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NEWS & FORTEANA

Kudos to Knapp: Drongo on Skinwalker

By would-be fortean investigator Dr Victor Drongo

Posted December 06, 2017
Kudos to Knapp: Drongo on Skinwalker
Drongo: Casebook. © Ignatius Rake

Dr Victor Drongo on the Skinwalker Ranch case that the great George Knapp first cracked wide open.



One of the strangest cases I never investigated was that of the Skinwalker Ranch in Utah, USA.

However, I did read a bloody good book on it.

Entitled Hunt for the Skinwalker: Science Confronts the Unexplained at a Remote Ranch in Utah and co-authored by Colm A Kelleher and one of my all-time favourite forteans, Las Vegas-based investigative journalist George Knapp, this excellent book can be picked up online for a few quid here if you don't have any moral qualms about buying stuff from Amazon.

Although you should have plenty (in my book at least) and if not, have a watch of this.


A WEIRD WELCOME
Anyway, if you aren't aware of the Skinwalker case, which is probably the best example of high strangeness anywhere ever, the modern tale begins in 1994 when the Gorman family (not their real name but that's what they're called in the book for privacy reasons I'll happily respect here) acquired an approximately 2-km2 cattle farm in the Uintah Valley.

Right from the get-go things entered the zone marked 'weird': when they moved in they were met by a vast array of sturdy locks and bolts not only on the farm buildings' exterior doors but also on pretty much everything door-like to be found inside, including the kitchen cupboards.

They were also under a contractual obligation with the prior owners not to do any digging without their consent.

Although they probably weren't thinking too much about that when a huge great wolf promptly turned up and, after initially acting like some domestic pet, started attacking one of their calves (as in cows not lower leg muscles).


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A MOST UNUSUAL CREATURE
Admittedly, this latter action might not in itself seem all that uncanny given what wolves are wont to do.

However, things definitely took a turn for the odd when Mr Gorman, in full view of his family, shot the beast repeatedly at point-blank range with first a .357 Magnum and then a high-powered hunting rifle only for the wolf to not even bleed, let alone give a toss.

Ultimately, one round did seem to have some effect when it dislodged a piece of furry flesh that on subsequent inspection had the smell and texture of long-dead rotten flesh.

When the wolf finally decided to make it away on its toes, Mr Gorman and his father followed in hot pursuit, tracking its deep prints for a mile or so until, in the middle of a large muddy area, the impressions abruptly stopped as though the beast had vanished into thin air.

This, I have on good authority, is not typical wolf behaviour.


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A SMORGASBORD OF STRANGENESS
But then, what followed over the next two years or so was not exactly typical of any type of behaviour, really, except perhaps in the mind of a mushroom-head who's watched too much sci-fi.

Cattle mutilations, UFO sightings, Bigfoot-like creatures, inexplicable soil removals, strange sounds, disembodied voices and a shedtonne of poltergeist activity among many other outré goings-on all became common occurrence for the Gormans, much to the detriment of their business, brains and bodies.

Indeed, the plethora of peculiarities eventually moved the Gormans to contact the media but not in the hope of publicity per se.

Rather, fearing that the military might be behind all these costly shenanigans, their logic was that the glare of the camera lens might deter the perpetrators from continuing their activities.

It didn't.

Although it did rouse the interest of George Knapp (who was inter alia the first person to break the story of Area 51) and, through Knapp's subsequent reporting, the attention of a chap called Robert 'Bob' Bigelow.

A man of sizeable wealth borne of his many property dealings, Bigelow had recently established the now sadly defunct National Institute for Discovery Science (NIDS), a body he'd set up to scientifically study anomalous phenomena of the sort that was, well, dripping from every inch of the Gormans' ranch.

Keen to get to the bottom of who or what was trying to drive them out of their home and their fortunes down the tubes, the Gormans agreed for a NIDS team led by said Kelleher to have a thorough poke round with a load of modern gadgetry and the like.

And what that team subsequently witnessed and recorded was by all accounts more mental than a nutjob nutting out in a nuthouse.


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STRAIGHT FROM THE HORSE'S MOUTH
While no concrete conclusions were ever drawn, the fiesta of phenomena – including a bizarre humanoid emerging from a 'tunnel' in the ether – would seem to suggest the work of an interdimensional intelligence and one that few would call much of an animal lover, given all the vaporised dogs and the like.

But there's far more to the story than could ever possibly be crammed, like four teleported bulls into a tiny locked shed, into this simple potted account.

Rather, I suggest readers not only buy the book, but also have a good rummage around this website here.

Perhaps unsurprisingly, there are also plenty of retellings to be found around the web and on YouTube and the like, although not all are to be trusted as many veer off into horror fiction and titillation with little regard for reported events.

Rather, in terms of audio-visuals, you are much better off cutting out the cobblers and going straight to the man himself.

So here, talking in 2008 at a conference organised by MUFON-LA (now renamed UPARS), is George Knapp, who, as the only journalist NIDS would work with during their study, has many more details and first-hand experience than anything you are likely to find elsewhere online.

The video (complete with slides and photos) lasts a gnat's bawhair over two hours but every minute is worth watching (although it has been embedded to start at the point where the story takes off proper at 15 minutes and 23 seconds in).

But enough of me.

Doff your cap to the great George Knapp.




See also I faked the moon landings, posted 20/11/17.


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Victor Drongo is a doctor of applied finger painting at Cornwall's Camborne Universty.


Engage with the Rake & Herald on FaceBook here and Twitter here. Better still, buy a T-shirt here.


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