How Blind Frog Ranch Got Its Name

Warner Bros. Discovery press release for "Mystery at Blind Frog Ranch" describes the location as a place marked by "ancient secrets." The series is premised on landowners Duane and Chad Ollinger's quest to find up to $3 billion in Aztec gold that supposedly lies buried within the network of caves on their property. But their search is frustrated by poachers, weather, gas clouds, and the land itself — or at least, that's how Discovery advertises the show. Additional mystery comes from the location's close proximity to the allegedly haunted Skinwalker Ranch and rumors among the locals that the spot is cursed by its hidden treasure (per Reality Titbit). But how did a slice of Utah with ties to ghosts, gold, and UFOs end up with a name like Blind Frog Ranch?

That same ranch isn't just the subject of a reality show. It's also a tourist attraction, and it explains its name on its official website. It turns out that when the Ollingers came into the property, their exploration of the caves was frustrated by flooding from a water plate. With the water came hundreds of frogs from the underground cavern system — frogs that had spent their entire lives away from sunlight. Brought to the surface, the frogs couldn't see the humans in their midst and would only move on touch. Duane Ollinger decided that the "blind" frogs would make for a good name for the ranch, as well as a good mascot — Benny the Bling Frog adorns ranch signs and merchandise.

Frogs do spend some of their lives underground

The amphibians that gave Blind Frog Ranch its name have cameos here and there on Discovery's reality series, and the Ollingers sometimes take the frogs as a sign they're on the right track (via YouTube). It's unclear whether the new crops of frogs are blind like the ones in the ranch's founding story — and that tale may not hold up to much scrutiny. While it is true that many frog species spend some time underground or in caves, no known frog species spends its entire life away from the sun (per a 2013 study published in Subterranean Biology). If the frogs the Ollingers encountered on the day of their story really were blind, it likely wasn't because they had never encountered sunlight.

Any visitors to Blind Frog Ranch looking to spot the place's namesake, blind or otherwise, will have more than one type of frog to watch out for. According to Wild About Utah, the most abundant species of frog in the state is the western chorus frog, though it and other native species like the northern leopard frog are struggling due to the introduction of American bullfrogs west of the Rocky Mountains. Bullfrogs are such aggressive and voracious eaters that other species are unable to compete for resources. Utah is also the northern limit of the range of the spadefoot frog (per Utah Division of Wildlife Resources).

Mystery at Blind Frog Ranch has been accused of faking

The story behind Blind Frog Ranch's name isn't the only thing about the ranch and its reality series to raise eyebrows. A number of viewers are convinced that "Mystery at Blind Frog Ranch" is staged, taking to Reddit to voice their opinions. One user cited an episode where the Ollingers found a gold nugget and a Spanish gold coin as particularly suspicious on account of the "fake" appearance of the gold. Others think the Ollingers and additional cast members in the series come off as actors. "God that was so scripted and fake. All seemed like just actors doing interviews. Not going to last," one user wrote.

For their part, the Ollingers have made no public comment on whether "Mystery at Blind Frog Ranch" is staged, nor has anyone from the production end at Discovery. But Duane Ollinger did maintain in an interview with Hollywood Soapbox that he believed there really was treasure underneath Blind Frog Ranch, left by either the Aztecs or by Spaniards, and that he would be disappointed to find out otherwise. He also insisted that finding the treasure was more important to his father than to him, but he was happy to be along for the adventure.

Of course, as one Reddit user said — "Aztecs in Utah? Come on."