Coloradan keeps an eye on the sky–from U.F.O. Watchtower

What is it about Colorado that makes it so welcoming to beings from other worlds? Could it be that unlike what happened (or maybe didn’t happen) in Roswell, NM, we’ve never built a top secret prison to hide the evidence of their existence?

Hard to say. Though given the recent defeat of a ballot measure to authorize a space alien commission in Denver, it could be that only parts of Colorado are truly welcoming of our friends from wherever. Where would you even land a spaceship in Denver? And imagine the panic. Probably best if our visitors come less conspicuously, at least if they come in peace.

The U.F.O. Watchtower in Hooper, CO

A few days ago The New York Times published a major piece on the U.F.O. Watchtower in Hooper. As always, The Times’ Kirk Johnson nailed it, sucking us right through the vortex:

“I like humans, they’re fun,” Judy Messoline said as she showed a visitor through her vortex garden, which psychics have said contains not just one, but two separate portals to a parallel universe.

Many of the humans who come to Ms. Messoline’s U.F.O. Watchtower, hard by the dueling vortexes, may be fun, but they are also wounded. About 95 percent, by her estimate — and she makes a point of asking — have experienced something, a shudder in the fabric of the ordinary, the sighting of an unidentified flying object that to one degree or another has haunted them and drawn them to this otherwise empty spot in south-central Colorado. Having fun in thinking about extraterrestrials, she said, is usually bound up with something deeper right here on the home planet.

“The world needs a place where people can go to talk about their experiences and not be laughed at,” she said.

People do laugh here. One of Ms. Messoline’s principles in building the Watchtower a decade ago, in an attempt to raise cash as her cattle ranch collapsed in economic ruin, was that U.F.O.-spotting should be a hoot, and whenever possible, a party.

“The best sightings have been when people are just out enjoying the evening,” she said. Fifty-nine events — lights that move erratically or, during the day, objects that defy explanation in shape or movement — have been witnessed from the tower since 2000, Ms. Messoline said, sometimes by dozens of people at the same time.

No one knows the count before that, since no local institution existed for counting. Many residents, though, say the San Luis Valley, just north of the New Mexico state line, has been a hotspot for decades. U.F.O. reports reach all the way back to the early settlements of the 1600s, with a particularly noted wave in the late 1960s.

Messoline herself seems to be having a blast. “Oh yeah,” she told The Colorado Independent, “I’ve said all along that if you don’t have fun, you’ll go crazy.”

She’s seen dozens of unexplainable things–lights, objects–since building the viewing platform. She said the most profound was a large cigar-shaped craft moving quickly across the sky between her ranch and the mountains, viewed by more than a dozen people at her place that day. She said she also got phone calls from people around the valley reporting the same sighting.

Altogether, she estimates about 20,000 people have visited the tower. Her property also includes a campground. Every Labor Day, she hosts a conference, which typically attracts 70-100 people at $25 a pop.

Her web site is extensive and interactive. It even includes stomach-turning photos of cattle mutilations complete with her rather unsettling thoughts on the subject.

You don’t build a U.F.O. viewing platform in the middle of nowhere without attracting attention. Numerous other sky-watchers have created online testaments to her efforts. Among them a site maintained by Richard Lalancette.

About himself, Lalancette writes:

M. Lalancette has worked as a software developer for the past 10 years. In 2006, he began to investigate the topic of hidden world politics and the search for extraterrestrial intelligence.

Exploring the evolving nexus of today’s science, spirituality and politics, He is now dedicated to expanding public awareness on those unexplained phenomena.

And, about Messoline and her project:

The strange light first appeared from the west.

It halted, and a group of onlookers flashed a high-powered flashlight twice.

The object flashed back twice.

It then moved to another part of the sky. The group flashed twice. Two flashes back. The object shifted again, mirrored their flashes once more, then disappeared into the starry black night.

Close encounter with the third kind?

The phenomenon was the first of 40 sightings that have occurred over the past seven years at Judy Messoline’s UFO Watchtower in the San Luis Valley.

Messoline moved from Golden to the valley in 1995 to raise cattle. But the land was dry and soon there was nothing to feed the animals. She was forced to sell the herd, but refused to sell the land. There was something about it. It had an aura.

Messoline has written a book, “That Crazy Lady Down The Road,” available on her site. She has also published a wish list of things she needs to further her mission. It includes: a black helicopter, flying objects of all kinds and BIG satellite dishes.

Got a tip? Freelance story pitch? Send us an e-mail. Follow The Colorado Independent on Twitter.
Scot Kersgaard has been managing editor of a political newspaper, editor and co-owner of a ski town newspaper, executive editor of eight high-tech magazines (where he worked with current Apple CEO Tim Cook), deputy press secretary to a U.S. Senator, and an outdoors columnist at the Rocky Mountain News. He has an English degree from the University of Washington. He was awarded a fellowship to study internet journalism at the University of Maryland's Knight Center for Specialized Journalism. He was student body president in college. He spends his free time hiking and skiing.

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