Next year marks the 70th anniversary of the UFO encounter (and controversy) in Roswell, New Mexico. In town, you’ll find a McDonald’s shaped like a UFO and the International UFO Museum, which provides a deep dive into what took place in July 1947. You can also head to the extra-kitschy Area 51 Museum across the street to pose with extraterrestrials.
But while most people are familiar with Roswell, there are a handful of other paranormal sites across the U.S. where you might find your own encounter with the third kind. Here’s our list:
1. Rachel, NV
Rachel, Nevada is a tiny town about halfway along State Route 375, affectionately known as the Extraterrestrial Highway. There’s just one business on the 98-mile stretch: the Little A’Le’Inn Restaurant & Bar, where you can spend the night, if you dare. For 35 cents, they’ll sell you a map that will lead you to the back gate of Area 51. You’ll also want to stop at ET Fresh Jerky half an hour down the road for a snack. The cowboy alien murals are just begging for selfies.
2. Elmwood, WI
Known as the UFO Capital of Wisconsin, visitors flock to Elmwood where UFO sightings have been reported since the 1970s. At Sailer’s Food Market, pose with a handful of UFOS, even aliens, right there in the parking lot. In late-July, Elmwood holds the annual UFO Days to mark the spaceship sightings with a parade, car show, and plenty of costumed aliens. Head to The Shack for a pizza and a look at memorabilia on the UFO Days wall.
3. Hooper, CO
Just west of Great Sand Dunes National Park in Colorado, you’ll find Hooper, home to the UFO Watchtower. From this observation tower, dozens of UFO sightings have been reported across the San Luis Valley. Pay $10 to camp on site. There’s also a new bed and breakfast ($85 per night, 805.886.6959). Sign the guest book for humans (there’s a separate book just for aliens). In July, the Cosmic Highway Conference will be held here, bringing together those who’ve seen spacecraft and had encounters with aliens.
4. Pine Bush, NY
With nearly 2,000 reported UFO sightings in the ‘80s and ‘90s, it’s easy to see how Pine Bush, New York garnered its distinction as the UFO Capital of the East Coast. Extraterrestrial activity has subsided since then, but area residents still claim unusual aircraft sightings from time to time. Even alien abductions. Each May, Pine Bush hosts a UFO Fair, complete with UFO goodies and an alien-themed parade through town. Speakers present throughout the day on the town’s history with UFOs.
5. Aurora, TX
April 17, 1897: That’s the date when an alien spacecraft is said to have crashed in Aurora, Texas — at least according to a plaque at Aurora Cemetery, where the extraterrestrial visitor is said to be buried. A 1986 movie, Aurora Encounter, even recounts the story of the alien being who died upon crash landing in Aurora. Located 30 miles north of Fort Worth, alien-chasers may want to make the short side trip to this town that some refer to as the original Roswell.