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 landwas 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.Since she and her companion, Stan Becker, arrived, neighbors had told stories about strange things they'd seen in the skies. They all joked about building a UFO watchtower, but Messoline and Becker never intended to do it. When times got desperate, however, they began to see the joke as an opportunity.
"We had never seen anything prior to opening and never expected to," Messoline says.
They took out loans to
build the $10,000 tower, and tourists and UFO fanatics have been
steadily trickling in since, hoping to catch a glimpse of something out
of this world.
More than 15,000 people
have stopped by since the beginningof last summer. A guest book shows
visitors from Tokyo, Zurich, Sydney and, um, Pluto.
At 10 feet tall, the tower
is really less of a tower and more of an elevated balcony. But it does
give visitors enough height to take in the miles of shrub-spotted
desert stretching in every direction, to the Sangre de Cristo Mountains
and nearby Great Sand Dunes National Park and Preserve.
There's a dome-shaped gift
shop meant to look like a spaceship. Inside, you can buy alien-themed
boxers, ET necklaces, UFO watchtower shot glasses and the like.
Donations, camping fees,
and gift shop purchases bring in between $14,000 and $20,000 a year.
Messoline works as a substitute teacher to supplement the income.
Visiting psychics say there
are two portals to a parallel universe, guarded by invisible beings in
a garden infron......
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Robert Bast, somewhere, May 2001
Here is an
idea worth considering: Thousands of years ago humankind had attained a
high-level of technological achievement. They understood laws of nature that are
unknown to us today. They explored Antarctica and mapped the entire globe. They
made monuments that we would have difficulty recreating with our modern
techniques and equipment.
Then tragedy struck in the form of a global
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