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Scientist Reveals Why He Mysteriously Left Skinwalker Ranch After Season 1

Dr. Travis Taylor and Dr. Jim Segala on Skinwalker Ranch season 1.

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Fans of “The Secret of Skinwalker Ranch” may remember a scientist, Dr. Jim Segala, who was part of season 1 and then mysteriously left after the end of the season. A reason why he wasn’t part of season 2 was never officially explained on the show itself. In a recent interview, Segala revealed why he left Skinwalker Ranch and talked about the extensive UFO research that he has continued to perform since filming for the show. 

 Interested in learning more about UFOs or catching up on “Skinwalker Ranch”? The series can be viewed on the History Channel via a free trial on FrndlyTV (this is an affiliate link.) You can also follow us on TikTok for more UFO coverage. 

Segala Said He Left ‘Skinwalker Ranch’ Because of COVID & a Desire to Do More Scientific Research

Segala speaking on the Off the Ranch interview
Segala speaking on the Off the Ranch interview

There were no bad feelings or animosity that caused Segala to leave the “Skinwalker Ranch” show. Instead, he explained in a recent interview with Off the Ranch that he left, in part, because of COVID-19. He talked about the reason at about four minutes into the interview.

“The contracts were out and everything like that, and then COVID hit and it was like oh my God,” Segala recalled. “And then Utah was like inundated with COVID patients and people were ending up in hospitals. And you know, for me to travel out there and spend all that that time and filming. We just said that’s not worth it.”

Brandon Fugal, the owner of Skinwalker Ranch, shared in a LinkedIn post about Segala’s interview that Segala had been working with him at the ranch for three years before he went public about owning the ranch and started the docuseries. 

“[He] was kind enough to participate as we disclosed our efforts to the public,” Fugal wrote. “This recent interview profiles stunning results from Dr. Jim Segala’s recent scientific study shows spikes in radiation with UAP sightings and high-strangeness in the Uintah Basin—mirroring Skinwalker Ranch events.”

Travis Taylor and Jim Segala on Skinwalker Ranch season 1.
Travis Taylor and Jim Segala on Skinwalker Ranch season 1.

At about 10 minutes into the interview with Off the Ranch, Segala added that he and Dr. Travis Taylor were sometimes frustrated that some of the data they gathered in season 1 couldn’t be presented on the show, and that also played a role in his decision to leave. 

“Science is something that you have to set up, you have to nurture, you have to … observe,” Segala said. “You have to do all these things and unfortunately,  producers don’t want that. They want to see flash bang bang bang… rockets going up in the air… Travis and I always were constantly frustrated … that we gathered this great data and then we never were allowed to talk about it or do anything about it. It was like on to the next thing. So I think another reason I left to show is that it was … Skinwalker was a great place to do research, but it wasn’t a great venue to perform the research. So doing it in a show basis was not the right way to do it…”

Segala said that he had a lot of fun, but he thinks Robert Bigelow’s approach was better from a scientific basis. 

“Bigelow had the answer…” Segala said. “He hired scientists, he plopped them in there, gave them everything they needed, and they focused on it and that was it. And that was great. Doing it during a show, it’s like … there’s another agenda going on. You have to produce a show to get viewers to get money blah blah blah. … And I’m sure the show was very successful and everybody enjoys it, but as a scientist it wasn’t the best place to do science unfortunately. But I had a great time … Travis is a great guy to be around.”

Segala explained that his understanding of the phenomena really began to “snowball” after he left the show and continued his research. 

“At that point (when he decided to leave) is when I decided that there [are] still questions to answer,” Segala said. “…And then that’s when the whole thing started snowballing. All the post stuff that I did afterwards started to go crazy. And then … all the success that I had in understanding the phenomena actually didn’t really start until after … I left the show.” 

Segala Remains in Contact with People from Skinwalker Ranch as He Studies the Hitchhiker Effect

Segala is still friendly and occasionally works with people from the show. There’s no animosity or hard feelings of any kind. Segala said that he and Dr. Travis Taylor still talk a lot. 

“I talk to Travis all the time,” Segala said. “Travis and I kind of hit it off… We have a very similar background. We also have a very similar drive to understand this phenomena, so we we still collaborate… But a lot of the  people from the Bigelow era and prior to that, and some of the people that I think are actually on the show now, I still collaborate with a lot. So you know we’re still involved. Because those are people that … the experiences are still happening to them, and it’s … all the data … that is being captured from all the people … that I’ve met, plus all the people that they have contacts with… It’s just more and more data that I can use to  kind of sift through and understand what’s going on now.”

Dean Derhak, the podcast host who interviewed Segala, clarified that Segala has been studying the hitchhiker effect since leaving the show. This is a phenomenon that both Bigelow and current Skinwalker Ranch researchers have experienced. It occurs when someone visits the ranch and continues to experience paranormal activity of some sort after leaving. Sometimes family members or friends they come in contact with also experience the phenomena afterward. 

Post Apocalyptic Media has previously reported on the hitchhiker effect and how it has interacted with people on Skinwalker Ranch. Bigelow himself said in an interview that part of the reason he sold the ranch was because of the hitchhiker effect. 

Off the Ranch explained that Segala has been collecting data in the homes of 37 people who reported ongoing hitchhiker activity, via a three year double-blind study. The study revealed that gamma radiation spikes often accompany the reported activity, both outside and inside their homes.

Segala emphasized that the phenomena doesn’t just happen on Skinwalker Ranch, but in a whole area of Utah called the Uinta Basin, which includes the ranch and other properties. 

“The phenomena actually works with people,” Segala explained. “So you take all the people away and you just have a bare piece of land, the phenomena doesn’t happen. It doesn’t do anything crazy. You don’t see anything. It’s when people interact with the phenomena that you actually start seeing experiences happen.” 

Segala later shared in the interview that for many people, the interactions are actually quite positive, even though the ones you see on the show may focus more on the negative experiences. 

You can watch the interview (embedded at the top of this section of the article) for more details about Segala’s research, or stay tuned for Post Apocalyptic Media’s future articles about Segala’s findings, which are fascinating. 

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    Stephanie Dwilson started Post Apocalyptic Media with her husband Derek. She's a licensed attorney and has a master's in science and technology journalism. You can reach her at [email protected].

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