George Knaapp: Skimwalker Ranch & Area 51

George Knapp: Skinwalker Ranch & Area 51
Mon Feb 12, 2007 13:13

Skinwalker Ranch & Area 51
Investigative journalist George Knapp and researcher Colm Kelleher discussed their book Hunt for the Skinwalker, which chronicles bizarre paranormal events that were scientifically studied at a ranch in Utah. During the period of 1996-7 strange incidents were occurring frequently and included the sightings of anomalous dark shapes, creatures, lights and UFOs, as well as unexplained animal mutilations, recounted Kelleher (who appeared in just the first hour of the interview).


Investigative journalist George Knapp

Investigative journalist George Knapp


Kelleher told of one event that took place in August of 1997, in which two workers from NIDS (National Institute for Discovery Science) witnessed a dull yellow light on the ranch that was close to the ground and growing bigger and bigger. One of the workers viewed the light through night vision/infrared equipment and saw what could not be seen with the naked eye. A tunnel of light was opening up, and a large muscular humanoid entity with no facial features crawled out of it, and then vanished. The two workers investigated the area and found no trace of the being, though there was a strong smell of sulfur.

Knapp suggested that the events at the ranch (which continue to this day) may have a "dimensional" aspect to them, as though the area is a "portal" of some sort. In fact, the previous ranch owner, Tom Gorman described seeing a sun-like sphere from which objects came and went, and that he could see another sky behind the sphere, he reported. Knapp also shared details of his many years investigating ufology as a television journalist, including the Bob Lazar/Area 51 story, which he first brought to public attention 18 years ago. Lazar, he believes, is telling the truth as he knows it.


HUNT FOR THE SKINWALKER - Colm Kelleher and George Knapp | TDG ...
In Hunt for the Skinwalker, investigative journalist George Knapp and molecular biologist Colm Kelleher tell the story of the so-called 'Skinwalker Ranch', ...

Hunt for the Skinwalker is certainly a gripping read, one of the few books of late which I've found myself continually picking up during the day to read 'just one more chapter'. However, after waiting so long for some official word on the Skinwalker Ranch research, I was also disappointed by the lack of evidence which resulted, and also some of the methodology. Colm Kelleher points out in the Preface:

In addition to eyewitness testimony, we obtained an intriguing body of physical evidence to support many of the accounts described in the book. We compiled photos and videos and accumulated reports of demonstrable physical effects on people, animals, equipment, everyday objects, and the environment.

If this is the case, it's a shame that more wasn't shared with the reader. A few colour plates, or even tabulated or graphed data, may have helped in raising the story from feeling like a modern urban legend, into its rightful place as a fascinating scientific investigation. Some very interesting magnetic fields were recorded in the wake of anomalous phenomena occuring on the ranch. Why not describe these in more detail? Likewise, a couple of times in the book one of these 'physical effects on people' is off-handedly mentioned - blood noses. This sounds intriguing, so why not share more about the circumstances under which it happened, etc.? Obviously, Hunt for the Skinwalker is intended as a popular read, so I may be perhaps asking for more than is required - if so, I hope some hard data is released at some point in another form.

Beyond that criticism though, I was also perplexed by a number of things about the investigation. At one point, the NIDS investigators and Gorman give chase to an entity in the middle of the night, and witness it hanging from a tree. Gorman promptly jumps from the vehicle and unleashes a round from his rifle at it. Was this 'shoot-to-kill policy', against an apparently intelligent entity, agreed with by NIDS? It would seem so, as no criticism is levelled at Gorman for his actions. Indeed, the fact that NIDS kept Gorman on at the ranch as caretaker is also a strange decision - one of the first examinations of the Gorman story would have to consider the hoax explanation. To avoid any further 'contamination' of the investigation by this possibility, Gorman should have been excluded when the research began. To be fair, the authors do give some reasons, such as that the paranormal events may have been 'attracted' to him in some way. But overall, this is a nagging problem throughout the book.

The tabloidish descriptions of Gorman throughout the book (a proud man, a simple man, a great rancher, a man with "the perfect eyesight of a trained marksman") only further inflame the skeptical's almost as if the authors need us to believe this man, so they lavish praise on him. Ironically, in describing why the Gorman's bought the ranch, they sometimes actually throw doubt on his was to "get away from the busybodies and the closed community that kept prying into their lives", to escape the rumour mill of their previous small town life. These privacy problems were probably more to do with their Mormon background, but in all I finished the book with grave doubts about the Gormans' side of the story - though I have to say they were redeemed somewhat by the support lent by NIDS investigators in the second half of the book.

All in all though, Hunt for the Skinwalker is an important chronicle of one of the few scientific investigations of a paranormal hotspot. It will be an eye-opening account for those new to the subjects of the Skinwalker Ranch and ‘border experiences’, and will no doubt also serve as a topic of great debate within the frontier science research community. Kelleher and Knapp sum up the investigation well in their concluding remarks in the book:

The investigation of the phenomena at the Gorman ranch was an ambitious if unconventional example of what science is supposed to tod. Explore the unknown. Ask questions about the unexplained. Poke around and see what happens. Honest inquiry into unanswered questions is – or should be – a textbook definition of what science does…But finding answers is not always part of that definition even when engaged in “normal” science…though we can eliminate a few of the hypotheses – hoax, group hallucination, and tectonic strain theory – there is simply insufficient data to be able to select a likely solution to the events.

Part of the difficulty in this scientific investigation was the ‘trickster’ element so often described in paranormal events – as if an intelligence is making the decisions as to what is observed and when, which is hardly conducive to the replicability and hard objective results required by science. As mentioned, I do have my doubts as to this book’s ability to change any skeptic’s mind on the matter, but hopefully further data from the investigation will be forthcoming in different forms. In the meantime, those interested in these phenomenon will be able to scan this chronicle for items of interest to their own research. And if a Hollywood producer doesn’t option the film rights on this one soon, I’m going to have to get a bank loan and snap it up myself – an unbelievable story.

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Mayan 'Flayed One'
On Sun, 23/07/2006 - 5:42pm, Lys said:

So much of our present society has based its productivity and profitability beyond the simple need for sustenance on the 'flaying of the skin' of many of our fellow siblings in this reality. Hence the development of the concept of the scapegoat to take that guilt among others? My impression from John Keel's writings and others is that if there is a 'singularity' it may be forcing an 'inversion' or 'commingling' of realities based on the consciousness of those same siblings interacting with that of what we like to term 'human' and maybe also 'other', as in 'alien'. As we have done unto others in labs/factories, etc.? The concept of transmigration would also imply deep restructurings of our conscious awareness needed urgently. What suffers at our hands? For the fulfilment of our dreams? Lys

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