Sunday, August 14, 2011

"Hunt For the Skinwalker" Reviewed

Hunt for the Skywalker,” by Colm A. Kelleher, PhD and George Knapp.

Sometimes, I swear my search for answers takes me on crazy serendipitous paths. When I want to know information, it comes to me in strange ways and I find correlations that send me off in different tangents. Have you ever gone online to Google a subject and then that has a link that makes you look into something else, and before you know it you started out searching for popular fishing spots in the Great Lakes and ended up researching how to make butterscotch pudding?

That’s my life pretty much every day

Every paranormal researcher has a few "pet" projects that are so intriguing to them that they study new information every time they can. The concept of portals is one of my favorite such subjects. Portals show themselves in clusters of UFOs, Bigfoot, Dog Man, spirit lights, and such in one area where it seems as though there is a time-limited arrival of weird shit only to have it just vacate one day and be gone. One such portal was believed to be centered in NE Utah. It is, perhaps, one of the most publicized and talked about portals: Skinwalker Ranch.

I was admittedly put off that George Knapp was co-writer only because I associate him as a reporter who follows Area 51. I worried this would be so sensationalized that there would be very little substance and lots of speculation. Yeah, there’s gobs of speculation, but it’s the good kind. This book is like a massage for your brain--it wakes you up into a new relaxed reality. It’s the kind of book that gets us thinking in new directions, opening our minds like you’re peeling back the tin lid on a can of sardines and they realize that they really don’t need to be crowded anymore—the world has lots of space. That’s kind of how I felt after reading this book, like there are no boundaries to space and time.

I don't take the reported stories as true fact, but more as "what if" conjecture. I went into it hoping to find a story that rings true and instead found my very favorite nonfiction horror (nonfiction being debatable) of all time! I'm not kidding when I say that if you read this at night, you may have trouble sleeping and if you read it in a cabin in the woods, you are likely to be with the lights on all night long.

The book is based on a “factual” case of a family that moved to a remote ranch in NE Utah and began to experience strange phenomenon, from things going missing and ending up in weird places, to strange orbs of lights, space ships, aliens beings, cattle mutilations, and the scariest of all, strange creatures that defied things on earth and that local Indians refer to as “skinwalkers,” or witches who can make themselves into any kind of beast.

I started reading the book when I had a few free minutes and it ended up hours later and I literally could not put it down. It reads like an amazing account of the paranormal set in a place of vulnerability to the elements and isolation geographically. I read it as a fictional work with some hints of the truth. It’s impossible to sort out the true from the confused and enhanced, but the essence of it is—if even a few of these things truly occurred, there is something about this site that was ideal for weirdness.

Admittedly, when the NIDS (National Institute of Discovery Science) came onto the scene to study the ranch for several years when the owners moved out from fear, the incidents became less frequent and over time trickled down to very few. The greater question becomes; was it the time for it to die off naturally? Did the owners themselves somehow enhance by their presence and emotions this phenomenon? Was a portal to the area closed somehow? Or, knowing that they were now being the observed instead of the observers, they moved on to new game?

What I loved about the layout of this book is the way the writers brought in accounts and then interviews and then background information in a very logical manner. At the end of the book, they did something I think is brilliant and how I would have tackled this kind of subject because of my logical mind; they presented all the options for what occurred there and the pro’s and con’s of each possible explanation. I felt my already open mind creaking open a bit wider by the end of the book.

I admit that, after reading this book, many of things I’ve learning about phenomenon are clicking into place. This wasn’t just about this spot in Utah, other places around the world have described this kind of phenomenon. In fact, one of my favorites are the elves in Iceland. The people there believe in them so strongly as mischief makers that they’re officially protected and freeways can’t be built through their lands. I’ve wondered about that a long time because Iceland is very volcanic and it seems that volcanic lands creates places where you see a lot of this kind of creature/lights/poltergeist activity.

I don’t think this is the last we’ll hear of this kind of natural phenomenon. I haven’t made a decision one way or the other what I think is occurring but I do think the conditions in the earth are a factor and I’m not sure if that makes it attractive for a “portal” to appear from another dimension or if it creates some kind of release of gases perhaps or magnetic phenomenon that affects people’s minds, or what.

After reading this book, I’m curious to find out more about these places on the earth and their commonalities so that perhaps we could even predict where they are likely to occur in the future or might now be occurring but no one is residing in these remote areas to witness it.

When I say this is my favorite nonfiction horror book, I'm not kidding. I think I'd nudge it over to the fiction aisle and give it the same rating. It sang to me in a "Blair Witch Project" pseudo-reality kind of way with disturbing elements I had never seen thrown into one pot together.

Read it. Keep it. And, I dare you to keep the lights out!


  1. even the name 'skinwalker' sounds like it is going to give me nightmares! lol.

  2. This book does sound intriguing...
    I remember an episode of a TV show from many years back (15 years or more) that explored an area near Colorado Springs, CO where similar events (to those at Skinwalker Ranch) were said to have taken place. Many of these events (unexplained lights, animal mutilations, large creatures sighted, etc) took place on a ranch near Black Forest, CO which is NE of Colo Sprgs. I am not sure of the name of the tv show - it was a weekly show which explored many unexplained phenomena.
    And having grown up in the San Luis Valley of Colorado, where unexplained phenomena occurs on what seems like a regular basis, I am always intrigued by similar sightings/phenomena and any possible explanations.

  3. Jeanne;
    Was that the one with the family who experienced the dancing lights in the forest? This is intriguing to me. My goal is to be a writer, but also to be a documentarian and I would very much love my first documentary to be about these "portals" that pop up around the world where there is a burst of UFOs/Bigfoot/earth lights/ghostly activity and such and then they sort of weaken and move to other places. I find it a most fascinating phenomena.

  4. I do believe the family experienced dancing lights in the forest. So, maybe we are thinking of the same show. Was the TV Show "The Unexplained" or "Unsolved Mysteries"? I found these links
    Have you read any of Christopher O'Brien's books?

  5. I think it was one of those shows. Interesting case. I believe the home also had some poltergeist activity, as well. Very much like the skinwalker case. I haven't read O'Brien, but as I get in position to begin a documentary process, he would definitely be one to seek out.

  6. I read this book a while back and, while it did have significant creep factor, I found it most fascinating because of the interaction between the paranormal and the scientific community in the book. Now, the usual disclaimer applies, I have no idea which, if any of these incidents were 'true' or even what the truth might be in this case but the image of scientists standing around, looking at their monitors and sensors and being totally flummoxed by what they were reportedly seeing was classic for me. I thought the authors did a great job of presenting what appears to be a hotbed of phenomena in a cohesive, easy to read book that will, indeed, keep you awake at night. Whether from excitement over the varied phenomena or creepiness, or both is up to you. Highly recommended.

  7. Storm, you are so right. I really love this book because it fed me lots of possibilities and at the end of the book, lots of explanations. I'm a theory gal and they gave all the possible theories behind what happened and the pros an cons of each. Smart, smart, smart.