If you pay any attention to pop culture, you'll know that people are quite obsessed with things we can't explain, especially if those things freak us out. Of course, this category of curiosities includes things that are commonly known as the supernatural (Hey, ghosts and goblins!), the paranormal (Telekinesis! Clairvoyance!) or even the extraterrestrial (Aliens!). A new History Channel show, The Secret of Skinwalker Ranch, will attempt to explain such occurrences at one location in the United States, but Dr. Travis Taylor, who helped study the site, doesn't like the events on the show being referred to as "paranormal."
Astrophysicist and data scientist Dr. Travis Taylor was part of a team of scientists and experts who were given full access to study Skinwalker Ranch, a 512-acre property located in Utah’s Uinta Basin which has been an infamous site of UFO-related activities and other odd happenings for over two centuries (Yes. 200 whole years!). I had a chance, along with other journalists, to speak with Dr. Taylor about his time studying the ranch last year, and he said he actually doesn't like that the things he saw there are being called "paranormal." Here's what Dr. Taylor had to say:
I don’t like the word paranormal. I don’t like it at all because it suggests that if we see something in the universe and it exists within the universe that it’s not supposed to be in the universe. And what I saw was within our universe so to me I’d say it’s normal. I’d say [it's] something that we just don’t understand and don’t know what it is. Now what I will tell you is that absolutely without a doubt we have scientific instruments that detected and measured, multiple witnesses see, multiple cameras and multiple occasions, phenomena that cannot be explained by human technology. It doesn’t mean it can’t be explained by a better or future understanding of physics but it does mean we can’t explain it with human technology [right now].
I think Dr. Taylor makes a very good point about the use of the word paranormal to describe what goes on at Skinwalker Ranch, though I'll admit that I never really thought about looking at these types of unexplained phenomena this way before. His point is simply that, just because we can't explain something with the tools and ideas we have right now, it doesn't mean that such an event does not belong to our world.
Dr. Taylor believes that even if something freaky is happening somewhere on Earth, that it's still a product of whatever is going on in the universe right now. He also makes the point that the phenomena he and his fellow experts witnessed at Skinwalker Ranch just can't be explained with the technology we have now, which doesn't mean that we won't be able to put the pieces together at some point in the future.
So, just what are these oddball happenings that Dr. Taylor and the rest of the team came to study with their cutting edge technology? Well, if you've seen any episode of The X-Files or watched other sci-fi you can probably take a pretty good guess at the wide range of weird stuff that's been said to go on in and around the property. These include UFO sightings, mutilated cattle and even the sudden deaths of domestic animals, a glowing / flickering Mesa, invisible objects which appear to emit destructive magnetic fields, sightings of large red-eyed beings who can't be struck down with bullets and many other things that should keep anybody from ever wanting to set one hair in the vicinity.
While the ranch has been studied before, those findings were never made public. For The Secret of Skinwalker Ranch, History was given unprecedented access to the property, including bringing several cameras to film as many different areas as possible, which has never been allowed before. The hope was that, by using real scientific equipment, the team could figure out not just the mysteries of this ranch, but also explain some other mysterious UFO sightings or unexplained events.