Esterholt, Ohio Settlement in Mudewei | World Anvil
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Esterholt, Ohio

I lived in a small town, some fancy place a few miles down from a farm. I liked the neighbors. There were woods all over, kids drove off in them for the night. Give it a few miles or so and you can find a clearing and see the most stars that side of anywhere. It’s enough to make people believe in alien life.
— Ta'zhen, to Testho
  Esterholt is the hometown of Ta'zhen, Cornelius Kavanaugh and Nat Atrella, most notably. It is a tiny and somewhat rural Ohio town within two hours' drive to several major cities. A good portion of its residents run farms, raising livestock and growing wheat or corn, but there is also a segment of the population who are wealthy, and come to the town seeking a "quieter" way of life. Initially they are not aware they attract notice, or they are aware and enjoy it. That's their business.   Esterholt is home to a small school system, The Sunrise Theater, a fairly small library, and a park. It is within easy driving of forested land, as well, and it is common for young lovers to drive up to the hills to escape civilization and have some alone time. This forest is also popular with astronomers, mostly amateur, and stargazers. Thanks to Ta'zhen's disappearance (see Leadership Challenge), a small but growing segment of the Esterholt population, and a great majority of its tourism, come from trying to bill itself as the second coming of the Betty and Barney Hill abduction case. Many recent arrivals at the forests around the town are also UFO spotters. (It has reached a point where Nat Atrella has been able to write a book, Debunked, covering this and a host of other UFO cases about which insane amounts of rumor abound.)


Most of the local Esterholt community is of Scottish, Irish, and German descent; however, in recent years there has been a slow trickle-in of other groups of people. Usually they follow UFO spotters and other such individuals, but some settle down and make a life in the otherwise sleepy little town.

Industry & Trade

Before Ta'zhen's disappearance, Esterholt relied on agriculture and tourism for natural places (people came to the area to go camping, hunting, or fishing). However, following that, tourism shifted to include UFO spotters and other seekers of the paranormal, and the hospitality trade in particular boomed (outdoor shops which were projected to suffer adapted, selling necessary equipment to otherwise naive newcomers to help improve their paranormal-hunting experience). The town also receives television and news crews looking for interviews, which continue to keep Esterholt on the map, regardless of the accuracy of any information the program presents.


There is still a significant fraction of tourists who come for the outdoor scenery: trails, camping spots, hunting and fishing territory, and so on. Esterholt is known for its beautiful surroundings, including forests and mountainous terrain, so many come seeking to escape civilization for a while.   However, in recent years, a great number of people come to the town seeking the paranormal. Some go into the forests looking for Bigfoot or other strange creatures that sometimes appear in the region but have not yet been proven to exist. Most, on the other hand, are looking for UFOs and aliens. Lured by the tale of Ta'zhen's disappearance (and the ample supporting evidence as collected, examined, and exhibited by local grassroots organization Ohio Saucer Watch), UFOlogists amateur and otherwise come to the town, interviewing witnesses for their books and working on the latest alien conspiracy theory. (The proximity to Dayton and its nearby Wright-Patterson Air Force Base does not help matters; all this conspiracy talk seems to do is perturb the locals.)   Locals have also written books on the subject, the most notable being Debunked. While not widely read among UFOlogists themselves, local folk and book critics for UFOlogical publications consider it a thorough review of the case. (Author Nat Atrella's anecdote about having seen the alien in question may have softened the mood among the "pro-UFO" crowd, and the book has a wide following among skeptical believers.) Debunked has also drawn many to the town of Esterholt, and some treat the town as a second Roswell.
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