The world is full of unexplained phenomena and, to be honest, odd people with pretty unexplainable behavior and tastes. This, however, makes for entertaining attractions that open the mind or make you second guess reality. Take a look at some of these unusual American destinations to spice up your trip itinerary with something weird.
Roswell, New Mexico
Any list of unusual American destinations and attractions would be incomplete without Roswell, New Mexico. The site of the supposed 1947 UFO crash and the current military base where the conspiracy theorists believe the government is hiding evidence of aliens, Roswell is a breeding ground for unusual activity. Visit the International UFO Museum and Research Center which includes a film about the “official” alien autopsy, alien displays, and a viewing room where you can watch the X-Files TV show.
Coral Castle - Miami, Florida
From 1923 to 1951 in the lush landscape of South Florida, one man built a castle from 1,100 tons of coral rock entirely by hand. Why? Because he could. Ed Leedskalnin proudly displayed his creation to the paying public until his death and now it’s open for you to peruse at your leisure. The stone sculptures, odd configurations, stone lawn furniture, and the single turreted castle itself is both peculiar and mind-boggling.
The Mutter Museum - Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
Beware of this museum if you have a queasy stomach because it contains graphic medical artifacts. The College of Physicians of Philadelphia sponsors this strange place to display historic medical practices, human anatomy, medical instruments, and more. It’s not unusual to see human heads preserved in large jars of formaldehyde, skulls, or collections of torturous looking medical equipment. The museum’s prized artifacts include Albert Einstein’s brain, a jaw tumor from President Cleveland, and a specimen from John Wilkes Booth’s vertebra.
Oregon Vortex - Gold Hill, Oregon
No doubt you’ve seen supposed mystery houses with slanting floors and optical illusions but the Oregon Vortex is something more. The house was originally built in 1904 as an office by a mining company on a location the Native Americans called “Forbidden Ground.” Only a few years later it slid off of its foundation and came to rest where it is today in the supposed vortex. Watch, or even film, as a bottle seems to roll uphill, broomsticks standing on end, and a relative height change where people seem to grow smaller or larger. Some may say it’s paranormal while others hold fast to the laws of physics but that’s for you to decide.
Winchester Mystery House - San Jose, California
Once the home of gun tycoon William Winchester and his wife Sarah, the Winchester Mystery House is now a paranormal tourist destination. The legend goes that Sarah Winchester was being haunted by the spirits of those killed by her husband's guns and in consulting a medium, was told to build unnecessary rooms and unusual additions onto her home to confuse the spirits and keep Sarah alive longer. Whatever the reasons, the Winchester house, as it stands today, has 160 rooms, 10,000 windows, stairs that lead to nothing, rooms with no doors, and more.
Bishop Castle - Wetmore, Colorado
Ever since he bought the land when he was 15 in 1969, Jim Bishop has been crafting his very own castle in the San Isabel National Forest in the mountains of Colorado. For more than 40 years, as Jim continues to build and add onto his project, people have visited the site to marvel at the ingenuity and strange ambition of a single man. This Hogwarts-looking construction of stone and iron architecture is a rare feat of engineering. Considered to be the largest one-man physical project in the country, the castle is open to the general public, taking offers of donations instead of entrance fees.
Eastern State Penitentiary - Pennsylvania
Built in 1829, this Gothic-style prison operated until 1971 and revolutionized prison practices by instituting separate confinements for reform instead of punishment. This is a historical landmark with a formidable aura and past. Prisons are a frightening place to be, even when they have been empty for 40 years and this Penitentiary revels in it every Halloween. Visit a haunted house in the jail cells, be locked in the dark in an original 1800s cellblock, and perhaps even see a ghost wandering the corridors.
Racetrack Playa Sailing Stones - Death Valley, California
The moving rocks of Death Valley National Park have turned heads and baffled minds for years. If you haven’t heard of this odd geological phenomenon, large rocks in the barren desert of the park seem to move on their own, leaving deep grooves in the dirt and can even turn over or run parallel to other rocks before veering off. While scientists have been studying these stones since the early 1900s, they recently discovered the reason behind the stones’ movements to be ice shove but that doesn’t deplete the wonder and incredulity one feels in seeing lone stones move across the ground.
Paranormal Witness and the Generally Unexplained
There are so many odd occurrences and unexplained phenomenon in this country that people have attributed to the paranormal, either ghosts or aliens. If you are interested in possibly catching sight of a UFO, look to the strange lights of Marfa, Texas where orbs of light hover over the town. Or, for some folklore, head to the Skinwalker Ranch in Utah where Native Americans, and the previous tenants, believe strange, violent shape-shifting monsters and dark energy reside.
This is a weird, wild world we live in and there are dozens upon hundreds of strange phenomena, crazy structures, and unexplained sightings turned into tourist attractions. The unusual can be fun and memorable from UFO sightings to houses that seem to have metastasized and castles in the middle of nowhere. There are plenty of tourist traps, so why not try something a little different?