There are many places around the US that seem to be focal points of high strangeness - vortexes of bizarre sightings, unexplained encounters and eerie events. Reports gathered over the decades have bestowed reputations on these locations as places you might not want to travel alone, or at least tread carefully. The interesting thing about most of these areas is that they are confluences of a variety of phenomena, from ghosts and monsters to Bigfoot and UFOs. Following are a handful of them, and the strange things seen there.
The Superstition Mountains - Arizona
This mountainous area in south central Arizona didn't get its name for nothing. And white men weren't the first to note its bad vibrations; the Apache Indians called it the Devil's playground.
Among the reported strangeness are:
- An entry into a subterranean world. Those who claim to have penetrated the tunnel tell of the remains of ancient structures and a spiral staircase that leads down into the bowels of earth. Some say Reptilian humanoids have come out of these portals.
- Time and dimensional shifts. Mary Sutherland relates her weird experience of "apportaton" at Apache Junction.
- Spirit faces in the rocks.
- A legend that the mountains were once guarded by a race of pygmies.
- Location of the famous "Lost Dutchman" mine.
- Site of the Circlestone medicine wheel, 6,000 feet up in the mountains - "an artifact that could be as important as England's Stonehenge," according to some researchers.
- During the '50s, '60s and '70s, numerous UFOs were sighted around Flat Iron and Bluff Springs Mountain, which is adjacent to Circlestone. In 1973, two campers reported seeing a UFO land and then take off from the Circlestone area.
Sedona - Arizona
Sedona has become a kind of Mecca for New Age seekers, psychics, UFO hunters and explorers of the unexplained, and was the site where the "harmonic convergence" of 1987 was celebrated. It's been called the "New Age Disneyland of karmic consumerism."
Strangeness reports include:
- "In recent years, Sedona has become known as the site of frequent UFO sightings," says Loy Lawhon, About.com's former Guide to UFOs. "The objects seen most frequently there are the 'ball of light' type UFOs rather than those that resemble metallic craft."
- Site of the alleged Sedona Vortex - an interdimensional portal or doorway between our dimension and some other, or to a higher level of consciousness. (There's a lot of money being made by guided tours, seminars, psychic readers and the like surrounding these vortexes.)
Bigelow Ranch - Uintah Basin, Utah
This 480-acre cattle ranch in central Utah was so plagued by UFOs and other strange phenomena that its one-time owners, Terry and Gwen Sherman, were eager to get rid of it. A willing buyer was found in Las Vegas real estate tycoon Robert T. Bigelow because he was intrigued by the mysterious goings-on. He brought in a team of investigators and set up arrays of surveillance equipment to find out what was taking place. Some have dubbed the ranch "the strangest place on Earth."
Here's just some of what was going on:
- Unexplained cattle mutilations, and cattle that just disappeared. Ten of the Sherman's cows reportedly vanished.
- UFOs "the size of football fields." And in 1980, a rancher claimed to have seen a 40-foot silver sphere on the ground of what later became the Sherman ranch.
- Terry Sherman claimed to have actually seen aliens come out of one UFO. "It was a human type, over seven feet tall, decked out in a totally black uniform and very huge, very heavyset," he reported.
- Interdimensional portals that were seen to open in mid-air. The Shermans said they saw lights emerging from these doorways.
- Floating balls of light, one of which might have toasted the family dogs. The Sherman's three dogs vanished after chasing a ball of light. A circular burn mark was found on the ground near where the dogs were last seen.
- Gwen Sherman was supposedly chased by several red balls of light while driving home one night.
Big Thicket - Hardin County, Texas
The Big Thicket spreads across East Texas and Southwestern Louisiana, and may be home to a host of paranormal phenomena and earthly anomalies:
- Ghost lights, some of which have been known to disable automobile engines and seem to exhibit intelligence. This light can be found along Black Creek near the old ghost town of Bragg in eastern Texas. The Big Thicket Ghost Light has been described as starting as a pinpoint of light among the swamp trees that grows to the brightness of a flashlight, then dims and fades away. Its color has been likened to that of a pumpkin.
- Phantom primitive Indians who allegedly have attacked people.
- Howling, ape-like wildmen. They "wander the deep woods at night, and occasionally even the town margins and suburbs, howling like banshees," says author Rob Riggs.
- Unexplained fireballs that streak through darkened skies.
Mothman and all the bizarre activity and high-strangeness that accompanied it back in the late 1960s put Point Pleasant on the paranormal map. Although things seem to have calmed down in Point Pleasant in recent decades, the Mothman event, chronicled by John Keel in his book The Mothman Prophecies (which later became a film), stands as one of the most peculiar and multi-layered episodes in the annals of paranormal phenomena. So many odd things were taking place that a list of them looks like an entire season of "The X-Files":
- Sightings of the Mothman creature itself by more than than 100 witnesses - a tall, headless beast with glowing red eyes and huge bat-like wings.
- UFO sightings.
- Men-in-black appearances. Arriving black cars, these weird men mumble codes and bits of strange languages. They try to drink jelly and have difficulty using knives and forks.
- Phantom phone calls.
- Electrical disturbances to such devices as TVs, telephones and a police radio.
- Eerie predictions and spontaneous prophecies, some of which were oddly out of sync.
- Missing time.
- Animal mutilations.
- Mental telepathy.
- Strange coincidences and repeating numbers.
- A missing, possibly dead dog.
The Bridgewater Triangle - Massachusetts
This paranormal area was first defined by researcher Loren Coleman in his book Mysterious America. The Triangle encompasses an area of about 200 square miles and includes the towns of Abington, Rehoboth and Freetown at the points of the triangle, and Bridgewater, West Bridgewater, North Middleboro, Segreganset, Dighton, North Dighton, Berkley, Myricks, Raynham, East Taunton, and Taunton inside the triangle. Central to the area is the mysterious Hockomock Swamp, which the Native Americans called "the Devil's swamp."
Paranormal activity in the Triangle include:
- Low-flying UFOs. The first UFO sighted over Bridgewater was in 1760, and was described as a sphere of fire that was so bright it cast shadows in broad daylight. Another was sighted on Halloween night in 1908, appropriately by two undertakers. Dozens more UFOs have been seen in the vicinity from the 1960s through to present day.
- Sightings of Bigfoot. The hairy hominid has been seen many times around Hockomock Swamp. In April, 1970, the creature allegedly picked up the rear of a police squad car, much to the surprise of the two officers inside.
- Thunderbird sightings. Witnesses claim to have seen a giant bird or pterodactyl-like flying creature with a wingspan as great as 12 feet.
- A large phantom dog with red eyes was seen killing two ponies. The witness, the ponies' owner, said the beast ripped their throats and was almost as big as the ponies themselves.
- Assorted strange or out-of-place creatures, including black panthers, giant turtles and snakes as thick as tree trunks.
- Cattle mutilations.
- Indian curses. According to one tale, the Native Americans had cursed the swamp centuries ago because of the poor treatment they received from the Colonial settlers.
- Ghosts. Visitors have experienced such haunting activity as the smell of smoke when there is no fire; a bonfire atop a rock that mysteriously vanished and ghostly voices in Algonquin tongue. There may also be a redheaded phantom hitchhiker who terrorizes motorists on Route 44.
- Spook lights have been seen on a number of occasions