On April 17, 1897, a mysterious airship is said to have crashed in the town of Aurora, Texas...exploding into many small fragments. Reportedly, the occupant was child-sized and greenish, and the craft contained papers covered with hieroglyphics. The pilot's body is supposed to be buried in the local cemetery.
Legend has it that residents of Aurora, TX, had their own alien encounter more than 100 years ago. Just north of Fort Worth, Aurora has a population of 376. Something about it is different...mysterious, and some say, down-right weird.
"It's just a legend," said Barbara Brammer, Aurora Historian.
April 19, 1897 would change this town's identity forever.
"They said, 'Have you heard of the Martian that crashed his aircraft into a well site in Aurora?,'" Brammer said. "And I said, 'No." A former mayor, Brammer first heard the story of the UFO crash shortly after her arrival in the 1950s. "I kept the legend going whenever I was teaching or when we had new people in to the community," she said.
Legend has it that in 1897 a number of reports came in from across the country of a cigar-shaped flying machine. An article in the "Dallas Morning News" reported that the craft came crashing down in Aurora. Today, the "crash site" is an old well, sealed with concrete. "About noon, the fire had gone out enough that they could get in there and see what really happened," Brammer said.
According to a report filed by an Army officer from nearby Fort Worth, in the crash debris was the body of the pilot said to be badly disfigured and 'not of this world.' "They scraped up all the stuff that they could find, brought it down here to the cemetery and gave him a Christian burial," Brammer said.
The grave site remains today under a tree in the old section of the cemetery. "They eventually came down and put a marker on it," Brammer said. "The marker has been gone for several years." It was stolen, Brammer believes, by souvenir hunters. The cemetery has been designated a "Texas Historical" site for, among other things, the legend of the UFO pilot.
No one has ever been able to prove the story or rule it out. In the 1970s, The Texas Mutual UFO network asked to dig up the grave but was denied. "The cemetery board said, 'You're not going to touch that,'" Brammer said. Board members denied the request, she said, because they were worried Spotted Fever, which wiped out much of Aurora around the time of the incident, would rear its ugly head again.
In 2008, another group of UFO hunters used ground-penetrating radar and did find a mysterious, unmarked grave. But the grave was so deteriorated, the radar simply could not identify what was there. So, the alien mystery continues, and the legend of Aurora is the only real thing that remains.
"It's a good story," Brammer said. "It's got to be a good story. It's been around 112 years."
Click for video: Aurora Texas UFO Crash - UFO Hunters
The old "Judge Proctor" place in Aurora, Texas, site of the crash, is still locatable, and the town square is still in its original position, but unfortunately most of the original buildings of the town, those dating to the 1890s, are long gone. Some evidence, however, does endure to the present day. The original article, reporting the Aurora,Texas Incident, as written in 1897, in the April 19th edition of the Dallas Morning News reads as follows:
By E. E. Haydon - "About 6 o'clock this morning, the early risers of Aurora, Texas 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.
Mr. T. J. Weems, the U. S. Army Signal Services officer at this place and on astronomy, gives it as his opinion that the pilot was a native of the planet Mars. Papers found on his person. evidently the records of his travels. are written in some unknown hieroglyphics and cannot be deciphered. The ship was too badly wrecked to form any conclusion to its construction or its motive power. It was built of an unknown metal, resembling somewhat a mixture of aluminum and silver, and it must have weighed several tons. The town, today, is full of people who are viewing the wreckage and gathering specimens of strange metal from the debris. The pilot's funeral will take place tomorrow".
The 1895-1898 Flap
The Aurora crash was, in fact, the culminating event in a rash of “airship” sightings in East and Northeast Texas, Oklahoma, North and Central Louisiana in the period between 1895 and 1898. Robert Atkinson, of Center, Texas, a veteran of the Spanish American War, often told of seeing, as a teenager, strange, “flashing lights” in the sky, as did Polk Burns of the same city. Similar incidents were recountered by Bud Knight, a prominent resident of San Augustine, Texas, who died in 1981 at the age of 108. Lee Choron, who died in 1976 at the age of 94 recalled seeing “moving lights flashing in the sky” while living in Swift, Texas (near Nacogdoches) while in his “teens”. Nor, were civic records and town newspapers of the time completely silent on the matter. Reports, although not common, do exist. On April 22, 1897 in the small central Texas town of Rockland, John M. Barclay was intrigued when his dog barked furiously and a high-pitched noise was heard. He went out, saw a flying object circling about 20 feet above ground. He described it as having an elongated shape, with protrusions and blinding lights, it went dark when it landed, only a short distance from his home. Barclay was met by a man who informed him that his purpose was peaceful and requested some common hardware items to repair the craft. He paid with a ten-dollar bill and took off "like a bullet out of a gun."
On that same day, April 22, 1897, some one hundred miles away, in the community of Josserand, Texas, Frank Nichols, who lived some five miles east of Josserand, and was one of its most respected citizens, was awakened by what he called a “machine noise”. Looking outside, he saw a heavy, lighted object land in his wheat field. He walked toward it, but was stopped by two men who asked permission to draw water from his well. He then had a discussion with half a dozen “short, dark men” men, apparently the crew of the strange machine. He was told how it worked but could not follow the explanation.
Three days later, on April 25, 1897, in Merkel, Texas. People returning from church served a heavy object being dragged along the ground by a rope or cable, attached to a “cigar shaped” lying craft. As the assembled crowd watched, the line managed to get caught in a railroad track. The craft was too high for its structure to be visible but protrusions and a light could be distinguished. After the craft hovered in place for about 10 minutes, a man came down along the rope cut the end free, and went back aboard the craft, which flew away toward the northeast. The man was described by all witnesses, as being small and dressed in a light blue uniform.
The next day, late in the evening of April 26, 1897, near the town of Aquila, in South Texas. A local lawyer, whose name was not reported by the press, was surprised to see a lighted object fly quietly overhead as he was riding from his office to his home, just outside the city limits. His horse was scared and nearly toppled his carriage. The object was large, and “oblong”, and sported a bright light that was observed to be sweeping the ground below the object. When the main light was turned off, a number of smaller lights became visible on the underside of the dark colored, metallic craft, which revealed an elongated, transparent canopy. It continued forward, toward a hill, some seven miles to the south of Aquila. When the witness passed the same way, approximately one hour later, he saw the object rising. It reached the altitude of the cloud ceiling and flew to the northeast at a fantastic speed with periodic flashes of light.
A 1986 movie, The Aurora Encounter produced by Charles B. Pierce, tells the tale. The official historical marker was installed by the State of Texas, and although nobody knows exactly where the grave is located, it is certain that the alien was, in fact, buried in the Aurora Cemetery, after the efforts of the local doctor failed to save it’s life following the crash. There is, unfortunately, no sign of the tombstone. It was stolen some years ago and never recovered. There are, however, picture records of its existence.
There is currently a renewed movement in town to exhume the body of the alien, replace the headstone and do a complete search for remains of the crash. Also, there have been several interesting pieces of metal found in the area that have been confiscated for analysis by the military and never returned.
News of the Aurora incident remained dormant for almost a century, until May 24, 1973, when newspapers around the country published the following United Press International account:
"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."
NOTE: I've been told by investigators of this incident that they believe the government retrieved the body and the original tombstone in 1973...sometime during the period of legal wrangling between the owner of the cemetery and the Texas Mutual UFO Network MUFON...Lon
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