Map of Fortean Occurrences in the Contiguous USA

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To all:

Thinking about the evident eminent plurality of Fortean phenomena in the Pacific Northwest portion of the United States made me wonder about the location of other famous phenomena. And that led to the idea of producing a map of some of the most significant areas for Fortean occurrences, in the contiguous United States.

To qualify, the phenomenon had to be significant in nature, long-lasting in occurrence and/or fame, and unique. They ranged from Meteor Crater; Mt. St. Helens; the site of the Cahokian Mound Builder culture; and the strange mural at the airport in Denver, to the Oregon Vortex; Mt. Shasta; New York, where Judge Crater was last seen; Norfolk, Virginia, where a battleship was supposed to have been teleported in the Philadelphia Experiment; the area where Betty and Barney Hill's abduction was supposed to have taken place; Point Pleasant, West Virginia, where Mothman reports came from; and even the Grand Canyon. Louisiana, for the lizard man reports, Florida, for the skunk ape, southern New Jersey, where the Jersey Devil has been reported, and Chicago, for Nain Rouge, are also included. Bear Lake, Utah; Roswell, New Mexico; Taos, New Mexico, for the Taos Hum; and Kokomo, Indiana, for the Kokomo Hum are also indicated, as are Area 51; Dulce, New Mexico, where a secret underground installation housing both greys and reptoids is said to be located; Socorro, New Mexico; and Chesapeake Bay, the reputed home of Chessie; Yellowwood State Forest, where Gobbler's Rock is located; "Racetrack Playa”, in Death Valley; and Mt. Rainier, where the first modern report of UFO's took place.

Before actually placing markers for strange occurrences, one can get the feeling that they might form a pattern. One can, for example, wonder if they might form a distinctive swath, almost like a ley line. One can wonder if they might take on a geometric shape. Looking at at least the places that I mentioned, you can see that they seem to form two large tear drop shapes, one located on the East Coast, one on the West! If you wished to include such places as Boston, Massachusetts, the site of the Skull & Bones Society; the Winchester House; or Spook Hill, the "gravity hill" in Florida, they would seem to fall within those areas!

Also interesting is the apparent restricting of certain regions, wholesale, from the areas of Fortean occurrences. Texas, Oklahoma, Montana, Minnesota, apparently Idaho, and so on, seem to be at best very sparse, with respect to Fortean phenomena! Curiously, for example, Sasquatch like creatures are known and have individual names from California to Washington State, and in areas as diverse as Missouri, Louisiana, Ohio and even New Hampshire, but, apparently, not in the area from Texas north!

The map is included with this post. The tracing of the states was obtained from the website. If someone would wish to add some spots, they can download the picture I am including. They can, then, enclose one of the x's, using the graphics software they might be using, hit "Copy" under the Edit menu, and use "Paste" to place as many additional marks as they would wish, on the map.

Julian Penrod


Apr 15, 2002
You may need to read into things a little more. It seems that no state is sparse when it comes to reports of Forteana ;) - for example, you can see my Fortean timelines for Texas here. It even includes a few 'bigfoot' sightings for that state :D


some more comments on a map of Fortean sites in the contiguo

To all:

Available below is a more complete version of the map of Fortean sites in the contiguous United States.

First, a few points about the map.

My addressing of the evidently overwhelming Fortean nature of the Pacific Northwest and presenting this map seem to have opened a door on looking into the Fortean qualities of many areas. A significant thread of Fortean occurrences in Texas, as well as generalized local Forteana have begun since these threads started. This may have even inspired the starting of the Fortean Poland thread, as well as recent additions to the Weird New Jersey thread.

A point should be made about what, specifically, I am including in this map.

It is not, so much, a list of all unexplained, inexplicable anomalous occurrences. That could have value, too. But this is an examination of, essentially, the incidents that would most generally be associated with Forteanism. The most well-known, as well as most dramatic and noteworthy occurrences, events or places in the contiguous United States. Just accessing numbers of individuals who may have been associated with a phenomenon or event does not necessarily qualify them for consideration. Many people in the same place may see some strange lights, but, if that event does not recur in references to UFO's, it would not necessarily qualify for this list. Something like a snakehead fish being found in a Maryland lake might make a brief stir, but, if it doesn’t persist, almost have a self-perpetuating nature, it’s not pertinent to this map. These are, essentially, legends of Forteanism.

When talking about the noteworthiness of a site, too, many aspects can be brought up. The unusual character of an occurrence there is certainly a likely characteristic. Being the area of a famous UFO sighting, for example, can make it qualify. To be the area where an unusual entity was seen can also make it be considered. Forteana, though, also tends to look at such things as famous crimes or murders. But particularly dramatic things, such as Mt. St. Helens can also be a consideration. This map looks into a number of those things.

The area where Bigfoot has been seen is too large to represent by a single point in this representation. The places where Mothman, Nain Rouge, Chessie, the Bear Lake Monster, the lizard men of Louisiana, or the Jersey Devil have been seen, though, can be represented.

Mt. Rainier, where the first modern sighting of UFO’s was made; Roswell, New Mexico; Socorro, New Mexico, the place associate with what is considered the most reliable UFO report; the area of the Betty and Barney Hill incident; the place where Capt. Thomas Mantell disappeared while supposedly chasing a UFO; Area 51; Dulce, New Mexico, where a secret underground installation is supposed to be housing “greys” and “reptiloids”; Ft. Lauderdale, from which the flight of Grumman Avengers that supposedly disappeared into the Bermuda Triangle took off; and Marfa, Texas and Lubbock, Texas are indicated.

Mount Shasta is shown. The areas of the Taos and Kokomo Hums are indicated. The Oregon Vortex, Mel’s Hole, the Mima Mounds, Racetrack Playa, Gobbler’s Rock and Spook Hill are represented, as is Coral Castle. Denver International Airport’s anomalous mural is also included.

Roanoke Island is shown. Because Kitty Hawk is only a few miles away, that mark can be taken to mean both. New York is indicated, because it was there that Judge Crater was last seen.

Norfolk, Virginia, where a battleship was supposedly transported, during the Philadelphia Experiment, is also shown.

The Winchester House is indicated.

So are the places once inhabited by the Hohokam, the Anasazi and the Mound Builders.

Also included are Asteroid Crater; Mount St. Helens; Dinosaur National Park, where the cliff wall, filled with dinosaur fossils, has been worked for almost a century; and, yes, Grand Canyon and Yellowstone, home of Old Faithful.

These already start to fill up the two regions, at both coasts, where the most dramatic Fortean phenomena seem to tend. But they can be only a part of an overall pattern of significant or noteworthy occurrences. The spots most associated with America’s space program, for example, can be considered special, in this sense. Pasadena, California, Houston, Texas, and Cape Canaveral, Florida, can also be included. Because Kitty Hawk can be included on the map, I also included the spot in Massachusetts where Robert Goddard fired off the first liquid fueled rocket.

There are those who might say that, by adding what can be termed arbitrary categories of places, I am trying to “fatten up” the two areas I have represented as being where Forteana congregates in the contiguous United States. In fact, the more categories I add, the greater the likelihood that areas outside those two tear-shaped regions could be indicated. But, if you look, say, at the states that hosted world’s fairs, a somewhat significant characterization, you will still find the region toward the center of the country left out, again! In fact, agreeing with my assertion that the Pacific Northwest is about the most Fortean area of the country, only three states have the distinction of hosting more than one world’s fair. California and New York, unsurprisingly, are two, but Washington State, of all places, is the third!

It should be mentioned, too, that adding Houston Texas, and Lubbock and Marfa in the list puts places in Texas among those considered Fortean. My initially leaving Texas, of all places, out, may have inspired the Fortean Texas thread. There are those who may think that these two spots officially eliminate the idea of two teardrop shaped Fortean regions. In fact, though, that is not necessarily so. Because Lubbock is close to the western border of Texas, while Houston is very near the eastern. I pointed out that Fortean regions wouldn’t necessarily respect state borders. Regions that, for whatever reason, may be Fortean will not necessarily fit within state borders. Even adding the Marfa Lights, as per lopaka’s suggestion, in the Fortean Texas thread, the western Fortean region still does not intrude very far past the western borders of Texas! It may not be that Texas is part of the overall area of Fortean phenomena in the contiguous United States. Instead, it may be that the border of the western region overlaps Texas’ western border, while the eastern region overlaps Texas’ eastern border.. But, then, if Texas is the only state that overlaps both region’s borders, that could make it special!

And, even if Fortean phenomena are found throughout the central part of the country, it still doesn’t necessarily take away the fact that the most significant and dramatic phenomena seem to tend, for the most part, to two different areas!

If, for example, we include such other noteworthy facts as that various states are also birthplaces for presidents, that can also give an idea of where significant events take place. In fact, for the most part, the birthplaces of presidents also tend to cluster in the two regions on the west and east coasts. I have, however, indicated the birthplaces of the overall most talked about presidents, namely, George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, Andrew Jackson, Abraham Lincoln, Franklin Delano Roosevelt and John Kennedy. They are indicated with little “stovepipe hat symbols”. They, too, fall completely within the eastern Fortean region!

Such as stu neville may contest the inclusion of such things as significant natural formations, birthplaces of presidents or world’s fair holders in the list - they certainly take exception in the thread on the most Fortean spot in the United States - and, to be fair, this did begin by pointing out what can be called more “conventionally Fortean” places, such as Roswell and Point Pleasant West Virginia.

But the other spots of special significance all also seem to fall within the area delineated by the “conventionally Fortean” places, and that has to mean something! If you don’t make a connection where it is indicated, you are undermining what is supposed to be behind the search for truth! That the places of “conventionally Fortean” legends occurring coincide with the places of significant events seems indisputable. Those not rabidly devoted to a supposed utterly random occurrence of Fortean phenomena could, at least, consider that there may be a common thread, connecting the two “Classes” of events, the significant, even spectacular, and the Fortean.

Might it not be that Fortean phenomena are merely extreme examples of an inherent tendency toward exemplary, even distinguished and important, occurrences? Regions, then, that have a multitude of significant events and places associated with them may also tend to “attract”, or naturally cause to form, Fortean phenomena within their borders!

This is a reason why I include Dinosaur National Monument on the same map with the place where Capt. Mantell disappeared while apparently chasing a UFO!

Another aspect of the entire list of even “conventional Forteana” is spectacular crimes, and, most especially, famous murders. These, also, are indicated on the map, from the Boston Strangler; to Lizzie Borden; to the Lindbergh Baby; to Martha Moxley; to Chappaquiddick - which can also include John and Carolyn Kennedy and Lauren Bessette - to Sam Shephard; to Washington, D.C., where Lincoln was assassinated; to Martin Luther King; to the Atlanta child murders; to Waco; to Dallas; to the Texas university tower sniper; to Oklahoma City; to Columbine; to Boulder, Colorado; to Provo, Utah, where Gary Gilmore lived during most of his killings; to Holcomb, Kansas, where the Clutters lived; to Ted Kaczynski’s cabin in Montana; to the Green River, in Washington State. These are indicated by little circles on the map.

At first glance, one might be tempted to say that the far extent of the circles into Texas promises to join the two Fortean regions of the country. This may, however, be countered by representing spectacular crime as distinct from other Fortean phenomena in that the others are non-destructive, and even constructive, while crime can be more destructive, and, for some, dispiriting.

Also, though, if you look at the places listed on the map, you will see that they form a distinct region of their own. If you go from Waco, more or less northwest, you can see that the places mentioned cut a ruler-straight swath, about 350 miles wide, across the country! Proceeding eastward from Texas, a straight swath about 400 miles wide seems to proceed to Boston! All the listed crimes seem to fall within this massive chevron shape! Such other incidents as Ruby Ridge and D. B. Cooper also seem to fall within this area.

It should be mentioned that New York, with Lisa Steinberg, the Five Families, the Long Island Railroad Massacre, and the attack on the Twin Towers is also included in this area. It didn’t mark New York with a circle, though, because it’s already listed with an “x”, for Judge Crater, and I decided not to let destructive events trump non overtly destructive ones.

You might also notice that there are two areas, or “hot spots” that don’t fall within this “V” area. The Los Angeles area, for example, has names like O. J. Simpson, Robert Blake, Michael Jackson, Lana Turner, “Fatty” Arbuckle, Charles Manson, Patty Hearst, the Menendez Brothers, Robert Kennedy and The Black Dahlia in the lists of its famous crimes. The Milwaukee to Chicago complex has had Jeffrey Dahmer, John Wayne Gacy, Richard Speck, Al Capone, The Valentine’s Day Massacre and The Chicago Fire in its past. I listed Chicago with an “x” for Nain Rouge already, which is why I didn’t put a circle there. To be fair, New York City may just be another “hot spot”, but one that happens to fall within the chevron!

Not to be ghoulish, but one can almost say that the incident with Kobe Bryant in Aspen Colorado, which falls in the chevron, seems utterly to have been expected!

Just in passing, one can suggest that there seem to be tragic “ley lines” connecting Dallas, Waco, the Texas sniper and Milwaukee, as well as a “ley line” connection from Waco to Washington, D.C., to the Lindbergh Baby, to Greenwich; and a “ley line” from Waco to Provo, Utah to the Green River. Seeming to exist on three tragic “ley lines”, it is, perhaps, not surprising that Waco got the reputation it did!

If anyone wishes to make more suggestions, or even add to the map, themselves, they can. They need only download the map, and Copy and Paste the symbols already there, to add other features.

Julian Penrod


Nice work old chap :) But could you add a note to the map explaining what the crosses, circles and T's mean? It's kind of hard to dig out of that extensive post.
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