The Texas UFO crash of 1897
The Texas UFO crash of 1897

What do a farmer’s windmill, an alien funeral, and a UFO tombstone all have in common? They are all part of the amazing and almost-forgotten account of a UFO crash that occurred in Aurora, Texas in the nineties.  That is, . . . the 1890s! That’s right, 50 years before the much more famous 1947 crash at Roswell, the Lone Star state had its own encounter of the 3rd kind (or shall we say windmill kind). According to witnesses, on April 17, 1897, a UFO was seen streaking across the sky above Aurora, Texas (population just above zero) with a trail of smoke behind it.  As the story goes, the UFO crashed on a farm near town right after striking the the farmer’s (also a judge) windmill.

Honey! I found a dead Martian!

When Farmer Proctor approached the crash site to inspect the situation, he was shocked to discover the body of a deceased alien. As no next-of-kin was able to be found, the Texas community fo Aurora did what Texans do best: they showed good Southern hospitality and ensured the “Martian” (as an Army Signal Service officer who visited the site dubbed him/her/it?) was given a proper funeral with “Christian rites.”

The local media published stories and many shared their collective accounts of having witnessed the events surrounding the alien who dropped in for a (deathly) visit to Aurora.  For over a century, a curious gravestone bearing the image of a flying saucer marked the final resting place of John Doe Alien in a church cemetery.  However, even with a grave marker and all the publicity surrounding the event, the tale died almost as quickly as the alien.  Today, you’ll be hard-pressed to find someone who has heard of the Texas UFO crash of 1897, while almost everyone has heard about the UFO crash of 1947 (Roswell).

In the 1970s, interest in the story was somewhat renewed due to an investigation launched by the Mutual UFO Network (MUFON).  When MUFON investigators traveled to Aurora they search for and successfully found several living witnesses to the crash.  These witnesses supported the long-held claim that a UFO had indeed crashed in Farmer/Judge Proctor’s field and had taken out a windmill in the process. They further supported the claim that a funeral was indeed held and that the “Martian’s” body was buried in a grave marked with a UFO-runed stone.

An investigation

After hearing the claims of these (now very old) witnesses, MUFON investigators visited the cemetery where the alien was supposedly buried and discovered that indeed there was still a grave marker with a UFO image carved onto it.  Using metal detectors, the investigators were able to establish that significant traces of metal were buried in the grave, which supports the claim by witnesses that the alien was buried with part of his/her/it’s crashed vehicle.  When investigators requested permission to exhume the grave, they were denied access.  The next day, the grave was mysteriously exhumed and its contents removed.  Also removed was the gravestone.

Today, there are no living witnesses to the 1897 crash.  However, it seems there is enough interest to keep this story alive.  If you’re interested in getting a more complete picture of the story, a great place to start is the Netflix series Hangar 1: The UFO Files, which highlights this incredible chapter of American UFO history in one of its episodes.

Hot spots

Texas is considered one of America’s hotspots for UFO activity.  Hotspots are areas where UFO activity is unusually high. Today, hotspot activity seems to correlate with the presence of some sort of nuclear site.  For example central Montana has a tremendously high number of UFO sightings around nuclear missile silos in the fields around Malmstrom Air Force Base.  Likewise, Idaho Falls, which is home to the global wellness company, Melaleuca, started by Frank VanderSloot, also has an unusually high number of UFO sightings, but they probably have nothing to do with Melaleuca and everything to do with the nearby national nuclear research lab!

Either way, all of this begs the question: Are we alone in the universe? The folks in Aurora seem to say, no!

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