After week upon week of business travel for a non-profit organization, I went on a road/field trip of sorts to upstate New York in search of paranormal activity. When you work in the non-profit Community Based Organization (CBO) world, paranormal activity is actually the new normal. Seriously. Meanwhile, I have been encouraging my son to develop his entourage of friends which now includes a ghost, who loves pizza. We wanted to do something fun together before my new set of business travel adventures. So, we went on a ghost-hunting –well, rather UFO hunting expedition.
En route to this paranormal hotbed town called Pine Bush, I noticed that we were driving on a memorial highway named after a Hispanic individual-which I thought was kind of cool and not that common. Thusly, while also ghost and UFO hunting I was now doing a community mapping. Was this area also an emerging Hispanic population area? For work, I often map communities down in the south where the Hispanic population has experienced enormous growth. In South Carolina alone, the Hispanic population has grown over 140% over the last decade. New York state historically has had many Hispanics-although they have been largely in New York City, surrounding metro area and places such as Albany in upstate. But in between the major cities, I thought Hispanics were not as prevalent in sleepy towns.
Anyway, we were going to Pine Bush which historically has been known as a center of UFO activity, namely in the 70s, 80s and such. Apparently, there were crowds that would gather night after night there to try to catch a glimpse of other-worldly activity. Amazing that 75 miles out of New York City, these activities were occurring. I have usually associated such UFO adventures in places deep in West Virginia, Texas and the like. Well, the population in Pine Bush, as of the 2010 census, is 1780; of which over 4% are Hispanic (of any race). From walking about the town, it actually seemed like Hispanics are more than 4%.
I loved that in the town center you can find a Latino Paradise café that extols the UFO history of the Town. Why do I love this so much? Believe me I understand the irony of me blogging this story about a UFO town (“alien”) that has an merging Hispanic population. That plays right into the overall national discourse on undocumented individuals who are often referred to as illegal aliens. Which of course begs the silly, irreverent question are otherworldly aliens legal? Anyway, lets go back to the question of why I love this scene so much. UFOs are actually a staple of the American history-its Americana! Growing up, my Puerto Rican mom followed stories of UFOs religiously. It was part of what entertained her and embedded in the American culture. Tabloid rags at the supermarket counter detailed the many reported UFO encounters and such tabloids were always lying across our kitchen table. Thus, this UFO hunt, this “americana” experience was a part of who I am as a Nuyorican.
We wondered the town and found old abandoned buildings that we wonder what spirits inhabited them now. We went to look at the famous Cups and Saucers diner that became a place for UFO hunters to gather, but now serves as a kitschy reminder of the once hot UFO past. We went through country back roads and park to the side to take in the scenery. It’s beautiful out there and I can understand why UFOs would like to hang out there. There are many old fashioned dairy farms and horse stables that give you a chance to decompress from the hustle and bustle of the city. Can understand why people flocked here to escape the real paranormal activity-the extreme chaotic New York City.
My son thought he caught a couple of glimpses of ghosts but we didn’t really see any. But then again, he is four years old and young children tend to be more open to seeing other-worldly characters. We gave him a camera to take photographs of anything his open-eye could see; but he claims that the ghosts and aliens were camera-shy. Maybe on the next trip he can get them to open up to him and not be so camera-shy. Looking forward to seeing what he can capture on film! Onwards to the next adventure! Meanwhile we will enjoy some good arroz con pollo!