Ex MUFON Director Questions ‘Skinwalker Ranch’ Claims

Posted by Xavier Ortega | February 10, 2011 16

Ah the good ol’ ‘Skinwalker Ranch’. A fascinating story and fascinating read. I must confess that when I first started reading about the ‘Skinwalker Ranch’ my mind was blown. Of course, I was younger and the story was so sensational–what with claims of werewolf-like creatures, portals to other dimensions, tall demon-like beasts and scientists researching the claims, I was enthralled–

Then after reading the same claims, reports and eyewitness testimonies with no actual scientific updates I started to grow weary of these claims. No sooner than later I was researching anything I could find out about the ‘scientific group’ involved in the investigations. Even before GhostTheory came along, I had sent an email to the NIDS scientific advisory board in an attempt at getting some questions answered. Nothing.

I eventually I gave up trying to dig up any information on this case which seemed so tight lipped. I figured it was a good sci-fi read if anything.

Years later, here comes along a post by James Carrion, former MUFON director. In his post, Mr. Carrion really brings to light the poorly researched ranch. The false claims about the property it’s restricted access to the scientific community really drive home his point. To me, Ufology and the paranormal are full of people who are in it for personal and monetary gain.

Read James Carrion’s post and you tell me why certain cases (even the paranormal in general) don’t  get the proper research it deserves.

Full source: Follow The Magic Thread

Hunting the Skinwalker
It was after uncovering some disturbing information about the Skinwalker Ranch owned by Robert Bigelow that I began to have doubts about the real purpose behind the MUFON-BAASS project. Bigelow Aerospace Advanced Space Studies (BAASS) is an aerospace company allegedly involved in discovering novel and cutting edge space technologies and contracted MUFON in 2009 to perform UFO investigations on its behalf. In the following email to the MUFON Board of Directors, I summarized my research findings and my misgivings about any further relationship with BAASS.

Note that this email has been modified to remove identifying information about the confidential source here called Brad Newton who is still under a non-disclosure agreement from his work with the now defunct National Institute for Discovery Sciences (NIDS), also an organization founded by Robert Bigelow.



Since taking on the MUFON International Director position, I have been in observation mode trying to understand the true nature of the UFO phenomenon. In 2007 I personally financed a “meeting of the minds” in Fort Collins to try and gain insight into what the status quo was in Ufology. I have personally investigated high level cases such as Kinross and the California Drones and have found myself on the receiving end of a constant flow of disinformation. What I have observed over the last three years seriously disturbs me.

It is my belief that there are forces at work here that “manage” Ufology for their own purposes. When an organization like MUFON starts to operate outside of the box “they” intend to keep us in, then these controlling forces move in to tighten their grip. Case in point is MUFON’s relationship with BAASS. Although John (Schuessler) knows who BAASS’ sponsors are, I am no longer comfortable with the MUFON-BAASS relationship. Let me explain in detail.

Just last month, I financed my own trip to Utah with Dr. Frank Salisbury who was looking to republish his book “The Utah UFO Display” and was looking for new material to add. Since the book covered the Uintah Basin in North East Utah where the Bigelow Skinwalker Ranch is located, Salisbury sought and was denied access to the Ranch. I also asked and was denied access. Instead, we spent our time interviewing new witnesses around the Ranch. Our contact person was Brad Newton (real name withheld) who has researched the area for many years. What I learned from Brad is what has led to the doubts I now harbor.

Brad worked with NIDS on the ranch and mentioned that after an alleged sighting, metal rods were found on the ranch that were sent to NIDS for analysis. Brad was in contact with a NIDS scientist who informed him that the rods were made from Element 115 and did not originate on earth, and that he (the scientist) had worked at Area 51 on a reverse engineering project where they had accumulated 300 pounds of this material. This in a nutshell is the Bob Lazar story.

Through Dr. Salisbury, we were able to interview the brother of the original owner of the ranch who sold it to the Shermans who subsequently sold it to Bigelow. The ranch owner’s brother was adamant that there was no UFO or strange activity on the ranch prior to the Sherman’s purchase, contrary to what was discussed in the Skinwalker Book and that he (the owner’s brother) had personally received a call from Bigelow trying to convince him otherwise. I found this to be extremely odd and disturbing. I also subsequently learned of a business relationship between Lazar and Bigelow (documented in the MUFON archives).

What I see in the MUFON-BAASS relationship is active management of MUFON’s work, despite assurances from BAASS otherwise. By carefully controlling the purse strings with each contract evaluation period, they are ensuring they receive a constant flow of information from MUFON while also making sure that MUFON does not end up with operational funding to stabilize its long term financial well being. Who’s on the receiving end of this information? Since that will not be disclosed to MUFON, I cannot state for sure, but I don’t feel confident that the information is being used for what MUFON was originally informed.

If you were able to listen to my speech at the Symposium or read my paper in the Proceedings or read my blog, then you know where I stand on the active management and control of information on the part of governmental or quasi governmental forces in our work. Conspiracy theory? Yes. Plausible? Yes.

MUFON has an obligation to the public to fulfill its mission. I for one believe that we cannot adequately do so as long as we are actively managed, nor can I in good faith stand by while this is happening. Those are my personal feeling however and as such I don’t want to speak for the organization when making the decision to renew or terminate our contract with BAASS. I leave it to the Board for a decision on this.

I have already stated my decision to step down as the International Director, and in large part my decision has been based on my research. I will continue to work within MUFON and for MUFON’s long term viability, but I will not stand by and be managed. My time will be better spent actively uncovering the trail left by the forces of disinformation and my efforts focused on uncovering the truth. In the end that is all that is important.


John Schuessler responded with the following email:


I am concerned for you if you are basing decisions on what Brad has said. It is not my intent to argue the point, but the whole Element 115 thing is pure bunk. Don’t take my word for it, just ask any scientist. Both CSICOP scientists and MUFON scientists like Stanton Friedman have thoroughly debunked Lazar’s Element 115 story. If you could get Element 115 (or Elements 114 and 116) to be stable enough to make them into rods, they would make extremely heavy rods. I can find no one except Bob Lazar and now Brad that believes there are Element 115 rods anywhere, let alone dumping them out on the ground in an uncontrolled environment on a ranch in Utah.

As for the rods found on the Skinwalker Ranch, I was on the NIDS Scientific Advisory Board back in those days and can verify that rods were found. They were not heavy Element 115 rods. Instead, they were thin carbon rods that are used in arc lamps to make very bright lights in field operations. I have personally used this type of rods in arc lamp operations many years ago.


My email response to John follows:

Hi John,

That is my point exactly. Lazar and element 115 are bunk but it appears to me that the NIDS scientist was promoting it to Brad. Why? I found Brad to be honest in his demeanor and he is held in high esteem by everyone we came into contact with including many of the witnesses we interviewed. Brad has no motive for promoting the Bob Lazar story but it was communicated to him nonetheless.

Actually, it was the former ranch owner’s brother’s assertions that cemented for me that something is amiss. The Skinwalker ranch story did not play out as described in the book and that coupled with us being denied access does not add up for me.

I can only conclude that BAASS is at someone else’s beck and call. The Board does not need to agree with me on this, which is why I am leaving the contract renewal response to the Board.

Best wishes,

It was after this email exchange that the MUFON Board bypassed me as acting MUFON International Director and secretly engaged BAASS in renegotiating the MUFON-BAASS contract while purposely keeping me out of the loop. As you can see from the email exchange, this secretive communication was altogether unnecessary because I deferred to the majority decision of the MUFON Board.

Unethical behavior on the part of the MUFON Board aside, the following questions still beg for answers: What is really happening at the Skinwalker Ranch and why are serious investigators being denied access? Why was a NIDS scientist pushing the Bob Lazar story which is a known farce? Why does the book “Hunt for the Skinwalker” describe paranormal activity present on the ranch prior to the Shermans purchasing it when a close surviving relative of the former owner denies such activity? Why is the truth about activities on the ranch being censored through non-disclosure agreements?

It appears that once again in Ufology there are more questions than answers; common fare for a field where the waters are muddied but never cleared. If you consider yourself a truth seeker then perhaps it is time to take a stand against these forces of ambiguity that seek only to obscure the truth rather than bring it to light. It is time to promote truth and not mystery in a field that has too many mysteries already. It is time to reveal the truth by not compromising ethics or principles or by allowing truth to be censored. It is time to stop falling prey to fear and lies but instead to hunt the Skinwalker forces of deception in their own territory. Who is up for a hunting trip?

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Based in Brooklyn, NY, I write about all things creepy and strange. My book based on the real haunting of Doris Bither (The Entity 1982 movie) will be released fall of 2016. Got a question? Drop me a line.

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16 Responses

  • J.C.

    I know a little bit about this. George Knapp, an investigative reporter out of Las Vegas, the man who uncovered the story of Bob Lazar, who said he worked on the Area 51 base and witnessed back engineering of UFO’s, used to be in close contact with NIDS, who performed the investigation at the “Skinwalker” ranch.

    Knapp was a guest speaker at our MUFON group in Phoenix several years ago and spoke about the Skinwalker Ranch and the bizarre experiences there. Then the book was published. From my understanding from Knapp there was a documentary that was in production that was to be shown on cable television with photos and video from their investigation of the ranch. The documentary never came out, neither did the promised photos in the follow up editions to the book.

    I am very suspicious now that this entire book is a fabrication to make money off of a book. Knapp did tell me that there was some sort of infighting in the NIDS organization concerning the evidence obtained from the Skinwalker Ranch.


  • Marc Coppell

    I am Marc Coppell from the http://www.hauntedman.net website. I aim to go up to Skinwalker Ranch in early July this year. Some of the locals claim that the area is a ufo hotbed. Maybe folklore but why would Bigelow invest so much money into this if it was a fraud? Along with his security force there. I will only have video and camera gear.. nightvision star scopes and I.R. and SLR. Plus an aerial quadcopter. Wish us luck in finding any evidence to support the claims if there are!

  • theRealEric

    As Ghost Theory’s self proclaimed Utah expert, my offical stance is that I really want the stories from that place to be true, but they aren’t. No one lives up there except for some methcooks and sheep. I bring nothing to the table in the way of proof and fully admit that, but neither do these people.

  • check out my website skinwalkerranch.org to learn more .

  • I found this story to be fascinating when I first read it. Shortly after, I began to wonder why we have not heard more about this place – leaving me to believe that much of the story was most likely fabricated. Thanks for the informative post! Nicely done.

  • Matt

    Hey theRealEric, can I be the self-proclaimed Utah novice? I think I’m newer to the site but do live in Provo. I’ve been watching the skies over American Fork ever since the videos started appearing on this site. We should get a club going.

  • theRealEric

    Hi Matt, I was thinking about trying to get some vids going, I still think its paragliders or something like that. Hell, it might even been Super Dale’s newest selfpromotion scheme. I’m down for a club but you need to be aware of my previous smacktalk on Utah Valley in the AF-UFO story. It’s not personal of course, its just that I really hate seeing minivans driving in the fast lane at 55 MPH. Oh the other thing is that I don’t like leaving my house, so if you are cool with doing everything I am cool with clubbing it up.

    Also, why be a novice bro? The best thing about selfproclaiming is that you can do whatever you want. I should’ve used something like Grand Ninjitsu Master of Utah or something like that. Burrito Master Admiral General Supreme Commander of all things Utah. I like that one.

  • VinceZen

    Hey, I’m in Utah too…Davis County….I’d love to start a research group for the area, or join one that is already going….

  • Scott

    I would hate to pry into a family’s private matters, but the assurance by the previous owner’s brother that no unusual activity was noticed on the ranch would seem very reassuring. Has he gone public? Can his comments on the matter be read somewhere? It would be a pity if Knapp were involved in a scam; he seems like a good guy, but admits he himself never actually saw anything weird while at the ranch. Maybe he was played. But I haven’t read the book; just his articles on the subject.

  • Bob L

    Too much sensationalism and not enough evidence surrounds the Skinwalker property. Forget NIDS, surely someone outside of their organization has captured phenomena on film around the ranch seeing as it is supposedly so active. But, there is nothing solid out there.

    NIDS bought the ranch for 200k. Sell a million $14 books and voila! A real nice profit.

  • Scott

    I believe Knapp was sincere, reporting on the info he could confirm, though I’ve not read the whole book. he was honest about never having seen the phenomenon himself. As a journalism major in college, I am generally impressed with his professionalism. The reliability standards for journalism are and should be tough, but come no where near the higher standards of “proof beyond a reasonable doubt” required in a court, or the even tougher standard of “scientific proof” as required by science.

  • Runtomot

    Carnac routon folt

  • Clanagha

    You know I thought I was going insane but I am glad people ask the obvious and don’t believe everything ,I am looking forward too the Dorothy Bither follow up I always wondered what went on with her.

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