Area 51 and the Bermuda Triangle are familiar names around the world, but how about Kecksburg, Uniontown and Keystone State Park?
A new documentary makes the case that southwestern Pennsylvania is among locations with the most instances of paranormal activity in the country.
"Invasion on Chestnut Ridge," from the production company Small Town Monsters, recreates stories told by locals who say they have experienced paranormal activity in and around the small town of Chestnut Ridge, Pa., about an hour south of Pittsburgh.
Their interview has been edited for length and clarity.
ALLYSON RUGGIERI: The trailer gives off uneasy vibes as it invites viewers to "uncover the secrets of the Ridge." Can you describe the premise of the movie and what those secrets center on?
SETH BREEDLOVE: Basically, it's about Chestnut Ridge's bizarre history of unusual happenings that have been occurring for over a century. I don't use the word anthology too much, but I think it's kind of like an anthology. It's a series of very unusual stories from the Ridge starting with the Kecksburg UFO crash and ending with a sighting these two guys had in a forest of basically a weird little light that was chasing them around and all stops in between. It's from UFO sightings to sightings of strange, possibly prehistoric birds. Where other films are about a monster, this film is about a place. So the place is actually the monster.
RUGGIERI: Is this type of film, one focused on a place rather than a person or monster, something new for your team? How does this differ from your other documentaries?
BREEDLOVE: It's funny because our other movies have these very simple premises where, it's basically the entire Small Town Monsters series revolves around unusual creature sightings in rural areas and the affect that can have on a small community. But with "Invasion on Chestnut Ridge" it's very different because there are multiple communities involved, and rather than focused on one small town, it kind of covers this entire range, like 72-mile mountain range. So it's a little bit different from our other films in that way.
RUGGIERI: I noticed you describe this as "the most unusual area this side of the Bermuda Triangle." Can you speak a little bit on that?
BREEDLOVE: It's just that there's something going on there that all this weird, kind of bizarre activity takes place in this one area. There's all these different investigators who spend enough time up there investigating these strange occurrences looking for answers, and have been looking for answers since the '60s and '70s. And there don't seem to be any.
RUGGIERI: What would you say was one of your most favorite or interesting stories or interviews while filming this documentary?
BREEDLOVE: We interviewed a guy named Barry. He's the first kind of "UFO abductee" that I've ever spoken to. I've never had a talk with anyone that claimed to have that experience before. It's always been something that's kind of freaked me out, like it's a very unnerving thing to talk to someone who's convinced they've had that incident, that occurrence happen to them. The stuff that had happened to him was pretty crazy, stuff I couldn't explain. I tend to be a little on the skeptical side, and some of the stuff he was saying to me I could not find an explanation for.
RUGGIERI: What do you want viewers to take away from your film? What do you want everyone to know about your experience working on it?
BREEDLOVE: We make movies for everyone. Whether you're a skeptic or ardent believer or whatever, one thing I always want people to take away from our films is the fact that these locations we go to are amazing places and especially in the case of Chestnut Ridge. It's a place that should be explored. You should have your own adventure there. Whether it involves Bigfoot or a UFO, I can't guarantee, but it's a really amazing and beautiful place. People should embrace the history of these rural communities because this is the heartland of America.
"Invasion on Chestnut Ridge" will be available on DVD and Amazon video on Oct. 20.