Tuesday, September 27

Skinwalker Transparency and Burden of Proof

     The Uintah County Sheriff’s Office (UCSO) issued a
response to a records request
that it shows no record or contact at the property popularly known as
Skinwalker Ranch. Records are no longer kept on file that date earlier
than 2007, the UCSO added in its response dated July 7. The request
specifically sought all records cross-referencing or pertaining to
Skinwalker Ranch, Sherman Ranch, Myers Ranch and/or the physical address
of the property, which was provided in the request, with a date range of
1983 to present.
Jack Brewer

By Jack brewer
The UFO Trail

Skinwalker Ranch Map
The inquiry resulted from a June Twitter exchange with Brandon Fugal, in which
the current ranch owner and television personality
alluded to law enforcement responses
to the property reportedly taking place during the 1980s. Following requests
for citations, Fugal provided a
link to an interview
of an apparent former Uintah County Deputy Sheriff, Kris Porritt. I indicated
I was interested in original law enforcement reports resulting from any such
police responses, as compared to witness testimony. Fugal then provided me
with the contact info of an associate he suggested I contact for further
inquiry.

I subsequently had a series of email exchanges with the individual, who
initially offered to speak by phone. I advised that I may not require that
much of their time and attention, further explaining I was seeking either law
enforcement records or information to assist me in submitting a request for
such records. They clarified they do not have any police reports.

At my request, Fugal’s associate helpfully provided additional information
that would potentially support an effective records inquiry. It was after my
email exchange with them that the request was submitted to the Uintah County
Sheriff’s Office. The person asked me to inform them of results, to which I
agreed.

Saturday I emailed the individual a copy of the response from the UCSO and
offered them an opportunity to comment for this blogpost. They responded that
they respectfully do not wish to comment, nor do they give consent to use
their name or any information they shared regarding the ranch. I opt to honor
their request, curious as the circumstances may be.

The irony of the turn of events is rather striking, given Fugal’s consistent
claims of transparency, combined with the fact it was he who recommended in
the first place I consult his associate concerning my search for law
enforcement records. In the event you’re wondering, the information shared
with me was not shockingly damning by any means, but suffice it to say neither
did it strongly support urban legends associated with police calls to
Skinwalker Ranch.

It was after I provided both Fugal and his associate the UCSO response, and
after I informed Fugal of aspects of the email exchange with his associate (in
order to offer Fugal an opportunity to comment on the specific circumstances),
that the individual – who initially offered to speak by phone – advised me of
their request to neither be named nor quoted. We can only speculate exactly
how that evolved.

Offered an opportunity to address the circumstances, Fugal responded in a long
message that he spoke to his associate and indicated they are concerned I have
a “clear negative bias.” According to Fugal, they therefore do not want their
name associated with an attempt to disparage witnesses. Fugal suggested he
applauds what I do “relative to calling out people who are exploiting the
phenomenon or spreading disinformation and lies,” yet alternatively went on to
state I give voice to people who hide behind a cloak of hypocritical
skepticism or self-righteous critical thinking. Some, he stated, are clearly
dishonest. He also stated he hopes I am honest and not a disinformation agent.

Fugal was obviously much less inhibited about commenting than the person who
will remain nameless who he initially recommended I hit up for info. Directing
our attention back to his original statements about law enforcement records,
Fugal stated the lack of corroborating records “doesn’t make the fact that
[Porritt] went on record regarding the multiple events that occurred and his
relationship with Ken Myers any less real or true. For instance, I have closed
billions of dollars of transactions going back to 1991, but in countless cases
couldn’t give you the exact dates of groundbreaking events, transactions
closing or key meetings with leaders structuring some of the most important
business deals in the Intermountain West. My testimony and track record
stands.”

I’ll let the reader decide the tenability of the argument. Fugal further
asserted they have interviewed other law enforcement professionals who “recall
responding to incidents in the area” that predate the Sherman and Bigelow era.

“Furthermore,” Fugal continued, “we have an interview with a respected
professional who had a firsthand experience coming on to the ranch in 1984,
who did provide exact dates, who happened upon a freshly surgically dissected
cow in the same area on the property that other strange incidents have
occurred in the field just south of Homestead 1.”

The apparent respected professional and an accompanying friend were so
disturbed, Fugal continued, they promptly reported the circumstances to law
enforcement. Fugal hopes to obtain permission to release the account to the
public, along with what he described as additional witness testimony,
seemingly either ignoring or oblivious to the relative lack of value such
material has to a more discerning research community not under the ether of
Skinwalker lore.

Similarly, Fugal explained how a member of his security detail interviewed
many retired officers who attest to strange and disturbing activity. Their
accounts go back many decades, he contends.

“Since I know you have a tendency to give weight and voice to the criticism of
people with no credibility or credentials, I encourage you to continue to
interact with people who actually know what they are talking about. My
professional track record and history is unimpeachable, as is the case with my
principal investigator/physicist, ranch manager, law enforcement &
superintendent.”

Fugal’s remark about me giving a voice to criticism may be related to my
willingness to explore the arguments of those which include James Carrion.
Fugal has previously expressed disappointment to me specifically about my
interest in Carrion’s perspectives. I identify
Carrion’s criticism
of the Skinwalker saga and television series as worthy of consideration,
particularly in the context of Fugal’s persistent suggestions the show
portrays legitimate scientific study. Related posts may be found at Carrion’s
blog in addition to the example linked above.

What would Fugal say to people who might feel he is attempting to stack the
deck by suggesting he has documentation of law enforcement responses while no
actual records of such responses, or what was originally recorded in them, is
available?

“Transcribed interviews & testimony from former law enforcement stating they
responded to incidents on the ranch in the mid-1980s constitutes
documentation. We have verified that the people involved and cited were indeed
acting in that capacity during that timeframe and have no reason to doubt
their testimony or credibility. Although you were unable to obtain the actual
records from the Sheriff’s office from that time period, you cannot say that
the events did not occur.”

Skinwalker Ranch

Fugal directly denied he is trying to stack the deck, continuing, “My own
firsthand experience (with multiple witnesses) coupled with countless events
with data involving 3rd party experts has proven (so far) there is no
conventional, prosaic explanation for past & present extraordinary events at
Skinwalker Ranch. I respectfully request that you take a balanced view and
appreciate you giving me the opportunity to respond & address your questions.”

There are a number of people in addition to James Carrion who challenge
several aspects of Brandon Fugal’s stated positions, and one of those people
is Erica Lukes. The outspoken host of
UFO Classified
understands the winding Skinwalker saga and personally knows the players about
as well as anybody who rolls the UFO dice.

“When bold claims are made about a particular location having an excessive
number of paranormal phenomena, the expectation for me is that they are not
just narrative tall tales but are well-documented, testable events,” Lukes
responded. “Can the anomalous nature of these events be demonstrated beyond
‘they came without warning and left without warning’ that we always seem to
get in such reporting?

“If they can’t rise above the usual level of narrative story-telling, there is
a presumption that errors can be introduced into the events. After all, the
usual method of relating the details is done verbally from the mouths of human
beings, a notoriously flawed means of recording transient events. It’s a
mistake to accept verbal testimony at face value without extensive testing of
that information by means of questions designed to assess the accuracy and
consistency of the related information.”

Some people don’t see the issue as a matter of verifying claims, but suggest
those who do not unquestioningly embrace the stories must be calling the
supporters of those stories frauds. What would she say to them?

“No, not frauds, at least initially,” Lukes explained. “Fraud comes from
deliberate intent to deceive. Supporters of the claims can simply be accepting
bad information by not exercising due diligence at considering all the more
possible mundane explanations before opting towards the unusual, sensational
ones.”

What does Lukes think is most important for people to keep in mind when
considering claims associated with the ranch?

“It’s critical to understand that as with any extraordinary assertions, the
burden of proof is on those making the assertions and not on those raising
questions about them. That is real science.”

Conclusions

The lack of significant documentation of sensational Skinwalker claims
continues to haunt the saga worse than a hitchhiking bipedal wolf. While a
valid argument can be made that a lack of UCSO records does not completely
negate the testimony of Porritt, the fact remains law enforcement visits to
the ranch cannot be verified. More importantly, the extent anyone may have
originally perceived the events as extraordinary cannot be verified. We are
unable to examine descriptions of events and the interpretations of those
involved as may have been entered into original police reports. This does not
allow us to compare those reports to the possibly dramatic narrations recorded
decades later for an entertainment-based television show. It seems the UFO
subculture indeed often needs to be reminded the burden of proof is on the
claimant.

As observable in various internet spaces, a concerning aspect of the online
Skinwalker fan base and cast is their tendency to sensationalize until
checked. They then encourage more patience for ongoing investigations, as if
they have not been suggesting all along a supernatural presence is a foregone
conclusion. They are promoting conclusions; many of them only deny it and urge
suspension of judgment when called on it.

Investigations, by definition, must include systematic examination. That is
particularly the case if framed as scientific activity.

One might get the idea the faithful would never tap the brakes if their claims
went entirely unchallenged. When challenged, a typical response is to act as
if a request for proportionate evidence is unreasonable, as if anything less
than extending limitless patience and unquestioning belief is a disrespectful
personal attack. All of this without so much as forming a hypothesis,
identifying a sustained research objective, or proposing how progress will be
measured. We’re in for a long wait under such conditions.

Source: www.theufochronicles.com