‘Postcard From Satan’ Slams Corner-Crossing Rancher, Who Wants To Stall Judge’s Decision

A “postcard from Satan” and other attacks have prompted the landowner in Wyoming’s “corner-crossing” case, to ask a judge to stall a decision against him, claiming he's in danger because of the hatred stirred up by the case.

Mark Heinz

July 13, 20233 min read

Postcard from Satan 7 13 23
(Cowboy State Daily Staff)

A “postcard from Satan” to Elk Mountain Ranch Owner Fred Eshelman — as well as other hateful backlash — has prompted his attorneys to request the stalling of a judge’s decision against him in Wyoming’s “corner-crossing” case.

The postcard, signed by somebody identifying himself as “Satan” and condemning Eshelman to Hell, is part of a pattern of hateful backlash that puts the landowner at a risk of harm, according to documents filed recently in Wyoming District Court.

Wyoming U.S. District Court Judge Scott Skavdahl last month ruled against Eshelman and his company, Iron Bar Holdings, in a civil case over the corner-crossing matter. Eshelman sought millions of dollars in damages from four hunters who crossed over the airspace over his property to get to public land.

Eshelman is appealing that decision in the 10th U.S. District Court of Appeals. The motion filed in Wyoming District Court calls for Skavdahl’s decision to be stayed pending the outcome of the appeals case.

In a related matter, Eshelman is suing Google to force the social media company to reveal the identity of a person who used Gmail to send out a nasty email to investors, calling the landowner a vulgar name.

Postcard From ‘Satan’

An image of the postcard, handwritten in cursive and sent to Eshelman’s Elk Mountain post office box, was included with court documents. Parts of it are difficult to discern.

“Dearest Fred,” it reads. “We watched with satisfaction as you failed to steal(?) vast areas of public land, on top of the vast areas you’ve already hoarded.

“We hold a place for you here in the eternal fire. We are quite sure you will not repent. On the day of judgement we will receive you here in the abyss, to be placed among the worshipers of Mammon, to become one with us, multitude, burning forever.

“You belong with us, here in the darkness, abandoned by god.”

It is signed “From Hell, Satan.”

Fred Eshelman in 2019 at the University of North Carolina.
Fred Eshelman in 2019 at the University of North Carolina. (University of North Carolina)

A Long, Complicated Case

The postcard, and the resulting motion to stay Skavdahl’s decision, are the latest twist in the long, complicated case that has implications for the future of corner-crossing in Wyoming.

Whether it counts as trespassing to cross at the intersecting corners of “checkerboarded” parcels of private and public land has been a hotly-debated topic.

The Elk Mountain ranch case dates back to September 2021.

Eshleman claimed that at the time, Missouri hunters Bradly Cape, Zachary Smith, Phillip Yoemens and John Slowensky trespassed on his Elk Mountain Ranch property in Carbon County. They used a ladder-like device to cross a fence at a point where his ranch property intersects with public land in a checkerboard pattern.

A Carbon County jury found the hunters not guilty in a criminal trespass case.

Eshelman and Iron Bar then filed a civil lawsuit against the hunters, claiming they had devalued the ranch property by several million dollars when they crossed through the airspace at the corner.

The civil case was scheduled for a trial in Casper last month, but the trial was cancelled when Skavdahl issued a summary judgement in favor of the hunters.

Eshelman, of North Carolina, is a pharmacist and founder of Pharmaceutical Product Development.

Postcard from Satan 7 13 23
(Cowboy State Daily Staff)

Mark Heinz can be reached at mark@cowboystatedaily.com.

Share this article



Mark Heinz

Outdoors Reporter