Review: Hunt for the Skinwalker

The Hunt for the Skinwalker has been on my reading list for quite some time so I finally decided to jump right in. The Gorman Ranch, also known as Skinwalker Ranch, is located just south of Ballard, Utah, and gained notoriety when given the public eye in both Utah and Las Vegas news publications. Skinwalker Ranch is infamously known for its strange array of paranormal activity. From dire wolves to cow mutilations to dog-zapping orbs, the ranch is host to all things “weird.” This book is written by Colm A. Kelleher, Ph.D and George Knapp, and was one of the first attempts at “science confront[ing] the unexplained at a remote ranch in Utah.”

A Bit About the Authors:

Colm A. Kelleher, Ph.D. experienced the ranch first hand. Kelleher is “a biochemist with a fifteen-year research career in cell and molecular biology. Following his Ph.D. in biochemistry from the University of Dublin, Trinity College in 1983, Kelleher worked at the Ontario Cancer Institute, the Terry Fox Cancer Research Laboratory, and the National Jewish Center for Immunology and Respiratory Medicine. For the past eight years he has worked as project manager and team leader at a private research institute, the National Institute of Discovery Science, using forensic science methodology to unravel scientific anomalies.”

George Knapp, a well-known investigative journalist and privy to the world’s unexplainable ufology events, also co-authored this intriguing book. Knapp “is a Nevada journalist who has been honored with the highest awards in broadcast journalism–the Peabody Award (twice), the Dupont Award from Columbia University, the Edward R. Murrow Award, and 27 regional Emmy awards for investigative reporting, environmental reporting, and news writing. He is the longtime chief investigative reporter for KLAS TV Las Vegas, where he previously worked as news anchor. He co-authored the best selling book Hunt for the Skinwalker. In 1989, his reports about Nevada’s Area 51 military base were selected by UPI as Best Individual Achievement by a Reporter. Since 2007, he has also been a weekend host of Coast to Coast AM.”

Key Takeaways

This ranch is riddled with all sorts of activity that would likely send the average human into sheer terror and panic. Tom Gorman, however, is like the Chuck Norris of the paranormal. The way he is portrayed in the book is, as absolutely fearless. If some thing came out of the woods and then retreated, he went in after it. Who does that? Tom Gorman is “who does that.” He pioneered the giving zero effs mantra, and for that he is one of my ufology heros. While Tom was blazing trails, his family wasn’t so much. Obviously, with everything happening–entities peering in windows, poltergeist activity, unexplainable creatures, various sized and colored orbs, spacecrafts galore, and the loss of prized cattle–it eventually took a toll on his family. Aerospace tycoon, Robert Bigelow, made the Gorman’s an offer to purchase the ranch that they couldn’t refuse and they “took the money and ran.” Or did they? After the sale of the Ranch to Robert Bigelow, under the umbrella of National Institute for Discovery Science (NIDS), Tom was asked to stay on as the Ranch Manager, to which he obliged. Tom wasn’t going to let whatever was terrorizing him and his family go down without a fight–and for that, I admire him. Post-purchase, a team of scientists with fancy gear, surveillance and close to unlimited resources at their hands, moved in to begin analyzing the anomalous activity. This is where I really become vested in this story, because as an Analyst by trade, I understand the work, research, time studies and field application it takes to set out to prove theories and put solutions into action. Here is the deal with all things paranormal–we tend to believe that we can put things that we do not understand into boxes. Not only do we believe we can put these items into boxes, we also believe that we can limit whatever is in the box to our social rules and limitations. Well, this just is not so. Whatever these anomalies are, they do not play by our rules. For the events that are truly anomalous, their technology and understanding far surpasses that of our own. For the events that are paramilitary, the operations are so covert, that we as civilians would have a tough time distinguishing the authentic from the absurd paramilitary jaunts that our government and military industrial complex thinks is ok to participate in. A lot of what happened on the ranch that is portrayed via the book seems a bit too military-esque for my taste. I really do not believe that extraterrestrial lifeforms get their gits and shiggles from mental warfare on humans. If we’re talking about beings that have IQs upward of the 300-400s, then I find it hard to believe that they find self-efficacy in screwing with humans. Maybe I’m far off base (ha), and they do enjoy that kind of trickery, but my intuition just tells me “no” on that one. What is described in the book reminds me much more of military charades–sending people into sheer terror and messing with people’s livelihoods. Yes, that sounds like a big, fat “check” and “check” for something the military industrial complex would subscribe to.

All of that to say, there is a possibility for something truly anomalous going on at that particular latitude and longitude. The Gorman’s Ranch borders the Ute Reservation. The Utes have widely regarded that land as being “cursed”, as it is in the path of the skinwalker. What is a skinwalker, you say? In short, a skinwalker is “a person, in certain Native American traditions, who can transform into any animal when wearing its pelt.” This is an extremely simplified definition, as the process for a Native American to become a skinwalker is both gruesome and horrifying. Essentially, the initiate must sell their soul to the devil himself and sell their families’ souls through human sacrifice–yea, it is not a pretty topic. The Utes have long steered clear of this particular geographical location in hopes not to wake the skinwalker, which originated due to bad blood between the Utes and the Navajo. I cannot say that I do not blame them. From the sounds of things at the Ranch, there is a lot of activity that I’m not sure that I would want to be a witness to.

To recommend or to not recommend, that is the question!

RECOMMEND! This is a great read for anyone who interested in this topic–especially specifically about the Ranch. This is a “straight from the horse’s mouth” anthology, so no better place to get your information from than the source. It is intriguing and very hard to put down, however I was often forced to because I have an infant. You will not get a lot of “science” takeaway from this book if that is what you are looking for, simply because whatever anomalous entities live on this Ranch are of the school of thought that “no one puts baby in a corner.” Whatever it is, it does not want to be measured. And do you know what? Whatever it is, is smarter than our conventional science–so they are kind of calling the shots here. If we ever do find out for certain that this is a paramilitary playground, I will certainly be disappointed. The last thing I want to hear about is a bunch of bozos wreaking havoc on its own citizens. However, if it is truly anomalous activity out to terrorize their humanoid brethren, then I may suggest some counseling. LOL. Santè!


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