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Location: UFOUpDatesList.Com > 2007 > Aug > Aug 19

'UFO Watchtower' Draws Visitors

From: UFO UpDates - Toronto <ufoupdates.nul>
Date: Sun, 19 Aug 2007 22:24:58 -0400
Archived: Sun, 19 Aug 2007 22:24:58 -0400
Subject: 'UFO Watchtower' Draws Visitors

Source: The Gazette - Colorado Springs, USA


Saturday, August 18, 2007

'UFO Watchtower' Draws Visitors
By Jessica Sidman

HOOPER, Colo. -- 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

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.

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 beginning of
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 in front of
the tower.

"We tell people because of all the energy -- and you can
definitely feel it out in the garden -- to leave something in
the garden and get their energy there as well," Messoline says.

Now it's an intergalactic junk yard. Yes, there is alien
paraphernalia, but also swim goggles, a pair of white strappy
heels, and a ukulele.

At the tower's 21 campsites visitors can spend all evening
staking out UFOs and roasting marshmallows. Messoline also rents
a small cabin.

Mancos artists Marty and Denise Stecher and their two young boys
have come to the campground the past three summers. The stop
usually includes visits to the nearby alligator farm and hot

They aren't necessarily waiting for aliens, but say the barren
campground is beautiful -- and cheap. On a recent visit, the
family lit saucer-shaped fireworks that spun up in the air in a
buzzing whirl. It was the closest they'd come to seeing a UFO on
this trip.

Denise Stecher says she has seen "strange things" before but she
wouldn't necessarily say that little green men are behind them.

"I believe in people who believe," she says. "I like to see
people who are passionate about different things, including

The Stechers were the only campers on a recent night, but
Messoline says the place does fill up, particularly at her
annual UFOlympics conference that draws more than a hundred for
a weekend of speakers and sky gazing. This year's conference was
held late last month.

"We have a sighting every year," she says.

For the most part, visitors are curious tourists passing by on
Colorado Highway 17, but occasionally someone claims personal
experience with extraterrestrials.

One of the first visitors was a truck driver who said he'd been

He told Messoline he'd been driving north on Highway 285 toward
Sawatch when he saw a big light in the sky. The light was
suddenly in front of his truck and he swerved. The next thing he
remembers is driving on the other side of Sawatch heading toward
Monte Vista. When he was filling out his log book later, he
realized he was missing three hours.

The trucker was the first of more than 100 self-proclaimed
abductees who have come to Messoline seeking a kind ear.

"They know that they can come here and we'll listen. They can
talk about anything they want to talk about no matter how
bizarre it is. Nobody makes fun of them. Nobody says, 'What did
you have to drink tonight?"' They feel comfortable here."

Messoline has started to record their experiences.

"I've seen them at night. Strange lights moving strange ways,"
reads a notebook entry from April 15.

There are photos, too: Eerie lights. Saucers. Orbs. But with
computer programs like Photoshop, it's hard to say what's real.

That's not to say strange things don't happen in the San Luis

Messoline recalls one night when she pulled up in her pickup and
felt a strange presence. The next day, cameras quit working,
cars wouldn't start and watches stopped.

Messoline is reluctant to flat-out say that what she's seen has
come from another planet. Becker says the government could be

"I'd like one to land so I can take a good look. I would really
like that. And I've got all the room here for them to do that,"
she says. "There's something really bizarre going on up in that
sky, and I can't explain it."

[Thanks to Greg Boone for the lead]

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