BOWMAN, SC (WACH) - A new exhibit showcasing spacecrafts and aliens is opening this weekend in Myrtle Beach, but if you can't wait until your next vacation, the UFO Welcome Center is just a short trip up Interstate 26 in Bowman.
"Welcome to Planet Earth," says Jody Pendarvis, who created the UFO Welcome Center.
Pendarvis had a strange urge to build something in the early 1990s.
He created the structure by hand, and on memorial day in 1999, Pendarvis says the first visitors came from outer space.
"I actually saw [a UFO] twice that night, so I said man, they really want me to get up here and turn these lights on," said Pendarvis.
Pendarvis says later that night he had a close encounter with a spacecraft. "As they say, build it, they will come."
While Pendarvis is tight lipped about his experience that evening in 1999, he did have this to share: "You see a UFO, you know it's not from here, and you can't hear any engines. I can definitely say that I'm not too sure if there were any windows in that UFO or not, but I could actually see inside of it."
For nearly 20 years, Bowman residents have passed the Welcome Center and they have mixed feelings about it.
"I think he's crazy," said one Bowman resident. "I don't believe in stuff like that."
Another resident said, "I don't knock the guy for what he's doing. I like it."
"It shocked me that we got a little UFO Center," said another person who lives nearby. "I've been hoping one day I'd see a UFO land it."
Pendarvis believes theories of aliens landing in Roswell among other places. He also thinks they recently visited the nation's capital, however, he thinks they don't often make stops on Earth.
"I don't believe they're actually going to land, okay," said Pendarvis. "I think t he'd rather just fly around, live on their own ship and maybe come visit, maybe not."
One thing is sure, Pendarvis believes there's someone else watching us, and he has a message for them. "Aliens can fly from the North or the South and just land in the parking lot and come chit-chat with me guys."
Pendarvis says the field near the center used to be full of grass before his so-called experience in 1999. He isn't sure if that is due to a UFO or the heavy traffic going through the lot.