One of the most popular destinations in the state of Arizona is the town of Sedona, which over the years has accrued a reputation as quite the mecca for New Agers and paranormal researchers from all over the country as well as droves of tourists every year. Arizona, and in particular this area is rather well-known for a high concentration of UFO sightings and for the mysterious energy vortices said to dot the landscape here, where earth energies crackle and which are believed to confer all manner of health benefits, as well as said to aid in meditation and self reflection. It is largely because of these alleged magical vortices that a bustling business of spiritual healing tours and metaphysical medicine outfits have sprung up here, and one can already see that Sedona is already a rather strange and unique place in an already rather unique and strange state. However Sedona is also the home to a very unusual patch of land where there have long been reported all manner of high strangeness, from UFOs, to ghosts, to dinosaurs, and more.

Go off the beaten path for while, off down a remote unpaved, rough dirt road just 12 miles outside Sedona in the Verde Valley, and you will be met with the site of a rather large, abandoned ranch, now inaccessible and blocked of by an intimidating gate plastered with signs from the U.S. Forest Service warning away trespassers. The desert scrub and wilderness area around the ranch is as remote and uninhabited as you can get, and the now uninhabited ranch itself has devolved into a feral place overgrown with weeds and partially devoured by the landscape. It was obviously once an expansive and successful ranch, so what is this place and why is it just sitting out there forgotten to be slowly reclaimed by the ravenous wilderness around it? For that we have to go back to the beginning, back to 1945.

thunder mountain sedona town f
Sedona, Arizona

It was in 1945 that a Hollywood stuntman and actor named Bob Bradshaw moved out to the Sedona area, where he opened a modest business in the form of a photography shop. With his Hollywood connections, Bradshaw also had a hand in many of the Westerns that were en vogue at the time and which favored the deserts and canyons of the area for sets, with over 50 full length features made in this vicinity over the years, and which helped to revitalize the area. With his new found influx of cash and good-standing amongst the locals, in 1960 Bradshaw purchased a 140-acre parcel of land out in the Verde Valley at a place that was then known as Bitter Creek, and this ranch and its old adobe house would also go on to become a popular place to shoot movies, such as the 1967 Elvis Presley film Stay Away Joe and others.

In the 1990s, Bradshaw’s son, John Bradshaw, turned the land into a more functional, actual working ranch, and it also became popular as a recreation spot for camping, horseback riding, and other outdoor activities. At the time this was a secluded place of natural beauty, with a veneer of Hollywood laid over it, but things would begin to take a turn for the strange beginning from 1992, when a series of escalating strange phenomena began to creep across the ranch.

Bradshaw Ranch

It supposedly began with John Bradshaw’s wife, Linda, who claimed to begin seeing mysterious orbs of light in the sky over the ranch, as well as sudden bright flashes with no discernible cause and streaking mystery lights. This was perhaps to be expected because the region was already long known as a hotspot for UFO sightings, but things would escalate quickly and further branch out into the weird. As if UFOs and anomalous lights in the sky were not odd enough, Linda claimed that odd comets would move across the property shooting beams of light, and that the place was crawling with barely glimpsed shadow people and other entities. Her and her son would also claim to have had a rather far-out encounter with actual aliens on the property, which she would see outside of her window one evening and describe thus:

Strolling past the window were four short-statured aliens wearing tight-fitting one-piece uniforms of a light tan color. They were what are typically called the Zeta Reticuli (also known as the Grays), only these appeared to be a bit more ashen-colored, almost white. Once the beings were out of sight and the witnesses recomposed themselves, the three of them jumped into their car and sped to the house where I was sleeping. I remember so vividly how my son vigorously shook my arm to wake me up. I can still hear the trepidation in his voice as he said, “Mom, wake up. They’re here!” I raised up and said, “Who’s here?” He exclaimed, “The aliens, Mom.”

The next day she allegedly went out to investigate the area where the entities had been seen and found tiny footprints in the ground, which they took video footage of. On top of aliens there were also sighings made of large, hairy Bigfoot-like creatures on the property, in particular one Linda nicknamed “Big Girl,” which was seen frequently, and other less discernible creatures. Even stranger than these sightings were accounts of spotting what were described as actual dinosaurs at the ranch, with Linda herself claiming one time to have seen a 5-foot-tall bipedal lizard with a long tail standing on a dirt path one evening. These apparent “dinosaurs,” purportedly left large, reptilian tracks that were sometimes found on the property as well.

Linda recorded these and all manner of other strangeness at the ranch, such as livestock and other animals falling ill for no apparent reason or the manes of her horses torn off, and after several years of this in 1995 compiled it all into a book called Merging Dimensions: The Opening Portals of Sedona, along with UFOlogist Tom Dongo. The book also features numerous photos that were captured at the ranch, with many of the strange phenomena not seen until the film was developed. UFOs, aliens, Bigfoot, Shadow People, living dinosaurs, what in the world is going on here? Linda Bradshaw believes that all of these disparate phenomena are the result of some sort of inter-dimensional doorway that has for whatever reason opened up at the ranch, and through which spew all manner of entities. She would say of her theory:

I believe these openings have always been on our plane and they’ve perhaps been the portals to allow others in, but if one were to ask my opinion of my experiences regarding this magical place, I would say that not only are they being allowed in, but they are coming in in great numbers. I would also love to say that only compassionate beings of light are scooting through these portals, but this does not always seem to be the case. I have come face to face with a few decidedly nasty beings.

The ranch subsequently became a haven for paranormal researchers, and it was featured on numerous TV programs, with orb and UFO activity commonly caught on film at the location. Readings taken at the ranch also showed the anomaly that it had a much stronger magnetic field than the surrounding area, by some estimates around 500 times greater, although why this is or what connection it has to the purported phenomena no one knows.

In May 2003 the mystery was deepened and conspiracy theories were spawned when the U.S. government suddenly and without explanation purchased the ranch and quickly had it locked off from the rest of the world. Locals claimed that there were frequently military personnel seen around the area, and in addition to the signs keeping people out were also armed guards said to patrol the area and turn people away in no uncertain terms. Unverified reports exist of hikers being confronted and turned away by heavily armed guards with no visible identification or insignia, or even more ominously chased off the property by either guards or all terrain vehicles that are all black with no noticeable markings. Dongo said of this in his book Mysterious Sedona:

A machine gun, usually an M-16 (or in some cases semi-automatic pistols) is then leveled at the hikers. By the tone of the voice of the “soldiers” the hiker(s) is left with no doubt that he will be shot on the spot if he does not turn around, retrace his steps, and rapidly leave the area. Those looking for hard evidence of these claims won’t find it. There are plenty of stories of suspicious activity, missing persons, and aliens and UFOs spotted in conjunction with soldiers, but no substantiated evidence exists to prove these theories. Military activity in the area could very well be routine training exercises and those hikers asked to turn around may be done for their own safety.

It seems odd for this to be the case with just a ranch out in the middle of nowhere, so why is this? Well, that depends on who you ask. For some it is because the U.S. Forest Service is looking to preserve valuable Native American archeological sites in the area, but of course considering all of the strange phenomena reported from here and the rumors of portals and vortices, there are others who think that the government confiscated the land in order to cover it all up.

It is hard to say just what is going on with all of this, but Bradshaw Ranch has continued to be a hotspot for the paranormal nevertheless, with hikers and tours that skirt the property often coming back with myriad tales of the weird. A very strange experience supposedly happened during the filming of a 2013 episode of Discovery Channel’s show Uncovering Aliens, with this episode focused on the ranch. According to the report, at some point a man named Steven Jones wandered away from the crew and onto the actual property of the ranch. When he returned half and hour later he was apparently in a daze, and he claimed that he had heard disembodied voices all around him and that he had missing time, and making it all the more bizarre was that his watch had reportedly stopped working. This was not put in the final episode, but it probably should have been. What happened to him out there? No one knows, and it just adds to the rest of the lore on this very strange location.

What is going on at Bradshaw Ranch? Is this all just kooky conspiracy tales, tall tales, and fiction? If any of it is real, then is it as Linda Bradshaw says, and there is perhaps some sort of interdimensional phenomenon at work here? If so, then why does it congregate to this one place? It is interesting to note the extremely wide range of different types of phenomena reported from here. Orbs, spook lights, UFOs, Bigfoot, aliens, dinosaurs, and others, all of them coexisting in this one patch of high strangeness, gravitating to this place for inscrutable reasons. Why should that be? Also worthy of note is that although the ranch had been there for years before Bradshaw even came along, why is it that the disturbances did not begin until 1992? What activated it, if any of it even exists at all? Why did the governement buy up the land and then prohibit access? Whether this is all urban legend, conspiracies, interdimensional portals, or something even stranger, Bradshaw Ranch certainly inhabits its own little corner of the strange in a state already steeped in the bizarre.


Brent Swancer

Brent Swancer is an author and crypto expert living in Japan. Biology, nature, and cryptozoology still remain Brent Swancer’s first intellectual loves. He's written articles for MU and Daily Grail and has been a guest on Coast to Coast AM and Binnal of America.

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