By Joe Murgia – @ufojoe11 on Twitter
In 2016, billionaire and space entrepreneur Robert Bigelow, sold Skinwalker Ranch, the most studied paranormal hotspot in the world, to an undisclosed owner. The new man of mystery was interviewed by filmmaker Jeremy Corbell for his 2018 documentary, “Hunt for the Skinwalker.”
The interview was shot in an empty bedroom – except for two, small barren beds – and included ominous music, a man in silhouette, dressed in Johnny Cash-like, all black attire, and his voice disguised to make him sound like an evil alien ready to steal your soul. It created a lot of tension and drama and to be honest, I loved it.
By March 9th of 2020, only a handful of folks in the UFO community had learned the identity of this man and had respectfully kept it quiet. On March 10th, that changed. Utah-based, real estate mogul, Brandon Fugal, outed himself in an article written by MJ Banias for Motherboard. Corbell went back and revisited the affair.
Fugal went on to participate in three more interviews:
On debunker Mick West’s show, “Tales from the Rabbit Hole.”
Like millions of Americans, I’ve watched every episode of “The Secret of Skinwalker Ranch,” listened to the interviews and read most of Mr. Fugal’s comments online. I decided to see if I could get him to answer some questions that were a little different than what he’s encountered thus far. The following was done over the past month via Twitter DM. A big thank you to Mr. Fugal for taking the time to answer all questions, even the personal ones. I kept adding to the list every few days and he didn’t bat an eye.
Joe Murgia: How does owning Skinwalker Ranch rank up there with your other business achievements in your career? Do you ever just sit there and say to yourself, “I can’t believe I own this place”?
Brandon Fugal: Owning Skinwalker Ranch is an extremely small part of my life, and something very far removed from my career. It really doesn’t rank as anything significant relative to business, as it was a private research project requiring significant financial resources, with the only Return on Investment (ROI) being knowledge.
JM: What, to you, constitutes being successful in your life? Is it a financial goal or something more related to trying to solve a mystery like Skinwalker Ranch? Family? Or, as we’ve chatted about, figuring out the role of consciousness in our lives, our world and our future?
BF: Success is the accomplishment of an aim or purpose, and I have never tied success in my life to a specific financial outcome. Setting a goal, executing on a plan to achieve that goal and then seeing a positive outcome as a result of execution is success. My goal with Skinwalker Ranch is to bring together a multidisciplinary group of people for the purpose of using science and technology in order to prove that we are not alone in the universe, and that there is more to our existence than meets the eye. I launched this effort as a healthy skeptic, with the opinion that there was a 95% likelihood that there was NOTHING extraordinary going on, and that there was a natural, more prosaic explanation for what had been reported and observed for decades.
JM: With Skinwalker Ranch, I think it’s important to keep an open mind and not use the B (believe) word. How does that compare with your religious beliefs? Do you question why we’re here and whether or not there’s a God-like figure in this Universe? I remember as a child asking questions about God and was reprimanded by my dad for doing so. “You don’t ask those questions!” Do you think we should question everything and rely on data for the answers?
BF: I absolutely believe we should question everything. That it leads to discovery. I believe what we are seeing at Skinwalker Ranch is not in conflict with my religious beliefs, and is actually quite supportive. My religious upbringing taught me that there is a divine creator and plan for all of us, with the purpose being to bring to pass the immortality and eternal life of man. The process of eternal progression. This includes the belief that are not alone in the universe, and there are worlds without number and a plan of salvation. Insights gained with the ranch investigation may very well help us answer the age-old questions of Where Did We Come From? Why Are We Here? Where Do We Go From Here? Is there a higher power, an intelligent design, a purpose, a creator?
JM: The previous owner, Robert Bigelow, has done some great work in this field of alternative science and consciousness (donated millions to the UNLV Chair of Consciousness Studies) but he’s a private person and not as willing to share all the data he’s amassed over the years. You’re the complete opposite. You’re very open and accessible on social media. I don’t think people appreciate how rare that is in this field. Are you making an intentional effort to be that way or is that just how you’ve always been?
BF: In terms of business, I have ALWAYS been open, transparent and engaged with the communities I have the opportunity to work with. I launched my career in commercial real estate just after turning 18 years old, with a focus on the sale and lease of office buildings, and expanded that focus into representing entrepreneurs, companies, developers and communities regarding their commercial real estate requirements. I have had the privilege of orchestrating projects that transform the skyline, and impact the way people live, work and play. Regarding my private life, I have been relatively discrete and have wanted to keep that private. With respect to my ownership of the ranch, I see it more as a stewardship, a responsibility. I never intended for my identity to ever be public, and desired to always keep it confidential, while ultimately sharing with the public the reality of whatever we learn and discover. I have nothing to hide, and only wish to get to the bottom of the truth of what is at work. I was convinced by Kevin Burns of Prometheus Entertainment that the only way to effectively and authentically document and present the reality of my efforts with Skinwalker Ranch was for me to go public and to reveal my identity and motivations. The “ranch family” includes people that I have known and trusted for my entire adult life, and my stewardship of the property is something I take very seriously.
JM: You yourself have expressed your frustration with the limitations of the show and some of the editing. Ranch superintendent, Thomas Winterton, has admitted that as he watches the show, it sometimes makes him “cringe.” And Bryant “Dragon” Arnold has said things on the Skinwalker Debrief that are slightly different (he believes reservation dogs attacked the alpacas) and more accurate than what is seen on the show. With NDAs being the norm, I haven’t seen that kind of openness and honesty from a cast in my eighteen years of working on reality/documentary-style shows. I keep expecting you to get reprimanded by the folks at Prometheus! Has anybody asked you to tone it down? Why are you guys so open?
BF: The medium of television and the challenges it creates relative to presenting content in a way that people will understand and appreciate is difficult, to say the least. I am not aware of another television program in history with this scope and scale, focused on these topics – Unscripted, with Real People, Real Events, Real Science and a Very Real Place with History and Authenticity. It is unprecedented. When I agreed to go forward with HISTORY and Prometheus I had the the following conditions: 1- nothing could be faked, fabricated or contrived…100% truth. 2- they had to use my multidisciplinary team of people that I have known very long time who had no interest in being on tv…not actors, no casting. 3- it had to be done with the appropriate level of professionalism and resources. 4- My final condition was that my identity would be kept strictly confidential. They agreed to all conditions but the one regarding my identity, in that they believed that it was necessary for me to go public for it to be effective and truly authentic. So far they have kept their promises.
JM: How different does the final product of the show look compared to what you expected?
BF: I honestly did not know what to expect. No matter what criticism or flaws, I am proud of our efforts to bring this forward, and proud of the efforts and good work of Prometheus and HISTORY. This is an evolutionary process.
JM: Odds of Season 2?
BF: We are in Season 2 discussions right now, with filming scheduled to commence in July. (Fugal has said on Twitter that October is a possible air date for S2. ~Joe)
JM: Now that you’ve been part of the UFO community for a little bit, what’s your opinion of what you see? It can be a vicious place. Was that unexpected?
BF: I was completely unprepared for the criticism and attacks. I have felt extremely vulnerable, and have often been surprised by the reaction of the UFO “Community.” I would have thought that after decades of no transparency, no disclosure and relatively little advancement, people interested in these topics would be thrilled that someone would invest time and resources dedicated to investigating the phenomenon. If anyone does a little due diligence, they can easily see that I have not been seeking fame or fortune as a result of this. In fact, I believe the risks for me far outweigh the rewards, in so many ways. The UFO community is its own worst enemy, and it is no surprise that very few credible professionals have gone public with their interest or efforts regarding these topics. Those that have been suppressing or hiding the truth for decades from the public have probably been very amused and thrilled by the infighting and lack of support and cooperation within the “community.”
JM: You’re a successful businessman. If you owned a business and the goal was Disclosure of UFOs by the United States Government, how would you achieve that goal? What mistakes, if any, do you currently see being made (by the UFO community) and are there areas you think folks should be focusing on more?
BF: In order to bring forward any type of disclosure there has to be a focus on the TRUTH, and separating fact from fiction. I believe this requires a multidisciplinary, multifaceted approach utilizing the most advanced science and technology to investigate and discover what is really at work regarding the “phenomenon”. The fact is, there is a lack of credible people committing significant resources to the exploration of these topics, due to the risk/reward equation. It is easier for people of credibility and means to just stay plugged into The Matrix, rather than be attacked from all sides.
JM: In 2015 , when you were in Las Vegas discussing the possible purchase of the ranch, you were sitting across from Mr. Bigelow, Colm Kelleher, and other folks who were sharing stories about their anomalous experiences related to the property. Which anecdote was the most convincing?
BF: Dr. Colm Kelleher was very open and helpful. It was a very polite exchange. What I found most credible was the fact that these were very rational, credentialed and successful people, who spoke of extraordinary events and claims. I also had the opportunity to speak with George Knapp on several occasions, and appreciated the opportunity to build a relationship with him. I found George to be not only helpful, but very well-versed in these topics and he spoke in a very matter-of-fact way.
JM: Did Mr. Bigelow warn you that various members of his team had brought home poltergeist activity (known to some as hitchhikers) after spending time on the property? On the Lee Spiegel show, investigative reporter George Knapp said his wife, Colm Kelleher’s wife and the late Mrs. Bigelow, all experienced poltergeist phenomena in their homes and that played a role in Mr. Bigelow wanting to sell the property.
BF: When I visited with Mr. Bigelow, we did not talk about hitchhikers or poltergeist activity that had followed people home or anything of the sort. Most of my discussion involved the history of the ranch, and types of events that had been observed.
JM: Put on your speculative hat. Can you share with me your opinion on what might be causing the various phenomena at the ranch? And just so we’re clear, this is 100% speculation.
BF: It appears that there is not just one assignable cause or origin to what is being observed and recorded on Skinwalker Ranch. My best guess is that we are dealing with multidimensional interactions and phenomena, based on the evidence. That said, we cannot eliminate anything at this point. The origin and agenda remain elusive.
JM: Your thoughts on Dr. Eric Davis, his past on the ranch and do you guys have a relationship now?
BF: I think Eric Davis is a brilliant guy with solid credentials, and has incredible insight regarding the ranch and related topics. I stay in contact with Eric and consider him a friend and outside science advisor. When we have had him visit the ranch, it has been an exhilarating experience, hearing him relate his first hand experiences and the years of scientific investigation involved with his role at the ranch. I also love working with Kit Green, Hal Puthoff, Jacques Vallée, Jim Segala, George Hathaway and George Knapp. All good men, in my opinion.
JM: Were you interested in consciousness before you had your UFO sighting at the ranch?
BF: Yes, I was interested in consciousness studies and unexplained phenomena before I had my own sighting at the ranch. That said, I have historically been more interested in commercial real estate, business, the economy, technology advancements, religion, music composition, renewable energy, breakthrough propulsion, archaeology, history…and have read and amassed thousands of books on those topics.
JM: Speaking of archaeology, can you tell me about your work with the Ancient Historical Research Foundation?
BF: My involvement as a director with the Ancient Historic Research Foundation ceased in 2005. The focus of the foundation was to use science and technology in service to studying various pre-Columbian archaeological claims.
JM: What’s your favorite non-fiction, consciousness-related book?
BF: Favorite books that I have read regarding consciousness and some of the topics related to this research include “Passport to Magonia” (Vallée), “Phenomena” (Jacobsen), “American Cosmic” (Pasulka), UFOs: Generals, Pilots and Government Officials Go on the Record” (Kean) and “The UFO People” (Banias). I primarily read nonfiction: “The Idea Factory” (story of Bell Labs), Skunkworks, “Titan” (Life of Rockefeller) and “The Singularity is Near” (Kurzweil).
JM: None of my family members have any interest in these subjects. ZERO. NADA. What about yours? What do your family members think of the ranch, the claims and show?
BF: None of my family is really interested in this, although they are mildly supportive.
JM: Would you consider starting up a NIDS-like group that studies all related subjects and consciousness?
BF: I have considered expanding our team and scope of our investigation, and believe consciousness studies could potentially be a valuable part of that.
JM: Things few people know about you that would surprise them?
BF: I have had the same best friend since 5th grade, and have maintained many of the friendships established in school throughout my life…the same guys who I formed rock bands with (I compose music – have been playing piano since age 7), played D&D with, got our Eagle Scouts together, etc. I have NEVER tried alcohol, cigarettes, drugs…I haven’t even tasted coffee. I have never gambled (except in business, everyday, haha) and I have worked hard to try and avoid negative things. I have thankfully never been sued, even though I have closed thousands of complex significant transactions.
Relationships are everything to me, and I love learning. I was fortunate to serve a two-year mission for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (LDS) to Hawaii, where my first companion was Bryant “Dragon” Arnold. We hated each other the first several weeks, but became best of friends and had many special spiritual experiences. Jim Morse was my first big commercial real estate developer client that gave me a chance, when I was 18 years old, as he was breaking ground on Class A office buildings. That was 28 years ago.
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