8 Quirky Locations Dedicated to UFO Sightings
By Rebecca OConnell, Mental Floss, 2 February 2016.
By Rebecca OConnell, Mental Floss, 2 February 2016.
There's no evidence that little green men have ever come to Earth, but with insistent conspiracy theories, frequent UFO sightings, and alien jerky for sale, it makes one think. If you find yourself fascinated by UFO sightings and want to immerse yourself in the culture, there are plenty of places to visit.
1. Little A'Le'Inn - Rachel, Nevada
If you’re going alien hunting, the very first place to hit is the region around Nevada's Area 51. Among other things, conspiracy theorists believe that alien craft, most notably from the supposed 1947 Roswell crash, is being studied and reverse engineered at the "secret" military installation, which, until 2013, the U.S. government refused to acknowledge even existed. Even today, most mentions of Area 51 are redacted from government documents - even the declassified ones. Thanks to the veil of secrecy, flocks of extraterrestrial enthusiasts visit the site each year: Tourists can take guided tours, check the skies for unexplainable activity, and snap photos next to the sign dubbing the local stretch of Highway 375 the "Extraterrestrial Highway."
When they're finished exploring, they can take a load off at the Little A'Le'Inn (little alien) in Rachel, Nevada. The kitschy motel has a bar, restaurant, and gift shop, all decked out in celebration of the little green men. There are plenty of alien-themed murals, decorations, and knick-knacks to make UFOlogists feel right at home.
2. International UFO Museum - Roswell, New Mexico
In 1947, a mysterious aircraft crashed in the desert near Roswell, New Mexico. Though the government explained it was a weather balloon (later confirmed to be a surveillance balloon), many of the locals suspected something a little more otherworldly. While the claims of aliens have been largely debunked, the site is still the epicenter for UFO fanatics; Roswell even has an alien on their town logo. In the town, you can find a UFO-themed McDonalds and Dominos as well as alien street lights.
One of the bigger UFO-related places to visit is the Roswell International UFO Museum, which is a “non-profit educational organization with the mission of educating the general public on all aspects of the UFO phenomena.” Within its walls, you can find a plethora of alien-related artefacts like dirt from the crash site and a replica of the space roadster.
3. Area 51 Museum, Alien Zone - Roswell, New Mexico
If the International UFO museum is a little too serious for you, you can also try the Area 51 Museum, which tries to make alien invasion more exciting. "Families with kids were coming to town and they were bored with the UFO Museum," said Elsie Reeves, the founder’s wife, told Roadside America. "We decided we'd become like the Hollywood part, where they can become part of the story."
The museum, which is part of the Alien Zone cafe and gift shop, was built by artist and pastor Randy Reeves in the late ‘90s. Guests are treated to 20 life-size dioramas filled with props and backdrops. The museum is rife with photo-ops, including a crashed UFO that you can climb in, and an alien autopsy room with bloody knives you can pick up.
4. The Dreamy Draw Dam - Piestewa Peak, Phoenix
Image credit: Tony the Marine/Wikimedia Commons
According to some, Roswell isn't the only UFO crash site. In 1947, an alien spacecraft crashed in Piestewa Peak, outside Phoenix. The Dreamy Draw Dam was apparently built to cover the wreckage. The dam has a lot of “Keep Out” signs and a suspicious lack of water to dam. Some say that if you get close enough to the infrastructure, you can hear a distinct humming. The dam, which was built in 1973, is pretty close to an airport, which might explain the noise - but don’t let those facts get in the way of a good story.
5. The UFO Watchtower - Hooper, Colorado
San Luis Valley, Colorado has very little light pollution, making it a great spot for stargazing - or UFO-gazing: It's a hotspot for UFO sighting and other strange activity. The town of Hooper is home to the UFO Watchtower, a viewing platform with a connected gift shop. Although only 10 feet tall, the “tower” promises to give tourists the chance to catch a glimpse of something otherworldly. Visitors of the tower are provided with information about previous sightings and possible theories. Even if guests don’t see any UFOs, at least the sky will have plenty of stars to enjoy. You can check out their website here, complete with a Geocities-esque set-up and dancing alien gifs.
6. The Wycliffe Well Holiday Park - Wycliffe Well, Australia
The United States isn’t the only location for UFO gazing. Wycliffe Well is the self-declared UFO capital of Australia. The oasis has a holiday park that gives a nod to the UFOlogists that might be passing through with several alien murals scattered around the facility. According to their brochure, “UFO sightings are so common, that if you stayed up all night looking, you would be considered unlucky not to see anything, rather than lucky to see something.” Even if you don’t manage to see something strange, you can also check out the Devil’s Marbles, two large boulders found a short drive away from the park.
7. UFO Trail - San Clemente, Chile
San Clemente, Chile has had so many UFO sightings that in 2008 the town had no choice but to open a UFO trail. The 19-mile path cuts through the Andes mountains and passes by reported spots of alien activity. Tourists walking the trail can also stop by local restaurants, camp sites, and hotels. There’s no guarantee you’ll spot a UFO, but you can at least enjoy the view.
8. Aurora Cemetery - Aurora, Texas
Image credit: Leonard^Bloom/Wikimedia Commons
On April 17, 1897, a strange cigar shaped object crashed into a windmill in Aurora, Texas. According to legend, there was an alien inside who died in the crash. The good people of Aurora did the only thing they could think of and gave the extraterrestrial a Christian burial. In the ‘70s, the International UFO Bureau discovered the story, and asked to exhume the body. The town refused. People from all over came to the small town to get a piece of the action and the locals responded defensively, even bringing out some guns. Today, the only thing to see is a small plaque noting the occurrence.
[Source: Mental Floss. Edited. Some images added.]