I've been writing about the times and places that John Keel wrote were best for UFO sightings. Today, I want to look at the specific idea of window areas, as well as how to locate possible locations of magnetic anomalies in your area. (Which, according to Keel, correlate to a higher number of UFO sightings.) I'd also like to do a bit of follow up on some (attempted) magnetic anomaly research I did last year.
What's a window area?
I've written about this a bit before, but basically, Keel coined the term "window area" to mean a location with higher UFO activity.
In Operation Trojan Horse, he wrote:
Every state in the United States has from two to ten “windows.” These are areas where UFOs appear repeatedly year after year. The objects will appear in these places and pursue courses throughout the 200-mile limitation. These window areas seem to form larger circles of activities. The great circle from Canada (not to be confused with the traditional geographic Great Circle) in the northwest through the Central States and back into northeast Canada is a major window. Hundreds of smaller windows lie inside that circle. Another major window is centered in the Gulf of Mexico and encompasses much of Mexico, Texas, and the Southwest.
He also claimed that window areas tend to be centered around locations with higher levels of magnetic deviation:
Many windows center directly over areas of magnetic deviation such as Kearney, Nebraska; Wanaque, New Jersey; Ravenna, Ohio. In the 1950s, teams from the national Geological Survey Office quietly flew specially equipped planes over most of the United States and mapped all of the magnetic faults in the country. You can obtain a magnetic map of your locale from the Office of the Geological Survey, Washington, D.C. 20242. If you have been collecting UFO reports in your home state, you will probably find that many of those reports are concentrated in areas where magnetic faults or deviations exist.
His information about how to write to the Office of the Geological Survey for magnetic maps is particularly quaint. But nowadays it's trivial to pull up data from the US Geological Survey (USGS) website.
How to find a magnetic fault near you
So, let's say you want to take Keel's advice and find a local magnetic anomaly. How might you do that?
If you live in the United States, the USGS is the place to refer to for magnetic anomalies. I assume that most countries have a government branch with public geological information, but since I live in North America, I'm only aware of the USGS, the Geological Survey of Canada (GSC), and the Consejo de Recursos Minerales of Mexico (CRM).
About year ago, I tried to find decent magnetic anomaly maps for New York City, back when I was doing a podcast series about the history and hauntings of Fordham University (a school with multiple connections to The Exorcist, including being a filming location and employing the priest who inspired William Peter Blatty to write the book). That was the first time I delved into Operation Trojan Horse.
I didn't have a ton of luck finding a satisfactory map, but if you follow the link to the shownotes, you'll see the NYC-area maps I was able to find (most of which were truncated right before the part of the Bronx I wanted info on).
I suppose I used better search terms this time, because I found much more useful info:
- Here's an interactive map of North America's magnetic anomalies
- There's also a PDF-format magnetic anomaly map of North America from 2002.
- You can also search through their aeromagnetic maps and data on their website.
So if you live in North America, you should be pretty well set with those links.
Quick follow up on my earlier magnetic anomaly research w/r/t Fordham University
To put a bow on my Fordham-related magnetic research: If you zoom way into the magnetic map and look at the university's Bronx campus—the super haunted one that I focused on—you'll see that it actually sits on a line of green (lower magnetism) in a sea of yellow, red, and pink (higher magnetism).
In the particular episode of the series where I looked for magnetic anomalies, I'd been going through different theories behind why some places are more haunted, and wanted to test Keel's theory about the connection between the paranormal and electromagnetism. But I gave it up because I couldn't find the correct map.
Well, I can now confidently say that Fordham sits on one of two spots of lower magnetism in all of New York City. There's a little corridor of green that spans from Fordham, across Woodlawn Cemetery, and up to Van Cortlandt Park.
While Fordham hasn't been the site of any UFO sightings (that I know of), Jacques Vallee reports a November 5, 1957, UFO sighting in Van Cortlandt Park in Passport to Magonia:
In Van Cortland Park, Frank C. was talking with a bus driver when they saw in the park, about 400 m away, a metallic object shaped like a disk, spinning with a soft whirring. On top was a fixed dome with portholes. The object was hovering at tree-height, A yellow light from the craft suddenly illuminated the area, and it flew off "like a shooting star."
So magnetic anomalies seem to have nothing to do with the hauntings and strangeness of Fordham University and the general vicinity. But as Keel points out, just because UFO sightings are more likely in locations of magnetic anomalies, that doesn't mean that they're only confined to those spots.
Curious what the one other green spot of lower magnetism in all of New York City is? The neighborhood that I currently live in in Queens. Which is neither here nor there, but it struck me as an interesting little synchronicity.