The Secret of Skinwalker Ranch: Dead in the Water (S5E3)

In an anomalous turn of events, it seems as if the History Channel realized audiences would feel a bit lackluster after “Holy Cow” and decided to make Season 5 Episode 3 “Dead in the Water” jam-packed with excitement. As I mentioned in “What’s Up?” The Secret of Skinwalker Ranch usually follows a structural pattern of a setup, the experiment, and then an evidence review. Occasionally though, things just keep ramping up until the credits. “Dead in the Water” starts at an 11 and stays there the whole time. 

Erik Bard sits in the Command Center, receiving a transmission from Jim Royston

The Setup 

We join Dr. Travis Taylor and Erik Bard at the Skinwalker Ranch Command Center. Before we can clue in on their conversation, Jim Royston and Sam Deriso (of OmniTeq) radio in. Jim and Sam were over at The Triangle. They are scanning the area with their LIDAR drone. When they radio in, they tell the Command Center about some data they have captured that could possibly confirm more physical proof about The Blob.

Once at the Command Center, Jim shows information from his LIDAR controller which shows a top-down view of what looks like a vortex over The Triangle. Now, for regular Skinwalker viewers, that’s been documented. This information doesn’t come as much of a surprise, on the surface. Jim moves the image to a side view of the vortex, and that’s where things get spooky. A funnel-shaped set of data is revealed over The Triangle. This correlates directly to where The Blob is suspected to reside. 

Dr. Taylor discusses how these data points accurately depict a Lorentzian wormhole. In theory, could we be witnessing a wormhole over The Triangle? It’s been theoretically proven. Could Skinwalker Ranch provide legitimate proof of one? Upon seeing this image on the LIDAR controller, Travis realizes The Triangle may still be active. 

The Experiment // The Evidence

Dr. Taylor, Erik, Dragon, Jim, Sam, and Kaleb Bench head out to the triangle almost immediately. Erik heads over to a new observation location they’ve built on the southeast side of The Triangle, a building they’ve named The Black Box. This completely tracks for Brandon Fugal. Meanwhile. Kandus Linde and Tom Lewis head to another observation location, toward the south of The Triangle. Erik, Kandus, and Tom have, respectively, high-speed cameras set up pointing toward the sky above where the experiment will be taking place. 

The experiment is simple, yet effective. It’s something we’ve seen quite a few times before. They will fire off a few rockets into the sky with GPS trackers attached to them. It’s go time.

The first rocket is fired without a hitch. Only, the data doesn’t lie. Or does it? The rocket goes roughly 2,000 feet in the air, but the GPS shows it only went up about 100 feet. Moreover, even though the rocket shot fairly straight up into the sky, the data shows the rocket careening toward the ‘out’ spot on the Mesa. 

After firing the second rocket, we see, again, that the data doesn’t reflect reality. The rocket flies fairly straight up, at 2,000 feet, while the GPS data shows about 100 feet. It also reveals the rocket circling the newly charted funnel. The third rocket is fired, with continued incorrect GPS data (though they don’t really discuss the third rocket in much detail). 

Jim Royston shows a side view of the funnel, graphed from above the Mesa

“Holy Cow”: The Evidence Pt II

Tom, Kandus, Erik, and Dragon meet up with Ben Woodruff over at the Hutchings Museum. Ben has some interesting revelations regarding the bird carcasses and cow rib. Firstly, we start with the Starlin. Ben makes Erik smell part of a sample he took from the Starling…there’s no smell. It should smell foul and decomposed. The sample even still has a full and fresh color to it. At this point, the micro bacteria should be eating it up.  Ben questions if the ranch could be causing bacteria to act anomalously. He also reveals how, by the time he got home with the samples, the Starling’s (brainless) head started to decompose, but no other part of it did. 

What’s really strange is the Grosbeak. After having the Grosbeak in his possession, he noticed that it started decomposing almost instantaneously. On top of that, all of the Grosbeak’s bones were smashed. Ben mentions how it seems like someone just crushed the bird in their hand and dropped it out of the sky. Erik ponders about a possible unseen force on the ranch that can do this to animals, and whether or not that’s what The Blob is. 

Time to talk about the cow rib. Ben knew only a few animals could create that perfect puncture in the rib, but that a coyote or black bear would be the best fits. This pretty much pokes a hole in my magic bullet theory. So, no, the CIA wasn’t upset with how this cow handled the Cuban Missle Crisis, there was no Babushka Lady, it was definitely an animal. Ben attached a black bear tooth, followed by a coyote tooth, to a drill press. Without turning the drill press on, he brought the drill tip (tooth tip) down with gentle pressure. Each tooth shattered. This is where things get spooky…again. 

Ben pulls out an animal skull, the only animal whose tooth perfectly fits in the hole, and the only animal who had the proper skull muscles to create such a puncture: the Dire Wolf. We get a retelling of the story of the Sherman family (the people whose name I couldn’t remember in the previous review), and about how they encountered a Dire Wolf (even though Dire Wolves have been extinct for a LONG time). Could these supposed portals on Skinwalker Ranch lead to other dimensions…times…places? Who knows. All I know is that the lore just got deeper. 

An overhead view of The Triangle

Moody River (More Deadly)

If you got that Coast to Coast with Art Bell reference, you get a brownie point.

Also, they’ve really given up on naming the episodes this season. I should be put in charge. How do you have an episode of SKINWALKER RANCH where the team investigates a RIVER and you DON’T reference ART BELL for the title? Shame!

Dr. Taylor, Erik, Thomas Winterton, and Kaleb are at the Command Center. They’re reviewing the 3D model of the previous day’s rocket launches. Erik refers to this as a “pathological mismatch.” This is when the LunaSonde and Juniper readings are brought back up. In 2020 Juniper did a magnetometer survey over part of the ground where tunnels were thought to exist. In 2022, LunaSonde did a weather balloon radar scan over the same area. Both tests revealed something long and hollow shaped below this area, going into the Mesa. Possibly revealing the existence of tunnels. 

It just so happens that the GPS data from these rockets, nearly perfectly, track with these two readings. 

Before the teams go for the day, Erik has some videos to show from the rocket launch. Three separate videos, shot from ground cameras pointed toward the sky, reveal three very similar-looking objects. These objects are long cylindrical objects with a lode on each side, moving at speeds faster than the rocket would have been going. They don’t really discuss these three UAPs further than that. 

There is mention of bringing Jan Francke back out to do some research, but that will probably be discussed in detail next week. 

The next day we head to a part of the ranch we don’t really get to too often. There’s a long river on the western side of the property that cuts off a decent portion of their land from the rest. The few times we’ve been here, we’ve seen mysterious purple lights and random charred objects. Dr. Taylor (who has his guns out in a cut-off tee!), Thomas, Dragon, and Kaleb throw on some waders and load up a kayak with a GPS and an Energy Radiation Detector. (Let’s not forget in Season 2, I think, when Travis got some nasty radiation burns!) 

Pretty quickly, Erik, from the Command Center, points out an anomaly. Their GPS shows them 5,000 feet BELOW the river! They continue their trek. Travis’s Energy Radiation Detector and Dragon’s TriField Meter both read zero. It is important to note, that the fresh batteries in Dragon’s TriField Meter are nearly dead after just a short amount of time. 

After walking down the river for some time, they come across a singularly charred branch. This almost mirrors the charring on the fence post found on this side of the ranch a few seasons ago. They cut off a chunk of the charred branch for further testing. That’s when…they come across a bloated and decomposing animal corpse in the water. 

It’s unclear what kind of animal it is, but it’s not too big. What is interesting is how the size of the animal’s head, and its teeth, are disproportionately big for its body! They hack at the corpse a little to get part of its jaw off, presumably for Ben. 

Final Thoughts

What an episode! We had rockets, whacky GPS data, and possibly a deceased Dire Wolf? My eyes were glued to the screen for every second of its runtime. This is the Skinwalker Ranch I, and fans, have missed. Every few minutes they throw something new at us while finding ways to tie it back to evidence found in previous seasons. Kudos, Brandon. You’ve done it again. 

Written by Brendan Jesus

Brendan is an award-winning author and screenwriter. His hobbies include magnets, ghouls, and finding slugs after a fresh rain.

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