Paranormal Hot Spots

Paranormal Investigators: Hand reaching through light Images

There are many places around the world that seem to be focal points of high strangeness — vortexes of bizarre sightings, unexplained encounters, and eerie events. Reports gathered over the decades have bestowed reputations on these locations as places you might not want to travel alone, or at least tread carefully. The interesting thing about most of these areas is that they are confluences of a variety of phenomena, from ghosts and monsters to Bigfoot and UFOs. Following are descriptions of them, and the strange things seen there.

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Superstition Mountains

Man belaying another on a route in the heart of the Superstition Mountains

Stewart M. Green

This mountainous area in south-central Arizona didn't get its name for nothing. And white men weren't the first to note its bad vibrations; the Apache Indians called it the Devil's playground.

Among the reported strangeness are:

  • An entry into a subterranean world. Those who claim to have penetrated the tunnel tell of the remains of ancient structures and a spiral staircase that leads down into the bowels of earth. Some say Reptilian humanoids have come out of these portals.
  • Time and dimensional shifts.
  • Spirit faces in the rocks.
  • A legend that the mountains were once guarded by a race of pygmies.
  • Location of the famous "Lost Dutchman" mine.
  • The site of the Circlestone medicine wheel, 6,000 feet up in the mountains — "an artifact that could be as important as England's Stonehenge," according to some researchers.
  • During the '50s, '60s, and '70s, numerous UFOs were sighted around Flat Iron and Bluff Springs Mountain, which is adjacent to Circlestone. In 1973, two campers reported seeing a UFO land and then take off from the Circlestone area.
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Sedona, Arizona

Danita Delimont/Gallo Images/Getty Images

Sedona has become a kind of Mecca for New Age seekers, psychics, UFO hunters and explorers of the unexplained, and was the site where the "harmonic convergence" of 1987 was celebrated. It's been called the "New Age Disneyland of karmic consumerism."

Strangeness reports include:

  • "Sedona has become known as the site of frequent UFO sightings," says Loy Lawhon, former Guide to UFOs. "The objects seen most frequently there are the 'ball of light' type UFOs rather than those that resemble metallic craft."
  • The site of the alleged Sedona Vortex — an interdimensional portal or doorway between our dimension and some other, or to a higher level of consciousness. (There's a lot of money being made by guided tours, seminars, psychic readers and the like surrounding these vortexes.)
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Uintah Basin, Utah

Lake and brush long Highway 40 near Daniels Summit between Heber and Duchesne in the Uintah Basin


Jeremy Christensen/Getty Images

This 480-acre cattle ranch in central Utah — also known as Skinwalker Ranch — was so plagued by UFOs and other strange phenomena that its one-time owners, Terry and Gwen Sherman, were eager to get rid of it. A willing buyer was found in Las Vegas real estate tycoon Robert T. Bigelow because he was intrigued by the mysterious goings-on. He brought in a team of investigators and set up arrays of surveillance equipment to find out what was taking place. Some have dubbed the ranch "the strangest place on Earth."

Here's just some of what was going on:

  • Unexplained cattle mutilations, and cattle that just disappeared. Ten of the Sherman's cows reportedly vanished.
  • UFOs "the size of football fields." And in 1980, a rancher claimed to have seen a 40-foot silver sphere on the ground of what later became the Sherman ranch.
  • Terry Sherman claimed to have actually seen aliens come out of one UFO. "It was a human type, over seven feet tall, decked out in a totally black uniform and very huge, very heavyset," he reported.
  • Interdimensional portals that were seen to open in mid-air. The Shermans said they saw lights emerging from these doorways.
  • Floating balls of light, one of which might have toasted the family dogs. The Sherman's three dogs vanished after chasing a ball of light. A circular burn mark was found on the ground near where the dogs were last seen.
  • Gwen Sherman was supposedly chased by several red balls of light while driving home one night.

Many of the weird phenomena at the ranch was detailed in the book Hunt for the Skinwalker by Colm Kelleher and George Knapp.

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Big Thicket

Big Thicket Texas, meadow on forest edge


Mike_Pellinni/Getty Images

The Big Thicket spreads across East Texas and Southwestern Louisiana, and may be home to a host of paranormal phenomena and earthly anomalies:

  • Ghost lights, some of which have been known to disable automobile engines and seem to exhibit intelligence. This light can be found along Black Creek near the old ghost town of Bragg in eastern Texas. The Big Thicket Ghost Light has been described as starting as a pinpoint of light among the swamp trees that grow to the brightness of a flashlight, then dims and fades away. Its color has been likened to that of a pumpkin.
  • Phantom primitive Indians who allegedly have attacked people.
  • Howling, ape-like wildmen. They "wander the deep woods at night, and occasionally even the town margins and suburbs, howling like banshees," says author Rob Riggs.
  • Unexplained fireballs that streak through darkened skies.
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Point Pleasant

Illustration of mothman flying


estt/Getty Images 

Mothman and all the bizarre activity and high-strangeness that accompanied it back in the late 1960s put Point Pleasant on the paranormal map. Although things seem to have calmed down in Point Pleasant in recent decades, the Mothman event, chronicled by John Keel in his book (which later became a film), stands as one of the most peculiar and multi-layered episodes in the annals of paranormal phenomena. So many odd things were taking place that a list of them looks like an entire season of "The X-Files":

  • Sightings of the Mothman creature itself by more than 100 witnesses — a tall, headless beast with glowing red eyes and huge bat-like wings.
  • UFO sightings.
  • Men-in-black appearances. Arriving black cars, these weird men mumble codes and bits of strange languages. They try to drink jelly and have difficulty using knives and forks.
  • Phantom phone calls.
  • Electrical disturbances to such devices as TVs, telephones and a police radio.
  • Eerie predictions and spontaneous prophecies, some of which were oddly out of sync.
  • Missing time.
  • Animal mutilations.
  • Mental telepathy.
  • Strange coincidences and repeating numbers.
  • A missing, possibly dead dog.
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Bridgewater Triangle

Massachusetts Bridgewater Triangle on a map

Stephen Wagner 

This paranormal area was first defined by researcher Loren Coleman in his book Mysterious America. The Triangle encompasses an area of about 200 square miles and includes the towns of Abington, Rehoboth and Freetown at the points of the triangle, and Bridgewater, West Bridgewater, North Middleboro, Segreganset, Dighton, North Dighton, Berkley, Myricks, Raynham, East Taunton, and Taunton inside the triangle. Central to the area is the mysterious Hockomock Swamp, which the Native Americans called "the Devil's swamp."

Paranormal activity in the Triangle include:

  • Low-flying UFOs. The first UFO sighted over Bridgewater was in 1760, and was described as a sphere of fire that was so bright it cast shadows in broad daylight. Another was sighted on Halloween night in 1908, appropriately by two undertakers. Dozens more UFOs have been seen in the vicinity from the 1960s through to present day.
  • Sightings of Bigfoot. The hairy hominid has been seen many times around Hockomock Swamp. In April 1970, the creature allegedly picked up the rear of a police squad car, much to the surprise of the two officers inside.
  • Thunderbird sightings. Witnesses claim to have seen a giant bird or pterodactyl-like flying creature with a wingspan as great as 12 feet.
  • A large phantom dog with red eyes was seen killing two ponies. The witness, the ponies' owner, said the beast ripped their throats and was almost as big as the ponies themselves.
  • Assorted strange or out-of-place creatures, including black panthers, giant turtles, and snakes as thick as tree trunks.
  • Cattle mutilations.
  • Indian curses. According to one tale, the Native Americans had cursed the swamp centuries ago because of the poor treatment they received from the Colonial settlers.
  • Ghosts. Visitors have experienced such haunting activity as the smell of smoke when there is no fire; a bonfire atop a rock that mysteriously vanished and ghostly voices in Algonquin tongue. There may also be a redheaded phantom hitchhiker who terrorizes motorists on Route 44.
  • Spook lights have been seen on a number of occasions.
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The Devil's Backbone

Devil's Backbone at sunset

 Ronda Kimbrow Photography/Getty Images

The route that runs along State Highway 32 for 122 miles is one of the most scenic in the hill country of Texas, but it also can be one of the most treacherous and spookiest. Its history, like many areas of the West, has seen its share of violence to Native Americans and white settlers alike. And many ghosts seem to have lingered:

  • On numerous occasions, apparitions have been seen of a lost patrol of a half-dozen Confederate soldiers. According to one account, the sound of their horses' hooves were loud enough to shake a cabin.
  • The ghost of a Native American named Drago has been seen herding cattle along the backbone, according to some ranchers.
  • The widow of a killed miner and their child have been seen wandering the area, supposedly seeking a proper Christian burial for her husband.
  • Along the aptly named Purgatory Road, an apparition is said to materialize the the hoods of cars as they drive along.
  • Local ghost hunting groups have seen shadow people there and recorded EVP.

Many more paranormal tales of The Devil's Backbone can be found in The Devil's Backbone: Ghost Stories from the Texas Hill Country by Bert Wall.

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Cannock Chase

Forest opening in Cannock Chase


Ashley Cherrington/EyeEm/Getty Images 

Cannock Chase has played host to some of the strangest events and sightings ever to occur in the British Isles. 2,000 years ago, a Celtic tribe known as the Cornovii (which literally translates as "people of the horn") occupied the area, and ever since then, people have reported literally hundreds of UFO, cryptid, and other paranormal sightings from deep within this majestic woodland.

From big cats to werewolves, this tranquil Staffordshire forest is said to have them all, not forgetting, of course, the internationally infamous yet totally terrifying curly tailed monster known to researchers and enthusiasts as "The Pig-man".

This unique cryptid was first spotted in the 1940s when Cannock Chase was home to two huge military training camps and a German prisoner of War hospital. Over the years, more and more sightings have been reported, placing the Pig-man at the number one spot on many lists of England's weirdest creatures.

Strange events from Cannock Chase:

  • The Penkridge UFO Crash 1964 (also known as the British Roswell).
  • More than 180 "big cat" sightings in just over 5 years.
  • Mass UFO sighting (black triangle), 1988.
  • One of the only recorded werewolf attacks in England.

If you'd like to learn more about Cannock Chase, The Pig-man, and all the other weirdness afoot in this almost magical Staffordshire forest, check out UFOs, Werewolves & The Pig-man: Exposing England's Strangest Location – Cannock Chase by Lee Brickley, available from: Amazon UK and Amazon U.S.

Also see Lee Brickley's blog: Paranormal Cannock Chase

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Marley Woods

Halo of light over Marley Woods Missouri mountains at night


Iri_sha/Getty Images 

The first part of the mystery surrounding Marley Woods is exactly where it is in Missouri. The reason is, there is no place with that name really. It was a name given to the area by a UFO researcher, who wanted to call it something while keeping its precise location confidential. Nevertheless, several incidents of strange and paranormal activity, as well as UFO sightings, have been reported there, including:

  • Strange balls of light, possibly ball lightning, about the size of a basketball have been seen. "They appeared to our right on a collision course with each other," said the witness. "They were moving very fast and when they came together I grabbed my wife and threw her to the ground thinking there would be shock waves and debris. The lights merged and went out, there was no sound and no debris."
  • On May 3, 2008, seven or eight silent amber lights were documented, each lasting only a few seconds.
  • In July 1999, a couple in their 60s witnesses an illuminated "craft" descend into the woods. The next day at a nearby farm, both of them were pushed or forced to the ground by an unseen force.
  • In 1970, a caretaker of a cabin in the area found a burnt ring formation on the ground measuring about 10 feet in diameter. Inside the formation were three holes in a triangular orientation.
  • In 1988, a witness and his wife reported seeing a cigar-shaped UFO with several illuminated windows that shot a brilliant beam of light toward the ground. Imprints on the ground were later discovered.
  • In December 1998, a family of three were watching TV when the glass on their stereo cabinet cracked in half. Hearing a loud noise outside, they went out to investigated and found that their old junked truck — with no engine, in gear, and with the emergency brake on — has been pushed, wheels digging into the dirt, 12 feet and into the garage door. There were no unusual markings on it.
  • In 1989, Children playing on a trampoline were terrified by a glowing white object that hovered in the upper branches of a nearby tree. The tree died within two weeks.
  • In June 1999, a rancher found number cattle dead under mysterious circumstances. A newborn calf was picked clean of its flesh. "Baked" rings about 20 feet in diameter were found in the area, which horses were reluctant to approach.
  • In July 1999, a cow, with great difficulty, gave birth to a mummified calf. Strange, swirled patches of grass were found nearby.
  • On September 4, 2008, a property owner saw two extremely large dog-like animals some 880 feet away. They were in the corner of two fields and were walking slowly together. He stated the animals would weigh at least 200 lbs.