Aliens in Aurora, Texas
Buried in a quiet, historic cemetery in a tiny Wise County town lies a mystery that's almost 120 years old. In 1897, a very strange incident occurred in the tiny North Texas town of Aurora, on Saturday, April 17, 1897 at 6 o'clock in the morning. A cigar-shaped UFO, metallic silver in color, appeared suddenly in the sky above Aurora. It was moving from south to north. Unlike the balloon airships of its time, this UFO was built of "an unknown metal, resembling somewhat a mix of aluminum and silver." A witness guessed that the ship weighed "several tons."
During the 1896–1897 timeframe (some six or seven years before the Wright Brothers' first flight), numerous sightings of a cigar-shaped mystery airship were reported across the United States. For this reason, the UFO is called an "airship" in a newspaper article written later by Aurora resident S. E. Haydon.
Haydon told the Dallas Morning News that the strange craft seemed to be having some kind of mechanical problems. It slowed down to about ten or twelve miles per hour and began settling toward the ground.
Haydon said the townspeople watched in amazement as the slow-moving airship drifted over the town square and then moved north toward the property of Judge J. S. Proctor. Next, the UFO collided with a windmill on the judge's land and "went into pieces with a terrific explosion, scattering debris over several acres of ground." The crash destroyed the windmill, the adjacent water tank and the judge's flower garden.
It seems likely that the explosion and crash drew many spectators to Judge Proctor's land. Among the wreckage, the townspeople found the dead body of the ship's pilot. Then the story got really weird. Witnesses said that the pilot was not a human being.
Haydon said that, although the pilot's body was damaged severely in the crash, it was clear that "he was not an inhabitant of this world." His body, described as a "petite" and "Martian" was dragged from the wreckage. The pilot may have been from Mars, said another witness, Mr. T. J. Weems, an officer in the U.S. Signal Service and an "authority on astronomy."
In the case of the UFO that exploded in 1891 over Dublin, Texas, papers were found containing strange writing on them. The same thing happened in Aurora. When the townspeople checked the pilot's body, they found that he was carrying papers written in an unknown language. The papers may have contained a record of the pilot's journeys, but they were "written in some unknown hieroglyphics" and could not be understood.
As word of what happened reached surrounding towns, many visitors arrived to look at the crash site. Haydon commented, "The town is full of people today who are viewing the wreck and gathering specimens of the strange metal from the debris." It's possible that some of that mysterious wreckage that was carried away from Aurora still exists today, stored away and forgotten in attics or storage rooms. No trace of it has ever been found, though.
After the crash, the townspeople tried to find out more about how the UFO was constructed and what made it fly. However, Haydon said that the ship was "too badly wrecked to form any conclusion as to its construction or motive power."
The Dallas Morning News article, published two days after the crash, said that the pilot's funeral would take place on April 18. Another newspaper, The Fort Worth Register, said, "The pilot, who was not an inhabitant of this world, was named "Ned" and was given a proper Christian burial at the Aurora Cemetery." When the pilot was buried, a marker was placed on his grave. In 1973, newspaper reporter Bill Case described the marker as having a strange design on it resembling a flying saucer with portholes. Shortly after Case wrote a story describing the grave marker, somebody stole it. Today, nobody is sure exactly where the pilot was buried.
Adding to the mystery was the story of Mr. Brawley Oates, who purchased Judge Proctor's property around 1945. Oates cleaned out the debris from the well in order to use it as a water source, but later developed an extremely severe case of arthritis, which he claimed to be the result of contaminated water from the wreckage dumped into the well. As a result, Oates sealed up the well with a concrete slab and placed an outbuilding atop the slab. (According to writing on the slab, this was done in 1957.)
Various investigations have taken place over the years, including examining the Aurora Cemetery. Although the cemetery association still did not permit exhumation, using ground-penetrating radar and photos from prior visits, an unmarked grave was found in the area near other 1890s graves. However, the condition of the grave was badly deteriorated, and the radar could not conclusively prove what type of remains existed.
The 1890s had been cruel to Aurora. Two epidemics, reported as either yellow fever or spotted fever had killed many. By 1897 nearly everyone still alive had left, leaving only a few hardy souls and the town was thought to be in danger of dying out. Even the planned railroad never made it to the town, stopping 27 miles away. Some residents believed the ‘alien' story to be a hoax designed to bring interest, and perhaps the railroad, to Aurora. Others thought it was just a joke concocted to make some hard times just a little easier. But whatever happened that day, many people still believe that a spaceship crash-landed there. The story of the alien that fell from the sky in Aurora, Texas, continues to fascinate people to this very day and it still remains as much of a mystery today as it was back in 1897.