“If our project, if our investigation, ends up proving that we aren’t alone in the universe or our reality is a lot more complex than conventional physics would lead us to believe, I think we truly may have the greatest science project of our time here.” ~Brandon Fugal
By Joe Murgia – @ufojoe11 on Twitter
For a brief history of the ranch, check out this History.com article. Wanna delve deeper? I suggest you start out by reading this recent article by MJ Banias and watch this excellent lecture by award-winning, investigative reporter, George Knapp. You should also read the book, “Hunt for the Skinwalker ” by Knapp and biochemist, Colm Kelleher and watch the documentary, “Hunt for the Skinwalker” by filmmaker and investigator, Jeremy Corbell.
For those of you who don’t have time for all that, Skinwalker Ranch, located in northeastern Utah, is the most scientifically studied paranormal hotspot in the world. It was the catalyst for the U.S. government’s AAWSAP study into UFOs and paranormal phenomena. For more on that aspect, check out this fantastic article by researcher, Tim McMillan.
Coast To Coast AM – March 29th, 2020
George Knapp (GK): Good evening everyone. You are definitely in the right place at the right time tonight. This is Coast to Coast AM. So we’re all kind of on edge a bit. More than a little bit. We’re virused out. Tonight we take a break from all the trouble and tension that hangs over all of us and take a little trip to a place called Skinwalker Ranch. You’ve heard me yammer about it now and then, here on the radio and elsewhere, over the years. I’ve been chasing that story since the mid 1990s and can say with no exaggeration at all, that it is likely the weirdest place in the world. The most intensely studied, paranormal and UFO hotspot in history, with a documented presence of something else, that dates back centuries.
Some have some have called it a paranormal, Disneyland, you name it. It’s got UFOs, poltergeist activity, Bigfoot, mysterious creatures, disembodied voices, animal mutilations, orbs, lights, holes in the sky, all of the above and more. Last night, the TV show, “Ancient Aliens,” profiled the place in advance of a new television series that debuts on History Channel this Tuesday, “Secrets of Skinwalker Ranch.”
Earlier this month, the identity of the ranch’s owner was made public in a print media article. His name is Brandon Fugal, a highly successful businessman in Utah who purchased the ranch back in 2016, from Las Vegas space entrepreneur, Robert Bigelow. Brandon wanted to keep a low profile while he and his team initiated their own research project. And while his name was known to a few people, it wasn’t shared with the larger public. Well, the cat is definitely out of the bag now and after me bugging him for quite a while, he agreed to come on the program tonight to speak openly and frankly about what is going at that ranch. So, we’re going to cut to the chase and get right to it.
But first I need to tell you about the second half of the program tonight because it is also a whopper. Two years ago to the day, Brandon invited me to return to the ranch and bring along some friends. One of them is filmmaker Jeremy Corbell, who’s been our guest on this program multiple times. Matt Adams, my photographer. ATS founder, Mark Allen as well. But the guy who chartered the jet to pick us all up in Las Vegas is one of the best known stars in the world, British singer Robbie Williams. He’s sold tens of millions of records. He sells out stadiums in Europe, Asia, South America, and last year he became a headliner here in Las Vegas. He’s always had an interest In strange subjects and the first time I met him about a decade ago, we talked for hours about Skinwalker Ranch and we’re still talking about it. Including about experiences. Robbie’s had through his life and yes, something happened at the ranch as well. Finally, after years of me asking him, he said yes. So we got him to come on Coast. Robbie and Jeremy, join us at midnight. And you know, this has the making of something epic, or outrageous, or more likely, both. Brandon Fugal, Robbie Williams, Jeremy Corbell, Secrets of Skinwalker Ranch…shazam!
Plop yourself down someplace comfy, turn down the lights and turn up the radio. In a moment, the owner of Skinwalker Ranch, the weirdest place in the world, Brandon Fugal.
I’m George Knapp and this is Coast to Coast AM. Here we go. Brandon Fugal is a Utah based, real estate mogul and tech investor, who is the new owner of the infamous Skinwalker Ranch, a hotspot for paranormal and UFO activity. I’m not kidding. He has a very high profile in Utah. Knows all the power players, manages a huge portfolio of properties and investments. So why dive into the deep end of the weirdness pool? We’re about to find out. Until very recently, his identity was kept very quiet. But now it’s a matter of public record. From the first time he purchased the property in 2016, he has been, to me and others, very helpful, cooperative and accommodating for anybody who is pursuing an understanding of what’s underway at the ranch. And I’m really jazzed to finally get him here on Coast. Welcome, Brandon.
Brandon Fugal (BF): Hey! Good evening. It’s all for you, George. And it’s a pleasure to join you.
GK: You know, the most obvious question, I guess. Are you crazy? I mean, you’re respected. You have a good reputation. You have a good life. You interact with movers and shakers. I tried to get ahold of you the other night, you were on the phone with the governor. You had to know that something like this would put all of that at risk. Why do it?
BF: Yeah, it’s a good question. Hence, [I’m] quite busy with a lot of business interests right now. But I really see this, this ranch and this project as the greatest science project of our time. I see this as a unique opportunity to delve into topics that really go back to the very heart of who we are and what our place in the Universe is. And I guess to tie that into my day job of focusing on the commercial real estate market, you could call it the most intriguing real estate play of our time, as well, Although I’ve had had zero interest in doing anything to monetize the ranch and have yet to really take any money or even a dime relative to, you know, the ranch and our activities there.
This has truly been a very scientific enterprise and kind of a New Age of Discovery for us.
You know, I’ve been there a lot of times. It’s a beautiful place. I always feel good there outside of a few tense moments here and there out in the darkness of that middle homestead. But from a pure business perspective, does the purchase make sense? I mean, it’s a beautiful piece of property…you’ve even added to the size of it. But if it wasn’t a haunted UFO spot, would it make sense for you to buy it?
BF: No. In fact, with the controversy, it’s arguable that it’s worth less than market. A lot of people see it as a risk because of the liability associated with the property. But George, you touched on something just a moment ago that really caught me off guard when I first flew out there to actually conduct a site tour of the property and look at it. And it was the fact that it is truly one of the most striking landscapes that I’ve ever seen in the country. It really is right out of a John Wayne movie set. It looks like it’s right out of “Westworld,” if you’re familiar with that show. It really has it all. It has a beautiful mesa that runs the entire expanse of the property. Water and rivers that run through it, and, of course, these haunting old homesteads that were pioneer homesteads that are still, to a degree, standing and really relics of a time gone by and and hold some real mystery.
GK: Can you share with us how you connected with the previous owner, Robert Bigelow and walk us through the process of what you discussed, how much detail you went into, what he was willing to share with you about what had happened there?
BF: You bet. You know, it’s interesting. I’ve been involved with a number of enterprises outside of commercial real estate. And I had one particular enterprise that I was involved with a decade ago that was testing various theories and whatnot. And the science advisors associated with that company, at the time, that were advising us, unbeknownst to me, were also close confidants of a prominent businessman and billionaire aerospace visionary. That’s Robert Bigelow, out of Las Vegas.
And you know that effort ended up concluding a number of years ago, in fact, back in 2013 2014. Nut I maintain my relationship with these individuals. And, you know, we had really built a relationship of trust between us and I was surprised to receive a call from one of them about four and a half, five years ago, asking me if I was familiar with the ranch. And it was funny. I really had very little knowledge of the ranch other than just a passing, you know, curiosity. I, of course, read about it in the papers here in Utah, and it had achieved some notoriety, but it wasn’t something that I hadn’t really researched. And so when they brought it to my attention and the fact that they were advising Mr. Bigelow and that there was a potential opportunity for a meeting with him and that he may consider either a partnership or even a transition of ownership to someone else and asked me if I would be interested in taking that meeting, of course. I jumped at it. I thought it was intriguing. And just the opportunity to meet Mr. Bigelow was was worth the trip, of course.
So quickly, I found myself flying into Vegas, and we ended up spending a wonderful day together. I really was impressed with his operation, with his vision, and in a lot of ways, he and I share similar backgrounds. You know, really anchored in real estate development. Different sides of the spectrum, but still some of the same core foundational motivations. And and we ended up spending a surprising amount of time together and I think built a relationship of trust that ended up really leading to my acquisition of the property.
He really wasn’t looking to sell the property. I want to make that clear to everyone. He was a little bit reserved, open. I think his advisors were encouraging him because the real science discovery that had occurred out there, it had kind of gone into a little bit of a coma, if you will, and it slowed down. And I think he was focusing a lot of his interests on, you know, the private space race and his space habitats program. But I think when he learned that I really did, you know, have an interest in exploring, you know, a stewardship associated with the property and carrying on and really taking to the next level, what he had accomplished over the last the previous twenty years, I think we really hit it off and that struck a chord with him.
So it didn’t happen overnight. We had a lot of months of discussion between attorneys and whatnot and really the day that we were preparing to close and came out and inspected the property, it was quite momentous. Not something that I had planned for in my life. Again, I’ve never really delved into this realm. I think it’s important to note that I had never, you know, had a UFO experience, never claimed that I’d seen a ghost in my life or anything of the sort. And so I approached the property really, as a healthy skeptic. I actually thought that it was more than likely that we would end up debunking the property in the process of carrying forward an investigation and really coming up with a more prosaic explanation for what had been observed there. I thought there’s at least a 95% probability that that will be the case. And so we embarked on this new…this journey about four years ago, secretly with my team. And started laying the groundwork for what we have today.
GK: At some point, you decided to pull the trigger. And at some point, you must have had a heart to heart with yourself, with your family, with your advisors about the risks. Because as I said, I mean, you travel and in high level circles of trust. Reputation is very important in your business. You know, Salt Lake City, Utah, it’s a conservative and religious state. This could go blow up in your face in dozens of different ways.
BF: Right. Yeah, good points. And you know, it was with heavy heart that I finally, kind of did agree to come forward this past year and really opened up to it. As you probably recall, George, a couple of years ago, I wouldn’t even consider coming forward, I didn’t want my identity revealed in any way. I wanted to keep my ownership of the property private and confidential and had no interest in any type of fame, notoriety or any monetary benefit that may ensue. I mean, I had no interest in opening this up to the public and still have no interest in really monetizing the property in those types of ways. And so it has been quite a journey. But it felt like it was time to come forward and we’re now entering the next phase of our investigation and have a great team.
And really an investigative effort that caught the attention of the History Channel. With History on board and them really adhering to my demands, which were really number one, no fabrication, has to be absolute truth. I think we’ve all seen enough ghost hunter shows and whatnot that bit of…I think, grown tiring and I think a lot of people are tired of blurry footage and being lead along. And I thought, you know, we want to just lay all of the facts out, as far as what we’ve observed out there and experienced and really make it available to the public.
I’ve never really had the intention of keeping it secret, although I’ve wanted to protect my privacy. I’ve always felt like this is a stewardship and the information, the intelligence that may be gleaned, by virtue of our investigation on the property, I felt, was something that should be shared with the general public. And I’ve always had a real collaborative approach to business that I think has translated into our current operation and our current investigation out at the ranch.
GK: Well, we’re definitely going to dig into that and prior secrecy surrounding the ranch, later on in the program. One more question about sort of the business decision. After you make the purchase, and Adamantium, this company, without links to your name, is out there in the public. Everyone is speculating who’s the real owner and some people thought it was still Bigelow who, you know, had just hid it under a shell corporation. A lot of other names came up. It was Tom DeLonge. It was Robbie Williams. It was Mark Allen. It was Tony Robbins. It was Elon Musk. You must have got a chuckle as these names would pop up over the years.
BF: Yeah, it was amusing. It was great to watch the speculation and at the same time, the really laying out our program.
GK: So you had to have a plan going in. How long did it take to develop and who helped you develop that? Is it Erik Bard?
BF: Yeah, Eric has been the principal scientist and investigator since since really the first days of taking over the stewardship of the property. But it has evolved over time. I think our effort can be probably best described, for the first several years, as an observational science effort. And I think setting up the surveillance platforms, the, you know, everything from the thermographic imaging night vision, you know, we’ve got a full FLIR system out there, along with the other technology platforms that have been developed,. It has all come, you know, layer by layer and Eric has been key to really not only putting that together but really administering the science platform and ultimately partnering with others like Dr. Travis Taylor, this past year. You know, early on, we had a participant who was really my trusted, drone surveillance expert. One of the things we did right off the bat was really conduct regular drone surveillance of the property and really mapped the whole property out in detail. And his name is Eric Bertenshaw. And one of the things that surprised me was what started showing up in broad daylight in not only the drone footage, but also, you know, video and photographic evidence that he was gathering out there on the ranch within, we’re talking within weeks of acquiring the property. It caught me off guard, and was unexpected. AndI really thank him for, I think, giving us those first glimpses of what appeared to be high strangeness on the property.
But since then, you know, pulling the whole team together, you know, our ranch Community Relations Liaison or manager is Jim Morse, a gentleman that has been a mentor to me since I really was eighteen years old. He was my first big developer client in 1991, when I was jumping in the commercial real estate business, focusing on leasing and selling office buildings. And Jim was developing a number of buildings in our market and seemed to be the perfect fit to engage and bring out to the ranch, to help with the community relations aspect and really setting the stage. Erik Bard, of course, our physicist and principal investigator, I’ve had a relationship with for a decade. Truly the most brilliant scientist I’ve ever worked with, and he’s unique in that he has…he’s an inventor. He’s really kind of a real life MacGyver. Or Q. In fact, we call him our Q out there because he’s a real innovator. And he has a track record for taking innovations and bringing them to commercialization in our market and we’ve seen how…
GK: I’ll tell you what, Brandon, we need to we need to interrupt you to take a break here. Brandon Fugal, the owner of Skinwalker Ranch is our guest. When we come back, we’re gonna jump into some of the incidents and examples and phenomena that convinced him that something really strange was going on there.
Brandon Fugal is my guest tonight. He’s the new owner of Skinwalker Ranch. As we just heard, a lot of thought went into the purchase of the ranch. It’s risky for him being in the position that he’s in. All kinds of pitfalls and problems that could pop up and hurt his reputation. But he decided to go for it. And pretty quickly, after buying the property and installing cameras and drones and personnel on the on the property, he started seeing stuff, images of things that would appear in the sky and elsewhere on the property. And what was it, though, that convinced him, “Hey, this is more than just strange objects flying around in the sky.” At what point did it really grab his attention? That’s where we’re going next on Coast to Coast AM.
So Brandon, you and your team set up shop, you go back and forth, visiting the property. There on the property, you set up cameras, you have drones, things start popping up. Is there one incident that happened to convince you, holy cow, this might be real? Or was it a cumulative kind of effect?
BF: No, it was funny. Even with the images that we captured in broad daylight…and a lot of the video that we are taking, as well as some of the the other anomalies that are present on the property, I wasn’t really convinced until probably six months into it, which I think would surprise most people. I had owned the property for six months and had been officiating over this whole new program out at the ranch and investing the resources to really expand, you know, the platforms that I’ve mentioned. And about six months into it, after having seen nothing with my own eyes, I was still pretty skeptical. I was still trying to assign more of a natural or more of a prosaic, or at least a man-made explanation to what we were seeing.
But I had one particular day where we were hosting a group out there, six months after purchasing it, and had an experience. And again, this is in broad daylight in the middle of the afternoon, and saw something over the mesa, right ahead of us, with multiple witnesses at my side, that completely changed my perspective. And it’s something you just can’t unsee something like that. And having that experience, which it’s really spanned about twenty seconds, changed my perspective. It opened my mind and I could no longer really play coy or plead ignorance when it came to the reality of the phenomenon, really what we’re seeing out there. I went from being a healthy skeptic to, I guess what a lot of people would call an experiencer, overnight. But it came without any warning and was completely unexpected. In fact, I had just pretty all but assumed that I would never see anything when I was out there because every time I was out there, it was just this peaceful, pastoral landscape. And I thought, you know, those experiences must be reserved for other people, imagined or real.
GK: So, can you describe it? Is it a craft? Is it big, small, or can you not go into details?
BF: No. I’ll go into a little detail for you. I think we cover a lot of this in the investigative series and go into more detail. But it was without question a craft. And was right there. It wasn’t just a little light in the sky, or a blip. It was literally, right in front of us, hovering over the mesa and moved in just split-second speed. And was probably estimated around forty, fifty feet long, gray silverish. And was what I think a lot of people would describe as kind of your typical UFO or disc-like object. And it was shocking. And to have multiple witnesses there…and I think it’s important to note, I’ve never met these men before that day and I haven’t spoken to them since. The only people that have really spoken to them have been my scientists, most notably Erik Bard, who really took their witness testimony independent of mine, to see if…really all of our accounts squared. Which, surprisingly they did.
So it was a real key moment and kind of set me on, I think, a little bit more aggressive course to find out really what was going on, out at that property.
GK: You know, so much of the feedback I get in talking about the ranch and writing about it, is negative. You know, people are like, “Ahh, that makes no sense. There’s no evidence, there’s no proof.” You know, you try to explain that, you know, the history of the ranch, the skinwalker legends that surround it. That the trickster aspect of it, that whatever is out there is tricky. I mean, it’s elusive. It doesn’t want to necessarily be documented all the time. And a lot of the most dramatic incidents that had been reported by NIDS and BAASS, and we can get into that, over the twenty years that Bigelow had the property, you know, all you’ve got is the eyewitness testimony. You’re saying though, you’ve been able to document this that there is evidence that people are going to be able to see.
BF: You bet. You bet. And that has been a pleasant surprise. To be able to document it, have videographic evidence, matched with, you know, electromagnetic signatures in some cases. And, you know, other correlating evidence and witness testimony, has really made, I think, our investigation not only compelling, but it’s differentiated from anything else that has come before, at least that I’m aware of, in the public domain. And we continue to gather and archive evidence on a regular basis. But I want you to know, it’s completely unpredictable. And whatever is going on, has the jump on us. If I had a dollar for every time our surveillance systems were meddled with or damaged or had strange strange things happen to, you know, the various sensors that we have in cameras, I could go buy ten of these ranches. It’s mind boggling and very frustrating. In fact, that’s one thing that we didn’t anticipate…was how difficult it would be to keep systems online and to be able to capture the phenomenon in action. Because there are some funky things going on out there.
GK: Well, that’s the history under Bob Bigelow – NIDS, BAASS – they would have equipment that failed, compasses would spin, cameras go out, batteries die, vehicles die, over and over again. And people say, “Well, where’s the proof for that?” Well, you know, how do you prove that stuff? It is, you know, there is, do you believe…
BF: George, you have a camera crew following the people. I mean, you have to have a disciplined effort. And thankfully, I mean, I kind of relented and, you know, was willing to have cameras follow my poor team, which none of these guys really, especially initially, enjoyed being on camera. But I think, you know, investing the time and really putting in the effort of having constant surveillance and, you know, videotaping going on. So you never know. And sorry to interject. But I think that’s one thing that probably, again, differentiates us from what has gone on before…is we really made an effort, especially this last year, to constantly record day to day what was happening with the team.
GK: I think the Bigelow team came to sort of a conclusion that whatever you see out there, is what it allows you to see. And I’d like to get your take on whether you think there is an intelligence operating there, whether the trickster aspects that have been reported, are accurate, in your experience, or not?
BF: Yes, I would say all of the above. And I would, you know, I would say that there are no firm conclusions that have been reached. I think that what we’re seeing comes from any number of different points of origins, agendas and it’s not any one type of phenomena. I mean, it’s a whole host of, or a diversity, or as Eric Bard would say, a cornucopia, a constellation of different events and anomalies that we are witnessing and recording. And it’s tough to categorize it.
GK: Well, give me a list of the possibilities. What is it? I mean, it’s intelligent. It’s intelligent and it’s manipulative and it’s not us. Or is it?
BF: Well, you know, my motivation in purchasing the property, to a large degree, was really driven by the belief that we may not be alone in the Universe. That in not being alone, it opens up all sorts of opportunities and it’s quite, I think, inspiring. I think it doesn’t necessarily need to mean that, you know, little green men are visiting us or people from other planets or worlds. It could be other dimensions of reality. And I think that a good explanation for what we are observing out there may be interdimensional phenomena. Jacques Vallee speaks often of, you know, the interdimensional theory underpinning a lot of the sightings and the phenomena that have been observed. And I think that’s one, potential explanation for what is happening. I mean, everything from wormholes to the physics that would enable that kind of passage between dimensions or worlds that I think you see. Really theorized in, you know, string and M-theory, maybe at play out here on the ranch. So I think there are probably a number of different explanations and again, different points of origin and agendas associated with what we’re observing.
GK: Let’s talk about risk and danger. You know, during the BAASS and NIDS periods, there were all kinds of crazy stories that there had been a firefight with aliens on the property and guards had been killed and things of that sort, which was complete nonsense. But there are some pretty dramatic incidents, credible witnesses, scientists who have said they’ve encountered whatever it is out there and they were intimidated, frightened, scared, had their minds taken over or physically frozen. Were there physical effects on the people, your team members, visitors, others who’d been out there in the time that you’ve owned the property?
BF: Unfortunately, yes. Acute medical episodes have been a reality associated with involvement with the ranch and we’ve had a number of, of our team, that have ended up in the hospital. In fact, our superintendent Thomas Winterton, who is amazing, who is really the backbone of this operation and investigation.
GK: Yeah, he’s a good due. A good dude.
BF: Yeah, he ended up in the hospital for a week. And, you know, he’s still, you know, suffering repercussions from the injuries he sustained, which I want to emphasize that even the doctors, the attending physicians, and those who have consulted on the case, have stated they remain baffled. There is no real conventional explanation relative to his injuries. So it has been very serious. That’s why we’ve had security out there. I mean, my head of security, who is a licensed security specialist and expert with the state of Utah, his name is Bryant Arnold, we call him Dragon, is someone who really takes the the physical threat and the danger quite seriously. And he heads up our security effort to try to, I think, maintain certain safety standards as time goes on. And we’ve had to ramp those up. You know, Dragon and I have known each other for twnety-eight years, and have been through a lot. We were missionaries together back in 1992. And so we have a level of trust between us and I know that he really takes the health and safety of those, including myself, to heart. It’s important. It’s a danger place. There is a real liability associated with entering this property.
GK: I’m not sure if you’re able to talk about this, but I know that there was a professional from Las Vegas, who visited the property, was interested and it might’ve even been a partner at some point, who passed away. Is that at all related to his time on the ranch, or do you know?
BF: I’m not sure, to be honest. I think that it’s inconclusive, right now. I’m not sure. We were sad to hear of his passing and, you know, he had some pretty dramatic experiences when he visited the ranch. It was something that was kind of at the top of his bucket list. He brought his own security detail for the day when he flew in. And so it’s unfortunate that he that he passed, but I’m not sure whether there is any evidence that it is tied to his visit to the ranch or not.
GK: I think his security guy, a great big guy, he had his own experience there, right? He was basically immobilized, if I’m remembering the same story.
BF: Correct. Correct. We, we actually delve into that in detail in the investigative series because it’s one of the most compelling experiences because you have multiple witnesses. You had an individual who’d never had a supernatural encounter. In fact, he came out as a hardened skeptic that day and, ended up very, very ill and had an experience that was, was pretty frightening. And it shook our team as well. I was witness to what happened. So it’s very real, It’s it’s something you have to you have to keep in mind. There has to be a real degree of caution. And I want to stress reverence when you enter the property. I know this is gonna sound foolish to some, but we really feel like we we need to armor ourselves before entering the property. And, you know, my brother, who is our pilot, who runs the aviation interests of our family, he’s very strict about offering a prayer before even entering the airspace surrounding the property. And it’s something that we we take seriously. Going in with the right spirit, I think is important because we’re dealing with the unknown.
GK: Absolutely. I mean, the people who have had, I’ll put it this way…during the Bigelow era, the people who had the worst and most dramatic experiences were those who went in sort of cocky about the whole thing. I’m not afraid of this. A lot of them packing weapons and wanna have a confrontational sort of attitude. And they’re the ones that really had trouble. And I don’t know if that has been sort of the same experience during your era there or not, but that’s what they reported.
BF: Oh, yeah. The ranch has humbled many people, including myself.
GK: Is there a specific incident or you want to save that one?
BF: We’ll save that. There are a number that I look forward to sharing in the future and I have no problem, again, disclosing what we have discovered and what we’re observing and the data that we have been gathering relative to the property. Again, if our project, if our investigation, ends up proving that we aren’t alone in the universe or our reality is is a lot more complex than conventional physics would lead us to believe, I think we truly may have the greatest science project of our time here.
GK: We’re talking with Brandon Fugal, owner of the Skinwalker Ranch, a new TV series debuts Tuesday on the History Channel. We’re going to talk a little bit more about the series. And I think there’s a live, webcam where you can watch the ranch for several hours. It might be up right now. I’m going to ask Brandon about that as we go into the next segment. And a little bit later, we’ll open up the phone lines, you can get into question or two in our second hour coming up.
For Part 2, click here.