The visitor, along with Sherman & his son, say they saw a large blurry "something" moving through the trees. The visitor has been meditating when this thing showed up. It swiftly moved from the trees, across the pasture, covering 100 yards in seconds, and when it reached him, it let out a ferocious roar, something akin to a large bear, a roar loud enough to be heard hundreds of yards away. But this was no bear. It was, according to the locals, nearly invisible, resembling the camouflaged entity in the movie Predator. The visitor was so scared, he grabbed on to Terry, and wouldn't let go. He left the ranch and has never returned.
Other creatures and beings have also seen, including exotic, multicolored birds that were certainly not native to the region and could not be identified. There were numerous close encounters with dark, 9' tall beasts that resembled a Bigfoot or Sasquatch. As if these visual experiences weren't enough, the family claims its other senses were also challenged by assorted bizarre events. They often were overwhelmed by strong musk odors. The pastures would unexplainably light up at night like a football stadium. They claim to have seen shafts of light that seemingly emanated from the ground, many locals say they heard what sounded like heavy machinery operating under the earth. And they heard voices. 3 individuals remember hearing a loud, disembodied conversation in some unintelligible language. The disembodied male voices spoke in what the witnesses say was a mocking tone and sounded like they were emanating from 20' or more above their heads, but they saw nothing. The dogs accompanying the three witnesses growled and barked at the voices, then took off in a panic.
There were physical manifestations that aren't easily explained. While checking on his herd in the third homestead, Terry noticed that someone had dug up his pasture. Hundreds of pounds of soil had been scooped out of the ground. The edges of the hole resembled perfect, concentric circles, as if someone had dropped a gigantic cookie cutter on the pasture. Several smaller scoop marks were also found. Family members also report phenomena similar to crop circles. One formation found in their pasture consisted of three circles of flattened grass. Each circle was approximately 8' in diameter, and they were arranged in a triangular pattern, with each circle about 30' from the others. Keep in mind, there is only one road leading into the Shermans ranch. Anyone coming in or going out would almost certainly be noticed by the family... or their neighbors.
In the spring of 1995, the Shermans started seeing strange things in the sky. While out checking on their cattle, Terry and his nephew spotted what they thought was a recreational vehicle parked on the property. They approached it, figuring the driver might be having mechanical trouble. As they got closer, it moved silently away from them. They moved closer, it moved further away. They climbed a fence to get a better look at it, and that's when they knew this was no Winnebago. The craft rose above the treetops and slowly flew away, making no sound as it departed. It certainly wasn't a helicopter. The witnesses had a clear view and say the object was shaped like a refrigerator, with a single light on its front and a red light on the back.
Before long, everyone in the family was seeing peculiar aerial objects. Mrs. Sherman says something that resembled a stealth fighter, but ringed with blinking disco lights, silently hovered about 20' above her vehicle before zipping off. Each family member had repeated sightings of a cloud that usually hovered just outside the property. The cloud was characterized as having "blinking Christmas tree lights" or "silent, mini-explosions" inside. Among the other aerial craft seen by the Shermans, their neighbors and other witnesses were classic flying saucer objects, flying sombreros, shafts of light similar to fluorescent light bulbs and a cigar-shaped craft several football fields long.
By far the most common objects they witnessed were floating spheres of different sizes and colors. In 1995 and 1996, the Shermans and others reported 12 separate incidents of seeing large orange circles flying over the trees of the center homestead. Terry Sherman claims that holes occasionally opened up in the orange spheres and other smaller spheres would fly out. ( A neighboring rancher told this report of his own encounters with what he called a flying orange basketball. ) By early 1996, the sightings of blue spheres at the ranch became the norm. These orbs were said to be about the size of a softball, made of glass and filled with bubbling blue liquids that seemed to rotate inside. Mr. & Mrs. Sherman say that in April 1996, they watched one of the blue orbs repeatedly circle the head of one of their horses, The horse was illuminated by an intense blue light, and there was a sound like static electricity in the air, but this wasn't ball lightning. The orb seemed to be intelligently controlled. When Terry approached the horse with a flashlight, the orb darted off, maneuvering through tree branches with speed and dexterity. The Shermans say the blue spheres seemed to generate severe psychological effects on the family. They experienced waves of fear roll over them, far in excess of what might be normal, whenever the blue orbs appeared. It was the appearance of one blue orb in particular that finally convinced them to sell the ranch.
One evening in May 1996, Terry was outside with three of his dogs when he noticed a blue orb darting around in the field near the ranch house. Terry urged his dogs to go after the ball. The dogs chased and snapped at the orb, but it dodged and maneuvered enough to stay just beyond the reach of their snapping jaws. The ball led the dogs out across the pasture and into the thick brush that borders the field. Terry says he heard the dogs make three terrible yelps, then they were silent. He called for them, but they didn't respond. The next morning, he went to look for the dogs. What he found were three round spots of dried and brittle vegetation. In the middle of each circle was a black, greasy lump. Terry surmised that his dogs had been incinerated by something. One thing for sure, the dogs were never seen again. The disappearance of their dogs prompted the Shermans to think about getting out.
Terry Sherman was not some rube farmer trying to get by. He had college degrees and advanced training in animal husbandry, was considered an expert in artificial insemination and had plans for raising hybrid, high end stock at the picturesque ranch. His herd, which ranged from 60-80 head, consisted of expensive, top of the line heifers and four 2,000# show class bulls. From the day he moved his herd onto the ranch, though, his hopes, as well as his animals, seemed to be under assault. The balls of light that were seen so often on the property seemed to take special interest in the cattle and were often seen buzzing around the heads of the animals. Sometimes, the cattle would react violently, the herd splitting suddenly as if some invisible force was plowing through their middle. It got worse.
Although the Shermans kept close watch on their stock, something began taking a terrible toll. One cow was found dead in a field. A strange, crisp hole had been cut in one of its eyes. There were no tracks or blood, and Terry wondered what could do such a thing. He noticed a strong musk odor around the carcass, again, a smell he would come to know all too well. Other cattle were carved up, as if with pinking shears. In typical cases, the ears, eyes, udders and sex organs are removed with surgical precision.
As an experienced hunter and rancher, Sherman was more than familiar with the capabilities of natural predators. This wasn't being done by coyotes or mountain lions. The slaughter was simply too clean. And no blood was ever left at the scene of the attacks. His other animals also suffered. His favorite horse had its legs slashed, as if by sharp instruments or claws. ( The musk odor was still in the air when he discovered the damaged horse. ) His dogs seemed to develop paranoia. They stayed inside their houses for days at a time, too fearful to emerge for food. Six of the family's cats vanished in one night. Soon, cattle started disappearing altogether. One of the animals vanished from a snow-covered field. Sherman saw the hoof prints lead into the field, but the tracks simply stopped, as if the animal had been plucked from the sky. A 1,200# cow leaves tracks in snow, Sherman told himself, so what happened to this one?
In all, 14 of Sherman's prized animals were either sliced up or vanished. In one instance, a cow was found mutilated just five minutes after Sherman's son had checked on it. Something cut a hole, 6" wide and 18" deep, in the animal's rectum. The cored-out section extended into the cow's body cavity, yet there was no blood on the cow or on the snow-covered ground. The loss of 14 expensive animals from an 80 head herd is extreme by any standards. It meant that Sherman was close to financial collapse. One April afternoon, Sherman & his wife took a quick drive to town for supplies. As they passed the corral that contained their four bulls, they commented to each other that they would really be in trouble if something should happen to one of the bulls. Upon returning to the ranch less than an hour later, all four of the bulls were gone. The Shermans began a frantic search for the missing animals but couldn't find a trace. As a last resort, Sherman decided to peek into a metal trailer that is situated inside the corral. He thought it highly unlikely that the bulls would be inside because, from the corral, there is only one door into the trailer and it was secured with thick metal wire, wire that clearly was still in place. Terry was shocked to see that all four of his bulls were inside the trailer, squeezed like so many oversized sardines into the tiny enclosure, crammed in against the sides of the trailer and against each other. When he yelled to his wife that he had found them, the bulls seemingly woke up, as if from a dream state, and started kicking the hell out of the trailer and each other. "There is simply no way that anyone could coax those four bulls into that trailer," says Colm Kelleher, a microbiologist who would come to know the Shermans well. "It would be tough enough to get one of them into the trailer, but all four? Virtually impossible. The only door leading from the corral into the trailer was still securely fastened with wire. And there were cobwebs on the inside of the door, proving that it had not been opened. It's almost as if someone overheard the ranchers' worries about their bulls, then decided to mess with them."
Terry & Gwen Sherman wish some of that teeming intergalactic life would find somewhere else to hang out. For more than a year now the Sherman' 480 acre ranch just south of Fort Duchesne, has been a hotbed for UFOs and bizarre paranormal activity...weirdness that even the Shermans, who've witnessed the strange happenings with their own eyes and video camera, have trouble accepting as reality. "For a long time we wondered what we were seeing, if it was something to do with a top secret project," said Terry Sherman, who reluctantly agreed to speak publicly about the activity for the first time. "I don't know really what to think about it." Their teenage son and 10-year-old daughter have seen 3 specific types of UFOs repeatedly during the past 15 months, a small boxlike craft with a white light, a 40' long object, and a huge ship the size of several football fields. They've seen one craft emit a wavy red ray or light beam as it flies along. They've seen other airborne lights, some of which have emerged from orange, circular doorways that seem to appear in midair. They've videotaped two of the sightings.
"We've seen enough ( UFOs )and know pretty much what the craft look like, and I think it's definitely associated with the cattle mutilations...when we see the crafts and then the cattle, we have problems," Sherman said. "You talk to a lot of people around here that at one time or another have seen something they can't explain. There's been a lot of cattle mutilations, and a lot of them weren't reported. Several told me that when they had a mutilation, they called the authorities and the authorities couldn't do anything, so it was just a waste of time and effort." Agreeably, the records clerk for the Uintah County Sheriff's Department said her department has not received reports of UFOs or cattle mutilations in recent memory. Sheriff Ralph Stansfield in nearby Duchesne County said he is unaware of any UFOs or mutilations being reported in the past 18 months. Although the Shermans haven't told officials about the cattle mutilations or UFO activity, they have confided in Joseph "Junior" Hicks, a retired junior high school teacher from Roosevelt who has investigated more than 400 UFO sightings in the Uintah Basin since the early 1950s.
Reports of UFOs during that time have numbered in the thousands, according to Hicks, and some have been associated with cattle mutilations. Over the years, Hicks said, at least a half dozen eyewitnesses have told him they saw living beings in the windows or portholes of UFOs. To Hicks, the Shermans' sightings are extraordinary for their number, duration and quality. But what they've witnessed is hardly unusual for the Uintah Basin, Hicks said. "I'd estimate over 10% of the population of the Uintah Basin has seen something," Hicks said. "I think what's happening is we are being visited from beings from another world or some other place. I think primarily it's research and exploration."
Robert T. Bigelow hopped a jet to Vernal and met with the Shermans, offering to buy the ranch for about $200,000. The deal closed in September, 1996. The Shermans have purchased a smaller ranch 15 miles away near Whiterocks - far removed, they hope, from the disturbing occurrences they endured for 18 months. Bigelow has erected an observation building and moved in a pair of scientists and a veterinarian. He has someone on the property 24 hours a day, recording anything out of the ordinary. Officially, the research is being conducted by the National Institute for Discovery Science, which Bigelow formed October, 1995. Among the big names in the institute's stable of scientists is John B. Alexander, former director of non-lethal weapons testing at Los Alamos National Laboratories in New Mexico.
The NFIDS Ranch borders Indian land and is known to the local Indians as "unholy ground" where a shape-shifting creature called the "Skinwalker" is said to lurk in its various forms and natural doorways to other worlds or dimensions are known to exist. The Ranch is currently owned by Robert Bigelow ( or NFIDS/National Institute of Discovery Science ) and is private property. NFIDS does not want you there, its guarded and under electronic surveillance. Trespassers will be prosecuted. The ranch is to be considered dangerous & unpredictable, attempting to enter the ranch puts your safety at risk, and you'll just get arrested for trespassing.