Skinwalker Ranch increases surveillance with new hi-tech cameras

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MYSTERY WIRE — There are now at least a dozen new hi-tech cameras that operate off the grid placed around Skinwalker Ranch in Utah. This is in addition to the state-of-the-art surveillance system already in place.

The new system being used is from a Utah company called LiveView Technologies (LVT). These new, and mobile camera units can be placed almost anywhere on the ranch thanks to solar and battery technology along with wheels.

Mystery Wire recently spoke with Erik Bard and Derek Boggs about this upgrade. Bard is known to many as one of the investigators featured on History’s Secret of Skinwalker Ranch where he is the principal investigator and chief scientist. Boggs works with LVT and has spent time at the ranch with Bard getting the new system set up.


NOTE: The transcript of this interview is at the bottom of this story.


The soft-spoken Bard said of this new system, “It’s essential that we have surveillance assets like the ones that we’ve put across the ranch as well as these new ones from LVT. Operating 24/7. We have no idea when this phenomenology that we see is going to show up in what the effects are going to be. So you know, the constant year-round vigil has now incorporated the LVT equipment and it’s going to stay up as long as they’ll let us keep it on the ranch.”

Skinwalker Ranch is known as one of the most paranormal places on Earth. Stories of all kinds of activity go back hundreds of years with Native Americans who used to live there. More recently, the ranch was used by the National Institute for Discovery Science, better known as NIDS, to research odd and sometimes violent paranormal activity.

NIDS studied the ranch when it was owned by Las Vegas billionaire Robert Bigelow. The ranch was also studied during the DIA-initiated AAWSAP program from 2008-2010, the once-secret UFO investigation supported by Senator Harry Reid and colleagues.

Now, with the new owner, Salt Lake City realtor Brandon Fugal, the ranch is the central character in the History channel show, currently shooting the third season on the ranch. Fugal’s team has documented unknown aerial objects, lights that emanate from the ground, and radiation that’s caused injuries to team members.

“It’s transient, it comes and goes, it’s not always in the same place it moves across the property affects people differently,” Fugal said in an interview in April of this year. “You know, one moment, the equipment, the sensors are going off like crazy. And you know, minutes later, it’s gone. And no matter what samples are taken, no matter how many experts we bring into the property in order to test it, there’s no consistency relative to really understanding, at least up until now, we’ll see what the future holds as we tighten up some of our protocols, but we have yet to be able to really pin that down and it is definitely transient in nature.”

Boggs said he knew about the stories of Skinwalker before being involved with it, but did not experience anything himself on or off the ranch.

Both Bard and Boggs agree there are places on the ranch they can now set up 24/7 surveillance that they could not before this upgrade. “I think a good example of that is on the mesa itself,” Boggs said. “I don’t know if you want to speak to that, and the challenges that we had, getting a unit that we thought we were going to have, but it ended up being relatively easy, and we were able to set something up in less than 30 minutes, probably getting it up in mesa.”

Bard said the new technology has already paid off, especially because it includes different sensor cameras such as infrared. And added it not only looks for the phenomena in action but also for trespassers.

And when asked if Bard has found the secret of Skinwalker Ranch, he had this appropriate response, “I think the secret has us.”


Duncan Phenix
We’ve got Erik Bard, Principal Investigator, Chief Scientist at Skinwalker for Secret of Skinwalker Ranch and Derek Boggs in the green jacket out in the beautiful desert. Derek, you’re with LiveView Technologies, correct?

Derek Boggs
That’s correct. We’re happy to have you and we’re happy to be with you.

Duncan Phenix
Well, let me start out with Erik on my screen here. Erik, you guys with Secret of Skinwalker ended the season, and I’m not going to talk too much about the show, but a little bit, ended the season last year on kind of a high tech note. Using a lot of it, equipment, the helicopter, magnetometers getting some very strange readings. You’re currently shooting season three, I believe? Are you continuing this high tech approach to finding out the secret of Skinwalker Ranch.

Erik Bard
Certainly, you know, well, science is part of our toolset, right?

Duncan Phenix
And Derek, your end of it is the technology with cameras and specifically at least on face value security camera systems. What is it that LiveView brought to the table that these guys are able to use?

Derek Boggs
Yeah, totally. Erik and LiveView, we were able to connect probably a year back from now and what we’re able to provide that they’ve never had access to is mobile surveillance and completely off the grid. We don’t need any power ran to us. We don’t need any internet. It’s completely 5g ran and completely solar powered or EFOY powered. So Erik and LiveView Technologies had a perfect niche for what we provide where we’re happy to provide those technology and services to Erik and his team.

Duncan Phenix
And Erik, this technology being used there, it’s not just for the show, not just when you’re filming the show, it’s something that’s been set up 24/7, it’s the silent eye in the sky sort of?

Erik Bard
Sure, yeah, not for the show. Not at all, not just rather for the show at all, it’s essential that we have surveillance assets like the ones that we’ve put across the ranch as well as these new ones from LVT. Operating 24/7. We have no idea when this phenomenology that we see is going to show up in what the effects are going to be. So you know, the constant year round vigil has now incorporated the LVT equipment and it’s going to stay up as long as they’ll let us keep it on the ranch.

Duncan Phenix
Now for either of you guys. Let’s talk numbers. What are we talking like? Is there six cameras out there. Is there 6,000? In my layman’s mind, I might think why aren’t there cameras everywhere rolling all the time? Or are there?

Erik Bard
Well, I don’t know Derek, do you want to speak to how many Live View cameras we have out here?

Derek Boggs
Yeah, and I’ve been fortunate enough to get on the ranch and help set up a few of those cameras. Erik can elaborate too. But as far as the LiveView Technologies technology that is on the ranch, there’s probably 12 cameras. There’s four total units. So you might have seen one of our units at a retail location maybe a Kroger, Lowe’s, Home Depot, Safeway, they’re these small little trailers with solar power, then a tall 20 plus foot mast that has cameras and all sorts of sensors on top. And so we’ve really looked at this as an opportunity to help Erik instead of having to always monitor the cameras that he’ll probably speak to as well that they have plenty of cameras on the property. What we’re able to do is really alert Erik when there is something that is an anomaly, whether that is the supernatural or it’s a perpetrator trying to get on the property. So that’s the value that we bring is that autonomous piece so Erik can sleep at night and not have to sit in front of the monitor all day.

Erik Bard
Yeah, yeah, I’ve I’ve done plenty of that. You know, since we got started in late 2016 we began kind of bootstrapping our way into into a science program, really an observational science program, and started really with some very practical tools, consumer prosumer great things that we put out on the property with a relatively small footprint just to see if we would observe the kinds of things that have historically been reported prior to our time on the ranch. And so of course, the observational science program has grown, we’ve expanded our power and network footprint to include lots of hard wired systems. But that having been said, there are parts of the ranch that simply don’t have all that infrastructure. So with the LVT systems, we’re able to put some pretty sophisticated tools that as Derek said, autonomous, they’re very rugged, they’re easy to deploy, or to redeploy meaning to move them if we need to, they’re quick to bring up and they have very little downtime, if any, I don’t know if I’ve seen any downtime, quite frankly. And so this gets us a video surveillance and a security and safety presence, in locations on the property where we would otherwise not be able to have any eyes at all.

Derek Boggs
Erik, I think a good example of that is, is on the mesa itself, I don’t know if you want to speak to that, and the challenges that we had, getting a unit that we thought we were going to have, but it ended up being relatively easy, and we were able to set something up in less than 30 minutes, probably getting it up in mesa.

Erik Bard
That’s a spectacular example, I was thrilled to be able to get that unit up on top of the basic is actually in my mind’s eye. That’s exactly what I saw is putting one of those effective systems right up there to let us see across the entire property from the top of the mesa. I wasn’t sure how that was gonna go. It was amazing that system, the way, the way it basically folds up, was able to go up a fairly treacherous pathway and be deployed atop the mesa where it now stands, and is operating even as we speak. And to an earlier question, I might as well go ahead and speak a little more technical level, one of the things that is really very helpful about that system, and the other three on the property is that it not only gives us a very nice and very responsive, visible light image of whatever the field of view happens to be. But we also have, in addition to that, to the one center camera that gives us the visible light, we have thermographic cameras on the left and the right, that alert us to things that we may or may not be able to see with our eyes.

Duncan Phenix
And I was just gonna ask you about that Derek, you’d mentioned sensors, and I was gonna ask to see if it’s just visible camera technology, or more than that, and that kind of answers that has. Are you able to say, Erik, if the addition of these cameras has paid off?

Erik Bard
Oh, it certainly has. I mean, you know, conventionally, these systems, as you know, are used in a security context. And we definitely have security issues, you know, we have had incidents of people trespassing or coming quite close to trespassing at the perimeter of the property. And you know that can be very disruptive to the work that we have ongoing here. It can also be, quite frankly, dangerous. You know, I can’t say too much about the reality of the phenomenology here. And the fact that sometimes there are medically relevant and traumatizing things that happen with people who are either by invitation, or by perhaps trespassing come into this 512 acre property. You know, we’re still trying to figure out what is the nature of this phenomenology? We’re trying to study it, you know, both from a scientific perspective? Well, I guess I should say, we know that it’s real. We know it affects human beings and electronic devices, it affects our technology alike. And so having the systems at the four locations that they’re mentioned that we have for these units, having those that those four key locations, has been very helpful in not only broadcasting to us that we have, perhaps people at the perimeter, but also broadcasting to any who might be tempted to come onto the property that you’re being watched.

Duncan Phenix
And Derek, given what Erik was saying there about the challenges with the phenomena. What did you know going into this about, you know, I think technologically, I go back a little bit further In my life to when I needed to know some more technical things you know with like shielded cables and things like that, does that come into play with what you’re doing?

Derek Boggs
Coming into this and what our role with Skinwalker Ranch was was set to be was making sure that we were reliable for Erik and making sure that our products does what it does for all of our other customers which is just provide that that cloud based surveillance, having it be accessible 24/7, and just detecting anonymously what that customer is looking for. And so with Erik, we had some concerns right with Skinwalker Ranch and the issues that they’ve had with technology that Erik just spoke to. Not working, failing. So we came into it very tentatively wondering, hey this is a true test of our rugged remote off the grid technology that we’ve used in national park settings up in Yellowstone and other rough environments but never to this this caliber. So coming into this in this relationship with Erik and the team we were very optimistic but not sure if it was gonna really pan out by Erik what the team needed. So like Erik said, I think we’ve been 100% reliable in terms of uptime and we’ve been able to detect a few separate occasions that have happened whether security or anomalies, but it’s fun working with Erik and getting that scientific breakdown because my background is definitely not Erik’s background. We’re here to just give him the eyes and the alerts that he needs and he can really diagnose it.

Duncan Phenix
So Derek, you’re also one of the relatively few people from the outside that get to go inside the ranch and of course it’s been discussed multiple times that the phenomena has, it affects people in different ways. Some people don’t see it at all, don’t experience anything. Some people only at the ranch and others they have it follow them, sort of the the hitchhiker syndrome or whatever you may call it. Your story, have you experienced anything? Did you feel anything? Have you had any experiences after leaving the ranch?

Derek Boggs
Yeah Good question. Personally I really haven’t had any follower syndrome, at the ranch definitely had butterflies entering the ranch and being a fan of the show and the story and respecting it as well. As I was on the ranch we were all working all day long setting up units and working with Erik and the team to make sure that we were fulfilling what they needed. But as I as I poked my head around and stopped and took a look at the ranch honestly it was just a beautiful property, very similar to the backdrop here. You have beautiful mesas and beautiful farmland around. Luckily I didn’t have any anything weird happen to me physically or psychologically but definitely something that I respect and what the team at Skinwalker, the scientific research that they’re providing and I think we’re all we’re all attuned to with the show, all the respect there, but luckily nothing firsthand, which I’m okay with.

Duncan Phenix
That’s what I hear from a lot of people, including George, my partner in this. Erik, like I was saying earlier, you’re you’re still shooting season three. And like you were saying too there’s there’s the TV side of it and just the 24/7 it’s always there side of it. Are you currently at the ranch? Are you traveling? How does that work?

Erik Bard
Yeah, so I’m sitting in the command center. It’s a bit of a mess, I apologize. But it’s you know, it’s a working space right.

Duncan Phenix
And, and I do see just happenstance, I do see a camera up there behind your left shoulder, at least as I look at it, is that one of the live views or is that just as a separate system?

Erik Bard
That’s actually a camera that I keep for bench testing. You know, some of the things I do involve creating devices that interface with cameras. Some of the camera systems that you can purchase, allow for connecting various detectors and so forth to them and so I’m exploiting that here on the bench. And you know, it’s worth mentioning, one of the things I’m looking forward to doing is integrating some of our observational science assets, whether they be electromagnetic measuring devices, or seismic or infrasonic, or something of that nature into the LiveView platform which does have certain potential at least for doing that, for adding custom application specific hardware. So that’ll be interesting to explore once I have the cycles to dive into it.

Duncan Phenix
Question for either of you guys, has there ever been any discussion or ability to live stream from the ranch, especially with this technology? Either with Skinwalker specifically or separately just with the tech.

Erik Bard
I did that. I set that up and did that just prior to the first season. The first broadcast actually ran that remotely driving the cameras around from from place to place and the people just, I think, I forget how it was broadcast, I want to say it was a YouTube event, but we’ve done live stream. We may do it again.

Duncan Phenix
And Derek, just on your end of it, does that system allow for that?

Derek Boggs
Yeah, absolutely. And we’ve been in talks with Erik about it. As far as referencing the technology and being able to do it we have point-to-point ubiquity systems. You can look at our mobile surveillance unit as Erik was alluding to a Lego-like device. We can we can add on all sorts of different custom technology to it and we can be that central hub for for an internet of things there. So yes, we do it for a lot of events that we provide security for but also providing that live piece for people that aren’t able to tune in and look at the world that we’re in today and having to join almost everything remotely. It just provides that option for people that have an in person experience so definitely in talks with Erik about that and what we’ve been able to do. So if that’s something they ever seek out or or want to explore. We’re a partner that can provide it.

Duncan Phenix
Alright, and then just one last question, the easy one for Erik. I’m not sure what you can say. But do you have the secret yet?

Erik Bard
I think the secret has us.

Duncan Phenix
Oh, very nice. Good answer. Hey guys. Thank you very much for joining me, taking a few minutes on this early Sunday morning. Enjoy wherever you you are and where you end up today and stay safe.

Interview recorded October 3, 2021

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