The 1897 Aurora,
Texas, UFO Crash
The crash of a UFO on April 17, 1897, on a farm
on the outskirts of Aurora, Texas, resulted, according to locals, in a
fatality the alleged alien body buried in an unmarked grave.
Around the time indicated, numerous sightings of a
mysterious cigar-shaped airship had been reported across the United
States. One of the
dated April 19, 1897, appeared in the Dallas Morning News.
Written by S. E. Haydon, an Aurora resident, it claimed that a UFO had
crashed into a windmill on the property of a
local judge J.S. Proctor.  The pilot said to be “not of this world”
and a "Martian" was killed, the body interred in the nearby cemetery. The wreckage
was reported to have been tossed into a well beside the windmill, though some
pieces ended up with the alien in his grave.
In 1935 the property was purchased by a Mr. Brawley Oates who cleaned
out the well to use as a water source. Later on he and others developed
arthritis, cysts and goiters contracted, he maintained, from water that
had been contaminated by the wreckage. In order to limit exposure the
well was sealed with a concrete slab, an outbuilding constructed atop
the location. (When questioned in 2008 during a UFO Hunters
investigation, a nephew, Tim Oates, agreed the well had been sealed but
for a different reason: corroded pipes had rendered it unusable.)
A number of investigations have sought the truth:
The hoax theory is based on research by former mayor, Barbara Brammer.
Apparently in the months before the alleged UFO crash Aurora had been
beset by a series of devastating reversals: a boll weevil infestation, a fire
that claimed several houses and lives, a spotted fever epidemic and a
railroad that bypassed the town.
Aurora was in danger of dying and Brammer concluded that Haydon,
known as a jokester, embellished the incident the notoriety a last-ditch
attempt to keep the town alive.
In 1998, KDFW a Dallas-based TV station aired a report.
The information gathered revealed that though something had crashed in
Aurora there was no definitive proof of either extraterrestrials or
advanced technology. An historical plaque erected by the State of Texas
outlines the tale and labels it “legend.”
On December 2, 2005, a television series called UFO Files aired an
episode related to the event titled “Texas' Roswell.” The episode
featured a 1973 investigation by aviation expert Bill Case and Earl
Watts of MUFON, Hayden Hewes and Tommy Blann of the International UFO
Bureau and Fred Kelley a professional treasure hunter.
The investigators uncovered two elderly witnesses, Mary Evans and
Charlie Stephens who as children remembered their parents visiting the
crash though they themselves were forbidden.
An investigation of the Aurora Cemetery at first seemed promising, a
grave marker appearing to show a flying saucer, with something in the
grave registering on a metal detector. A request for exhumation was
refused, however, followed by the marker disappearing, and the detector
no longer reporting metal. The researchers unimpressed deemed the
evidence to be inconclusive, a hoax a definite possibility.
On November 19, 2008, a spin-off series called UFO Hunters, aired a
second documentary titled “First' Contact” complete with notable
Tim the new owner of the crash site, and nephew of Brawley, was more
amenable in his dealings with investigators and allowed the well to be
unsealed and examined. Except for copious amounts of aluminum the water
Adding to the findings remnants of a windmill base, found nearby,
called into question a reporter's assertion (in Time magazine) that
judge Proctor had never owned a windmill.
In addition, although exhumation at the cemetery remained forbidden,
ground penetrating radar and photos from prior visits revealed an
unmarked grave in an area dedicated to the 1890s. Deterioration,
however, was so extensive that radar was unable to verify the contents.
 Haydon and Procter were friends known for their whimsy, both men
often submitting satirical stories to the local papers. Proctor even
wrote his own version of the tale and published it in his own newspaper
(the Aurora News). Apparently the town constable "roared with laughter" after reading it, his opinion “The judge has really
outdone himself this time.”
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