Kristy Mayfield, Manager, E.T. Fresh Jerky
A beef jerky shop in a small town might sound normal enough, but the alien-themed E.T. Fresh Jerky shop in Hiko is anything but. Customers with their faces painted green routinely arrive wearing silver jumpsuits or they dress as NASA workers in lab coats or as FBI agents. So says shop manager Kristy Mayfield.
“It’s like cosplay. They are going on this long adventure to satisfy their curiosity about the unknown,” she said. “To other people, Area 51 is supposedly the place where the government transported extraterrestrials from Roswell. To me, the only freaky thing about it when I was growing up here was the occasional unexpected sonic boom when jets were flying over.”
When customers ask whether or not Mayfield believes in aliens, she diplomatically responds, “The universe is just too big to say no.”
Michael Creber, Bartender, the Little A'Le'Inn
An alien-themed motel and café, the Little A'Le'Inn draws visitors to Rachel, a town of 70 that has served as a setting for sci-fi television shows and movies, including “The X-Files” and “Independence Day.” For the last three years, bartender Michael Creber has spent his days here chatting with local patrons and tourists.
“One man who came in made sure two bar stools on either side of him were empty before he took a seat,” Creber said. “When I asked him why, he told me the seats were for his two invisible Sasquatches.”
An aviation aficionado who enjoys watching the F-16 fighter jets that routinely soar overhead, Creber reported that a pilot flying upside down once waved at him from the cockpit. As for flying objects he can’t identify, Creber said, “I’ve seen things — flashing lights or things far off in the distance that don’t seem to move logically — and I cannot identify where they came from. That’s the desert for you.”
Vijay Mehar, Owner, The Clown Motel
People from all over the world have sent clown memorabilia to the Clown Motel in Tonopah, which now boasts more than 2,050 collectables, some playful, some scary and some silly. Why this clown theme, which dominates the entire building indoors and out? Owner Vijay Mehar explained that after a local family buried their father — a man who loved clowns — in the Old Tonopah Cemetery, they built the motel next door to honor the man’s memory.
Once a major hub for silver mining, Tonopah became a boomtown in the early 1900s. Today, the small town welcomes visitors who want to sleep surrounded by clown images or to visit the mines. Some admit they come hoping to see ghosts.
Mehar said that although he has not encountered any apparitions, based on the paranormal experiences his guests have reported, he can easily identify which rooms might be haunted. “Guests can look out their windows and see the cemetery from their rooms,” he said. “It’s a one-of-a-kind experience.”