Lost on Skinwalker Ranch: A Former Night Watchman Shares His Mind-Blowing Experiences


The true story of an ex-military guy who took a night watchman job at Utah’s infamous Skinwalker Ranch and confronted one paranormal shock after another.

This book purports to tell of genuine events of extraordinary paranormal happenings in a remote region of northern Utah, today the increasingly famous Skinwalker Ranch.

That “fame” is most recently due to the popular History Channel series, The Secret of Skinwalker Ranch — in my view, a relentlessly inane and brutally stupid reality show. It follows real scientists and sundry ranch personnel as they take a geeky-gadget-oriented and boys-only-treehouse-club-like approach to unlocking the true nature of the weird paranormal phenomenon that goes on here.

The Secret of Skinwalker Ranch appears to be the result of a TV marketing focus group’s effort to combine the TV shows Shark Tank, WWE wrestling and Ancient Aliens to create an unholy mash-up that somehow manages to make one of the most interesting topics on the planet a tedious nightmare of inescapable boredom.

My take on the show is unpopular. I admit that. When I first published my comments about the show on my Medium site, I received a lot of blow-back from fans. However, now that I have had some time to give it more thought — and go back and view more of the show — I am more convinced than ever that I am right and everyone else is wrong. The show sucks.

But I found this book, Lost on Skinwalker Ranch, to be much the opposite. It’s an intriguing offering that, for me, captures some of the deeper weirdness of the Skinwalker environment and imparts a feeling of authenticity, unlike the banal TV series.

That’s the case even though the author, Erick T. Rhetts, grants that some fictional elements have been employed for the sake of telling the story smoothly. Still, I’m inclined to believe this is a true story even though the author is publishing under a pen name and his primary source of the events described wishes to remain anonymous.

So — telling his story through a ghostwriter — a retired career military man is offered a job as a security guard on the 500-acre plot which at the time of these events was owned by the billionaire hotel financier and aerospace magnate, Bob Bigelow of Las Vegas, Nevada.

Shape-shifting Skinwalker? Ancient Navaho and Ute legend describes a bizarre creature that can take any shape. It prowls the northern Utah area where Skinwalker Ranch is located.

Bob Bigelow purchased the Skinwalker Ranch in 1996 from then owners Terry and Glenn Sherman. The Sherman’s held the ranch for just two years but were eager to get out of their deal after confronting a wide array of extremely bizarre happenings. That included frequent UFO sightings, cattle mutilations, frightening poltergeist activity in their home and confrontations with gigantic wolf-like creatures.

I’m not even going to mention the orbs, disembodied voices and seeming “extradimensional portals” that sometimes open in midair on the property. (Okay, I guess I just did). All that was like catnip to Bob Bigelow who has held a lifetime fascination for all things paranormal.

He took the ranch off the hands of the grateful Shermans and proceeded to spend millions of dollars assembling a crack research team staffed by credentialed, big-name scientists — they were the forerunners of the next team of researchers that now study Skinwalker to generate boffo reality TV ratings.

The second-wave Skinwalker research team is backed by the high-profile Utah real estate mogul Brandon Fugal who bought the ranch from Bigelow.

But now back to my book review:

Let me just say that the hero of our story in this book has many occasions to encounter much of the above-mentioned weird-beyond-weird happenings of Skinwalker while discharging his duties as a night watchman at the freakishly haunted property. I won’t go into more details of all of what this guy encountered because I don’t want to issue a spoiler alert, except to say I was intrigued and did not expect what the “main event” of his experience turned out to be.

It’s profound and amazing.

I am delighted when a book of paranormal phenomena can surprise me and deliver something beyond all the standard stuff — UFOs, ghosts, Bigfoot — we’re accustomed to reading about or being spoon-fed by lame reality TV shows. The idiosyncratic nature of the events described in this book often dwells upon the smaller incidentals of the phenomenon. This added to the credibility of the narrative, in my view.

This book is available as a Kindle Unlimited selection, so if you subscribe to that, it’s a good way to get it for a fast read. It took me only a long evening to breeze through it from first page to last.

The quality of the writing is quite alright. Erick T. Rhetts wields a no-nonsense clear and lucid style just tells the tale, while also putting us into the scenes with vivid descriptions of landscapes and the other minor players, all of whom come alive as “characters” taking part in the strange events.

By the way, Erick T. Rhetts is the pen name of a guy who has produced a number of similar titles on similar topics. Some simple Internet sleuthing revealed to me that Mr. Rhetts is a freelance writer located in Patchogue, New York. He claims authorship of this book on his LinkedIn page under his real name, and I will leave it to the reader to investigate that further for themselves if they are dying to know.

Whatever the case and whomever the author, this is a worthy little gem to add to your collection of titles exploring bizarre phenomena and paranormal topics.

My bottom line: Lost on Skinwalker Ranch is a lot better than the TV show.


NOTE: For more in-depth reviews of paranormal books, please see: KEN-ON-MEDIUM

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