I have now watched episode 1 of the Skinwalker Ranch series on Netflix. If anomalies are happening, this series – so far – does the public a disservice by the unprofessional presentation. I may watch more episodes, but episode 1 shapes up to be entertainment, not investigation science.
Here are my observations:
Time: 5:00 Skinwalker
is defined as a Native American term for demonic entity. WTF. Not from any NA I have known, nor from the limited reading I have done on it. I think this is not true. The meaning has evolved greatly over the past 20-30 years, and it different than what it was before 1990, probably from usage by non-NA for the woo factor. The person discussing this gave no references.
Time 12:00 The introductory briefing was staged and not specific or informative. No plan
for investigation so far: goals, constraints, technology, personnel, roles and responsibilities, timelines and due dates, etc. If this is not addressed, then I consider this to be a fatal flaw.
Time 12:20 Prays to heavenly father in helicopter
. I suppose this is to establish the outside investigator, Dr. Taylor, as a devout, mainstream, honest, trustworthy
Time 14:30 Security men
: WTF. Why are security men, heavily armed, meeting the scheduled helicopter carrying the new investigator in broad daylight? If the danger is so immediate, why is it not described? This is staged to make the situation seem more dangerous.
Time 17:00 Eric Brand, the ongoing “principal investigator, describes phase one of Dr. Taylor’s work as “observation science
” – meaning walking around! Where is the project plan
? What happened to reviewing the previous documented data and the baseline comparisons with nearby ranches? This indicates to me that there is no rigor in the approach. It is not serious. Maybe a project plan will be shown in the next episodes.
Time 23:00 Skinwalker
is described as a Navajo curse directed at their enemies back in the late 19th century. This is not true; skinwalker, like chinde, has spiritual meanings which are not a curse. My sources are this are Navajo fellow students I went to college with in Arizona the 1980s.
Time 32:00 Head of security
argues that “unequivocally” digging in the soil will trigger bad crap going down
. The bad crap is not described. Why is the head of security weighing in on what the investigation goals and limitations should be?
Time 34:00 The onsite “digger
” states that previous digging has made him so sick that he was hospitalized, that his scalp detached from his skull, and that doctors had no explanation
for this. More information on this would have been useful: the level of non-specificity can lead to no useful conclusions. Does this mean that the doctors were able to rule out non-mysterious causes, such as extreme immune reaction to an external pathogen (such as the endemic valley fever found in the soil throughout the southwest and California), or that they didn’t try?
Time 35:00 Group meeting in which the suggestion is made that the ranch owner be contacted by videochat to decide if a specific investigation technique, digging in the soil, can be used. WTF. This indicates no project plan, with clear authority assigned to someone. No project plan is a fatal flaw
Time 38:00 Ranch owner states: “You are not privy to the risks and have not been properly briefed.” Why not? No project plan is a fatal flaw.
Time: 40:00 Dr Taylor, the outside investigator, states that he has a government clearance
, so they should show him the evidence. First, everyone who works for the US Federal government has a clearance of some sort, even if it is a low level “confidential” one. This is meaningless. Second, even if he has a governmental clearance, this is irrelevant to the investigation at hand. He mentions his clearance to indicate that he is trustworthy. Where is the project plan?