Want to look for ET? Head to the UFO Watchtower in Hooper

by Amanda Push

The UFO Watchtower isn’t just a good spot for catching a glimpse of extraterrestrials. It’s also a place where you can talk about your alien or UFO encounter without getting laughed out of Colorado, which, according to owner Judy Messoline, is a conversation that happens regularly at the alien-enthusiast hot spot. About 80 percent of visitors to the UFO Watchtower have had experiences with UFOs and other lifeforms, she said.

“It’s amazing how many folks are really open to all of this. A lot of people won’t talk about it even if they’ve seen something, because they don’t want to be made fun of. They can come here and be in a comfort zone. Nobody makes fun of them. We listen.”

Messoline certainly isn’t one to judge. She has spotted plenty of UFO activity since opening the Watchtower, located north of Hooper in the San Luis Valley. After years of “struggling with cows,” she had to sell her herd, and after hearing stories of UFO incidents from locals, she decided to open the tower.

“I’ve had fun but I never realized that it would keep going for 18 years. It’s been a pretty amazing thing. … It’s fun, what the heck.”

And what in Star Trek’s name is the UFO Watchtower, you ask? It’s a dome-shaped building with a 10-foot-tall tower that goes three-quarters of the way around the building. Believers and non-believers alike have a 360-degree view of the valley, and can visit the healing garden, which psychics believe is home to two large vortexes.

Since opening in 2000, people at the Watchtower have experienced 202 sightings. Messoline has gotten to see 28 of them.

In one instance, Messoline was watching what she thought was a shooting star coming down out of the sky. When it got below the peaks, its momentum started to slow.

“Well, that made sense to my weird mind. I thought maybe the downdrafts from the mountains would do that. What didn’t makes sense is it went straight back up.”

Visitors to the Watchtower will see lights that shoot across the sky quickly before stopping. Other times, the lights will be going one direction, and then just change direction without circling around.

“I can’t figure that one out,” she said.

One of the latest sightings occurred about a month ago, with a copper-colored object spotted in the sky during daylight. It was sitting stationary until it suddenly started making weird movements prior to vanishing.

With as many UFO incidents as this region lays claim to, it does make one curious. Why Hooper? Why this specific area?

“Some say it’s the vastness of the (San Luis Valley). Others say it’s the spirituality of the valley. Native Americans consider the valley floor sacred,” Messoline said.

Other theories are that there’s an extraterrestrial base in the nearby mountains or the hot water wells. In the end, it’s a toss-up. Could be anything.

The UFO Watchtower brought in about 10,000 visitors from all over the world in 2018, doubling last year’s count, Messoline said.

“A lot of people are just really curious, but then we get a lot of really hardcore believers in, too. So, I think by the time folks leave, even though they’ve never seen anything, it gives them something to think about.”


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