Area 51
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Route 666: Conspiracy Theory Destinations Across America

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Area 51
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Road to Perdition

Love a good conspiracy theory? Then you’ll want to include these destinations on your next road trip. These sites across America are known for unexplained events, UFO sightings, mysterious disappearances, and other bizarre facts. They’re an entertaining way to learn about history and let your creativity run wild. 


Related: Once Popular Tourist Hotspots That Are Now Totally Abandoned

huge sequoia tree in the national park
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Redwood National and State Parks

Sacramento, California

If you want to see Bigfoot, it’s best to head to the Redwood National and State Parks. The parks have been the site of multiple Bigfoot sightings, and conspiracy theories believe Bigfoot often spends time in nearby mountains. You’ll find the largest Bigfoot museum in Willow Creek, California. Time your trip right and you’ll even be in town for the annual Bigfoot Days, held every Labor Day weekend.


Related: 25 Strangest American Conspiracy Theories

Cecil Hotel
Cecil Hotel by ZhengZhou (CC BY-SA)

Cecil Hotel

Los Angeles

If you’ve watched the Netflix documentary, “Crime Scene: The Vanishing at the Cecil Hotel,” then you might want to put the hotel on your road trip list. Elisa Lam, a 21-year-old college student, went missing during her stay at the hotel in 2013. The disappearance has prompted all sorts of conspiracy theories, and internet sleuths accused and harassed musician Pablo “Morbid” Vergara, though he was found innocent. Several other deaths have occurred in the hotel, and killers like the “Night Stalker” Richard Ramirez even stayed at the property. It’s easy to understand the rumors that the hotel is haunted. 


Related: The Most Haunted Hotels in America

Centralia Mine
Centralia Mine by LaesaMajestas (CC BY-SA)

Centralia Mine

Centralia, Pennsylvania

When a mine fire started in Centralia, Pennsylvania, more than 50 years ago, it spread through the coal mines and has continued to burn since, fueled by mine gasses and destroying most of the town. Seven town residents have remained in their homes, but the rest of the town is deserted. The fire has generated several conspiracy theories, including that there is no mine fire, and that the fire was a plan to force residents out so that the coal underneath the town could be mined.


Related: 25 Towns Devastated by Losing a Single Company

Georgia Guidestones
Georgia Guidestones by Dina Eric (CC BY-SA)

Georgia Guidestones

Athens, Georgia

In a field off of Highway 77, you’ll find a monument called the Georgia Guidestones. The monument opened in 1980 and features four granite slabs in a cluster, inscribed with rules for humanity written in different languages. Conspiracy theorists almost immediately tried to decipher the monument’s meaning. Some performed numerology, while others went as far as to change the memorial’s design and write on it. The memorial’s meaning is still unknown. 


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Closeup view of Hveragerdi Hot Springs on trail in Reykjadalur, during autumn summer morning day in south Iceland, golden circle, rocks and river steam
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Brunswick Springs

Brunswick, Vermont

Brunswick Springs is a unique spot that consists of six individual springs. Reportedly, each spring contains a different mineral. The indigenous Abenakis believed the springs to have healing powers, and legend has it that a sorceress cursed the spring so that anyone who tried to profit from the water would fail. As the area was settled, a hotel was built above the springs, only to burn down four times. Two men hanged themselves in the area, and one woman drowned after driving her car into the lake. It’s no wonder that people continue to say that the area feels strange.


Denver airport
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Denver International Airport

Denver 

Denver International Airport has been the subject of countless conspiracy theories. Some people question why the airport was built, since there was another airport already in use closer to town. The airport’s huge size is also suspicious, and it’s full of strange art and decor, complete with a 32-foot-tall statue of a horse with glowing eyes. The sculpture fell on sculptor Luis Jimenez, killing him. Theories include that the airport was built by Nazis, that it’s the headquarters of the Illuminati, and that it’s concealing secret fallout shelters for world leaders.

HAARP
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HAARP

Anchorage, Alaska

The High-Frequency Active Auroral Research Program studies the ionosphere, a part of the atmosphere. That specialized and uncommon study focus has prompted many conspiracy theories. According to some, HAARP controls the weather, while others believe the facility can manipulate our brains.

Area 51
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Area 51

Las Vegas 

Area 51, a desert military base in Nevada, is at the center of one of the most well-known American conspiracy theories. Many people believe that the area conceals an underground lab where the government stores and studies captured UFOs and aliens. Rumor has it that the military base is actually a cover for the area’s real purpose. Area 51 has been widely portrayed in American pop culture, and in 2019, an uptick in UFO sightings led to a resurgence of interest in the area.


Brown Mountain
Brown Mountain by Thomson200 (CC BY)

Brown Mountain

North Carolina

In 1913, residents spotted mysterious lights above Brown Mountain. The lights were spotted repeatedly throughout the evening. The lights didn’t always appear in the same place, but numerous people saw the lights across a period of more than two years. Investigations into the source of the lights “eliminated all the things that are likely man-made natural sources,” and the actual source of the lights has yet to be identified.


Skinwalker Ranch
Skinwalker Ranch by Paul (CC BY-SA)

Skinwalker Ranch

Salt Lake City 

The 512-acre Skinwalker Ranch has been called cursed and supernatural, and has been the location of reported crop circles, UFO sightings, and repeated cattle mutilations. Several researchers have reported paranormal activity on the ranch, but no one has been able to capture physical evidence of the occurrences. Currently owned by a UFO enthusiast, the Skinwalker Ranch has been featured in a book, "Hunt for the Skinwalker: Science Confronts the Unexplained at a Remote Ranch in Utah."


Mystery Hill
Mystery Hill by Stan Shebs (CC BY-SA)

Mystery Hill

Salem, New Hampshire

Mystery Hill, also called America’s Stonehenge, is a series of stone walls and underground chambers in Salem, New Hampshire. The origins of the site are unknown. Some of the stones were quarried using primitive techniques, and surveyors have surmised that the stones’ position might reflect astronomy techniques used thousands of years ago. Conspiracy theories include that the site was created by Native Americans, Irish monks, 18th-century farmers, and more. 


Related: Incredible Ancient Ruins Across North America

Nature - Flathead Lake Montana Sunset Dusk
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Flathead Lake

Missoula, Montana

For more than a century, Montanans have talked about the Flathead Lake Monster. The giant serpent has reportedly been spotted in Flathead Lake, with the first recorded sighting taking place in 1889 from a steamboat. The monster is supposedly 30 to 40 feet long, and there have been 109 reported sightings to date.


Ong’s Hat
Ong’s Hat by Mr. Matté (CC BY)

Ong’s Hat

Pine Barrens, New Jersey

Ong’s Hat is a tiny ghost town that only ever held a single building called Ong’s Hut. Reportedly, the town was lively in the 1860s, but it plays a role in one of the earliest internet-based conspiracy theories. The conspiracy alleges that Princeton professors supposedly built a secret quantum physics lab in the tiny town, and that they participated in inter-dimensional travel. Bizarre as the theory is, it would explain why the town is deserted today.

Mattress Firm
Mattress Firm by Corey Coyle (CC BY)

Mattress Firm

Chicago

Mattress Firm has more than 3,500 stores, but the location of some of those stores has prompted a conspiracy theory about the activity that’s actually happening in those stores. The concentration of stores in certain locations, like Chicago, prompted conspiracy theorists to hypothesize that the stores are actually being used for money laundering. With a Mattress Firm apparently on every corner in some of these locations, it’s easy to see why some people are suspicious.

Winchester Mystery House
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Winchester Mystery House

San Jose, California

When Sarah Lockwood Pardee Winchester was widowed, she inherited a large part of the Winchester Repeating Arms estate. She moved to San Jose, California, where she began a renovation that lasted from 1886 until she died in 1922. Winchester transformed an eight-room farmhouse into a massive mansion complete with 160 rooms, 47 stairways and fireplaces, 10,000 windows, and 2,000 doors. If you think that renovation sounds a little bizarre, you’d be right. Conspiracy theories about the property abound, including rumors of it being haunted and of Winchester building the house at a psychic’s instruction.

The Sixth Floor Museum
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The Sixth Floor Museum

Dallas 

The Sixth Floor Museum memorializes President John F. Kennedy’s assassination. Today, it’s filled with information about Kennedy’s life, though the museum is located in the building where Lee Harvey Oswald perched to shoot Kennedy. Though the museum includes details about the assassination, plenty of conspiracy theories still abound, including that the CIA and Mafia were involved. Head to the streets and you’ll hear all sorts of different versions about what actually took place. 


The Safeguard Complex
Wikimedia Commons

The Safeguard Complex

Langdon, North Dakota

The $5.7 billion Stanley R. Mickelsen Safeguard Complex was constructed as a part of an anti-ballistic missile defense system. The complex opened on Oct. 1, 1975, but the U.S. House of Representatives voted to close the complex the very next day, on Oct. 2. It turns out that the base gave the U.S. bargaining power with Russia during the Cold War, and by not building the 11 other bases intended to be part of the system, the country saved billions of dollars. But, since the base appeared to be abandoned, many people have theorized that it’s actually a headquarters for the Illuminati.

Roswell
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Roswell

Roswell, New Mexico

When a farmer found debris in his sheep pasture just outside Roswell, New Mexico, in 1947, it set off a slew of conspiracy theories that would earn Roswell a reputation as being a prime site for UFOs and mysterious activities. The unidentified remains may have been part of a crashed weather balloon, but many people believed the remains were part of a flying saucer. In the 1950s, the Air Force performed dummy drops over fields throughout New Mexico, but the dummies they were using for safety testing resembled aliens falling from the sky. Though files on the dummy drops have been declassified, many people believe Roswell is a hotbed of UFO activity. 


Related: 18 Out-of-This-World Things to Do in Roswell, New Mexico on UFO Day


Bayou Corne Sinkhole
Bayou Corne Sinkhole by jc.winkler (CC BY)

Bayou Corne Sinkhole

Baton Rouge, Louisiana

In 2012, a massive sinkhole formed from Bayou Corne Stream in Baton Rouge, Louisiana. That sinkhole grew to more than 25 acres, which is almost as big as 20 football fields. Geologists struggled to explain why the sinkhole formed, and flammable methane gas bubbled up in the bayou and in residents’ yards. The lack of a firm explanation led to countless conspiracy theories, including that the sinkhole was somehow caused by the Gulf of Mexico or the New Madrid earthquake fault. Eventually, three companies were blamed for the collapse of an underground mine.

Marfa Lights
Marfa Lights by Robert Thomson (CC BY-NC)

Marfa Lights

Marfa, Texas

Marfa is a 2,000-person town with one traffic light, bu for 135 years, it’s also been the home of unexplained glowing orbs that appear in the sky. A cowhand first spotted the Marfa Lights in 1883, and since then, the colorful balls of light have been seen repeatedly. They tend to appear less than 30 times a year, so you have to have a bit of luck to spot them, but they’re most often visible just after a sunset or sunrise. To date, these mysterious lights haven’t been explained.


Integratron Chamber
Integratron Chamber by Jessie Eastland - (CC BY-SA)

Integratron Chamber

Yucca Valley

When George Van Tassel first built the Integratron Chamber, he described it as being a time machine designed to research topics like anti-gravity, time travel, and rejuvenation. Van Tassel was a UFOlogist and equipped the chamber with 64 static collectors designed to conduct electricity to the people receiving treatment inside the machine. Van Tassel kept many details about the machine secret, and it’s shrouded in conspiracy theories. Created in the 1950s, the Integratron Chamber is located in the Mojave Desert and still attracts visitors today — likely because of its unusual origin story.

Grand Prismatic Spring Sunrise, Yellowstone National Park, WY
XIN WANG/istockphoto

Yellowstone National Park

Wyoming

A massive supervolcano beneath Yellowstone National Park has prompted many conspiracy theories. While researchers say that the dormant volcano could be dead soon, theories abound about the United States government working on a secret evacuation plan in case the volcano erupts. According to these theories, the government plans to evacuate Americans to Brazil, Australia, or Argentina, and that the African National Congress was offered $10 billion to create temporary housing for Americans.


Related: 25 Things You Didn't Know About America's Oldest National Park


Oregon Caves National Monument, Oregon - June 2010
fdastudillo/istockphoto

Malheur Cave

Burns, Oregon

The Masonic Lodge of Burns owns the Malheur Cave, where the Masons hold their annual gatherings. Located in the Crystal Crane Hot Springs, Malheur Cave is a 3,000-foot-long cave. According to legend, the Native Americans believed that the cave was a passageway to the underworld. The cave is surrounded by conspiracy theories, including claims that it’s been the site of satanic rituals, and that it connects to a network of underground tunnels that span the entire country. 


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