Well, the mission is similar in scope to the likes of Area 51 or the Marfa Lights Viewing Area. Located in Saguache County, Colorado, in the heart of the San Luis Valley—where all the “weird shit” one hears about in Colorado originates (e.g., cattle mutilation, UFO sightings)—is this interesting little destination run by Judy Messoline, called the UFO Watchtower.
Near as I can tell, my wife and I made our first excursion there back in July 23, 2005, the same year Judy’s book, That Crazy Lady Down The Road, came out. I forgot about how or when I’d first been made aware of the Watchtower, but once I’d heard about it—and the Best Western Movie Manor hotel, with its own drive-in theater you can watch and listen to from your hotel room—I had to go there.
Alamosa, Colorado is located about 3 hours southwest of Colorado Springs, west of the Great Sand Dunes National Monument (also a great place to visit!). When you hit the town of Alamosa (if you take the I-25/Highway 160 route), you take a right on Highway 17, and head north. About 22 1/2 miles later, just north of Hooper, Colorado, you might see (if it’s still there), off on the right, after you past the Colorado Gators Reptile Park (I told you, this is an interesting place, didn’t I?), a little green alien waving at you (I can’t remember if we’d been told the little guy had been stolen or not, but, in any event, it used to be there…). A half-mile later, you’ll take that left (on our first trip there, my wife had played the X-Files soundtrack, as we pulled up to the place; it was surprisingly—or not so surprisingly—apropos to the mood!). You’ll be able to see the Watchtower from the road at that point. Out in the middle of your average, everyday Colorado plains. You’ll then follow a side road (I think it was a dirt road when we last went) around to the right, veering away from the campground entrance off on the left, and end up in the little dirt parking lot. If Judy’s not immediately there, she’ll eventually catch up, maybe like she did with us, in her golf cart, with her “little friend.”
Judy runs this little “bubble” gift shop hut, in which she sells all manner of book, posters, and fun “alien and paranormal stuff.” It’s beneath the UFO Watchtower, and the dome-shaped structure fits perfectly in-line with the location’s mission: to promote and observe extraterrestrial phenomena.
And hold stimulation conversations on the patio, beneath the Watchtower.
Along with Judy’s campground is a bed & breakfast, which should have already begun taking reservations (see site). In front of her watchtower is a place, called “The Garden,” which she built in 2002 (again, see the site, and click on “The Garden” link under the “Must See Tower Links”; she has a lot going on at her website, so check it out). The Garden, we are told, is the center of a cosmic vortex…but I have never seen this vortex that others have claimed to see. That’s cool. We all have our superpowers.
Entry to the Watchtower used to be free, with a requested donation (which we always paid), but I now see that she charges a mandatory $2 to enter. Judy (when not doing her chores and all) usually sits out there with any guests and shoots the breeze, as she smokes her cigarettes, her dogs milling about. In the past, she’d occasionally put out cookies or some kind of munchies. She’s very easy to get along with and will chat with you about near anything. I think on our last trip down there, a fiddlist friend of hers, from up Denver way, had her instrument out and played a tune or two for us—then later showed me some basic violin handling. It was fun…sitting out on the plains during that summer, listening to our own private, little concert, then getting a private, mini-violin lesson!
It was also on our first trip there, back in 2005, after we’d left the Watchtower, that we stopped at a couple of locations, in Hooper,
and asked around about any strange activity people might have seen. Besides the personal interest in things-paranormal, I was getting ready to begin work on my novel, ERO, so I’d come down here to do what UFO research I could, in my own “backyard,” so to speak. And, surprisingly (or not so surprisingly), we found everyone we talked to open and eager to share their stories of seeing strange things in the San Luis Valley skies. The strangest of these was from one lady who told us of a great-great-grandmother who’d seen a hovering craft flying around over Blanca Peak, to the east of Hooper. It had been above the mountain…then descended down and into the top of it.
Yes, great-great-grandmother. Who’d seen this in the late 1800’s.
Over the next five or so years, we’d gone back to the Watchtower about once a year, and I’d given Judy progress reports on how my UFO novel had been coming along. We had some interesting conversations, about things she’d seen, things others had seen. UFO speculation. Conspiracy theories. You know the drill. She showed me some cool pictures, books, and other things in her gift shop, and I bought an item or two. It has been several years since those annual pilgrimages, and with this year, we hope to make another. I’ve sent Judy a copy of ERO, but have only just done so (am kinda embarrassed I hadn’t earlier—I thought I had, but it had just gotten lost in all the “paperwork” of life…). Be interesting to talk with her about it, once she’s read it….
Now, every year, for I don’t know how long, Judy also hosts a UFO Conference. This year’s conference is July 26th and 27th. On her site is a brochure that can be checked out. The hyperlink is cute. Or, again, check out her Facebook link. She also hosts annual UFO Watches,and has had members of MUFON in attendance.
As mentioned, Judy has also written a book. It’s about her life and the creation of the UFO Watchtower. She discusses what brought her down to the Hooper area, the creation of the watchtower and its “garden,” and of course, aliens abductees, and sightings. I’d read it years ago, and made for interesting reading. Some of the info in there makes the hair on the back of your neck stand up, even if you’ve read it elsewhere. It all still makes you think, and will make for great conversation fodder!
Judy and her Watchtower have even been featured on the Travel Channel (2011), with Alejandro Rojas, as well as other interviews. She seems very busy, and in demand, for having been pegged…”That crazy lady down the road….”
Check out Judy’s Facebook page. She may also be contacted at 719/378-2296, or by e-mail, at ufowatchtower “at” yahoo.com.
- UFO Watchtower…Revisited (fpdorchakrealitycheck.wordpress.com)
- ERO – Trade Paperback Now Available! (fpdorchak.wordpress.com)