Monday, July 2, 2018

UFO Tourism in West Virginia

West Virginia is a weird place.  Like, REALLY weird, but that's okay because it makes our humble little state an ideal place for paranormal enthusiasts!  We've got ghosts and haunted places.  We've got cryptozoological creatures.  And, we've got some really cool places with a UFO connection!

In honor of World UFO Day, I wanted to share with you just a quick Top 5 UFO Tourism sites throughout West Virginia! All of these locations are open to the public, most year-round, and would make an excellent stop for anyone interested in ufology, the search for extraterrestrials, or the just plain bizarre. 

1. SETI Tour at Greenbank Observatory: Did you know that the search for extraterrestrial intelligence is taking place right here in the Mountain State at the Greenbank Observatory? And, for $40, you can learn all about the research being done. SETI tours are held on special days throughout the summer and early autumn. According to the website: "Our SETI Tour celebrates Green Bank's research to Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence! The tour begins with an exclusive presentation inside the control room of our historic 85-1 telescope where the search began with Frank Drake's Project Ozma. From there, guests enjoy rare admittance inside the 140' telescope where Jill Tartar's Project Phoenix took place and then go beyond the gates surrounding the normally-restricted Green Bank Telescope (GBT)! The tour ends in our Drake Lounge where participants are greeted by a Green Bank Observatory astronomer and learn about the future of SETI as the GBT embarks on the new Breakthrough Listen Initiative.If you have ever wanted to be inside our operation control rooms or speak with one of our radio astronomers in person, then this is the opportunity of a lifetime!"


2. Pt. Pleasant WV (Mothman and the 1966-67 UFO Flap):  Few people realize that in conjunction with the flap of Mothman sightings in the late 1960s, there was also an increase in reports of ghosts and hauntings, psychic phenomena, other cryptids, and even UFOs!  Everyone has a different theory of exactly what Mothman might have been, and one theory links him to being of an extraterrestrial origin.  Today, Pt. Pleasant is FULL of spooky spots to visit linked to West Virginia's favorite mystery.  If you cannot attend the yearly Mothman Festival held in September, you can still visit year-round and see the Mothman Statue in downtown, the Mothman Museum, and even the actual TNT area where many believe Mothman lived while in town.

3. Braxton County's Flatwoods Monster:  Over the past few years, Braxton County has REALLY embraced its monster/UFO heritage, which dates back to at least 1952.  It was that year, when a group of boys near Flatwoods saw what they thought may have been a meteor, or even a plane crash.  They ran to get the mother of two of the boys, and together, the group set off in search of potential wreckage.  What they found was a horrifying THING, that many believe was from outer space.  While the actual site where this happened is on private property, there is still plenty to see and do around town.  Stop by the Flatwoods Monster Museum to learn more about the creature, shop for souvenirs, and just see a wonderful collection of art and artifacts related to the monster.  Grab lunch at The Spot, where you can purchase unique souvenirs and order from a UFO themed menu.  And finally, don't forget to hunt throughout the area for the Braxton County Monster Chairs!  Find all five and win a small prize!

4. Gray Barker's UFO Files:  Gray Barker is one of the most controversial, yet famous names in the study of ufology----and he lived right here in West Virginia!  Today, his extensive research and publications can be found housed at the Clarksburg/Harrison Public Library, located in the haunted Waldomore Mansion.

5 .Nethken Cemetery: So, this is obviously the weirdest location on the list. According to Bob Teets, a WV journalist who published a book about UFOs in the state, the Nethken Cemetery in Elk Garden (Mineral County) experienced a very creepy UFO-related incident back in 1967. For awhile, residents of the area had noticed strange lights appearing over the hill. One night, Reverend Harley DeLeurere and two male members of his congregation decided to stake out the area.  They were not disappointed!  They saw what they described as a big turtle shaped object with lights hover over the cemetery.  The object shot a beam of light down, which shone directly onto a fresh grave.  It has been theorized that the person buried there had had an alien implant, and that the craft had come to retrieve it. 

From Find-a-Grave: Photo by Cheryl Sue Cox

*So let me know...have you been to any of these locations, and if so, what did you think?  Do you have any other locations you think should have made the list?  Let me know over at Theresa's Haunted History's Facebook, where you'll find all sorts of World UFO Day fun, including a giveaway!*

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