Getting to Where the UFOs Are

Getting to Where the UFOs Are

Grab Your UFO Spotter’s Checklist and Go UFO literature makes clear that sightings are routinely made across the globe. Besides pondering the objects’ origins, UFOlogists wonder why certain parts of the world are more prone to sightings than others. The UFO-heavy site may be as small as a single village or town, or as large as a subsection of a continent. Alien visitors may be keen to learn more about human activity, past and present, as religious monuments, military bases, great cities, and nuclear reactors seem to excite special interest.

Alternatively, visitors may be drawn by natural phenomena, such as weather, bodies of water, geologic fault lines, mountains, deserts, and energy fields.

Among the human animal’s wonderful qualities is a willingness to live or travel anywhere on Earth. Because of that hardiness, people are on hand to witness UFO activity in even the most remote parts of the world. Whether accessible or inaccessible, spots that receive regular visits from UFOs will invariably have people on hand to stand witness.

Eyes Only: Global UFO Hot Spots

Area 51

Officially known as Groom Lake/Homey Airport, this highly secure government-owned parcel in the Nevada desert—involved mainly in tests of aircraft and other new military systems—has resonated in the imagination of UFOlogists for decades. Because of claims of saucer tests, visits from extraterrestrials, and other assumptions, Area 51 is a de rigueur stop for every UFO enthusiast. (For much more, see chapter eight.) Nevada Highway 375, which runs close to Groom Lake, has a state-approved designation of Extraterrestrial Highway.


This state that combines heavily populated urban areas with vast expanses of desert has attracted UFOs since July 1947, mere weeks after the famed Washington State sighting by Kenneth Arnold, which “created” the flying saucer phenomenon. Arizona sightings can be expected to continue near military bases, across the nighttime desert (a locale favored by astronomers and amateur stargazers), and near Tucson, Phoenix, Mesa, and other cities.

The state’s proximity to Area 51 and the alleged secret underground human-alien base at Dulce, New Mexico (see chapter eleven), figures in some UFO accounts from Arizona.

Bonnybridge, Scotland

This town in the Falkirk council area is the apparent epicenter of sightings from the town of Stirling to the Scottish capital, Edinburgh. Sightings made by civilians, police officers, and military personnel date to 1942 and continue, with vigor.


The UFO history of this enormous South American nation (world’s fifth-largest in geographical area and population) goes back to 1947. As with some other UFO hot spots, Brazil exhibits a great variety of topographies, ecosystems, and population densities; sightings have come in from isolated areas as well as cities.

Notable cases include the 1966 discovery of the bodies of two electrical technicians near Rio de Janeiro (both men died wearing peculiar lead masks); and the celebrated Varginha event of 1996 (see chapter eleven). Brazilian tales of alien abductions began in the mid-1950s.


Blessed with picturesque, and remote, forest and glacial areas, the enormous land mass that is Canada came to the fore as a UFO hot spot in the mid-1960s. Sightings have been urban (such as the 1990 Montreal Bonaventure Hotel rooftop sighting) and in the wild (multiple sightings at Harbour Mill, Newfoundland, in 2010).

Since the millennium, Toronto, Vancouver, and Terrace, British Columbia (a popular outdoor-activities town) have had increasing numbers of reports.

Earth orbit

If you can get yourself into orbit, you are likely to see unidentified flying objects. Many will turn out to be (after brief consideration) meteorites and other natural bodies, or pieces of man-made space junk.

Then again, you may luck out and get a glimpse of the so-called Black Night satellite, a dark, oddly shaped alien invention that has allegedly orbited our world for more than ten thousand years.

Elk River, Minnesota

Home to regular sightings since 1992, this small town north of Minneapolis has seen UFOs in a variety of shapes and sizes, most famously, perhaps, in November 1979, when an unidentified craft crashed into the Elk River mudflats.

Kapustin Yar

The 4th Missile Test Range, a high-security Soviet military and testing base at Kapustin Yar, sits some sixty miles east of Volgograd (formerly Stalingrad). Activated in 1946, the site initially housed captured German V-2 scientists, who worked with their Soviet counterparts on hurry-up development of intelligence-gathering technology and weapons systems.

Since 1947, the base has conducted significant tests of rockets, missiles, and nuclear bombs (atmospheric). A significant portion of work is carried out in underground facilities. Fighter wings attached to the base have occasionally tangled with UFOs; a MiG crashed there in 1948 while pursuing a large, cigar-shaped object; and in 1967, another MiG was nearly lost when struck by a light beam emitted by a UFO. Fireballs and red spheres figure in other UFO reports. Alien spacecraft are said to have crashed at the site in 1960 and 1961. Today, Kapustin Yar is popularly known in the West as “Russia’s Roswell” and “Russia’s Area 51.”

The M Triangle, Russia

This remote, forty-square-mile area in Russia’s Ural Mountains about six hundred miles east of Moscow has produced reports of the paranormal for three generations. Perhaps inspired by local folklore and natural phenomena, some of the accounts seem explainable enough.

But repeated accounts of luminescent humanoids; odd, dancing lights; anomalous sounds; and indecipherable symbols that appear in the sky suggest an environment unusually attuned to the unorthodox.

Myrtle Beach, South Carolina

This attractive beach community attracts thousands of tourists every year, some of whom come to see UFOs. The “Grand Strand” area, which includes Myrtle Beach, Little River, and Cherry Grove, is a longtime attractor of mysterious flying lights; many Myrtle Beach reports taken by MUFON and NUFORC are dominated by the color orange:

“orange orbs,” “orange circles,” “orange fireballs,” “orange spheres,” “orange lights.” Skeptics invariably mention Shaw AFB in Sumter, South Carolina (about a hundred miles northwest of Myrtle Beach), which regularly conducts night maneuvers off the coast.

Nullarbor Plain, Australia

As its name suggests, the lonely Nullarbor Plain has no trees—or very few, anyway. It is an arid and semi-arid expanse of some 750 miles, traversed by excellent highways, and thus accessible to hardy locals and visitors. On January 20, 1988, a “bright light” dogged the car of the Knowles family, landed on the roof, filled the cabin with noxious gray mist, and then lifted the car from the road. Inside, the Knowles’ panicked speech audibly slowed. Much to their discomfort, the Knowles became the most famous people in Australia.

Skeptics suggested the family had seen the rising sun, dust devils, and an electrical storm. Other notable cases from the Nullarbor Plain: authorities discover a crashed UFO and deceased alien (1977); flying lights buzz a truck and rock it (1992); a craft parked at a highway berm lifts off when approached by car (1992); two women driving across the Plain enter a fugue state, experience discomfort in their vaginas, and see visions of small blue humanoids (2006).

Pacific Coast Highway (PCH; California State Route 1)

California’s most picturesque highway runs up the coast from San Diego to Redwood National Park, north of San Francisco. Although broad and busy in Orange County and near Los Angeles, the route has considerable stretches that are relatively quiet.

UFO sightings on and near the road date back at least to World War II, and encompass lights, fireballs, spheres, discs, and saucers. Some sightings have been explained as jets and test firings from Vandenberg AFB, located 130 miles up the coast from Malibu. A portion of UFO activity near the highway is linked (by some) to secret underwater saucer bases—a stimulating notion that has yet to be proved.

Intense speculation focuses on Sycamore Knoll, a contoured, 2.5-mile-wide underwater shelf about two thousand feet below the ocean’s surface, northwest of Malibu. According to some UFOlogists, Google Earth images suggest a carefully plotted oval “roof” supported by pillars, and a wide, dark entrance, suggestive of a purpose-built underwater base. But complementary images from other sources show a natural formation above a fault line. The “pillars,” when viewed from side angles, are vertical striations in rock, and the presumed “entrance” is a shallow concavity that leads nowhere. The oval roof is rock in an oval shape.

San Clemente, Chile

This municipality located in the Chilean Andes 150 miles south of Santiago has produced hundreds of UFO reports since the mid- 1990s. In 2008, the Chilean government designated a nineteen-mile mountain path as a “UFO trail,” reflecting interest in UFO hot spots at Colbun Lake, El Enladrillado (a supposed landing pad built from volcanic rock), and the Reserva Nacional Altos de Lircay. Altitudes in this district located 150 miles south of Santiago can top eighty-two hundred feet, and portions of the area are accessible only on horseback.

San Luis Valley, Colorado

Located about 110 miles southwest of Pueblo, this eight-thousand-square-mile basin sits about seventy-six hundred feet above sea level. Although aquifers have created wetlands and even lakes, and local farmers grow potatoes and other crops, the Valley is generally arid.

Lacking ground light, the area has seen UFOs for decades. During the summer and fall of 2014, authorities in Hooper, Crestone, and other nearby Valley towns struggled to keep up with a steady flow of UFO reports. During the same period, local ranchers complained of missing or mutilated cattle.

Sochi, Russia

Since 2009, the skies above the Black Sea resort that hosted the 2014 Winter Olympics have been very active with UFOs—hundreds of them, according to residents. A considerable portion of local speculation revolves around nearby Bytkha Mountain, a peak that had sacred significance to Paleolithic settlers, and later to Geniokhs and Ubykhs.

Some in Sochi insist that the mountain houses a secret saucer base. Others suggest that the peak is the epicenter of a “galactic hub” or “vortex” that allows UFOs to sideslip the vast distances of space as they shuttle between their home planets and Sochi.

Stephenville, Texas

UFO reports here date to January 8, 2008, when Stephenville residents saw mammoth flying objects “as big as a football field,” and even larger. According to some sources, even the Bush Ranch (yes, those Bushes) came in for a buzzing. (UFOlogist Scott Waring claims that George W. Bush himself flew the largest of the Stephenville UFOs.) Simultaneous reports came from towns close to Stephenville: Dublin, Cisco, Alexander, and Comanche.

Following international media coverage, the U.S. military explained that residents had seen F-16 fighters from nearby Carswell Field, an airbase attached to the Naval Air Station at Fort Worth. (The initial number of F-16s cited by Carswell, four, later grew to ten.) During the course of the exercise, the F-16 pilots dropped flares suspended by parachutes. Heat from the flares caused the chutes to rise. UFO sightings at Stephenville have continued to the present day.

Wycliffe Well, Australia

This town in north-central Australia has been a center of UFO activity since World War II. The frequency of sightings speeded up in the 1990s, with regular observation of rectangles, squares, spheres, and cigar shapes, flying solo, in pairs, and in groups. Local lore says that if the curious stay up all night at Wycliffe Well, they will almost certainly spot a UFO. Some UFOlogists credit the great number of sightings at Wycliffe Well to “ley lines”: hypothetical straight lines that trace mountains, great rocks, fault lines, and other landforms, as well as sacred sites, ancient monuments, and ancient burial grounds. The theory holds that the lines generate power from magnetic fields.

The Welsh Triangle: Vivid accounts of UFOs around St. Brides Bay at Pembrokeshire, Wales, date to 1952. Witnesses have observed cigar-shaped objects, discs, and ovoids. Many sightings involve humanoids of various shapes and sizes; some of the creatures reveal a propensity to peep in windows. Physical evidence has included scorched grass and earth, and unusual metal objects. At least one Triangle event (June 1977) involves Men in Black. In a declassified document released in 2012, someone at a 1995 Ministry of Defence meeting ventured that aliens visiting the Triangle could be indulging in “tourism.” Speculation about underground bases, ley lines, and physical embodiments of Welsh folk tales persists.

Your own backyard

Anything can happen. So keep wondering, keep watching.