A few months back, Dave Day received a phone call about a mystery happening in a remote part of Utah. As SciAps chief technology officer, he’s a curious guy, so he couldn’t pass up the opportunity of being part of a UFO investigation. Dave got on a plane, bringing the industry-leading X-550 handheld XRF with him so that the investigative team could analyze several mysterious pieces of material found there.
SciAps XRF shows up on the History Channel’s "The Secret of Skinwalker Ranch," season 3. This isn't the first time the History Channel has turned to SciAps analyzers to solve a mystery. In 2020, it was SciAps LIBS in the “Lost Gold of World War II.” Now, it’s "The Secret of Skinwalker Ranch" with the X-550 XRF.
For those who don’t know, the 512-acre parcel, located southeast of Ballard, Utah, has been in the news since 1996. According to History.com’s article “How Skinwalker Ranch Became a Hotbed of Paranormal Activity," former owner Terry Sherman reported he and his family had seen mysterious crop circles, UFOs, and the mutilation of their cattle in an odd, bloodless manner. The 1996 story brought Robert Bigelow into the picture. He bought the property and founded the National Institute for Discovery Science. The ranch is now owned by Adamantium Real Estate.
Tom Lewis, Bryant Arnold, and Erik Bard use SciAps analyzer to test samples.
Erik Bard, principal investigator.
Test results on the X-550 analyzer
During the episode, “UFO Experiment Gone Horribly Wrong,” viewers are told that a cave entrance in the mesa has been mysteriously covered over. Travis Taylor, who has Ph.D. in optical science and engineering, and the ranch team invite Straight Shot Drilling to the ranch to uncover the mystery.
Unexpected alloy sample of iron, silicon, aluminum, magnesium, calcium, and manganese composition.
The drillers perform horizontal drilling into the side of the mesa. After flooding it with 800 gallons of water, a slurry comes back with bentonite clay and some unidentifiable material—it could be rock, but it's brittle and thin and seems more like metal flakes. At the 9:00 minute mark, the team decides to analyze the material to get a sense of its composition. That’s when SciAps X-550 comes to the rescue. Watch the segment to see what the XRF discovers.