High Strangeness at the Skinwalker Ranch -- Part One
Two hundred pounds. Two hundred godforsaken pounds! That's how much the wolf approaching Tom Gorman must have weighed!
"What wolf weighs two hundred pounds?!" the rancher's mind raced. "They just don't get that big." Tom knew it. So did his family. And yet, before the Gormans stood a beast that, on all fours, was chest-high to a six-foot tall man. Even more bizarre? The wolf, if that's what it was, seemed completely tame.
Ed, Tom's father, extended a quivering hand, petting the rain-slicked fur of the monstrous beast, while the animal eyed the Gorman family. Abruptly, the massive creature raced for a nearby corral, ensnaring the head of one of Tom's prized Angus calves between its jaws. With powerful force, the enormous predator worked its squealing captive partially through the bars of the enclosure.
Tom bolted forward, kicking the beast, while Ed unloaded a series of home run blasts via a Louisville Slugger upon the abomination. Tad, Tom's son, yanked a Magnum pistol from the family truck and tossed it to his father. Without hesitation, Tom fired three slugs into the bloodthirsty animal. The wolf seemed unfazed, yet relinquished its death grip on the calf.
Tom squeezed the trigger a fourth time, placing a round in the monstrosity's heart. The first shot, alone, should have killed the creature, much less the following three bullets. Yet, the anomaly sat peacefully, gazing back at the rancher.
Tad handed Tom his .30-06, a rifle that can slay elk. The cattleman pumped another two rounds into the wolf. A hunk of shoulder flesh and fur ripped free from the animal. The beast merely turned and trotted away.
Tom and Tad raced after the anomaly, which accelerated quickly, escaping behind a grove of Russian Olive trees. The father-son pair were able to follow the beast's trail to a clearing 25 yards from a nearby river. It was there the animal's tracks simply vanished, as did the wolf, itself.
This isn't a work of fiction, but rather one of numerous accounts experienced by the Gorman family on an isolated ranch, known as the Skinwalker, in northeastern Utah.
For the Gormans, this wasn't the last encounter with the wolves, either. Ellen Gorman, Tom's wife, would be visited by another member of the oversized pack, this one a good head taller than her Chevy Chevette. In fact, the beast was so large it was forced to lean down in order to peer through the driver's side window at Ellen, as she slowly entered the outskirts of her ranch property.
But the wolves were only the beginning. Over a period of 18 months, the Gorman family witnessed a deluge of the paranormal, including cattle mutilations, dimensional portals, ethereal beast encounters, poltergeist activity, spook lights, UFO sightings and vanishing livestock.
It was 1994, and Tom Gorman had just purchased 480 acres of homestead in the Beehive State, hopeful the transition from small town New Mexico would be a positive one for him and his clan. A more wholesome existence, herding prized cattle in God's country, should be just what the Gormans needed. Little did Tom know he was relocating his family to perhaps the most renowned anomalous hotspot on the planet. It would soon be theorized this region of Utah may be a rift between dimensions, through which all sorts of enigmas found foothold. To the Gormans, however, the ranch became a nightmare. By 1996, the family was ready to sell the place for a song, as had the owners before them.
Navajo hierarchy includes an individual known as the medicine man, highly renowned for his knowledge of positive healing. According to legend, an evil counterpart, called the Skinwalker, also holds place within tribal tradition. A familiar trait of this immoral half-man, half-spirit is its ability to transform into any animal. Hence, its name.
Whether or not this folklore is true, the rash of unexplainable activity on the Skinwalker Ranch is difficult to deny. Equally mysterious is the fact that local Native Americans refuse to set foot on the homestead, for fear of negative reprisals from unknown forces.
Trouble began for the Gormans almost immediately after moving to the Skinwalker. Ellen questioned her own sanity, as she would set cooking utensils down in the kitchen of her new home, step outside for a breath of fresh air, and return to find the items missing. Equally disconcerting was discovering the implements somewhere strange, like the freezer or microwave.
Displaced objects became commonplace around the Gorman household, as Tom's 70-pound post digger vanished, only to reappear later, lodged high within a tree.
Ellen would often arrive home from the grocery store, stock what she'd purchased, leave the kitchen, and return to find the items she'd shelved spread all over the floor.
Strange headlights began appearing on the property in the middle of the night. During one such incident, annoyed that anyone might trespass upon his land, Tom approached the source of the illuminations; what appeared to be an RV-type vehicle. As Gorman neared, the machine receded into the darkness, gliding over fence lines and 50-foot tree lines, before noiselessly disappearing into the night.
With an increase in bizarre activity around the Skinwalker, so too came an expansion of Tom's curiosity. On more than one occasion, Gorman found himself creeping stealthily about his property, stalking some type of anomaly.
One frigid evening, Tom discovered a massive aircraft hovering silently above the ranch, as if searching for something. Although initially pegging the strange vehicle as a cross between an F-117A Nighthawk and a B-2 Stealth Bomber, Gorman quickly realized the awesome machine was noiselessly floating no more than 20 feet off the ground. Tom became frightened when he accidentally made a slight noise, and the craft whirled around to face him. The rancher held his breath, and the silent machine vanished into the darkness.
A separate incident found Gorman witness to a large rift in the sky over his property. In time, these apparent holes in the atmosphere became common, and all four members of the family viewed them at some point. Often near dark outside, bright blue sky appeared inside the fissures.
Even more unsettling was the time Tom observed a large, black, triangular object emerging from one of the rifts. To the rancher, it appeared he was getting a rare glimpse at something from an alternate dimension entering his own space and time. This type of speculation was painful for a devoutly religious family to consider, but what else could explain such bizarre anomalies?
During the winter of '94, the rancher found himself on horseback, following the trail of one of his top breeding cows through the snow. By the animal's gait, Gorman surmised the heifer had been desperate, and running at full speed. But running from what? The cow's were the only tracks as far as the eye could see. When Tom followed the trail to a massive clearing, what he witnessed chilled him to the bone. There, in the middle of an open expanse, the frenzied tracks simply stopped, with no sign of the animal anywhere. What type of force was powerful enough to lift a half-ton head of livestock into the night sky during a driving snowstorm? Gorman would never see the cow again.
For a herder who prided himself on perfection, the loss of one animal per year was too much to bear, let alone the four that would simply vanish in similar fashion over the next three months. It was when numerous heads of cattle turned up mutilated that Tom became seriously concerned for his family's livelihood. Even more frustrating was the fact the animals were being killed and disfigured in broad daylight, often mere minutes after the Gormans had seen them alive.
Along with the ubiquitous fear of financial ruin came a different type of terror. This particular horror manifested itself in the form of spook lights. Normally an illumination that disappears when pursued, in the case of the Skinwalker's enigmatic effulgence, the orbs were actually aggressive, flying mere feet from both Tom and Ellen. What's more, the illuminations appeared manufactured, with glass-like housing containing a continuously moving, blue liquid. On numerous occasions, the Gormans were left cowering as the orbs whirred around them, apparently capable of evoking deep-seated anxiety.
© 2011. Hugh Mungus
Kelleher, Colm, Ph.D.; Knapp, George. (2005). Hunt for the Skinwalker: Science Confronts the Unexplained at a Remote Ranch in Utah. Pocket Books, a division of Simon & Schuster, Inc. ISBN: 1416505210
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