A UFO Landmark, Texas 1897
by: B.J. Booth Biddydit4@aol.com
The state of Texas has always been called the "big state." This expression applies to many things, but is especially true regarding "tall tales." I have heard them all of my life, and sometimes it is difficult to separate truth from fiction. Such is the case with one story that comes from the small town of Aurora. The town's history book labels the community as "the town that almost wasn't," and that expression is probably applicable to the legend of a spaceship crashing into a windmill, and the burial of a small alien creature found in the aftermath. This event has become the most important news story to ever come out of this Texas city. Aurora was designated a "historical site" by the State of Texas because of the spaceship legend.
The year was 1897, and this was the year of the "great airships" reports in the United States. As the story goes, it was on April 19, 1897, that a slow moving space ship crashed into a windmill, bursting into pieces. As the debris was searched through, supposedly the body of a small alien was discovered. Originally the alien pilot was dubbed the "Martian pilot." Some of the debris also revealed material sketched with a type of hieroglyphic. The town folk gave the poor little creature a proper burial in the local cemetery. This incident, whether true or not, has had just enough publicity to stay afloat for over 100 years. It was made into a movie, "The Aurora Encounter" in 1986, starring Jack Elam. The news of the crash spread quickly, even for that time period. A newspaper article of the event still exists, written by E. E. Haydon, reporter for the Dallas Morning News. Below is the original article:
About 6 o'clock this morning the early risers of Aurora were astonished at the sudden appearance of the airship which has been sailing around the country. It was traveling due north and much nearer the earth than before. Evidently some of the machinery was out of order, for it was making a speed of only ten or twelve miles an hour, and gradually settling toward the earth. It sailed over the public square and when it reached the north part of town, it collided with the tower of Judge Proctor's windmill and went into pieces with a terrific explosion, scattering debris over several acres of ground, wrecking the windmill and water tank and destroying the judge's flower garden. The pilot of the ship is supposed to have been the only one aboard and, while his remains were badly disfigured, enough of the original has been picked up to show that he was not an inhabitant of this world.
The story never gained a lot of exposure at the time, but held on until it was commented on by UPI on May 24, 1973:
"Aurora, Tex. -- (UPI) -- A grave in a small north Texas cemetery contains the body of an 1897 astronaut who was 'not an inhabitant of this world,' according to the International UFO Bureau. The group, which investigates unidentified flying objects, has already initiated legal proceedings to exhume the body and will go to court if necessary to open the grave, director
Hayden Hewes said Wednesday."
"After checking the grave with metal detectors and gathering facts for three months, we are certain as we can be at this point [that] he was the pilot of a UFO which reportedly exploded atop a well on Judge J.S. Proctor's place, April 19, 1897," Hewes said. "He was not an inhabitant of this world."
The legend was back in the news! Only a couple of days later, UPI followed up the first report with another from Aurora. They had located a living witness to the event. A ninety-one-year-old who had been a girl of fifteen in Aurora at the time of the reported incident was quoted. "I had all but forgotten the incident until it appeared in the newspapers recently." She said her parents had actually been to the crash sight, but had not allowed her to accompany them for fear of what might be in the debris. She recalled that the remains of the pilot, "a small man," had been buried in the Aurora cemetery, validating the other legends.
The Associated Press now joined the chase for the sensational story. From the city of Denton, Texas came this account:
"A North Texas State University professor had found some metal fragments near the Oates gas station (former Proctor farm). One fragment was said to be 'most intriguing' because it consisted primarily of iron which did not seem to exhibit magnetic properties."
The professor also said he was puzzled because the fragment was "shiny and malleable instead of dull and brittle like iron."
For reasons unknown, the Aurora Cemetery Association fought the attempts to exhume the alien body. They were successful, and the dead alien's remains stayed a mystery. The town of Aurora still shows traces of Military intervention today, and the question must be asked, "Why would the U. S. Military be in the town of Aurora?" Anyone familiar with the Roswell crash of 1947 will remember that debris from Mac Brazel's field was flown to Ft. Worth, which is only a short hop's distance from Aurora. Is this why the Military was in Aurora? Could the Government have the alien body?
Today Aurora, like other cities, is modernized, and yet a few hints of the past still remain. Although the headstone of the alien was stolen, there remain pictures of it today. A copy of this photo now adorns the grave site. There has been, at times, a lobby to exhume the remains of the little pilot and give it a proper burial, with a new headstone. So far, this has not happened. Should the little grave be dug up, or should we just leave it and the legend of the Aurora UFO alone?
B J Booth
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