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Socorro, New Mexico's UFO cred comes in both fiction and shaky unverified nonfiction flavors. Besides being high desert--ideal for spotting unusual night sky activity--Socorro boasts the oft-filmed extraterrestrial-hunting Very Large Array. It's also the site of a well-documented close encounter.
In 1964, a local policeman investigated a bright flash on the outskirts of town, coming upon metallic oval shaped craft. Small men in white coveralls were wandering around outside the ship, and hopped back in and took off when startled. The incident is notable for the media frenzy that followed and the physical evidence it produced: burned bushes, fused sand glass and small footprints around the area. There's not much around Socorro today to memorialize the incident but it remains one of the best documented UFO sightings on record.
A slightly more tangible tourist attraction is the Very Large Array cluster of radio telescopes. An active part of the SETI alien hunt, this field of dishes has been featured in "Contact," "Independence Day" and "2010: The Year We Make Contact." Bon Jovi also stopped by to shoot the video for "Everyday." The VLA is open year round during daylight hours and there's even a gift shop, though there's no guarantee of an alien sighting of your own.
Jaunted embeds have schooled us on Osaka , Japan this week, however, our Osaka tour would not be complete without mentioning the area's myriad of love hotels, which sister site HotelChatter is currently covering like a wet blanket.
Hotel Loire is one such love hotel on the outskirts of Osaka and this hotel will get UFO travel buffs drooling. This hotel, on the outskirts of Osaka, boasts an alien abduction rumpus room where you can "rest" for ¥3900 ($34) or "stay" for ¥7600. After all, nothing turns travelers on like cold slab-like beds, fake knobs and breast padding, all in a faux UFO setting.
Our only suggestion? Hotel Loire should switch out the the movie currently playing on an infinite loop in the UFO room, Star Wars, and replace it with a more appropriate alien abduction video. May we suggest the video here?
If you are looking for a tourist town that lives the UFO lifestyle you would be hard pressed to find a town more worthy than Clearwater Florida. Clearwater is to Scientologists what Salt Lake City is to Mormons.
Back in the 1970s Scientology guru L. Ron Hubbard secretly bought a hotel in downtown Clearwater with visions of making it the spiritual home for the Church of Scientology. Hubbard chose Clearwater because it was close to the Tampa airport, was warm year round, and he liked the name "clear". Today, more than 12,000 Scientologists live and work in and around Clearwater, sit on local government boards and have become business leaders in the community. Hollywood Scientologists have been known to pilgrimage here to take part in the highest levels of spiritual training.
Scientology's Clearwater stronghold is the currently under construction seven-story Flag Building (pictured above), which covers a full city block. Also known as the "Super Power Building," it will be the largest Scientology structure in the world when completed late in 2008 and is expected to draw thousands more visiting believers to Clearwater.
To add to the Clearwater UFO legend, back in 2005 a resident of "the clear" reported one of our favorite UFO sightings ever, mostly because of the best caveat ever.
Earlier this year Hawaii residents and surfers saw a cigar shaped object that looked like "two little fireballs" over Kewalo Basin and Ala Moana Beach Park on Oahu's South Shore. Both the National Weather Service and the FAA could not explain away the sighting, which is when many locals began speculating about the origin of the object. Aliens? Spaceships?
Hawaii scientists appear to think a simple contrail is the most plausible explanation. Since the air is very cold at high altitudes, as a jetliner flies by the water left behind condenses and these drops stay behind the craft for quite some time before they evaporate, forming what looks a lot like a stream of smoke or fire. Furthermore, the Hawaii professor who explained away this incident took a back handed slap at UFO enthusiasts saying:
Some people just think differently from scientists and they like to look for the fanciest, most exciting explanation. Those people like to think this is little green men. I think that is very unlikely.
Apparently this isn't the first time Oahu has been visited by this mysterious visual. You can always head to Kewalo Basin at sunset yourself and hope to catch a glimpse with your own eyes. But bring your surfboard, that way even if you don't see the object in question you can at least hit the swell.
On April 23, 2007, a highly experienced commercial pilot, Captain Ray Bowyer, was flying his Aurigny Air Services route over the Channel Islands, when he noticed a large, thin, yellow light near Alderney. At first, he took it to be another airplane as the light was about the size of a 737. He filed a report with Jersey Air Traffic Control and thought that was it.
But it turns out another regional flight captain saw the same object--from a different angle. He too mentioned it to ATC, and the description perfectly matched the one that independently came from Cpt. Bowyer. Making things even more eerie: Had it been something simple like a reflection, it wouldn't have appeared on radar.
In hindsight, Capt. Bowyer realized that because of the distances involved the object was much bigger than his original guess. Since the object was 40 miles away, he reckons it must've been a mile wide--much bigger than a 737.
On an ITV television report, Capt. Bowyer describes the experience:
Interviewer: We're you scared?
Pilot: I wasn't too happy. I was quite glad to get on the ground and have a cup of tea.
Gotta love British pilots.
Back on January 5, 2000 police officers and citizens of St. Clair County in Southern Illinois claim to have spotted a large, triangular unidentified flying object. Folks from Highland to Millstadt claim to have seen the object, and all described it as a big thick hovering triangle. However other than one blurry Polaroid snapshot, there were no photographs or videos to back up the eye witness claims.
Scott Air Force Base is directly below the UFO's alleged flight path, which made "military exercise" the most likely answer to these reported sightings. Alas, the airfield was closed that night, as was the control tower, and the military has denied any aerial exercises took place on the evening in question.
The most interesting thing about this case is that few witnesses are claiming the spotted a extraterrestrial space craft, instead, most folks seem to think the military has invented an aircraft that can both hover and accelerate at great speeds. Sounds very Green Goblin glider like, does it not? So was this 2 story thick, football field long, triangular object an incredible aeronautical engineering achievement, a space craft or something else entirely. No one knows yet, which is why the Discovery Channel turned this incident into one of the best UFO documentaries ever produced back in late 2000.
Who knows, maybe there are still some clues to uncover if you road trip to Southern Illinois.
Yes, it's been outed as a genuine fake, but we've got to give credit for this reasonably good hoodwink. Plus, as alien fakes go, it's a lot more pleasant to look at than that alien autopsy that Fox was showing off a few years back. Ick.
Back on August 6th, a video of flying saucers was uploaded to YouTube, allegedly shot on location in Punta Cana. This was followed on August 9th by another video of alien craft gliding over another tropical beachfront, this time listed as Haiti. A heated debate over the authenticity of these videos ensued, garnering the Haiti video more than 3 million views.
As an army of skeptics descended, small doubts swelled due to little matters such as the same palm trees showing up in two clips shot hundreds of miles apart and the background's similarity to that of an advertisement for a popular CGI software.
Were this something more clever and coordinated than a homebrewed hoax, it could be the start of one hell of a viral ad campaign for getting paranormal buffs to tour Haiti and the Dominican Republic. Think about it: just south of the Bermuda Triangle, the island of Hispaniola is hurting for some love from the little green men (and little green tourist bucks). Plus, how hard is it for anywhere in the Caribbean to get good press during hurricane season?
Big name saucer sites like Area 51 and Roswell may have more merchandise and X-Files appearances but for convenient proximity to the New York Metro area, Pine Bush is as good as it gets. Just a two hour drive north of Manhattan, this Hudson Valley hamlet is famous (with a small "f") for strange lights, wisps, orbs, streaks and the occasional close encounter.
First reporting unexplained night lights back in the 1950s, Pine Bush experienced a lasting wave of regular UFO sightings from the 70s on until the early 90s. During this time, curious visitors became a fixture along country roads in the immediate area surrounding Pine Bush. Residents still report bright lights streaking through the sky at impossible speeds, although not with the regularity of previous peak years.
While its UFO spotting heyday may have passed, Pine Bush still maintains an active community of investigators of the paranormal. Visitors looking for the latest info on UFO activity are advised to check out the local group United Friends Observer Society (U.F.O.S.) for tips on where to gawk at possible interstellar tourists. While in town, look up the Cup and Saucer Diner for its alien inspired decor and Butch Hunt's barber shop/mini-shrine to local UFO sightings for some firsthand local history and a quick trim.
[Photo: John and Sue Mann]
Now that Stars Wars has been released you may be wondering what you have to anticipate next. We hope not. But nevertheless, don't pack up the light sabers and hoods just yet...
July 1-4th marks a bigger freakfest then SW we would venture to guess: The Roswell 2005 UFO Festival in Roswell, NM, where it all started. Festival highlights include live concerts by the "Alien Oldies", lectures with titles like "They Came While You Slept", and workshops such as "Bring Your Evidence to Light." Not to mention plays, telescope viewings and a parade.
UFO enthusiasts are not exactly hedge fund managers, so no worries on prices here. It is an earthly $15 per concert, workshops are $10 for singles or $15 for couples and planetarium entry is a mere $3.50. Events are taking place each day from 7 a.m. to 9 p.m., although we're sure this crowd will be up all night--staring into the cornfields or the desert.