History Channel visits Sedona and explains the unexplained

History Channel visits Sedona and explains the unexplained

UFO sightings, paranormal activity, strange lights appearing and disappearing with the blink of an eye, pseudo portals to parallel universes and other anomalies that have been reported in and around Sedona.

There have been tales of underground military tunnels, helicopters disappearing behind Secret Canyon, men in black, camouflaged military personnel with M-16 rifles chasing away hikers, UFO sightings, paranormal activity, strange lights appearing and disappearing with the blink of an eye, pseudo portals to parallel universes and other anomalies that have been reported in and around Sedona. These alleged stories are fodder for mystery novels and have circled Sedona’s history like its vortices for decades. While few have remained open-minded to the outer-world possibilities, most believe these unexplained phenomena are pure fabrications without proof of their existence. That is, until now.

These scientific anomalies caught the attention of both executive producers at the History Channel as well as Brandon Fugal, owner of Skinwalker Ranch, which is located near Ballard, Utah and is also the subject of “The Secret of Skinwalker Ranch,” a History Channel program, now in its fourth season. Skinwalker Ranch is reputed to be the site of paranormal and UFO-related activities.

In December, a television crew from the History Channel along with a team of professionals including Andrew Bustamante, a former CIA investigator, Paul Beban, an award-winning investigative journalist and other scientists, descended upon Sedona to explore and film, a new series, “Beyond Skinwalker Ranch,” which debuts on Tuesday, June 6 at 10 p.m. Watch the preview here.

For two weeks, the History Channel crew filmed at locations around Sedona, including Bradshaw Ranch, The Hudson, Airport Mesa and Mary Margaret Sather’s art studio. They dined at the Cowboy Club in Uptown, which graciously accommodated their late-night schedule, and interviewed A Day in the West owner John Bradshaw and his son Mason, and UFO Investigator Tom Dongo among others.

According to the show’s logline, “Investigators Andy Bustamante and Paul Beban explore Bradshaw Ranch in Sedona, Ariz., and encounter dangerous radiation levels, a strange temperature anomaly and a UAP [Unidentified Anomalous Phenomena].”

Executive Producer David Carr says their findings at Bradshaw Ranch are compelling and warrant more airtime. He says they will reveal their discoveries and are not holding anything back. Additionally, there will be a second episode, Bradshaw Ranch Pt. 2, airing on July 11.

“In terms of the results that we got, we are not holding back,” Carr said. “There is no censorship and that's part of the mission. “[The Secret of] Skinwalker Ranch” and certainly “Beyond Skinwalker Ranch,” is that we're going to present the truth that we found, and our truth is based on science. We're going to stick with that but we're not going to be afraid to reveal the truths that we find,” he said.

Bradshaw Ranch is just 12 miles outside Sedona between Hartwell Canyon and Loy Canyon. It was once owned by Bob Bradshaw, a Hollywood stuntman who purchased the property in 1960. The 90-plus acre ranch became the location for five movies, two television series and numerous commercials. It was also the subject of a 1995 book written by Bradshaw’s wife, Linda, and UFO Investigator Tom Dongo, titled, “Merging Dimensions, The Incredible Saga of Bradshaw Ranch.”

In the book, they unveiled strange anomalies such as orbs, bright lights and otherworldly beings that began to appear at the ranch in 1992.

John Bradshaw, son of the late Bob Bradshaw and CEO of A Day in the West Jeep Tours, said he is very familiar with the folklore stories.

Photo Credit: David Jolkovski / Larsons Newspaper

“There's some weird stuff that was out there that I couldn't really explain. So, I didn't really disprove it or prove it. So, it's still up in the air for me,” Bradshaw said. “I'm not convinced either way. But these are conspiracy theories. That's how we did the [jeep] tour … But I'm one of those people that I need to see it with my own eyes before I believe it.”

John’s son Mason, who was also interviewed for the program says he never experienced any paranormal activity near the ranch until after he returned from college.

“I really didn't understand it until after high school. But with the paranormal activity and sighting of aliens and orbs, I never really experienced that until I came back from college,” Mason said. “And now I see orbs out there all the time. You can see them over Jerome.”

In 2001, the ranch was allegedly sold to the U.S. Forest Service via The Trust for Public Land, a non-profit California public benefit corporation for $3,150,000. However, according to Bustamante, the land was not sold but seized.

“Paul [Beban, the investigative reporter] opened that question — “What happened here with the changeover in ownership of Bradshaw Ranch?” What we discovered in official government records — state government and federal government records — is that there was never a willful transaction of the land,” Bustamante said. “Bradshaw Ranch was never sold. It was seized through something called eminent domain. Eminent domain is a right that the federal government has to seize any land in the United States, whether it's privately owned or publicly, under some unknown cause of national security or national improvement … I want to say it happened in 2001.”

Bradshaw neither confirms nor denies the information and says, “It’s complicated.”

Currently, the land is being used by the Southwest Experimental Garden Array [SEGA], which is associated with Northern Arizona University. According to their website, sega.nau.edu, SEGA has a special use permit with the National Forest Service for up to 20 years to conduct long-term climate change research on up to 22 acres at the site. The site houses several solar panels and a generator among other equipment.

Before any filming began at Bradshaw Ranch, the History Channel team acquired all the proper documentation and permits from both the city of Sedona and the U.S. Forest Service needed to film in the areas they requested. According to Bustamante and Carr, the team met with some pushback while conducting experiments within the area.

“When we were on site, we did not encounter uniform military activity,” Bustamante stated. “What we did encounter was kind of near-peer competition trying to hinder or impact our investigation. We did also collect some compelling evidence that suggested a level of sophistication that would really only be accessible to the federal government or the U.S. military. And that's all evidence that we were able to capture with our tools and our equipment that we'll be able to show.”

“I would say this. I think that we've found some evidence that pushes some of the questions that both Linda Bradshaw and Tom Dongo asked about [the possibility] of merging dimensions,” Carr stated. “We push the understanding of whether those questions are based on realities. We push that far, very far forward ... There are revelations that we find pretty compelling.”

In addition to this mysterious discovery that both Bustamante and Carr alluded to and will be revealed, they discovered a similar 1.6 gigahertz frequency used as a communication channel in Sedona and at Skinwalker Ranch in Utah.

“What I will tell you is that one of our primary pieces of evidence that we wanted to corroborate in Sedona and other areas of our investigation was this 1.6 gigahertz frequency,” Bustamante said. “What is it? Why is it happening — because it happened in more than one place. Is there any pattern to it? Do we know where the transmission is coming from? Do we know the source — which was a big part of our investigation? I did not in a million years expect to find what we found around that frequency in Sedona, Arizona, and I will leave you with that.”

Bustamante continued, “Because when you see what we found, it left Dr. Travis Taylor [astrophysicist, engineer and lead scientist] at Skinwalker Ranch speechless! And I can't wait to see what the rest of the audience thinks when they see Travis's reaction to what we discovered about that frequency,” he said. “A man who has seen as much as Dr. Taylor, and to find that man at a loss of words, is a privilege in and of itself," he said.

Sophisticated equipment was used to document their findings including a drone magnetometer, thermal cameras, spectrum analyzers, Geiger counters, new radiation technology, and a gamma camera which allows you to visualize the source of radiation. While all the evidence they uncovered remains to be seen, the question remains, is all of this entertainment hype, or is the truth revealed?

“I always approach these projects with a high degree of skepticism and but open-mindedness,” Carr stated. “We're skeptics in the sense that we're not going to join as believers without some facts to back it up. Not just stories, but actual facts.”

Carr who has worked on “Ancient Aliens” and the “Curse of Oak Island,” among other shows says that the findings of this series have caused him to change his attitude about what he thinks is possible.

“As for me, as a filmmaker, I’ve been able to deliver what I see with my own eyes to the viewer,” Carr noted.

Bustamante, whose previous life as a HUMINT intelligence operator was to steal secrets from people, reveals that in this case, “secrets are being kept from us.”

“When we debriefed Brandon [Fugal] on our findings, specifically in Sedona, Brandon looked us in the eyes, he said, “You, gentlemen, have gone from being investigators to becoming experiencers,” Bustamante said. “We actually had the opportunity to experience high strangeness ourselves, capture it on camera, record the data, analyze the data, and then compare it against what we found on Skinwalker Ranch. There is no going back,” he said. “Once you have actually done that level of work, that level of investigation, when you've documented your findings and shared them with your peers like Dr. Travis Taylor and [Principal Investigator and Chief Scientist], Erik Bard — Once you have that opportunity, there is no forgetting that. You don't ever go back again,” he said.

This article has appeared in the Sedona Red Rock News dated June 2, 2023, and has been updated to include filming locations around Sedona.

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photo of Carol Kahn, Communications Manager for the Sedona Chamber of Commerce & Tourism Bureau

Carol Kahn, Communications Manager for the Sedona Chamber of Commerce & Tourism Bureau